TOUR DE AWESOME preview/300 not on 100

Though “when it rains, it pours” may be a lame saying, it pretty well describes the eight days of awesome/exhaustion I will be enjoying shortly. Things always seem to work out so that all of my awesome stuff happens in one week, instead of over the course of several months. Oh well.

IN FACT, I am sitting on a train right now en route to stage 1A of the TOUR DE AWESOME, which is also a sort of lame name for something but screw you guys.

Stage 1A (Saturday afternoon), of course, is the Boston Mayor’s cup. This is particularly fun because I’m in the 2/3 race, instead of the usual “big boy” Pro/1/2/3 or Pro/1/2 race. It’s fun because I won’t have random pros showing up to make my life miserable and OBVIOUSLY I AM GOING TO WIN.

It won’t be fun because everyone else thinks they’re going to win, and because Dean Phillips is somehow still a Cat 2 and will probably just ride away from everyone, as I know for a fact he can go 32 miles an hour on his own for 45 minutes.

Races that lack Pro/1 riders are interesting because the rest of us – who are 2s or 3s because we are “not good” – end up behaving like the Muppet Babies once Nanny is out of the room. Having the wattage enforcement of non-clowns is nice. However, it means that I am less likely to do well, but am also more likely to have some crazed 3 dive-bomb me in the last corner.

Stage 1B (Saturday evening), is (hopefully) the delivery of a SPY HUNTER ARCADE CABINET. However, my brother-in-law, who knows the guy, hasn’t gotten back to me. So Stage 1B might be me stacking a cord of wood on my porch.

Stage 2 (Sunday), is the CT Cycling Festival International Bicycle Race By The Civic Center In Hartford. They asked for a race resume if you wanted a call up, and I was more than happy to provide them with an updated one.

The course is eight corners, and it might rain, so yay. It’s also the LAST RACE OF 2013 HOOOOORAAAAAAAAYYYYY TIME TO DRINK RANCH DRESSING (j/k I’ve been drinking ranch dressing for months now).

Rest day 1 (Monday), sees me going to work on the scooter as I need to rest up for the next stages.

Stage 3 (Tuesday), is the FIRST DAY of the annual “Bicycle Ride With Ted And Tim”, aka 200on100, 200noton100. It’s a two day event. Exeter to Boothbay Harbor then back the next day.

You should come ride along with us for a while if you want. We are DEPARTING from D Squared Java in downtown Exeter at 6 a.m. Get there at 5:15 if you want to buy an espresso (you should. They’re opening early for us, and they have the best espresso). Then we’re going to blast up to Maine at about 50 miles an hour. More info is on 200on100.com.

Stage 4 (Wednesday), day two of 300 not on 100. This is the day that I’m going to be sad, as I’m pretty okay to bang out a 150+ mile ride…but less good at doing it again the next day. I learned this a few weeks ago after a 130 mile ride with my teammates – my commute to work the next day was not great.

Rest day 2 (Thursday), duh. I think I’m going to sleep all day and maybe fix the lawnmower if my parts come in. I will not be going to work.

Stage 5A (Friday morning/afternoon), I help set up the GP Gloucester for eight hours, aka I’ll be doing landscaping for eight hours.

Also I hope everyone realizes that I have at least three seperate chances to totally sabotage Tim Johnson’s race – the two days of riding and perhaps setting up booby traps on the course.

Stage 5B (Friday night), I go see Electric Six at the Middle East in Cambridge.

Stage 6 (Saturday), I have to be in Vermont by 8:30 a.m. to do a 6 Gaps ride. After going to a concert where I will dance my face off (#discolegs) that will probably end at 1 a.m.

I have rented a car for stages 5A – 6, as that is the only way that this adventure is going to work.

So. That is the Tour de Awesome. Bye. You’ll hear more.

#palbike

Here is a more thorough idea of what’s been going on with me and my road bike in the last two weeks.

At the Fidelity Investments Grand Prix of Beverly promoted by Twitter Paul With Kid Race Appearances By The MetLife – NorEast Team I decided to take an inside line on the start/finish along the fencing where sponsor banners were, in hopes of moving up while the field was strung out.

This, as it turns out, was a bad idea.

A Pedro’s banner blew out in front of me, my brain had enough time to see it and think “Oh, dear, there is no way this is going to work out well”, but not enough time to avoid it. The banner caught my bars, bringing me to the pavement at about 30 mph. Yep, not working out well!

My brother in boat shoes (and in chest hair and general virility) Evan Huff also wanted to hang out on the pavement. We were both sad, and sort of bloody.

Not smiling. Grimacing because there’s a lot of sweat in open wounds.

We got pit bikes and got back in the race. I only ended up lasting a few more laps, as I spent most of my time closing gaps around dudes who were blowing up. After doing that for a few laps, I was tired, and I got dropped, I was sad.

I collected my bike from the pit. It was a wreck. It looked like it had been crashed at 30. Weird. I really had no idea the extent of the damage because so many superficial things were messed up (bars/hoods/fork all wonky, wheels apparently out of true, etc). Evan’s bike was in a similar state, though it was clear that he had broken his fork (sad Evan).

Please note that he and I are formulating a theory about how this was Meg Bilodeau’s doing.

ANYWAY. I went home and dealt with my wounds, realized the cold I was on the brink of had become a full on cold, covered my left leg in Tegaderm and brought my bike to Exeter Cycles for a professional inspection. My cursory inspection indicated that the right shifter was done for, non-driveside crank arm was cracked and rear wheel was toast. But the frame seemed fine!

Mike at Exeter cycles took a look at it (after I dropped it off wearing my Tegaderm suit) and informed me that, nope, incorrect, frame was wrecked. Where “wrecked” means “rear triangle was bent by about 2cm, all wheels that go in rub on the chainstay, it’s done.”

So THIS MADE ME SAD. I chatted with the shop (and Cannondale), got some numbers on what a new frame (or a new bike) would cost. However, when I shared this information with Mr. Bank Account, he got really angry at me and there was some yelling. So it made sense for me to just race the remainder of the year (a few crits) on my cross bike.

If you have been reading this internet site for a while, you’ll remember that my cross bike is the only cross bike I’ve ever owned – a 2006 Cannondale frame currently built with a 105/Rival mix.

Cross bike, as seen in 201A in 2006.

So that was an idea. I chatted with Aaron about this, and how my primary driver was Mr. Bank Account and his desire for me to save up for a “roof” or something lame like that (tip: never buy a house, ever. All you’ll do is shovel money into it in hopes of preventing it from falling down).

That was the Monday after Beverly. I planned on racing my cross bike at the upcoming ENGVT Concord Criterium To Feed Jerry’s Savior Complex (after I got over my continuing cold, which I eventually gave to Amanda, so basically my house looked like a ballpit but with dirty tissues instead of balls (there were still balls, though, if you know what I mean (#balls))).

I went to bed at my regular Ryan Kelly Is Sick hour of 8:45, and when I woke up, I had an email from Aaron asking “How many dollars would you need to get a bike together?” I told him what the quote was from Exeter – the price for a new frame, replacement parts, etc. He said “Oh, great, well I have raised that much money for your bike.”

Wait what?

It appears that one of the advantages of going to bed early is that your friend can quickly execute a fundraiser to get you the money for a new road bike. And then you can wake up, and it’s all been pulled together.

And a secret pal covers the cost of the CAAD10 frame from Cannondale.

And an order was placed for a pair of Zipp 30s on your behalf from other pals, overnighted so they’ll be in in time for Concord.

WHOA. WHOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA. WHAAAAAAAAT.

WHAAAAAAAAAAAAT??!??!??!??!?!?!??!??!?!??!?!?!?

Yes. So, um, yeah.

More story now.

I put the Zipps on my cross bike. It felt…a bit better.

Add some #palwheels and it's a crit racing machine!

A photo posted by @ryantkelly on

But it was still an eight year old frame that I’ve only ridden in the winter for the last two years. So…yeah. Any nice wheels are sort of nullified by the crap frame they are on.

I got in the race. And raced for a while, while I hocked up green things and tried to get the front and felt like my bike was folding in half beneath me in every turn.

HOW IS THIS BIKE NOT FALLING APART BENEATH ME?!? (photo stolen from Facebook and taken by Nick Czerula)

Then I decided to try to chase back Keith Kelly and Adam Carr right when their move went…and then I blew up and did not finish the race. Due to a combination of lots of things.

But, I’ll tell you what, crit turnin’ on a crappy old cross bike is NOT FUN and I was looking forward to having a ROAD BIKE AGAIN.

Then Monday came, I talked to Exeter Cycles and my bike was in the process of being built! It would probably be done on Tuesday! But first I had to bring them my wheels and chainrings.

Of course I realized this after I took the scooter to work, so I had to scoot home, get wheels, scoot back to greater Exeter.

Two tubes = wheel backpack.

On Tuesday I got the call from Mike that my bike was FRIGGIN DONE. So I went there and got it. And Mike put a bottle cage on it.

New right shifter, new non-driveside crank, new frame, new wheels. Jon Page cassette because I continue to live dangerously/cheaply.

I took out it for a quick spin to make sure it fit right and I had a giant shit-eating grin on my face because holy shit have you ever ridden a CAAD10 after having not ridden a CAAD10? It makes you feel like you’re strapped to a rocket train that also has superfluous lasers attached to it.

And now it’s Wednesday and I’m going to race in Salem on a sweet-ass bike that is the physical embodiment of ALL OF YOUR LOVE FOR ME.

HAHAHA YOU IDIOTS WHO HEPLED ME OUT THIS MEANS YOU LOVE ME. And I appreciate it. I really do. Aaron said he wanted to help me out because I help out cycling. I do what I can, and anyone who is part of the scene of “amateur cyclists who are sort of okay but just want to race all the damn time” does what they can. Without doing little things to help cycling, I wouldn’t be able to race all the damn time. So by helping me out, you also FURTHER help out cycling in two ways:

  1. I will be able to keep racing and create “content”, I guess, and support events!
  2. I will not race my cross bike, and I will not kill the entire field when it folds in half in the last corner of some crit.

So, thank you to the following people for supporting me and other things:

  • Ryan Hubbs – I don’t know you. Maybe we met at cross worlds when I was drunk. But we have the same name so we’re bros.
  • Charles Fowler – Thanks for getting me thinking about how to solve this issue, and for joining me for roller sessions in my barn in the dead of winter. And random coffee shop commutes.
  • Peter Bell – PETER! Thanks for giving me the opportunity to race bikes and a reason to sit on the front endlessly, and you probably want me on a real bike so I don’t kill you.
  • Colin Reuter – Thanks for helping me out here, and in my career by answering my terrible and annoying programming questions.
  • Todd Rowell – One time you gave me a bit of a push after Constitution Hill at the Housatonic Hills road race and it literally kept me in the group.
  • Steve Hopengarten – Thanks for taking me mountain biking that time. I had fun until you made me ride over a big rock and break my chain.
  • Jason Fowler – Thanks for the socks that time!
  • Landen Wark-Acebo – Thank you for appreciating coffee with me, and for yelling at me when I’m doing dumb things during races.
  • Alex Cox – Thanks for being my bro and being one of the few people who enjoys absurd bike rides as much as I do.
  • Austin Roach – Thanks for showing me that maybe sometimes it’s okay to wear a bathing suit in public. I’m only sort of sorry about the things I said about your crocs, though.
  • Joel Eckman – Hi Joel. I don’t know you. Maybe I do. See also “cross worlds”.
  • Deb Amundo – Hi Deb. See Joel above.
  • Carlos Danger – dongs.
  • Russ Campbell – Thank you for being the Official Photographer Of Ryan Kelly’s Twitter Avatar, and for actually making me be excited to be a real grownup with a family.
  • Nick Czerula – Thank you for inspiring me to take photos of road-side trash.
  • Mike Hoover – Hi Mike. Did we meet at cross worlds?
  • Mike (and everyone) at Exeter Cycles – Seriously. If you live near this shop and aren’t a patron, you are doing yourself a huge disservice. They will do everything that they can to work with manufacturers to help out their customers. And holy crap can they tune a bike.
  • Anonymous Angels – thanks for the wheels and the frame!

Lastly, I’d like to thank all of your moms.

…because they all did swell jobs raising you all to be compassionate members of the cycling community.

I am going to go pound coffees because I race in three hours.

I love you all.

#palbike is a go. @ahubbe @chas_f

A photo posted by @ryantkelly on

Internet.

Things For Sale!

Yes, #palbike is a go!

#palbike is a go. @ahubbe @chas_f

A photo posted by @ryantkelly on

More on that later (as in tomorrow).

Anywho, I currently own the following things and would like to exchange them with you for money! If you’re thinking of building up a Di2 bike (with internal routing) this could be your lucky day.

  • 110mm Cannondale C1 stem – $20
  • Cannondale C1 seatpost (27.2 x 250mm) – $25
  • Di2 battery mount (SM-BMR1, short). Seen here (top of the picture). Basically the battery mount used if you have a frame set up for Di2 internal routing. – $50
  • Di2 internal junction box (SM-JC41). This guy. – $15
  • E-Tube wire (EW-SD50) – 1000mm and 700mm. I also have the doodads that you put around the wire to make it easier to run through your frame. – $15 each
  • Ultegra front derailleur (regular, non-robotic). 6700. Bolt-on. BRAND FRIGGIN’ NEW. – $25

Now, for things that are sort of broken.

  • SOLD. Rear Shimano Dura-Ace 7850 wheel (here). The rim is WRECKED. The hub is still GREAT. It does not come with a skewer. Maybe you can use the hub and build it up into something neat? I don’t know. Basically you’re buying a sweet hub, for little money. – $20
  • SOLD. 6770 right shifter. It is sad. The primary issue is that the part on the shifter body that holds in the axle (I guess you’d call it that?) that the brake lever pivots around is broken. What that means is that the brake lever sometimes pops out…so that’s a problem. If you’re a smart person, I bet you could fix this with some epoxy. ASIDE FROM THAT, it shifts JUST FINE. Everything else about it functions nicely. Another problem is that it has a bunch of road paint from Cabot St. in Beverly, MA on it. Here are some photos. – $50IMG_2584 IMG_2585
    Yes, our table is friggin sweet. We got it on clearance at Anthropologie. Most ladies who have seen it have had excitements in their bathing suit areas.

Those are the things I have for sale. If you want to buy any of them, email me (ryantkelly at gmail dot com), tweet a thing to me (@ryantkelly), see me at Salem tomorrow night, or just tweet about 32X enough times and it will show up in my saved search.

If you’re not a person I see regularly, I can ship, and we can figure that out. All money goes into paying for entry fees or purchasing a roof for my house.

The Exeter Classic

Hey, the Exeter Classic is a bike race! You should register for it!

You may notice that it’s the “Metallic Poutine Exeter Classic”. You may also recall that Metallic Poutine is my business where I sell headset bearing covers and tshirts.

This means that I’m the title sponsor, hooray!

The reason for this is that Ed Spuler, the promoter and my LONG-TIME FRIEND, sent out an email in late May that said “Oh, crap you guys, the sponsors we had lined up have bailed, and the race might not happen.” So then there was some talking, and I realized “Oh hey I have a business that could sponsor this, so maybe I can sell a lot more bearing covers and tshirts (seriously buy a tshirt)?”

So not only am I excited because I’m sponsoring a bike race, but the Exeter Classic has been a pretty important race in my bike racing life. I’ve volunteered at it every year since I knew it existed (2004) – except for last year when I was busy getting married – and it was the first Pro/1/2/3 race I ever did. I remember lining up at that race (2005) and thinking “OMG I’M IN A PRO RACE!!!!!!!!”. I think I got dropped. Or I had some mechanical. Either way I didn’t finish. The memory of starting was clearly stronger than the memory of not finishing.

PLUS the race supports a scholarship for students on the UNH cycling team, which is where I went to college, so, again, yay. You may have heard me screaming on Twitter about how great collegiate cycling is. This is the TRUTH, thus why I’m helping support collegiate cyclists who may some day graduate and start using Twitter and join me in shouting obscenities on the Internet.

This is the plan for 2013. But 2014, the race needs a sponsor! So if you have some funds that you can justify throwing at a bike race – and all the adoration from cyclists that comes with that, the association with a healthy lifestyle and the positive financial impact the race brings to downtown Exeter – from either your business or your personal bank account, let me know (ryantkelly at gmail).

Also register, or volunteer.

Saving The Vanishing Road Race

Road races are a dying species, and more and more keep falling off the calendar.

Russ Campbell’s tweet got those of us who are sitting behind a desk talking on the Twitters. And maybe talking about things is how we can keep road races around? Or maybe not, and I’m just wasting my time typing this (NOTE: I am currently waiting for reports to run, so I am filling a void in my day with bloggage).

Despite the unhelpful commentary I’ve lobbed at Dieter Drake and his (quite expensive to race) Tour of the Battenkill, I do think that he has figured something out – entry fees have been unsustainable for too long. Or, to put it another way, bike races are really expensive to run, and the primary source of revenue has been stunted, contributing to races falling off the map when the promoter gets tired of running a money-losing event.

Dieter has also taken over the Tour of the Dragons. The entry fee in 2011 (pre-Dieter) of the two-day stage race was $90 (or something, Colin Reuter hasn’t answered my IM about how to find old races on bikereg. Shit that’s cheap!). Entry fee in 2012 was $180 (what the hell just happened?!?).

Now, that is a steep increase – but maybe he’s the only promoter who’s realized that putting on a bike race is a risky endeavor, and if you want to make sure the event is still around in five years, you gotta add some padding there. Terrible weather with no turnout, road construction canceling the race or late-to-pay sponsors and the promoter could be looking at a big-ass bill eating up all available dollars.

Please note that I’m doing Tour of the Dragons this year because I really like bike racing, and I feel that it is a worthwhile expense for the event. I don’t do Battenkill because driving out there blows, and I don’t think it’s worth the entry fee.

As far as racers helping to better foot the bill of an event, the answer probably lies somewhere in between artificially low entry fees ($35 for Sunappe!) and a doubling of entry fees in one year.

Other questions that are valid that I have no idea how to answer, and am just putting in a list because I am bad at writing and want to go eat lunch.

  • How do promoters keep entry fees down for beginner racers so they don’t get scared away?
  • How can costs be lowered across the board?
  • Does having more volunteers lower the event cost?
  • What information can promoters share to figure out best practices?
  • Maybe every race has an associated Gran Fondo to support it financially?

I may be totally missing the point for why bike races are disappearing – maybe it’s not money. Maybe it’s a lack of volunteers, promoters getting tired of all the work, cities and towns that aren’t supportive (maybe because PEOPLE KEEP LITTERING YOU FRIGGIN IDIOTS), or something else that I can’t think of in the few minutes I dedicated to type this out.

Perhaps racers should promise to volunteer at one race per season (please note that I only help out with my clubs events, so this sentence is also directed at me). Cars don’t point themselves in the correct direction.

So, really, I have no answers, just thoughts, but this is the Internet! It willed a Foam Party into existence, it can help solve some of these road race problems.

 

Marblehead, AKA OH HEY BIKES.

I haven’t raced my bike since Mayor’s Cup. Since 2005 I’ve raced cross, but then 2012 was a busy year and I had to choose between “racing bikes” and “being a functional human being”.

So it was a long time between bike races, and though one would expect me to be SUPER ABSURDLY EXCITED about Marblehead, I was just MARGINALLY EXCITED, because maybe I am becoming an old person. But if I’m becoming an old person, maybe I’m getting old man power, so it’s really okay.

I rode from my house to a McDonald’s in Amesbury to meet Ryan Fleming and new teammate but dude you all know Aaron Hubbell. We drove to the bike race while they marveled at my collegiate-level foolishness to not bring a change of clothes with me.

Listen, when you have size 15 feet, you really don’t want to ride bikes with a pair of shoes and street clothes. It’s terribly annoying. Plus my shorts are pretty comfortable and I had on some chamois cream, so…whatever.

Upon arrival at the sandy parking lot of Marblehead, Peter Bell came up to us like some sort of beardless Santa with a sack of new clothing, and that was great. I love new clothing, especially when it includes well-fitting long-sleeve jerseys, as a good portion of my bike riding is spent in the morning hours when long-sleeve jerseys are my friend.

After the usual pre-race business of chatting and riding and discussing whether or not it was an appropriate temperature to go bare-knees (it was not, but don’t tell Luciano that, because he’s all “you guys check out my legs!”), the racing started! YAY BIKE RACING I HAVE MISSED YOU.

It was not warm, which is normal at Marblehead.

Marblehead is a strange race, because the promoting club CCB throws everyone who owns a CCB jersey at it. So, when there’s a move up the road with a CCB rider, you aren’t immediately sure if it’s watt-factory Tim Mitchell or some dude who is normal. Then, CCB also has Cameron Cogburn (winner of 2012 Mt. Washington Hill Climb), Dylan McNicholas (dude who spends every Wednesday night in the summer making me question my life decisions), Will Dugan (former Team Type 1 rider) and a pile of other dudes who they also just send off the front to make it interesting.

So you’re never really sure what’s going on, it gets sorta fast, and everyone is super excited because OH MAN WE ARE RACING BIKES!

The race saw a few moves go up the road and come back, and things were pretty normal until three to go when Tim Mitchell (aforementioned watt factory), a Keough (yep, one of them Keoughs) and another dude were up the road. I was getting to the point where I wanted to take a nap, as I had spent some time at the front of the race being excited, but once I saw Ryan Fleming at the front riding with gusto I realized I should try to be productive.

We spent a lap riding at a lively pace – lively enough that my legs and respiratory system started getting confused with what was happening – before I detonated at the bottom of the finish climb at one to go. Fleming eventually blew up shortly thereafter.

Luciano ended up 6th, and Aaron 8th (full results – please note the fantastic finish of Ryan Fleming and I!), so that is dandy.

Yay bikes!

Lotus Notes OSX Alert

Lotus Notes OSX Alert (mp3)

You may have heard that I use Lotus Notes at work as an “email” “client” (both are in quotes because Lotus Notes is so fucking terrible I refuse to put it in the same category as Gmail, Postbox or Pine).

You may also have heard me bitching on Twitter about how long it took me to get a computer.

Well, I got a new computer (MacBook Pro), it has Lotus Notes, and the above-linked file is the alert that Lotus Notes plays when I get an email.

Please note that this is 2013, and I am not a character in a Carmen Sandiego game.

Food times

This weekend I planned on a bunch o’ bike riding, which included one day with Alex Cox and probably the Exeter ride on Sunday.

GENERALLY, all of my bike riding energy comes from pre-ride french toast (or pancakes) and mid-ride Snickers bars (unless I’m racing then it’s…still Snickers bars, but sometimes Clif bars). But both cost money, and rice is CHEAP. I had a bunch of rice cake thingies this one time when Ted and Tim tried to kill me, and they were good.

However, they pretty much fell apart in my hand while I tried to eat them, which usually resulted in me shoving the whole thing in my mouth and almost choking. And I didn’t really think they could hold up to a couple of hours in my jersey and not disintegrate into a pile of rice and other ingredients.

So I modified this recipe slightly – instead of SCRAMBLING the eggs and mixing them into the rice in a baking sheet, I mixed the eggs (and soy sauce…more about my ingredient choices later) into the rice, greased a muffin tin, and made WATT CAKES (or, that’s what I called them when I texted a photo to Alex).

IMG_2236

 

Put them in the oven at 350° for…20 minutes or so and BLAMMO. Pretty sturdy little cakes that held up very well during our ride. At mile 80 or so, they were still totally together and hadn’t disintegrated into a rice pile!

All told it probably took 20 minutes to prepare (that’s counting the time to cook the rice). Way better than spending $1 on one Clif bar.

A few things I’ll do differently (probably on Thursday night so I can have them for our Bicycle Riding Team Adventure Weekend):

  • Lower temperature and longer – The top was a bit crispy, the inside sort of soft. I’d like it to be SOLID, but kind of soft, so that if I accidentally inhale a grain of rice it’s not like there’s a tiny knife flying through my respiratory system.
  • MORE STUFF IN IT – I didn’t have any veggie sausage and I brain farted on putting…anything else in them. So they were very bland. Alex spiced it up with some agave nectar at D Squared, so that was good. Round two will include veggie sausage and shredded cheddar cheese in the mix that goes into the muffin tin.
  • Maybe chocolate – Might make some with chocolate inside. Yes.

I should do the math on how much they cost per calorie unit…likely way better than anything you can buy!