I got to ride in the wheel van at the Giro di Coppi in the 1-2-3 race. Local monsters Battley Harley showed up and started laying it down in the middle of lap (about 15 miles in to a 75 mile race). Ken Johnson made a little break with a guy in a U of Maryland-looking jersey, and Sean Barrie, another Harley rider. After the gap went up to close to a minute, we zipped around the pack and bridged up, where we sat riding support for the next 55 miles or so. The Harley boys kept the other guy in it for most of the race but on the last lap, attacked a little bit and dropped him. Harley appeared to do a really smart team tactic to break up the chasing pack, which contained some major league legs like Ramon Benitez and Michael Githens of Artemis, and young (and strong) Kevin Gottlieb of the Squadra. Starting on the fourth lap, when the pack seemed to be getting frisky and serious about closing down the 1:50 gap to the break, the Harley boys ratcheted up the pace to painful levels, splitting the pack into a couple chase groups. In the support wagon we relayed the info to the moto ref, who passed it on to the break. As the 'pack' attacked, led by Harley, the Harley guys in the break gassed it. A couple times, the gap got down to 35 or 40 seconds, but darnit, it never got closer. Y'know why that is?
Because the Harley guys in the pack were using accellerations to shatter the pack to discourage it from organizing and bridging. 8 or 10 guys working together, accellerating smoothly and just gradually upping the pace could have closed the gap. But a series of rapid accellerations, little splits, desparate little bridging maneuvers and every-man-for-himself efforts probably made organizing a steady chase impossible.
This paid off for Harley not just in Ken Johnson's win (Congrats, Ken!) but also in Harley taking every position from first through sixth. Special honors go to former Coppi and current Battley Harley rider Brian Butts. Way to work Brian!
I got to meet a few regular readers on Saturday, including John K who is both a sweaty, Independent Fabrications-destroying rider and a motor ref. He's about to get a new Crown Jewel, he tells me, as he's getting ready to hop onto his Ferrari-red Ducati ST-4 and tool around watching a bike race. I didn't ask what he was up to later because I bet it involved knocking down some Woodford Reserve with a Chimay chaser, or something equally lascivious and fun. Damn, but the boy's got good taste.
It would be easy to be jealous but the way he talks about his hill climbing, I can't afford to be; if we ever get a chance to ride I'll need the company back there on them hills.
I hit up the AABC 'cross practice on Sunday AM. It was about 85 out, and maybe 75% humidity. We were dripping wet.
Ohhhh boy, was it hard. I am so not in racing shape right now. Things were coming together pretty well but some changes in the job situation laid some stress on me, my training has kinda sucked, and I've held steady or slipped backwards in the last month.
I seem to be getting back on track, and those efforts - I did 4 efforts of about 7 minutes duration - were enough to remind me that I need to buckle down and to cover that long distance that I have to go.
The downside of this is the first month of my season is going to be hell. The upside is late October through December should be better than it usually is, with me coming on form as many people are fading. So I'll still suck and finish way back, but not as way back as I might.
I'm still grappling with this insane current political season. The bottom line is I'm tired of hearing all the bullshit about how awful the presidential candidates are. They aren't. They're decent enough people who have to grovel for votes from people who either don't care, or who care way, way, way, way, way too much. They have legitimate differences in opinion, and different ways of operating. No matter which pair gets elected, the republic will survive. Politics is venal enough without 30% of the people I know turning into whining little children over the deal. If you place your hope and faith in politicians, you need your head checked; the Fed Gov simply isn't good enough to do everything that everybody asks it to do and in most instances can serve the public best by staying out of the way. A good study discussing these differences in outlook in a non-insane manner is here. I have some quibbles with it, but on the whole think the scholar - a very liberal scholar FWIW - has it about right. Enjoy the article and then when you get done reading it, come back and tell me whether you feel like heaping the same vitriol on the heads of people you disagree with. I sure don't. People disagree about shit. A lot of folks need to emotionally get over that fact.
I need to give a huge hunka hunka burnin' love to Chainlove.com. That's a site that sells one item at a time, at a deep discount, until it's gone. The other week, I got an email saying that they had my favorite shorts, Castelli Ergo Due on sale for $32. So I ordered a couple. The good folks at Chainlove threw in a third pair, absolutely free of charge. Granted, it's not in perfect black lycra - it appears to maybe be a factory second, with some gray-ish lycra in lieu of black. It's still a lovely, amazing pair of shorts, and even in the dark gray very attractive and perfect for training in. Total cost to me? $71, shipped. What's the normal retail? About $80/pair. The Ergo Due is last year's model. The nearly identical Wicked Short retails for $119. You do the math about what kind of a bargain I just got. Granted, you can't get what you need right away at Chainlove, you only get what they happen to be selling right now. But if you keep your eyes open you can save a couple bucks - and their throwing in an extra set of bibs was just gratuitous love that I very much appreciate.