Thursday, April 9, 2009

Riding to Work

I think all cyclists ponder commuting on their bikes at some point. Unfortunately for most, it's just not practical or realistic. Well this year things finally came together for me when a small workout area and shower were installed in my office building. My last excuse for not giving it a try was gone!

So for the past month or so, I've been riding to work at least once a week. In my case it's 15 miles on a combination of bike paths and residential streets. Just long enough to get some exercise, but not so long that it effects my schedule. Last night I met Bibi at the lake on my way home and added an extra hour. Normally I have to skip work or ride in the dark to get three hours on Wednesday!

The first couple times, as I was rolling down my driving at 7:15 on a weekday, I felt that same twinge of guilt that I feel when I leave the office early for "a meeting". But once I got rolling I thought, "Hey, I'm going to work just like everyone else. No need to feel like a slacker!". I felt even better when I saw the gridlock on LBJ as I rolled up to my office only 20 minutes later than if had taken my car.

So for all of you that have been thinking about commuting, do yourself a favor and try it.


Thursday, April 2, 2009

Race News From Planet MV

In the last 10 days of March, McKinney Velo racers began what we expect to be a steady, season long procession to the results podium. Tell us about it Doc... Ok, I will.

Fayetteville Stage Race
– Mitch "Deuce" Blackwell set the bar high for everyone in 2009 with a sterling effort in the 84 rider strong cat 3 field at Fayetteville, taking a fine 3rd place in the final GC. Deuce put himself on the podium with a 2nd in the 1st stage road race – just missing MVC’s 1st W of ‘09 by... Deuce’s system of measurements is a little ‘unorthodox’ but if I’ve converted properly, he lost by the width of a hair of undetermined thickness – and a 6th in the 2nd stage TT (although he was only a handful of seconds off the TT podium.) After taking a mid-stage time bonus during the 3rd stage road race to secure his 3rd place position on GC, Deuce was content to safely finish with the pack. It wasn’t to be though as a group of 3s crossed the centerline too early in the final sprint, and then crossed back causing a massive pile up. Fortunately, considering all his hard work over the previous two days, Deuce crashed close enough to the finish that he was credited with the same finish time as the main pack even though he never actually crossed the finish line – well, not unless he did so in the back of an ambulance.

As a result, along with his 3rd place on GC, Mitch brought home a shoulder that before his surgery (see blog note below) looked like the shoulder of a anorexic supermodel wearing a wet sweater. Nonetheless, congratulations are in order as we wish Deuce a speedy recovery. And congratulations also go out to the MVC teammates who diligently supported Deuce in Fayetteville – Fireman Steve Borski, Jamey ‘Wheel Suck’ Munroe (11th in both road race stages), Richie the Rocket Miller and Brad Seabass Price (10th in the 1st stage road race.)

Ronde von Manda - One week later, Munroe took on the cat 3 field at Ronde von Manda, determined to build on his two 11th place Fayetteville finishes. And he did. Defying his nickname (and racing without teammates), Wheel Suck raced aggressively, jumped in key moves and then locked up a 3rd place podium spot in the final sprint to the line. Keep racing like that Wheel Suck and we’ll have to change your nickname... just kidding; you’ll always be "Wheel Suck" to us, but maybe someday like a fat guy is "slim."

TNC - B Race; week three - MVC had started the ‘09 Tues. Nite Crit season with some decent results... Johnny White Shoes Moore taking 3rd in the season opening B Race; and Steve Oz Weber getting in a race long break in the A Race that same night before finishing 4th while Timmy Burke took the field sprint for 5th. While those efforts were nice, it’s been reported (by me), and confirmed by the Seabass, that you don’t get 1st for finishing 3rd. So for the week 3 Plano TNC B race, MV-ites Corsi, Davidson, del Busto, Garrett, Haga, Megura, Miller, Moore, Munson and Perkins set out to get a W for someone, anyone, in the planet MV kit.

From the outset and throughout the race, we had a rotating group of racers patrolling the front, alternately attacking and jumping into efforts from other teams, all in an attempyt to make a break stick. White Shoes and Plane Shane Haga were particularly active. Johnny never let a group get a gap without him or another MV-ite being a part of the mix. And Haga took a couple of solo fliers during the race, but he couldn’t entice anyone from another team to join him, and conditions were not ripe for a long solo escape... or for a breakaway.

With 5 to go, it was obvious the race was coming down to a field sprint. We didn’t quite get organized like the Mario C. Saeco train of the 90's, but a mass of orange and blue did start moving toward the "sharp end" of the race. On the bell lap, as I approached the front on the inside of the backside sweeping curve, I found myself on White Shoes’ wheel, while White Shoes was on Pedro "El Guapo" del Busto’s wheel. Hmm... old slow guy, following old fast guy, following young really fast guy – not the way we drew it up. So I told Johnny I was coming by and then jumped past him on the inside, hoping that he, Pedro and the other MV-ites near the front would fall in line and get set for a proper lead out. And they did. I came through corner 2 and launched my sprint... to corner 3. I hit it 1st and then died, my race done. But not before I looked to my left in time to see the beauty that was El Guapo and Plane Shane Haga jumping perfectly off White Shoes’ wheel and taking it to the line in that order. No disrespect to the other B racers that night, but it really wasn’t even close. And Johnny White Shoes, who has still never uttered the words "that sprint was just too long for me," held on for a solid 6th.