Total Pageviews

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Shenanigans at Killington

It's 1pm on Thursday afternoon and I am completely burnt out from this past week. Driving up to Killington Friday night to race Sat, Sun, and Mon then rushing home Monday night to pass out and wake up to take a group of 11 men on a 3 day therapeutic camping trip has left me worthless on this perfectly beautiful afternoon. So I will write this blog in a relieved daze from my couch with the window open.
           Let's start with Killington Mountain Stage Race. It was my second ever stage race and first 3 day race. I met up with my buddies Krystian, Luciano, Dan, Brad, Braedin, and Uri up in Killington, we rented a 2 bedroom condo to fit all 7 of us for the long weekend. The first day of racing was a 72 mile circuit race. On the 2nd lap the pack was descending a mountain at around 45mph and all of a sudden a big group of people were crashing in front of me and I knew right away I could do nothing about this because I was in the middle of the pack and the crash was happening directly in front of me. So I grabbed both breaks as hard as I could and braced myself, sure enough I slammed right into somebody, went over my bars and landed right on top of Hot Tubes rider Curtis White, then someone crashed on top of me and drove their front wheel into my lower abdomen, right where I had a hernia operation about 3 years ago. Everything happened so fast and as soon as we all came to a stop I jumped up, grabbed my bike, put my chain back on, realized my bike was ok and hopped on. I was the only rider in that crash to get up and immediately start chasing the pack down. The group was about 100 yards away and I knew I had my work cut out for me to chase them back. My heart-rate sky-rocketed and my legs were burning so badly I just could not clear the lactic acid from them. I rode so hard that I saw stars and got tunnel vision. It took me about 20 minutes of going as hard as I could to catch back onto the group and when I finally caught the back I proceeded to throw up all over myself. It felt so good to know I was in contention again. We rocked a couple more laps of very agressive riding and I made the right move at the end and was in the clear for the sprint, so I went for it and took 3rd in the field sprint grabbing some upgrade points for the weekend!!!
                 The second day was an 11 mile time trial and I have only done a handfull of practice time trials and this would only be my second official one. I am borrowing a bike from a local guy Peter Greer, here in the Berkshires and the bike is a bit small for me with an integrated seat-post so I didn't have the option of making the post higher. So I took things into my own hands and got creative. I took an extra saddle I had lying around and duct taped it to the original saddle. Now this looks ridiculous but is very effective and it made the bike a perfect fit for my long femurs. I took 24th in the Time Trial and I was content with my time of 26:50 for the 11 miles.
              The third day was a brutal 62 mile road race through the mountains of central Vt. The race started on a 25 mile descent over some of the worst condition roads I have raced on. People's bottles were flying out and it was just very sketchy riding. After the long descent there was a brutal climb up this steep hill and I ended up in a group of about 25 guys for the rest of the race. About 5 miles before the final climb to the top of Killington the larger group we had dropped caught us and all 80 of us were together for the start of the giant climb. This climb was super brutal, I have never raced up something so steep before. Picture the steepest part of the north side of Greylock and make that 5 miles long, it was horrible. I don't think I have suffered that much on a bike ever (I say this about every race). Anyways, I ended up in 21st place in this race which got me 20th place overall for the GC.
          I learned a lot about how I race this past weekend and I know I have a lot to work on. But hey, anything worth doing is worth doing right, same goes with anything in life.
        So this weekend was a total success, I am happy I didn't get horribly hurt in that high speed crash and I wish a speedy recovery to the 7 or so dudes who were taken to the hospital and sustained injuries.
     My next big race is the Fitchburg Longsjo Classic!!!! Hometown race. This will be my first time doing the Longsjo and should be a really fun weekend. The whole family will be there watching and hopefully my fitness will be peaking and I can do really well at this one!
       I just spent the last 3 days on the mountain with an amazing group of men in early recovery. We had some musicians and all of them really wanted to be there which made for a really great trip. I was able to teach them some nature therapy stuff and get them out having direct experiences in nature, I love my job and my co-worker Jeremy Lombard rocks as well.

      That's all for now!!! See ya'll soon!!!!!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

It's pouring outside on this beautiful Berkshire morning, any time it's raining and I don't feel like riding bikes I become productive. In this case my productivity is taking the form of blogging. The semester just ended and I've been insane busy writing papers for weeks straight. I finally have some time to breathe in the morning, enjoy some french press coffee, and reflect on where my life has gone in the last few months since my previous blog. 
               School has been crazy this semester, I just finished up over 100 pages of writing. I have been racing bikes and training like a mad man this season! I have been racing every weekend since mid March and becoming consistently faster and stronger. I took 2nd place at the Wayne Elliot memorial race when Dan Ouellette made a super hard hard move on the last lap when everyone was tired (including me) I jumped up, sprinted as hard as I could and followed him, we stayed away on a long straight away, took a hard right into a long climb and just took turns on the front hammering as hard as we could. It felt amazing to see the group behind us getting smaller and smaller. I was so excited when I realized we broke away, I was yelling YES YES!!! Dan yelled at me to calm down and I did. We caught 2 guys who had broken away and we worked together till the end where Dan took me in the sprint, but I took the other 2 guys and rolled away with 2nd place and some cash in my pocket. It felt good to make money doing something I love!!! 
              Since Wayne Elliot I have done a handful of other really fun and painful sufferfests of races. I did my first stage race ever up in Vt. at the Tour of the Dragons and finished 15th overall and snagged a couple upgrade points. I was content with this finish but I know I can finish stronger in a long stage race. I have another coming up this weekend in Killington Vt. It's a 3 day stage race. I will blog about that next week. 
             I am being featured in a documentary called "A Small Good Thing" directed by Academy Award winning Pamela Boll. She approached me a few months ago and when I heard from her I was very skeptical. After doing some research I found out Pam won an Academy award for the movie "Born Into Brothels" so this was no joke. After meeting with Pam, Kerthy, and Paula I knew right away I wanted to be a part of this project. All three of them are amazing people who are really trying to tell peoples stories and shine a light on the things this country needs more of. Anyways we have done a few filming sessions and Pam and her crew are legit! I thought it was going to be her and maybe one other person working on it. The morning of filming at my place she rolls up with 3 vehicles and an entire crew rolls out!!! It was insane, huge cameras and sound and lighting equipment! They have been following me around riding bikes and filmed me dancing with my family at a powwow. This summer they're flying me and the crew to Alaska to film me, my uncle and grandfather in ceremony and my uncle is teaching me the traditional way of brain-tanning hides. I have been trying to get out there for the last few years and now I have my chance!! Awesome stuff. 
                That's all for now, I will be updating my blog this summer until classes start up again and I have no time!!!!! As usual I am super grateful for the people in my life and for living a simple life of bike riding and community! 

Heres a link to an article that Mary Arata wrote for Nashoba Publishing about the powwow this past weekend.

Oh and on another note I chopped all my hair off. I hadn't cut it in a year and a half and it was about 14 inches long!!!! The dirty hippie look has (somewhat) disappeared.