Sunday, November 8, 2009

Lead, Follow or get out of the way

"Hey Mr Silver 7 series BMW lead, follow or get out of the way! The passing lane is for passing!" My god what is wrong with people on the highways? Seriously don't they even have a remote grasp of either the vehicle code or at least common sense? I drive about 1 percent of the amount of time the rest of you all do. My "commute" is about 5 minutes from my "office" to drop my kids at school. But damn. Driving the Pike kills me during cross season. And you know what Massholes are not, I repeat not, the worst drivers in America that distinction easily goes to drivers from CT and NY. I guess it was parents weekend at Colleges all across Western Mass....but come on. So let's review just for yucks...from the interwebs:

"Common Practice and most law on United States Highways is that the left lane is reserved for passing and faster moving traffic, and that traffic using the left lane must yield to traffic wishing to overtake.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology's website on "Keep Right Laws" points out that: This law refers to the "normal" speed of traffic, not the "legal" speed of traffic. The 60 MPH driver in a 55 MPH zone where everybody else is going 65 MPH must move right..."

It is also illegal in many states in the U.S. to use the "far left" or passing lane on a major highway as a travelling lane (as opposed to passing), or to fail to yield to faster moving traffic that is attempting to overtake in that lane. For example, Colorado's "Left Lane Law" states:

A person shall not drive a motor vehicle in the passing lane of a highway if the speed-limit is sixty-five miles per hour or more unless such person is passing other motor-vehicles that are in a non-passing lane...(emphasis added)

Other examples, such as Massachusetts (General Statute 89-4B), New Jersey, Maine, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and others, make it illegal to fail to yield to traffic that seeks to overtake in the left lane, or to create any other "obstruction" in the passing lane that hinders the flow of traffic. As a result, heavy trucks are often prohibited from using the passing lane."

Ok end of rant. But damn...don't they know I need to get back to my babies? 

Hup and Geekhouse circled the wagons for CSI's Noho weekend. I picked up Nitro, or as I like to call him, at Landry's right around rush hour Friday night to deliver him to Myerson swinger party errr I mean Number Pick up Party in Easthampton...JB is in true Flava Flave fashion the voice of the velorution for the Verge series. And he is doing a damn fine job I might add pumping out pressers as fast as resultsboy can get him the data. It was an impressive sight to watch. Those two are on it! 

We got up there right as the party was kicking into gear. Grabbed our numbers which seemed very PRO at the time but then some real PROs arrived and heckled us....well me actually for being old and slow and trying to be PRO. We mingled, ate really bad food that was really good if you know what I mean, drank really good beer and watched some World Cup on a wall sized flat screen tv until the Jr's discovered there was an Xbox and then that was that as they say. Bumped into a friend who I hadn't seen in literally two decades. Twice in two weeks....crazy. What a small world the cycling world is sometimes. Thanks Adam and Al for the hospitality it was a really nice touch and everyone had a great time.

What happens at the swinger party stays at the swinger party...well it wasn't all that it was actually a really nice way to just chill out talk with Adam and Al in a low key atmosphere and get stoked for the race. Have I mentioned that Northampton is probably my favorite race of the year? Love it. And since Rosey introduced us to the VIP suites at the Quality Inn my love for it has grown exponentially...We packed so many bikers into one suite slated for 3 occupants that I thought for sure the inn keeper was going to call the cops. I kept having flash backs to college dorm life. Man these young guys either are going to be the death of me or are going to be the fountain of youth for me...time will tell which. If race results are part of the equation it certainly is panning out to be the later as I had the ride of my life at Noho on Day 1....but the look on my wife's face as I recounted some of our sleeping/living arrangements painted a slightly different story. 

Noho was such a great weekend of hanging out with friends and teammates that the racing almost became secondary. Make no mistake this was probably some of the hardest fought racing I've seen this year in all categories and the course Adam and JD put together was probably the fastest and toughest I've raced. They switched things up a bit starting and finishing on the lower section of Look Park. All my favorite sections were still in place like the 180 sandpit, the sketchy run up and rooted upper section (why do I love those turny roots so much) and the drop off!

For some bizarre reason since getting sick I am faster. How is that even possible? Either the swine flu or what ever I had has muted in my body and turned me into some mutant swine cross racer or I just have fresh legs from the 2 weeks off. I think Al is kind of some Evil genius as well to be honest. Evil and crazy smart that is. I am training (or have been) so specifically that it is supercharging my racing. And he did an amazing job just getting me through being sick, helping me trust the training and to not over do it while I was sick...whatever it was it has been working magic. 

For my race I just lucked out. I was on brand new tubies (Thanks Molly!) that were sooo perfect. It was a total leap of faith. Molly hooked me up with some new FMB grippos. They are a racing ralph tread on an FMB casing. What is so cool about these is that Schwalbe sent francois the actual rubber tread that he can then glue straight on his casing without having to cut it off a clincher tire. By doing this you eliminate the extra casing that would be stuck on the old clincher rubber and making for a stiffer ride. So to review brand new tire I've never used, freshly glued that week and never ridden before...was I worried? Hell no I drank the Molly koolaid long ago if Molly says it works I trust her. And as for my mechanics glue on. Ok maybe the first time I flew down the drop off I was praying the glue job held, then each time I did a table top jump over the train tracks but other than that it never even crossed my mind.

So how did I like the tires? Oh my god. They are sooo fasst and just float over stuff. I was able to surf through the sand pit at warp speed carve the corner onto the grass make the 180 and then power back out while everyone else was running. No lie. And trust me it wasn't the rider it was the rubber. I need to say a big thank you to Tom Stevens. Seriously, he is a legend and any time I've been racing this year I have been watching him to see what he does. He is a true master and I lucked out to be able to follow his wheel for a lot of the race. He took me to places I didn't even think possible. What a cross racer he is! We were passing people at warp speed just finding lines that were faster and smoother each lap. When he crossed the finish line he literally collapsed on the ground from the effort. Now that is leaving it all on the course. I staggered around wanting to fall down but luckily Lo was right there with a water and kept me from falling over 'cause I never would have gotten up. Thanks Lo and thanks for the kick ass mini cupcakes/muffins!

What a fantastic weekend of cross. There was a bad crash at the end of the Elite masters and our prayers and thoughts go out to those involved. Ride safe, ride fast and love cross every chance you get cause the season is sooo close to being done...Hup Hup

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