Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Ticket to Ride

So things have changed up a tad around here lately. I have "un-retired". Don't call it a comeback. My love of bikes has never waned. I always was up for helping friends with any bike related project that they threw my way since I have been home. 

Looking back at some of them I kind of crack up. Did I really think I could ride to Washington? That was nuts. But I have had an affinity with Honey Bikes for the last three years. Working to develop the first HUP Honey was a blast. When we relaunched the HUP Honey this past winter it awoke a real passion in me. I love working championing a brand I believe in. So without going into too much detail I am now working for Honey Bikes. I am super stoked to say the least. The bikes resonate with me on so many levels. I am really excited to push myself with this project. 

What is Honey? Honey Bikes is a Boston-based bike company. We manufacture all our bikes by hand and to order in the U.S. Honey specializes in uniquely designed specialty bikes, with a focus on pure riding. 

With cross season right around the corner it made sense to do a CX promotion. I know too well how much scrambling goes on each season to get equipment ready. A few years ago you were fine waiting until August 1st to even think about CX. Not any more. You need to get on it at the latest by July 1st. June 1st for me is the start of the build up. Start running, start getting more serious about fitness. Lose any extra LBs. Still have fun but move towards being ready to go by August 1st. At Honey we thought why not help out and offer a race ready bike that is delivered by August 1st! Great idea right? All you need to do is get your order in to us by June 15th.

To check out the offer go to Honey Bikes 

We have some really cool incentives as well. In fact we will PAY you to race cross. How sick is that? 

For the Cross is Boss project we’re offering a choice of one of three additional benefits - as a thank you for racing cross! 

Option One: A Limited Edition Honey jersey, in partnership with RaphaPerformance Roadwear. 

Option Two: A tin of Limited Edition Honey Medium-Heat Embrocation, in partnership with Buckler Embrocation, and a subscription to Cyclocross Magazine.

Option Three: Let Honey sponsor you! We will pay for three cross races of your choosing for the 2013/14 season!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Good Will Hunting

Strava is not a race. No ONE thinks getting KOMs (or QOMs) is racing. No one. I know this is hard for you Type A road racers who see road racing fading into the sunset with 26" mountain bike tires to accept. Its tough to see the Fundo numbers or Tough Mudder numbers and compare them to a road race. It has to be demoralizing to think people would choose fun over such a serious pursuit as winning a road race.

Strava is a carrot. It is for bragging rights. Oh gasp, and dare I say it, its for fun. We have been hunting for the above KOM for about a year. Will Crissman OWNs all the KOMs around here. He will go out and shatter that in the next day or two. I guarantee it. But it motivates us. It brings us together. It gives us a goal on an otherwise solo ride. We don't scream STRAVASEGMENT at other trail users when we think we are on a segment. We know the deal. And ride safe and push ourselves. And hope that one day we will get the lines down and push the pain away enough to bag one of Will's KOMs even if its only for just a day. Or Two....

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

I Did It All For The Cookies

HUP camp was this past weekend. Jimbo aka Jim Airgood, one of HUP NEs OGs, hosts a great camp at his ski Chalet right next to Pats Peak in Henniker, NH. Gorgeous area, amazing host and hostess (Jim's wife Gwen is the best!) perfect spot for a bikecation. Day one was mountain bike and day two was a dirt road ride. I knew I was only going to be able to swing one day so opted for the dirt road ride. I probably should have been more nervous. Singlespeed watts DO NOT translate to dirt road riding watts. At. All. I know this. But its camp. How bad could it be? I was just super stoked to see everyone and get to ride some legit NH dirt roads! The night before camp people started sending me #dronk texts. I was laughing my butt off. It was classic. It also put me very at ease. How bad could a 65 mile dirt ride in NH be with a bunch of hungover HUPsters and some VIP quests?

The Tour of Henniker was to be stop # 4 in the #GETINTHEVAN '13 World Tour. We had Nick, Abel and Roger in the van. Great crew. Rolling out of Boston Nick popped Killer Mike into the CD player. Big Beast has forever changed me. That will be the soundtrack for this CX season. No doubt about it. We brought Dunkin's cause a camp without donuts is just not camp. As we headed up the "road" to Jimbos cabin I said out loud "oh god no way am I going to be able to ride up this after 65 miles!" It was steep. A ton of cars were parked all over Jim's yard. We said hi had some oatmeal and donuts. Abel and I split the last bacon donut...a bunch of the crew had already headed out or were heading home. We had a group of 18 riders. Possibly the biggest group of HUP ever gathered for one ride. We also had a few VIP guests. Colin and Christin. And an elite fighting force of ENGVT. I believe the quote was "who are all these tan skinny guys in grey kit?" Hahahah. It probably didn't help their image as Nick Czerula proceeded to crash at our feet in Jim's driveway as we were staging for the ride. It may have been the fastest crash in the history of group rides. Thankfully he didn't damage his brand new ENGVT kit. I don't even know what Jerry would have done to him.

After getting that excitement out of the way we all flew off the mountain and then ENGVT goes to the front and starts smashing. I really didn't have time to process the speed at which we were going. Again I haven't been on a road bike in about 5 months, my legs are still caveman style, all I need to complete the dirty singlespeeder motif is Jorts and a baggy #BROONS jersey. I am ok at this point though. Really we are just rolling in a paceline on the road. We get to the first dirt road and get our first flat. We see the fast crew disappear in a cloud of dust. I am actually happy about this. No way I can sustain that for 65 miles and 5k of climbing. Impossible. It takes a while to change out the flat but we eventually get rolling. And after cresting the top of a dirt climb the fast group is waiting to punish us some more.

They are nice about it. All smiles etc. But each time we stop it gives them more time to look at my hairy legs with disgust. Actually peer pressure is starting to get to me. My hairy legs are beginning to gross me out. But I push that thought aside. The course is really well marked. Jim took a lot of time putting down course markings. Hmm now that I think of it the 'H' looked suspiciously like ENGVT green. This has Jerry's handywork written all over it. Flats start coming in bunches. Colin shows a gift for ripping valve stems off perfectly good tubes. It seems like he wants us to be stranded in banjo country. Its not really a shocker that we are having so many flats. We are descending at warp speed down dirt roads very few of us have been on. And I LOVE dirt roads. Pride myself at being pretty good at them. But these are insane. I keep asking Nick where his gravel bike is. Either he can't hear me or is still steamed about that driveway crash. He is way more funny on the internet. I make lots of jokes. Some really poor taste, some just funny. He doesn't laugh at all. I think Jerry sent him as a hit squad to rough up HUP.

But back to the dirt roads. They are a mix of dirt, sand and gravel. The sand is about an inch deep in spots. On more than one occasion I am descending at full speed thinking to myself I am wayyy too far on the edge. If it goes bad I am in the gutter. But Nick's driveway crash may have appeased the crashing gods as no one crashed. I don't even know how this is possible. Even when a dog ran into the road and I had to move a touch too close to Roger. Ok close enough to hear some pretty spicy words whispered in my ear. Roger is a protected rider. I would have t-boned the dog long before I would crash my wingman out. We rode in a really tight group for most of the ride. We had a nice mid-ride stop at a grocery store to fuel up on pizza and gatorade. Ok only Nick had the pizza. The rest of us went for traditional ride food. The pizza actually looked very good.

I began to unravel with about 16 miles to go. We were in a smaller group at this point. We made the executive decision to let the faster group go and settled into a more reasonable pace. Luckily I had zero clue about what was about to hit us. I started hearing Abel and Roger talking about the end being the hardest part of the ride. Words like three super steep and long climbs. I just put that in a box. Among all this suffering was such beauty it was easy to get lulled into what an incredible day we were having riding together. As we rolled along this beautiful mountain stream I wanted to go in so bad. Jabs kept telling me my legs would seize and my heart would stop. He was obviously medically correct.

The first of the Three Sisters came at a 180 after rolling at a fast pace. It was like someone ripped my bike out from under me. We went from 20 mph to about 5. Maybe 6. I was fully mailboxing the climb. Going from one side to the other side. Nick Maggiore was pacing me really well riding in a much more gentlemanly fashion. My pride was long gone at this point. It was that or walk. I thought about walking and then realized if I got off the bike to walk I would have full body cramps and die. Never get off the bike. Its funny how much pain Pats Peak and its environs have dolled out on me over the last couple of years. But having Nick next to me and Abel and Roger up the road kept me going.

We somehow made it over the three brutal climbs. I was cracked to pieces but functional. The final road that led us to Jim's house was called Flanders Road. How cool is that? The climb up to Jim's house actually wasn't bad at all. By that point I was having such an out of body experience I think I stopped feeling pain. What a great ride. 65 miles about 5 k of climbing. Such a great crew. HUGE thanks to Jim and Gwen for hosting and letting us take over their lovely abode. I would say I did alright for a dirty single speeder. Lots more of these types of rides please!

Oh and back to the title of this post! Jabs made some amazing treats for the ride. We all are on a real food while riding kick. And I am digging it. I filled my pockets with his cookies. And looking back at the ride I never cramped or went into full bonk mode. I felt strong the whole ride. I know it was the cookies. For those interested here is Jab's secret recipe.

Trail Mix Cookies

makes 6 dozen 2 in dia cookies
3 sticks of unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups of brown sugar (I use dark brown)
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
3 eggs
3 teaspoons of vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
1  1/2 teaspoons of baking soda
3 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
2 1/4 cups of chocolate chips
1 1/4 cups of shredded coconut
1 cup of chopped walnuts
3/4 cup of dried cranberries
Preheat the oven to 350.
Prepare baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray or line with parchment paper.
Combine the flour, baking soda in a small bowl, set side. Cream together the butter and sugars on high until creamy. Add the eggs and vanilla, mix well. Add the flour mixture to the batter in batches. On low-speed, add the oatmeal, chocolate chips, coconut, nuts, and cranberries until combined.
Form cookies and place on cookie sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Recipe produces 6 dozen 2 in diameter cookies, larger cookies will result in a lesser number and will take longer to bake.