Sunday, December 27, 2009

Quick fix

Went out for a cruise today. It wasn't the 'right' time to ride, but I couldn't resist. Training isn't supposed to start until after the new year and I'm trying really hard to stick to a regime of staying off the bike. No matter, the 2 hours of pedal time today will hopefully be a small taste, a fix, to hold me over for the next week or so.
I am thinking of implementing a new rule for myself; if ever, in the months of January and February the weather should break 55 deg F and the roads are safe, I must go for a ride.
Was in the mood for exploring but a late start and trying to keep the ride shortish limited me to a well known loop.
Saw a few other people out, testing new holiday gifts of clothing and bikes. I wasn't looking for a race but some were definitely looking to push their new equipment to the limit. Relax!
The morning's rain and low setting sun turned fields into a spring-like lush green. Houses and barns were lit up bright white against the dark gray sky. Long shadows from trees crossing the road with bright shafts of light between. If there was a substance to sunshine I would think riding through the columns of light not unlike riding right up against a picket fence. Sound in your ears, whup whup whup whup whup whup.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


Everyone knows someone who has driven 6 hours to a race or ride, only to realize they have forgot their shoes. Luckily they remembered the duct tape. They have shown up but left the bag of clothes in the driveway, two states away. Their choice, t-shirt and cutoffs or a pink kit two sizes too small. A freak accident breaks the derailleur hanger and they have to 'share' one for the next three days with someone in a different category because everyone within a thousand mile radius is sold out.

Fortunately most problems are slight miscalculations and less obvious than riding a crit with a TT helmet on.

I hitched a ride to the ill-fated Giro di Jersey with the good folks from the NEBC men's elite team. I rode with NEBC before Embrocation and really benefited from their elite program.

On to the hacks.. GdJ featured a TT as the 3rd stage. I brought some clip-on aerobars for the Gaulzetti since the Pegoretti TT bike was still waiting on a few things. I also brought a shorter stem that 'optimized' my position. Unfortunately the stack height of the new stem was much lower than the previous stem and I was without any extra spacers. Whoopsy. It was ok though, a roll of electrical tape is just about the perfect diameter to use as a spacer.

After everything was tightened down I just removed the top cap and electrical tape.

Also, at the GdJ, our hotel reservations got messed up and we ended up with one big bed instead of two smaller ones. With the addition of a cot and 7 bikes in the room, there was no floor space left. I think I promised I wouldn't ever put this on the internet, oh well.

Surprise! Camera flash!

When traveling to races, eating out can be one of the most expensive parts of the trip. Unfortunately few cheap hotel rooms come with a kitchen. Most if not all have a coffee maker though which can double as a pasta cooker, observe:

Use enough water for about half a pot of coffee. Add pasta to the pot and brew. Let it sit for like 10 or 15 min depending on your tenderness preferences.
*Word of caution, about coffee pots. I was later discouraged to use coffee makers in hotels because apparently people use them to cook up meth. Be careful I suppose.

Our next example jumps ahead to cross season. Adjusting your brake pads to get the proper balance of toe in versus fork chatter can take hours in the basement workshop. Got an hour before your race and new pads? Get out the leatherman and cut down the back of the pads until 'proper' toe in is achieved.

You will probably need to get new pads for the next weekend of racing after this method. Be sure to adjust the next set properly so you don't blow through another set of new pads.

Finally, this is not so much a hack as a whole bunch of awesome. Lights are recommended for night time cross racing and LED's are cheap so why not stick a whole bunch on your downtube!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Backwards circles

So its that time of year again, the Off Season. The Rest and Recovery Period. I always struggle with the transition from the structure of training to the chaos of lounging around and eating and drinking. Even though I gave myself an absolute rule of no bike riding until the new year (besides the obvious to and fro) I made some 'adjustments' to my TT bike yesterday which involved riding the rollers for 2 hours. Its hard to let go. Even that didn't seem to quench the need for bikes completely, so I started pouring through some of my photos from the year.

I got a digital camera before the trip to Belgium this past spring and have managed to take something like 3000 photos and videos since then. I haven't really looked back on what I've taken or shared the stories of Belgium, which is why I created this blog in the first place. So I'd like to go through, a little at a time, and share some stories of the past season. Maybe this will help me stay off the bike for just a few more weeks.

So then.

Belgium, an introduction to Gent.

But, first a quick introduction to the travel companions. Jeremy Dunn of Embrocation Cycling Journal - trip planner and general instigator... try and keep up. Jennifer Park of Diesel and Bloc 11 cafes - coffee aficionado, bike enthusiast and marathoner.

There were to be many more people that we met up with and traveled with. I'll do my best to get everyone in here.

So that brings us to the first photos. When we arrived in Gent there was some wandering to be done. I believe we were on a quest for food, something I have many many pictures of and surely to be some sort of super post in the future. This post, however, is about when I got an inkling of the importance and abundance of bicycles in Gent.

This was the first bike parking spot I saw. Speechless. As I struggled to get my wits and take a photo Jen was trying to get my attention. We turned the corner of the block and my heart stopped. In front of us stretched a sea of bicycles. Thousands? Tens of thousands? I don't know, but that wasn't all (or even the half) of them. At every turn there was another mass of bicycles locked up. I never got to investigate further, were there attendants? Were these private lots? Did the lots empty out if everyone went out at night? Did they ever clear out? Who was riding all these bikes?

This I do know - hardly a drop bar in the bunch and bells aplenty.

Whenever anyone mentions Gent now my first thought is always of all those bikes.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Whitmore's Landscaping Super Cross Cup B Men

Spent the weekend down in the Hamptons for the Whitmore's Landscaping Super Cross Cup. There was a good amount of time between the Men's B race and the Elite race so I actually was able to watch the whole race and still have plenty of time to warm up, though I still managed to miss the start of day one and the finish to day two. Dan Chabanov (Adler) won both days, really looking forward to battling it out with him next year in the Elites. Jeff Bramhall (Geekhouse) had a terrible start on day one but fought back to 23rd after tangling in the tape on lap 1. He managed one spot better on day two. Cort Cramer (Svelt Cycles) 5th and 5th, Dave Chiu (Maietta Racing) 29th and 24th, Steve Hopengarten (Wheelworks) 24th and 19th and Nick Mashburn (Cambridge Bicycle) 12th and 13th made up the rest of the Boston contingent. So much fun.

Whitmore's Landscaping Super Cross Cup, B Men from Peter Bradshaw on Vimeo.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

My bike is a sexy pirateship

Fell in love with an entire troop of sexy bumblebees on my ride home tonight. Thank god for halloween and bikes, you could never have this shit happen in a car. I think I might have broke my kneecap a few weeks ago.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Cross started this weekend

1 wedding reception attended, but no actual wedding
1 side of my body destroyed by pavement
1 knee still functions
1 six pack of butternuts heinnieweisse drank as a painkiller substitute
1 day of Gloucester raced from the back
1 day of Gloucester slogged from from the back
1 horrific warm up crash witnessed
1 great race from said warm up crash victim who then crushed this fool
1 horn honked many times
1 borrowed wheel destroyed after someone else let someone else borrow it
1 week until RI and we can try again

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Rainy days

It used to rain all the time. Remember that?

Some random shots and a little footage from the Harlem Crit.

Rainy Days from Peter Bradshaw on Vimeo.

Fight hangover with espresso

Was pouring through some older photos while highly caffeinated this morning...

Alex took my IF for a test ride. This proves the point that everyone needs at least one IF because it really does make you this happy.
I helped do some moving (as a cross training exercise obviously) but luckily these chairs loaded themselves. More to come on that.
Dog wonder in my face.
Trying to get formal fridays going at work. The shirt possesed amazing cooling abilities. Did 60 miles or so like this. Also notice the oft coveted Croth Jackson camera bag.
Speaking of style, look how cool James' shirt is! Kyle also looking very tight. These guys look good off the bike and..
on the bike. Kyle sporting his super rare purple smart auction kit. Has been mistaken as a secret prototype Embrocation kit more than once.
James riding the Embro colors on his IF. Rumour is his Gaulzetti is getting some spaceage new parts? Maybe you'll get to see it at an upcoming race.
Its a good thing there are fortune cookies to spell things out for you.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Something good

D2R2 is something special. I'd often heard stories but you never know a thing until you are part of it.

I went into this past weekend after long awaiting to do the D2R2 but really had put no effort into researching what I had committed to. As the time of the ride approached the numbers started to sink in, 15,000 ft or more of climbing, 112 miles if you don't make any mistakes, 70% are dirt. I switched out the wheels on my IF to my all around amazing Easton ea90s I've been racing on all year now shod with Conti Gatorskin 25s and strapped a pump to my front fork for that randonee look. I was ready to go.

We started about 7 am for the 170k with a loose group of 15 or so people. I had resigned my self to riding with the group because I was originally very intimidated by the many page cue sheet we were given at the start. My understanding, up until about 5 min before we rolled off, was that the course was marked and I was totally unprepared to ride off the cue sheet. No problem with the big group though - we had 2 GPS's with the ride programed in and a bunch of people who had ridden the course before. Maybe half an hour into the ride we had the group's first flat, as we slowed to a stop I looked at the herd of riders on the side of the road. I've been feeling pretty solitary lately anyway and didn't want to pressure the group to go at a pace I felt challenging, so I made a quick decision to continue on solo. I had no GPS, no computer and had yet to look at the cue sheet. Over the next mile I got the paper cue sheets folded and organised in a plastic ziploc bag and stored them in my jersey pocket. I made a few turns correctly and was on my way.
It only took a few more miles before I missed my first turn. The road was unmarked and after going a mile or two out of my way without seeing the correct turn I knew I had missed it. I backtracked until I saw what I guessed must have been the turn and also a group of riders stopped questioning the same turn. I said I had 'scouted' the road ahead and this had to be it and turned in. It was confirmed 500 meters down the road where a street sign was finally placed.
The course was constantly surprising me with hills and roads that I would never think to explore had I the opportunity to come across them on my weekly rides. As I rode along I was in awe of the effort that went into stringing this course together. Equally as amazing were the fully staffed checkpoints offering up water and gatorade, bananas, fig newtons and local goodies of all kinds. Every one seemed so happy to be out there, helped I'm sure by the scenery of fields of sunflowers or covered bridges and and and...
My tally: off course three times (once for quite a long time) but I was always able to backtrack back onto the course and got it right on the second attempt every time. One flat on a scorching descent when my back wheel found a water bar hidden after a small crest in the road. Drank 9 or 10 bottles of water. Somewhere around 8 hours and 20 minutes for the course.
I'll definitely be back next year.

The bike

Meet up spot, The People's Pint in Greenfield
Dinner the night before of...
Thai noodles and carrots
This guy watched over me while I slept...
In this bed
There were also these folks
And this guy to be wary of.
The morning was wet and foggy
but seemed really fitting.
Our start group being watched over by Sandy
More of the group
Proper bagel transport method
And hills
And hills
Sunflowers on this hill
Ran into Pete Smith at the finish
Long ride complete. I am happy
Sweat and dust make mud
Off to dinner, which was awesome
Casualties : Lawney - Broken Collarbone
Shark bag - Broken straps. Nearly lost out on the roads

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Pro Tour TT Seat

So I'm hurrying along, trying to get my new Pegoretti TT bike running before the Fitchburg Longsjo Stage Race. One of my hangups was finding a proper seat. I'll have less than a week once it is complete to get comfortable with the bike before the crucial opening TT. Doesn't give me much time to mess around. I decided to use a Specialized Toupe saddle I've had for a while. It was pretty beat but I always found it to be comfy. Because Fitchburg is a NRC race this year I have been told they will be checking TT bikes for UCI compliance. That means the seat must be 5cm or more behind the center of the BB. The Toupe has a large plastic piece on the nose. I can't recall ever actually sitting on that part of the saddle, so I decided to do like the Pro Tour guys and cut it off. It was pretty easy and I think it will work. (Sorry for foggy photos, my camera was pretty water-logged from earlier in the day.)

The original seat.

It was pretty beat up.

I started by removing the plastic cover.

The underside. Going to pull back the cover and cut off that plastic extension piece.
Post cutting and whittling the nose smooth.
Underside after.
Glued the fabric back down. Thats another Toupe saddle on top.
Got about 2.5cm after the chop.

Glued the new nose.