Monday, October 20, 2008

With hastily laid plans, Al and I crawled on the 6.43AM LIRR train out to Babylon, our pockets stuffed with Cliff Bars, and at 8 AM pointed our snot-dripping noses toward Montauk Highway and the eastern end of Long Island.

The sun was just coming up over the trees. Commuters lined up on the train platforms. I should have worn another layer on my torso. Al's feet went cold fast. The wind blew right in to our faces.

One hundred miles to go.

A few minor issues required some time off the bikes - three flats (three?), a lost contact lens (never to be found amid the roadside grit, not like we looked), and Al's need to pick up some booties. I started feeling pretty raw around mile 50 - the wind was blowing so hard in our faces. Any efforts above 22 miles per hour were folly, and the shoulder was so narrow that it was hard to get a draft. As if the wind and Al's skinny arse didn't make it hard enough.

I complain a little, but it's all part of the game.

It felt great to get out there and grind the gears for hours on end. After a little over four hours of riding time we cruised in to Montauk, legs wobbly, but with big smiles on our faces - the last few miles of rollers rewarded us with spectacular views of big, long, curling white waves crashing down one after another on to a cold, empty beach.

"Village Pizza!" Al roared, and we pulled off for a snack. We ate, idled for a little bit, picked up a few other snacks, and went to find the train station.

Let it be known, if you want to get on the train to Montauk, bring cash. There's no ticket machine, and you might find yourself drag racing around the immediate and abandoned area trying to find an ATM, with a strict time deadline - the next train isn't for another eight hours.

We made it.


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Friday, October 17, 2008

So, pleasing finishes in my last three races - 3rd in an alleycat/road race, 2nd in a team time trial after one of our threeperson team dropped out with a mechanical, and 2nd in another late night Prospect Park race.

I guess a few weeks of hard riding shapes me up pretty fast. Wish I was riding like this in August.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

We took a trip out to the Trexlertown Velodrome on Saturday for the Fall Swap Meet. The weather was gorgeous - just crisp enough to put on a sweatshirt as we rolled that clunky Cutlass Sierra out of my parents driveway, pre-dawn. Once at the velodrome, the sun was strong.

We waited in the pack by the entrance for a few minutes before paying our entry fee. When the gates were open I put my head down and had to scold myself to focus - it's too easy to get distracted by eyecatching stuff that I don't need, and, what with recent unemployment, I wasn't about to open my wallet capriciously.

I had two main objectives - a Campy-compatible wheelset for my road bike, and a carbon fork with lots of steerer tube for Evan's Viner. I wandered through turns four and three for several minutes, stopping every now and then to pull out my tape measure to measure a steerertube. Then, I wandered inward where I came across a set of Campagnolo Eurus wheels, thoroughly used but not abused, for a very, very fair price. I ran to the ATM for a few more bucks and walked away with them strapped to my bag.

After another few minutes of looking I had a fork for Evan, too.

T-Town is fun for bike geeks. I love seeing lots of bike crap in one place. I like guessing about people based on what's on their table. I picked up a seatcluster lug from one guy, and, at another's table, almost bought half of a handmade frame. He had two sitting there, about 54cm frames with no rear triangle. "I'm never going to finish them," he said. "Fifty bucks, and you can either finish it or just hang it on your wall." He read my mind, but I passed it up.

There were a lot of things that I passed up - a Corima 4-spoke track wheel for $100, another set of Look pedals, and, to a greater extend, little odds and ends that would have cost a few bucks here and a few bucks there and would have resulted in a heavier bag and a lighter wallet.

In the end, I'm glad with what I got - a few cheap parts and an expensive wheelset to freshen up my road bike, and a few bits to help out a few friends.

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Monday, October 06, 2008

It's worth remembering that if I haven't sprinted in earnest in five or six weeks, if I haven't worked on my sprinting since July, and if I'm on only my fourth or fifth long ride since track season ended, no matter how decent I feel at the end of a Prospect Park race, I probably don't have the juice to seriously be in the sprint.

It's also worth remembering - never forget your glasses. Spending thirty seven miles wiping wheelwater and roadgrime out of my eyes is not fun.

Also, I rode pretty well, I think.

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