I get to race a nice bike at cool places thanks to these guys:

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

DC Sports

Caps over the B's in 7, Nationals with the best record in baseball, and tomorrow, the Redskins draft this guy:
I am a happy.

Monday, April 23, 2012

A Saturday full of DoubleYou

At the All American Road Race (formerly known as Murad) on Saturday, the Bike Doctor boys and I rolled DEEP all day! No need to hold back the results; I got the W! I think it would be a little bit too cumbersome to provide a recap of the entire race, because there was WAY too much action for me to even remember properly, and it would be easier to watch a race-length video! The short story is that we had a very active race from start to finish. There were lots of breakaway moves rolling in and out of the field all race long, and I was happy to see that my Bike Doctor teammates were doing a good job of making sure we always had a few people in position to respond and properly cover these groups! We didn't have a specific plan, per se, which is how I like to race: just wait for the race to unfold and make the best out of the situations you arrive at! I was able to make a very good situation for myself by getting into a late breakaway with a bunch of really strong guys from the local racing circuit, including one Ryan McKinney, a guy I've looked up to and admired since I got into racing. On the last lap, he and I both had a teammate in the breakaway, and were both trying to break up the group by attacking again and again, forcing the other racers to respond and letting our teammates follow wheels and have an easier ride. Eventually with about a mile left, one of Ryan's attacks dealt a deathblow to the break, and I was the only rider able to follow him. We had a very cool drag race to the finish in which I edged him out by a fraction! I then pulled a Custer (as it will undoubtedly be referred to as from now on): I put my hands in the air and then totally biffed it! If anyone who reads this ever played Counterstrike or Quake, the precise thought going through my head was the "Humiliation" soundbyte. Essentially, this happened in front of all the DNF's and FeedZone Peeps at the Start/Finish line: I'll be hearing about this for EVER, I'm pretty sure :) Protip: I'm pretty sure there is something in the USA Cycling rulebook about keeping your hands on the bars, and I exemplified that. (Also, don't ride on an indexed headset) To cap this off, here are some photos, and an appropriate soundtrack
Shortly after this shot, I laid down on the pavement in an ungraceful manner
We decided that the best way to chase the nasty taste of swallowing one's pride is an ice cold beer won from a preeme last week! (I'm the guy in the Caps shirt) Thanks again to the buys at Bike Doctor, who are getting me a cool new ride with appropriate fit, handling characteristics, and some training wheels which they mandated after my performance on Saturday!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Ready for a Race?

I can't remember if I've given you my allergy dissertation on this blog, so I'll proceed with the short story: I am allergic to everything, and my symptoms make everything in my life terrible. I underwent a year of immunotherapy which has helped the immediate symptoms (runny nose, hayfever, sinus infections), but the underlying effects of seasonal allergens STILL manifest. This week, I've been absolute crap at work. I fall of task quickly, I mistype in emails, and read instructions incorrectly. It only dawned on my this morning that its the allergies. Despite not having significant 'mucal' symptoms, I'm still as tired and lethargic as a three-toed-sloth-on-opium, but I haven't realized it because this spring I've been relatively healthy. Today in particular was a bad day. I tried to summon some focus by stuffing my face full of chocolate bars and green tea, but that did not work, and my appetite didn't ease. I'm sure there's a specific tree that must have popped this morning, because I DID wake up with swollen sinuses, and I feel like I've been overtraining for months (I've pedaled my bike with force for 2 hours this week). On my bicycle ride home from work, I usually keep my power under 200 watts, as 'racing' in and out of work doesn't help me get faster on the bike, but it does make me too tired to race well. Today, I kept it under 100 watts, keeping my chain in a 39x28 gear and never moving it. I subsequently took a 10 minute nap in which I could swear I experienced a full-length dream. I'm excited to race tomorrow in Maryland! After I received word that I had qualified for the Nature Valley Grand Prix, I started taking training seriously. I've put in a few really long rides, so my usual issues with range shouldn't be an issue for tomorrow's 80-miler. Aside from the race, I'm also excited to ride with my teammates. Given my transient living situation, I don't get many chances to ride with them, and they are a really cool bunch! So far I really like all the racers down in the VA Beach area, but nothing beats the feeling of 'home' in the MABRA/D20 fields.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Last Weekends Results!

Work is keeping me too busy to blog, but I got a little breathing space to catch up and share some excellent results from the Bike Doctor camp last weekend! First off, a HUGE congrats to Pete Warner for his huge ride at the Tour of the Battenkill in upstate New York. He survived the course, the riders, a tumble, and a very nervous finale to earn an excellent 6th place in the Category 2 race. The rest of the team has an equally epic story, littered with misfortune and grit. Check out the details here. Those Cat 2 races are always very nervous. Rarely do you have a Cat 2-only race, and the races are usually held at showcase events, so you attract a field FULL of elite-level riders who are prepared to take risks to rise above the rest and prove themselves for glory, attention, and upgrade points. When I first started racing as a Cat 2, I secretly wished that there were more opportunities to race against 2's ONLY. After a few choice events, however, I realized the merit in a combined 1-2 field. On Sunday, the Bike Doctor crew made the annual pilgrimage to the Carl Dolan Memorial Circuit Race in Columbia, Maryland. This race is one of the keystone events of the Mid Atlantic Region. Promoted by the DC Velo club, the race does an excellent job of mixing 'predictable' and 'low key' with 'fun' and 'exciting'. That, combined with the EXCELLENT job DC Velo routinely does in playing race host, makes Carl Dolan an 'A priority' event for many competitive racers in the DC, Virginia, and Maryland cycling scene. That said, our boys stomped it. SPOILER ALERT: Awesome race winning shots included! As for myself, I was in Hampton for the weekend visiting Melissa, and the local race there was the Langley Speedway Criterium, a SUPER fun event held at a local race track about a half a mile from the Langley Air Force Base! I did well, lapping the field and earning a 5th place for my efforts.
Melissa did awesome! She doesn't have much pack riding experience, but kept cool, followed all the accelerations through the race, then did her best Fabian impression and strung out the field on the last lap! Only 2 or 3 women were able to come around her by the end, but she earned a 1st place in the Cat 4's! To celebrate, we went to the Crab Shack and bought ourselves the most expensive entree they offered!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Expanding the Stomping Grounds

The difference between driving to a ride versus riding from your front door is immense. I still haven't had much time to explore ALL of the roads in Hampton, but this past weekend, I finally figured out the best way to get out to the bike-able areas from my front door. Man, oh man, the freedom! That ride ended up being an out-and-back to Colonial Williamsburg. I was excited [/sarcasm] to find that a nearly 80 degree day gave way to the emergence of tourists, which in turn meant that I would need to wait 15 minutes until I could order a small coffee to motivate my ride home over the Colonial Parkway.
The Parkway is a great stretch of road for cycling, particularly if you have a bicycle with very fat tires running low pressure. Okay, it really isn't that bad, but I was expecting to see a lot of other cyclists on a day as fine as Saturday was. It is great training: rough surfaces will mean you ALWAYS have resistance, even if you happen to catch a monster tailwind coming off the York River. Now, if I could just wake up early enough to get out to Williamsburg BEFORE the tourist traffic ramps up, I can explore even further! That whole Waking-Up-Early part might have to wait until the Stanley Cup Playoffs are over though. Let's Go Caps! Game 3 is tonight; ciao for now.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


This is a glorious time of the year. NHL playoffs! Last nights Flyers - Pens match was an exciting game to watch (sorry Pens fans...it was!), but my Caps go up against the Bruins tonight! I'm so excited to watch that I actually did a morning workout on the rollers before my usual easy cruise downtown to work! Call me Humpbacked-Backstrom if you saw me riding in...
I'm really looking forward to the weekend! I'll be visiting Melissa in Hampton and getting in some nice rides out by Yorktown and Williamsburg. It is a really pretty area that I still haven't finished exploring and mentally mapping (I've only called it home since...August?) That happens when you live apart from your spouse. It is definitely tough being newlyweds and not seeing each other all the time, but we both are so busy during the week that the nightly Google Video chat is just about enough to hold us over to the weekends. I'm so used to the transient lifestyle from my teenage years (divorced parents splitting time with me), that I don't see it as an insurmountable obstacle, but rather just an extension of living out of a duffel bag for a few more years. She's worth it :) Hey, I just remembered I wanted to hook a friend up with some web-traffic. He's been a HUGE fundraiser for the Livestrong program over...well...as many years as I've known him (and he also gets me some KILLER seats at the Verizon Center!) Go here to make a contribution to he and his wife's fundraising ride up Mt. Kilimanjaro! Over 19k of climbing via bicycle...I don't like to use the word, but it certainly suits this venture: should be EPIC!

Monday, April 9, 2012

I descend the Gavia

Oh my gosh I want to go back! If you ever have the chance, travel to the Stelvio National Park in Northern Italy, and bring a bike, motorcycle, or roadster. Absolutely beautiful roads! The whole world seems like a postcard...I swear that whenever Melissa and I look back at the photos we took, we are always disappointed because no camera can do this place justice! All the albums do is give us the urge to return! Here is my Gavia descent video (complete with a mixed soundtrack)! I was carrying a backpack full of provisions and the roads were most definitely open to traffic, so excuse any missed apexes...I was too busy enjoying the Alps to be bothered with entry and exit lines, although the motorcyclist and I did have a fun time picking our way down the fastest part of the descent (he ended up letting me by when we got to the hairpins)

Friday, April 6, 2012

I Climb Mauna Kea

The noble steed at rest!
On our honeymoon, Melissa and I revisited Mauna Kea, one of MY favorite places on the big island! I really wanted to climb up to the summit by bike, and after a short twitter conversation with @LanceArmstrong a few months prior, I was 'motivated' to accomplish the ride!

Wish I had more than a phone camera...it really did look planetary up there!

This video is just the final ascent to the observatories; it was a REALLY long ride up there, and I think I took 3 rest stops: one EARLY stop to fix a flat I got about three minutes into the dirt, and two short breathers I took on the deceptive 20% section (which looks gentle!) when I started to feel REALLY weird. I only needed a minute to feel ready to go again, but it just goes to show how amazing the human body is that it can operate like this in such a dramatic environment!

Mauna Kea Summit Clip from Pete Custer on Vimeo.

I would do this ride again, but not any time soon. I would ABSOLUTELY use a mountain bike, and my 34 x 28 worked, but a mountain bike granny gear would be welcomed on the steepest dirt sections to keep from over-gearing and losing traction. I need to find my video of the descent...I was absolutely FRIGHTENED by the speed. I was mashing my brake levers down to the handlebars and ACCELERATING! Many drivers gave me encouragement on the ride, and the Park Rangers were a very friendly bunch!
A chicken is done, I am FINISHED!