Saturday, May 26, 2007

Racing - Pre-Hartford

So tomorrow is the Hartford Criterium. I was checking out the pre-reg numbers - there are a lot of people racing tomorrow. Normally this would be a two race weekend - Hartford and then Somerville. I tried three races a while back and I was too tired by Monday so that was that. I've since only signed up for Hartford but I'd gotten sick or fell over or something the last few years. I was hoping for some potential this year but work and prepping the house has taken precedence over training. This year will be a one race weekend.

I rode once this week (after thinking I was going to be riding a lot a couple weeks ago) and it was a late-night desperate ride Thursday night on the trainer. I even cramped. I have no idea what happened - I never cramp nowadays. Today I did a short ride, made a couple efforts, blew up.

Tomorrow I'll pray.

I've gained weight and lost significant fitness since the start of Bethel. I've also gotten the PowerTap with its extra heavy wheel. Fine for training, not fine for racing. I really want to use it to get power readings but I'd rather race my nice light Reynolds wheelset. With rain forecast (but 30% chance, not like 90%) and my fitness not really great, I'll probably forgo the super-light wheels. After all, if I use them now, what will I "move up to" when I feel good?

On the other hand, life isn't bad. We did get a lot done today, just not related to bike stuff. The house is a lot better and almost ready to list. Our agent came over and said he'll be back Monday with the papers.

The agent is a story in itself. He's a nice guy, friendly, been in the business at least 15 years, an interesting character. He's a former chemical engineer. The same profession as my now-retired dad.

Actually, to tell the whole truth, he worked for my dad.

Then one day he screwed up. My dad yelled at him so badly that the agent quit. Normally that's a bad thing. But the agent had been dying to get out of engineering but felt obligated as his parents thought he'd be the perfect engineer. Whatever the mistake, he went home and thought about it. And never came back to work.

He muddled around for a while, finally becoming a real estate agent.

And when I was looking for a house 15 years ago, I was introduced by another agent to this guy Barry. And after looking at a few houses, Barry asked "Are you so-and-so's son?" My mom and I were a bit surprised and when I said yes, he said "I used to work for your dad!" and told us the story.

He was smiling as he told it so it was a good thing.

I was looking for a somewhat specific house. Three bedrooms, dry basement, walk in basement (so I could walk in after a ride), garage, "move-in" condition, and affordable. Barry showed us a few houses and finally said, "Look, there's one more house I'd like to show you but I have to tell you I'm the listing agent for the house. This means I get compensated differently than these other houses."

We looked at the house, talked it over at dinner, and put a binder on it the next day. A couple months later, in December 1992, we closed on it.

About 14 years later, in December 2006, we decided to sell the house. My fiancee accepted a job up north and we decided we'd move up there if the job went well. The job went well so we started prepping the house. Since we were thinking of selling it to some friends, we actually got the house inspected first. Then made virtually all the fixes named in the report.

We're now de-cluttering and doing some final cleanup. And we hope, hope, hope to sign the papers Monday afternoon so it can be listed Tuesday.

All this house-prep has severely affected other aspects of our lives (as this is our first sale, it's new to us - for all you second-housers, you're probably like "no kidding"). For example, my finacee's commute means driving something like 180 miles a day. She's a bit tired when she gets back. Yet she's been putting in tons of effort into fixing up the house. I do some guy things (seed, water, seed, water, mow, mow, mow, mow), some more guy things (move heavy things), and more guy things (wash out paint brushes). She's done everything else.

One significant thing that's been left behind is riding. I feel the need to ride but I often feel other things are more important or, in some cases, I'm simply too exhausted to fulfill that need. Either way I end up not riding.

And that brings us around to Hartford. Yes I have a PowerTap. Yes I have a reasonable bike. I even have a very supportive fiancee. Blah blah blah. But as I found today I easily hit 170 bpm when I make efforts. And when I do I blow up. And that gets me dropped.

I have one thing in my virtual pocket - my Clif Notes on the race. I sent someone my bag of secrets about Hartford. It's based on many years of racing there, in the wet, the dry, the hot, the cold. I re-read it before I sent it to make sure that I wasn't being stupid when I wrote it. What's funny is that I actually remembered stuff I'd forgotten.

And now I can picture most of the course and what I need to do to stay in the race. My fiancee reminded me not to show off for her or anyone else. No heroics. Suck wheel and get to the finish. And then see what happens.

Hard to argue with that.

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