Friday, September 28, 2012

Equipment - Aerodynamics and Frame Fit

The other day I saw this article on aerodynamics, a kind of "ramble in font" by Chris Boardman. He explains, in very layman terms, his very layman way of reaching his optimal position on his bikes.

I knew, from his GAN days, that he rode about a 53 cm frame, meaning a frame with a 53 cm seat tube length. Nowadays that doesn't mean much what with compact versus regular frame set ups, seat tubes measured in all sorts of different ways, and of course the fact that the seat tube has nothing to do with length/reach, very little to do with saddle to bar drop, or even very little to do with the saddle height. The basic 53 cm frame size immediately says a few things though - you can expect a top tube length of about 54 cm and a head tube length of maybe 14 cm.

What's surprising on Boardman's regular looking 53 cm track bike (with drop bars) are the other dimensions.

63 cm top tube?!
17 cm stem?!

To look at him on the bike he doesn't look wrong at all - in fact he broke the non-aero hour record astride the machine.

He came to the position using a couple basic principles plus an open mind. He wanted to keep frontal area to a minimum (although this is technically flawed it's better than nothing) and he had to be able to put down reasonable power (i.e. threshold, since, by definition, he'd be making a 60 minute effort).

(Which makes me realize that his threshold lets him ride at over 31 mph. His threshold! I'm so far into the red at 31 mph it's crazy. Jeepers creepers and holy canolies. Wow. Okay, fine, he was a great short distance time trialer, he broke the hour record, but he was, with all due respect, basically nowhere in the big races. Wowsers. Anyway, back to the post...)

He pointed out that he avoided measuring things until after he set up a position that worked for him. He used a powermeter and pedaled at 50% of his threshold, give or take. By not measuring he let himself let go of any preconceived notions of what would or wouldn't work.

(Incidentally if I rode at 50% of my threshold I'd be doing about 100w, which, honestly, I could do in almost any position. I guess he just kept his pedals turning so anything they tried would be somewhat reasonable.)

One thing you'll notice is that if you look at Boardman on the hour record bike versus a road bike (even a TT bike) you'll see that the head tube on the road bike is much shorter. This is because the bottom bracket on a track bike is higher, by about 1.3 cm. Since frame "size", i.e. seat tube length, is measured from the bottom bracket, if you move the bottom bracket up 2 cm then the frame suddenly looks about 2 cm higher.

As an example look at my 50 cm track bike, which, I have to point out, can't do 31 mph for even 3 km:

Note head tube length.
I wonder if a 63 cm top tube would help.

This head tube looks shorter.
Saddle height is the same. 56.5 top tube.

The Riggio has a 16 cm total head tube height, with headset. The Tsunami is 11.5 cm with the headset too. With spare bars on the track bike, the same make/model as the bars on the Tsunami (Mavic 315 bars, crit bend, circa 1997), I need a slight rise to fit the Riggio properly.

I'm veering hard off my original thoughts though, that of Boardman's approach to fit. The most important thing was that he threw out any preconceived notions on what should or shouldn't work. He admits in the article that if he took measurements while changing stuff around he probably would have ended up with a more conservative set up.

That BikeRadar article made me go "hm." Boardman's had a good approach to his fit, unconcerned about staying within his comfort zone, open minded as far as possibilities.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

How To - What To Carry On A Training Ride

Throughout my cycling life I've had this recurring cycle (heh) of "preparedness" versus "minimalist" loadouts. As I go through one phase I start to yearn for the other.

"Minimalist" refers to racing, usually in a criterium. I set out on tubulars, no spares, no lights, no nothing. Just the bike, a bottle or two, and me. If anything happens I either head to the pits or the car; there's no second chance, no repairing the bike. Minimalist is an all or nothing mindset.

For road races and mountain bike races there's an element of self-support. If you flat 30 miles from the car (or at the other side of the course in a huge park), replacing the tube allows you to at least ride back to home base. In mountain bike races I flatted in I think every race I did and I seemed to finish 12th a lot (after flatting). I did do a minimalist race once and, of course, flatted after killing it in the opening single lane gravel section, before the trails even started.

In the same vein, one year, a long time ago, a Junior that typically won the state time trial by a few minutes flatted. He lost his chance to go to Nationals because of the flat (back then the top 6 qualified for Nationals, otherwise you weren't allowed to enter). I figured that even if he fixed the flat and kept riding he'd have won.

The next year he did the time trial with a pump and a spare tire.

"Preparedness" is the extreme opposite of the Minimalist mindset. After a season of racing, as the weather starts to cool, I get into the Preparedness mode. I start bringing more and more stuff on training rides, maybe a vest for the chilly end-of-sunlight, a tail light, maybe shoe over covers. I bring more food than normal, in case my body burns more energy than expected to stay warm.

Of course I use clinchers, and I prefer wheels with exposed spoke nipples so I can, if necessary, do some emergency spoke tweaking to get home.

The Preparedness season peaks on my training camp dates. I've set out with 3 extra tubes, vest, arm warmers, long sleeve jersey, warm gloves, shoe covers, all jammed in my pockets, along with my Regular loadout. I'll set off for a Palomar attack loaded down like a pack horse - if anything happened in those long stretches of no-phone-coverage I had to be prepared.

I mentioned something just above - the "Regular" loadout. This is the Minimalist version of Preparedness. A contradiction, sort of, but when I go for training rides during the season I acknowledge that I may run into some normal problems - a flat, bent chain, stuff like that.

The Regular loadout is so often used that I keep a ready-to-go kit which slips easily into a jersey pocket. With warm temperatures I rarely worry about bringing extra clothing, I slip a gel or two into another pocket, and my phone (for Strava) goes into the center pocket.

I've used my Regular loadout to help others less prepared, hence this post.

What should you carry on a training ride?

I fit everything in a convenient, abundant, and free container - inner tube boxes.

There's a key item missing here - my frame pump. I now put it under the top tube but I've also mounted it a bit more creatively in the past.

The "ess-ploded" view.
There's an extra box, in the middle above.

Clockwise from the top left (skipping the boxes and such on the perimeter):

1. Multi Tool
2. Multi Tool with chain tool on it
3. Dropout
4. Tire levers including one with a metal core, screwdriver, and 5mm allen key
5. Food (granola bar)
6. Black spoke key (fits my wheels)
7. $20 bill
8. Extra master link

The perimeter is, clockwise from left, is:

1. Phone (Strava!)
2. Box with second tube in it
3. Empty box (used to boot a cut tire if necessary)
4. Wallet
5. Empty box

I'll list, in short order, the minimum, for a regular road ride using clincher tires. All the #1 items go in one box; #2, #3, and #4 go into 

1. Extra inner tube. Throw out the valve cap and the thing that screws onto the valve, or realize that you'll need to bring them back. I keep them on - I know if they're on then the tube is new since I never leave them on (they're not necessary).

1A. If you need a valve extension for your fancy aero wheels put one on this tube and leave it there so you never forget it. If you have two different height rims then get one for the taller one.

1B. Tire levers. At least two. I use plastic ones, but one is a metal reinforced one so I use that first.

1C. Some cardboard to boot the tire in case I cut the casing badly. Money works but cardboard is better - it's thicker, resists deformation, and doesn't bulge out like money does. I like the cardboard that most innertubes come in so it's easy to find some - just use the inner tube box.

2. Multi tool. You should have an 8mm Allen head on here, in case your pedal or cranks loosen. You should have every other tool you need. If you have Campy brake pads that use the Torx head you may be able to get a Torx fitting that will slip over a particular size Allen wrench or a quarter inch fitting. If you're desperate see if the straight blade screwdriver blade fits in the Torx head.

3. Mini chain tool. Regardless of whether you use a master link or not you should carry a chain tool. If you twist or bend your chain the master link won't help. You need to remove any damaged bits of chain, and you can't do that without a chain tool. Some multi tools have chain tools on them. Since this is an emergency thing almost any chain tool will work, but you should practice on scrap pieces of chain (a shop will have 5-6 link lengths of chain that they'll probably give you).

4. Master link. If you use a master link (I do now) carry an extra. You can use the chain tool but the master link is easier if for some reason you break or drop a piece of the master link.

5. Drop out. Get an extra dropout for your frame (or a few of them - I think I have 5 or something for the three frames that use them). It's meant to fail readily and unfortunately it can fail before it's really supposed to fail, like when you're just shifting normally.

6. Black spoke wrench (the one that fits my spoke nipples).

I slip all of this stuff into two tube boxes and slip those in a jersey pocket. Easy cheesy.

Now to go for a ride.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Promoting - 2012 Aetna Silk City Cross (Sept 22 2012)

(Disclaimer: I am not the promoter, I just did the registration bit, but since I didn't race I couldn't put "Racing" like I did for White Plains or the CCNS Kermis; therefore I put "Promoting" since it has to do more with promoting.)

Note: after I wrote the post I went looking for the post from last year so I could link to the post. I made the same disclaimer at the beginning of that post. I didn't remember writing that but I guess my thought process is the same.

This race would be the third race in three weeks where I helped in running the race. The first was the CCNS Kermis, where I helped with the finish camera. The second was White Plains where I handled both registration as well as the finish camera. The third would be the Aetna Silk City Cross race where I had been tasked with handling registration.

I had a number of goals for myself for this race, four of them really.

First off, since I wasn't racing, I could focus solely on registration. Racing, I have to admit, came second in the other two events - I brought my bike, my gear, even spare wheels, but I went with the knowledge that at any moment my racing would have to be scrapped. That makes for a non-committal approach to racing which had led me to sitting up before the finish.

(As a side note I do the same at Bethel - although I contest the Cat 3-4 race I've almost never contested the P-1-2-3 race because I'm already thinking about all the post-race tasks in front of me.)

With the cross race it would be a bit different. Not only have I never done a cross race, I don't even own a cross bike. Therefore I was absolutely committed to staying at the registration desk the whole day.

So that was Goal One.

Another goal was to continue what I will call The Spreadsheet Evolution. Ever since we started using laptops at Bethel we've been using this ever evolving spreadsheet. It comes from weeks of saying "Oh, hey, we should have the spreadsheet do this next time" every year.

I feel lucky that I have the Bethel Spring Series. It gives me many weeks of race promotion practice. When people ask why it runs (relatively) smoothly I respond that I get a lot of practice. Most one-race clubs hold one race a year. They fumble through the day, relearn all the things they learned the year before, and by the time they get into their groove the day is over.

They're done.

Then next year it's the same story all over again.

At Bethel we also have our first week fumbles. But then we have five weeks to follow up, to improve, to fix, to modify. Then, at the end of the year, after five weeks of changes, everything goes into hibernation.

The following year, although we'll inevitably fumble something, it usually goes off pretty smoothly.

Multiply that by 20 years, maybe 120 races (for about 10 years we had 7 races a year, then 6, but we often had a race a year called due to snow/ice), and there's a lot of practice, a lot of refinement.

This year, with six Bethels, CCNS, and finally White Plains, I (and Expo's Aetna Silk City Cross race) would benefit from a lot of prior experience.

Every race for the last couple years I swear that I'm going to upload results to USAC before we pack up at the end of the day. Almost every race I can't do it for one reason or another. White Plains was close - I couldn't upload simply because I didn't have an internet connection but the file, generated by The Spreadsheet, was ready to go.

For Silk City I had the MiFi modem (thanks to the Missus, who located it shortly after White Plains), I had a spreadsheet that I knew would generate the upload file, and I finally felt like I could fulfill my "upload before we go home" goal.

A third goal, one that I've been semi-working on for several years, is to reduce the "race promotion package" to as small as possible. I used to fully load (overload?) a car to get to the races. I've been editing the bins with the Missus's help and I've found a lot of redundant or useless bins. I've managed to reduce the bin count to about four, maybe five, and require only a station wagon to get everything for registration to the races.

My list for registration includes two generators, gasoline, two tables, two chairs, printer, printing paper, power cords, computer stuff, tape, first aid bin, pens, releases, numbers, drawers for numbers/releases for day-of, the MiFi, a powered USB hub, and I'm sure some other stuff.

(Course maintenance is different - a dozen shovels and brooms, two wheeled leaf blowers, one hand held leaf blower, two Echo power brooms, about a dozen grate covers, another dozen cones, between 5 and 15 gallons of gasoline... that takes up most of a 15 passenger van. I still have a long way to go on this one.)

Finally, my fourth goal would be to reduce set up time to a minimum. Although I can get registration up and rolling in about 10 minutes I feel that's about 8 or 9 minutes too long. I feel like I should arrive at registration and be taking names and licenses in a minute or two. Although Silk City wouldn't be the first run of such a system I wanted to use the experience of setting up registration there to hone my needs for exactly that.

All this meant that my main work would start on Friday. Registration closed Thursday, giving me Thursday evening and Friday to work on the spreadsheet, think of procedures, pack things up, all that. Things looked good for Thursday except for one thing.

Junior got sick.

Now, okay, I have to say that Junior is our first, so we're a bit more responsive than someone with, say, a dozen kids. On top of that this was Junior's first cold so he seemed especially pitiful and helpless to us, with labored breathing through mucous filled breathing passages and such.

Thursday night he got up every 60-90 minutes, staying up for about 10-30 minutes before drifting off to a fitful sleep. Since I've been a stay-at-home dad by default, and by choice, I take the overnight shift. This meant I was up constantly with Junior, not really sleeping much.

Friday morning the Missus found me asleep on the couch, Junior in my lap, both of us bundled up against the overnight chill in the house.

Friday I couldn't work on anything pretty much the whole day. Junior was fussing constantly, very unlike him, and although he must have been exhausted he couldn't really take a prolonged nap. His mucous kept him from breathing freely and this kept him from napping. I managed to get one thing done - having Staples print out the releases and then go and pick them up.

Tip: when I printed out the releases before I'd download the whole release and print them out on our printer at home. We went through a $70 toner in a week and change. I considered printing out blank releases then downloading just the data (i.e. what we fill in when we register for a race) but I found a better solution - have Staples print out the releases. They'll print out the pdf on three hole paper in a day and charge maybe $20 for a race's worth of pre-reg. Add $25 for a couple hundred blank releases and you're done for all the release forms for race day.

The Missus came to the rescue Friday evening. As soon as she got back from work she took Junior out of my arms, cooked dinner, and basically did everything we needed to get done around the house. This freed me up to work on the spreadsheet for a race now just an overnight away.

At midnight I finally called it a night. I had the spreadsheet optimized, added the four thousand categories (as compared to White Plains) and the brain-addling mods that entailed in the look ups and such, thought of some more improvements I'd make for the next version (and made notes of the same), and populated the data from BikeReg.

As almost an afterthought  I stuck most everything in the car, set the alarm for a 6 AM wake up, and fell asleep.

Saturday came all too quickly but I felt like I had a handle on things. I got out of the house pretty much on time, stopped for breakfast on the way, and arrived at the venue at about 7 AM. I wanted to be set up by 8 AM, when we wanted registration to open, but I had to do assign numbers, print out start lists, and such.

Oh and I had to set up my "more than a minute or two" registration set up.

Where my car sat for the whole day - everything fit in it, easily. Front passenger seat was empty.
Another food truck behind the car.

We had an initial inundation of the table, with riders asking if I was ready as early as 7:20 AM. By 8 there was a big line and only with the help of four Expo folks we got the line into a somewhat manageable size. (Note to self: Cross racers want pre-reg divided by category, not by name; this may be the case with regular crit racers too).

After that first rush things calmed down, SOC arrived to help, and the day went well. I hooked up the MiFi and had a good internet signal throughout the day. I thought about uploading each race's results to USAC as we got them but then decided that I'd wait and do them all at once at the end of the day.

We dealt with the miscellaneous questions that always come up, usually by deferring to Boss Jon, the man in charge.

The Missus brought a much-better looking Junior to the race. We got to hang out a bit as the day-of registration rate dropped to a trickle.

At some point one of the food vendors (there were a couple) asked me for some gasoline. I thought it was an unprepared racer or something. I didn't realize who it was until he pointed to the truck (whose menu I'd been eying for a while) in the middle of our conversation.

"Wait, you're the waffle guy?"
"Oh, well, then take what you need."

He tried to offer some money (at $4/gallon gas ain't free) but I declined. It's part of the whole gig, plus I'd have to use up that gas somehow in the next few months.

Juniors U15 race. Waffle truck behind them, registration tent to the right.

As last year the cleanup went quickly. I handled putting away the registration stuff with SOC. I admitted I was jonesing for a hot dog.

"You should ask the guy for one. You gave him gas, right?"
"Yeah, but..."

The waffle guy happened to be walking by. SOC kind of flagged him down.

"Hey, can you give him a hot dog?"

He walked over to me. I wasn't sure about this.

"You don't mind?"
"No, not at all."
"Okay, then, a Nathan's dog then."
"What do you want? Ketchup? Mustard? Sauerkraut?"
"How about sauerkraut? And mustard."
"Spicy or yellow."
"You got it."

SOC broke in here, asking me a critical question.

"You want your buns toasted?"

A minute or three later I was munching on a delicious Nathan's dog. Yum yum.

We all chatted for a bit. Something I said last year came up in conversation. Someone was thinking out loud that, wow, we had a lot of helpers at the race this year. Another guy said that, yeah, that's what it seems like. And he basically quoted what I said last year - Expo, it seems, is made up of those people that singly get things done in other clubs. In other words most clubs have one or two people that get things done. Expo is made up of those people - everyone gets things done.

With that we hung out and chatted. I caught up with an Expo teammate that, get this, was an RA in my dorm back in my UCONN days. That was a blast. As my back started to twinge (I've learned it does this when I stand or walk on uneven surfaces) the Missus called. She'd left earlier with Junior and was wondering when I'd be back for dinner.

I remembered that the GPS told me it'd take 33 minutes to get to the venue from the house.

"I'm leaving now, I'll be back in half an hour."

Half an hour later I was at home.

Junior and me at registration. His cap says "born to ride".
No pressure.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Story - "Step Away From The Bike"

After the dog adventures I got to meet up with an old teammate and colleague/employee of mine. We worked together until I owned the shop then he technically worked for me; one might argue that I was working for him (and the other employees) since when I was stressed they could think better than I could think. I was stressed a lot.

That first year of the shop we both won our Series in the Bethel Spring Series with virtually no training. We worked the full 6 days at the shop, about 9 hours a day, then worked another 5-8 hours each night building up the new store space at the other end of the building.

On one Sunday we worked until 3 AM then somehow got up and got to the race venue by 6 AM. We swept the course, he and I worked registration and such, he won his race, I won mine.

After the race someone walked up to us as we celebrated my win - Tom had generously worked for the team (i.e. me) in my race so we had just won for the second time that day.

"So what's the secret?"
"You know, what's the secret? How did you guys train so you could win both your races?"

We looked at each other and laughed.

"Work until 3 AM building the shop, get a couple hours of sleep, then drive to the race so we can sweep the course."

The racer looked at us with a grin on his face, waiting for the punchline, waiting for the "just kidding!"

We looked at him. He looked at us.

"Serious. We've been doing that for a couple weeks now."

The racer left without much comment.

Of course the late nights did affect us. Tom had a tough day when his body cried for rest. One Bethel, a little before 8 AM, when we were supposed to have everything all set up and the first race was about to start, we had nothing there.

We called Tom on what I think was a public phone. Or someone had a fancy cell phone. Whatever, the conversation went something like this.

"Yeah. Hey, what's up?"
"Um the race is today."
"Oh, right. What time is it?"
"8?.... Oh f*#@"

We got back to the official.

"Um, our guy is gonna be about an hour late."
"What's he have?"
"A lotta stuff."

The official walked over to the center of Turn One, where a lot of riders stood in the morning mist, waiting to register for the race.

Unusually heavy mist for Bethel, I should add.

"Okay racers, due to the fog we're delaying the start 2 hours."

Tom arrived a short time later, having driven at some insane speed through some of the most densely deer populated areas safely and soundly. We started unpacking his car, with the tables and all sorts of big bulky things, and started with registration.

Although I love telling that story it doesn't encompass what Tom is all about.

One thing is that he encouraged me to train. For me training always happened at night, or, at best, after work. He convinced me to commute to work. I wasn't a morning person so this would have been a hard sell for Tom. He closed the deal by telling me he'd ride to my place from his house, ten miles away, then we'd ride the 18 or 20 miles to work.

We inevitably fell behind schedule so we'd team time trial our way to work. He forced me to work hard on the hills since he was stronger than me. In fact I recall a few rides where I pulled maybe a mile or two of the way; the rest of the ride Tom dragged me kicking and screaming, up, down, and on the flats.

I remember Tom as a meticulous mechanic. His bike was always pristine and he'd frown at even a slightly dirty drivetrain. He worked well too, although he preferred not to have customers peering over his shoulder while he worked on their bike. All bike mechanics have experienced this, and the third last time I paid someone to work on my bike (and the first, I think, since my bike shop days), I hovered over the guy like a parent hovering over a newborn.

(The second last and last time I paid someone to work on my bike I couldn't see the work being done, one because it was in a secret room in the bike shop and the second because I left the frame at Expo Wheelmen sponsor Manchester Cycle for some facing and reaming.)

Tom communicates well, with clipped syllables, good enunciation, and a strong, firm voice. This worked well when he explained what was wrong with a bike, but his direct language could be taken, well, a bit directly.

One day, when a particularly intrusive customer insisted on peering over Tom's shoulder, he turned and looked at them.

"Step away from the bike," he said, pointing his finger away from the bike.

The customer moved about two inches.

Tom enunciated better and raised his voice just a bit.

"Sir, I said step away from the bike."

At this point we had an inkling of what he was saying and our jaws dropped in astonishment. This wasn't customer service, this was customer rudeness! What should we do?

The customer stepped back several feet and politely waited.

We both returned to our business. Later, after the customer left, we laughed at Tom's "Step away from the bike" phrase. After that, if an intrusive customer came into the mechanics' area, we'd tell them to "Step Away From The Bike".

It worked. It helped us work better and it defined to the customer where they could go and, more precisely, where they shouldn't go.

After the shop Tom found his way north, first to school, then a job, and finally settling down. Unbeknownst to me he settled down about 40 minutes away from the Missus's mom and stepdad. When he read where we had stayed he emailed me and told me we should get together next time the Missus and I headed up. I learned somewhere in there that he'd just had a baby boy.

Fathers, both of us. Wow.

So, on this trip, on Monday, we got together.

Since my left ankle still felt uncomfortable from the dog bite/s from Saturday the Missus drove. We used my DroidX's phone to navigate and I remembered Tom's email where he notes, at the end, that "there's a Ford Ranger in the driveway."

We got to the road okay, started counting down the house numbers, but when the numbers dropped 30 at once it threw us for a loop. There's the house, that's the right number.

We both looked at the vehicles in the driveway. Chevys and GMCs, all of them. Not a Ford in sight.

The Missus looked at me. I looked at her.

"It's the right number, right?"
"Yeah. Turn in, I think it's right."

We pulled forward towards the wall of non-Ford products. I looked at the one to the right, a green non-Ford, different from the other vehicles in an indescribably subtle functional way. I realized what it was.

I grinned and turned to the Missus.

"That's a Forest Ranger truck! I just read 'Ford Ranger' but he meant 'Forest Ranger'!"

I'd mentally assumed and you know what that does.

We got Junior out of the car seat as Tom walked out of the house. He didn't seem any different than before. Me, I'm significantly heavier and I have much less hair. Tom politely didn't mention any of it.

I went into the house holding Junior while he showed up with his (Tom) Junior, a boy about 5 months older than our Junior. We shared war stories.

They have a beautiful black cat that we saw and another that we didn't. We shared more stories.

His wife runs a family business identical in theme to the place I worked until mid-May of this year. We shared even more stories.

Because Tom Junior was a bit older we got a preview of what it'd be like when our Junior reaches his age. The biggest thing was mobility - as soon as they set him down he was crawling like mad, like setting down a wind up car with the wheels spinning. The Missus and I exchanged glances. We need to crawl-proof our house. Soon.

Tom and I had planned on doing a ride - I'd even packed my bike into the car, with a kit appropriate for the cooler conditions. Catching up got the better of us and the only bike related thing we did was going out to his bike in the mud room and check it out. Although he had a new frame the other parts looked suspiciously familiar.

"Are those the parts off your Pinarello?"
"Well, yeah, although I upgraded blah blah blah."
"FiR rims..."
"Yeah, they're amazing. Still true after all these years."

15 years and going strong. Tom had built those wheels for himself.

At some point the idea of going for a ride popped up. Tom explained what he expected from the ride. Ironically it mirrored what I expected. Tom explained to his wife...

"Well he's a 2 now so I told him to take it easy on me."
"Tom, I downgraded back to Cat 3. I gained 25 pounds. I'm more worried that you're gonna drop me."

We never made it out for a ride.

After a couple hours we had to get going, to get our Junior to bed. We turned out of the driveway, leaving the Tom, his family, and the Forest Ranger behind.

Next time I'll bring my bike again. Hopefully I'll be in a bit better shape. Hopefully the weather cooperates again.

And hopefully we'll get out for a dog-free ride through the countryside.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Training - Who Let The Dogs Out

In the White Plains Crit post I allude to some training and such over the prior weekend. That would be the weekend of September 8th and 9th. In fact we were up in Maine for a day before and two days after, visiting friends and relatives. I'd brought my bike - with the great weather forecast I hoped to do a mini-training camp, maybe 3 hours a day for a couple days. The Missus's mom had calculated a low-mosquito-density time for us to visit, and, in fact, I got bitten just a few times in a few minutes towards the end of the trip. Perfect timing.

We were pretty far up in Maine. How far up? Well, the speed limit on I-95 is 75 mph there. That's fast enough that even the locals barely break the limit. It's not a matter of the road conditions or whatever - it's just that our cars and trucks really aren't made to cruise comfortably at 80 mph. You have to push your foot a bunch more towards the floor; our Jetta TDi struggled to stay at 36 mpg at that speed. As comparison, with a bike on the rack at 70-75 mph, we'd get 38-40 mpg, and in traffic at 65 mph (think Jersey Turnpike) we got 53-55 mpg with a fully loaded car, AC running the whole time, and no special hypermiling techniques.

I occupied my mind with trying to figure out if we'd see a moose around. The state of Maine had done a count and proclaimed that about 70,000 moose lived in Maine north of Portland. Guessing from driving distances I figured that Maine was roughly 90,000 square miles, like 300 miles by 300 miles. This meant there ought to be a moose every square mile, and that meant we ought to see a moose any second. I kept an eye out for small trees in the road (that's what moose legs look like at night) and large brown things resembling oil tanks floating about 6 or 7 feet off the ground.

(I looked it up later - Maine is only 35,000 square miles so even if you put wild moose in the center of Portland, there ought to be two moose per square mile.)

At one point while driving around the area I zoomed out on the DroidX nav system.

I saw a dark line, unusual. Then I saw the maple leaf Route 2 to the right.

By the way see the green line on the highway? It means that traffic is moving smoothly; it's part of the nav system on the (Verizon Wireless) DroidX. It's a great feature - we use it on road trips to navigate around heavy traffic in areas we don't know. It's amazing enough that I wonder how they get such accurate data.

My theory is that they use mobile phone locations to see how fast the phone is moving, then they can match the speed of the phone to the posted limits on the roadways. If traffic is moving well then the lines are green. If they're slow there's a yellow overlay. If it's gridlocked there's a red overlay. If there are no cars then there's no overlay.

I was surprised at how much green I saw. Then I realized - we  were the traffic report!

According to the nav the road we just drove on is in good shape traffic-wise.
It should be - there's no one behind us.

As a joke I took a picture of the cars in front of us, waiting for the longest stretch of visible pavement.

Heavy traffic in Maine. We're going about 77-78 mph.

Apparently there are Amish in the area. There are supposed to be 70,000 moose too, but we hadn't seen a single one. Therefore I took a picture of the buggy sign as proof that there were Amish in the area.

Alleged Amish in the area.

A few minutes later we finally had our first Maine siting - an Amish person. Or one that appears a lot like one.

And there's an alleged Amish person, waving even!
The brown thing in front of the buggy is a horse. It is not a moose.

Of course Maine has a lot of open spaces, broad views, and even mountains. Just no moose that we could tell.

A mountain. I forget the name of it.
Apparently there are at least two moose in this picture.

I decided that I'd go and do a ride. Last time I did a ride here it was Thanksgiving, I mapped out a route on my phone that seemed pretty reasonable, maybe 30 miles. It was only after I set out that I realized it was much, much longer than that - closer to 68 miles. As the sun set I called the Missus to rescue me. She drove to my location like Juha Kankkunen, even bruising the rims with the tires as she bounced along the rough backwoods roads.

"Wow, did you know that the speed limit on that road was 55 mph?!"

In much nicer conditions I set out on a less ambitious route. This time I checked the mileage first - 46 miles. At my normal training pace it ought to take me 3 or 3.5 hours; at most I'd average 15 mph. I took along some food and my standard training ride "kit" (which I'll post about shortly). I wore my 2010 Bethel Spring Series leader kit - with local roads set at 55 mph, and drivers routinely blowing away that speed limit, I wanted to be obvious to even the most oblivious driver.

A friend Shovel had just raced at Nationals. I read his account of the race, thought of all the training and discipline required for someone to be as good as possible on a given day. The idea pushed me and I tried to push hard over the various rollers (aka short hills) along the route. I worked moderately hard on the flats too, staying in the drops, trying to be aero.

The fourth roller seemed a bit tougher than the first three. I pushed for a bit then relented, slipping into the small ring. I realized the pitch increased toward the top - I had to shift lower and lower in the back until I was in my 39x25, struggling to keep the pedals turning.

At this point two dogs, about 60 or so pounds apiece, came bolting out of a yard. In Connecticut this happens infrequently. Strict leash laws and a litigious populace means most owners carefully corral their dogs. At worst the dog will peel off and run parallel to you; at best they stop at the edge of their yard as their electronic collars beep warnings at them or shock them when they push the limits.

Of course this was the land of 55 mph two lane roads, cars about once a mile, and lots and lots of open land. Owners treat their dogs a bit differently here.

So these dogs popped up. The first one, an all black dog, came tearing at me and immediately nipped me. My ankle went numb.

I couldn't believe it. Did I just get bit?

He peeled off as his buddy came flying over, and, scrambling to line himself up to me, the second dog chomped me too.

Then, as the owners screamed at them to come back, they both turned tail and sprinted back to home base.

"Rover One breaking off, scored one hit. Rover Two you're clear for attack!"

I stopped, stunned. I wasn't sure if they bit me yet because I didn't feel anything, no pain, no nothing. In fact I didn't even feel the normal things I feel, my sock, the shoe cover, the top edge of my shoe. The whole left ankle area had gone numb.

When I looked down I could see blood seeping through the shoe cover, which meant it had already seeped past the sock (the sock ends just above the shoe cover). As I watched the blood stain started to grow downward.

I stopped, unclipped, and realized as I weighted the foot that, yes, it hurt. I called the Missus, reported what happened and where. She was probably peeling out of the driveway before I could hit "End Call".

I also, in a somewhat annoyed and accusatory tone, asked if the owners had their dogs up to date on rabies and the like. Fortunately for me they did, and the wife produced the documents in about 3 or 4 minutes.

Now, part of the whole "we live in the boonies" thing about this part of Maine is that most towns are unincorporated. It's like Las Vegas, just smaller. The immediate effect of this is that there is no police force in town - the state police handle all law enforcement things, and today there was one officer on duty for a huge swath of territory.

After a call with a number of "let me transfer you to" type transfers, the wife gave me the phone so I could officially decline an ambulance. I did, but the dispatcher told me to sit tight and wait for that sole trooper to show up.

The Missus showed up. After a few preliminary questions she tucked away the dogs' papers, expertly put the bike up on the rack (I was barely in earshot of the car and she never asked for help regardless). She came back and before I could ask she told me she'd taking the SRM head off, both bottles, the frame pump, and yes, she remembered to lock the skewer bit as well as close the wheel strap in back. Then she collected my helmet and such and tucked those in the car too.

A few hours later, with no trooper in sight, the wife called the dispatcher. Apparently the trooper figured it was an animal control thing ("game warden") so he never came. The Missus and I said our goodbyes and headed to the hospital, a good 30 or something miles away.

Luckily I hadn't gotten hostile or anything - it ends up the couple know some of the family. In fact they, like all the people in that area, have kept careful track of the "newcomers" that moved into the house 12 miles away, all the improvements and such that they'd done. They rattled off stuff that even I didn't know had been done to the house.

We also learned a bit about Rover One and Rover Two. They're used to herding cows - the couple raise cows. Apparently I looked like a sickly yellow two legged cow that needed some herding.

The hospital treated us really well - they could afford to because, we were the only ones left there. They cleaned out the wound, tut-tutted over the bite, and prescribed me a round of antibiotics. This scenerio mirrored the one where the glue trap cat bit me. They even gave me the first pill because, at 7 PM, all the pharmacies in town would be closed.

When we left the Missus checked all the pharmacies. Yep. Closed. Another drawback of 75 mph speed limits. At home, even though we live in a pretty bucolic place, there's still a 24 hour pharmacy 20 minutes away (at 35 mph, not 60). We started heading back, something like 40 miles to the house.

A long time later we got home. Junior had fallen asleep already, under Grandma's care. I think it was the first time both of us had been away when he went to sleep for the night.

Although I felt like I could barely walk the next day I improved rapidly by the afternoon. I ventured out on the bike, heading directly opposite where the dogs were. Although I meant to ride just an hour max, I turned around after 45 minutes. I could have ridden longer but I didn't want to worry the Missus (I'd told her an hour max) and I couldn't call her to let her know because, right, you got it, I had no signal.

So that's my September training camp in Maine. I got about 30 miles of training in, ended up on a round of antibiotics, and never saw a moose. In all fairness I had a great time otherwise, catching up with the Missus's mom and Bob, my little bro and his family, and a former teammate and fellow worker from way back when.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Racing - 2012 White Plains Crit, Cat 3-4

This is a long post but it dates back to the spring of this year. At the time a guy Joe asked me about getting some help for a race he wanted to hold. Thinking an industrial park race I told him sure. Then he laid out his idea - revive a twice used course in White Plains, NY.

Not a big deal, right?

Well, the first time they raced there it was the National Criterium Championships and a "newbie" (technically, because he got some special permission to race as a Cat 4) named John Tomac won the national title. To be fair he was the top downhiller of the time and ended up wearing a pro road jersey for a short time, but still, to have a new racer win Nationals was quite the thing.

The second time they held a race there it was the New York state championships. A friend Abdul won that one.

Well, the talk got places and suddenly we had a race - the White Plains Crit.

Incredibly this was Joe's first ever race promotion gig and it basically went off without a hitch. I helped with registration and the finish line camera, and I brought my bike and kit along hoping I'd get to race. We had the normal interesting adventures but that's what makes life, well, interesting.

It started with an earlier realization that we'd need a better finish line camera. I decided to get a fancy shmancy 1080 60p full HD camcorder, manual shutter speed control, the works. It worked great in some low light tests (I recorded Junior in his bouncy saucer) so I headed over to David's on Saturday confident that we had very little to handle. We'd hook it up to the existing tripod, hook up a USB cable, and read the video.


At David's I proudly handed over the new camcorder. He looked at it, looked at the tripod.

"Where's the rest of it?"
"Rest of what?"
"The tripod."
"Um, that's all I have."
"There's a piece that fits onto the tripod. It's not here. It's what the camera attaches to."

I thought about it for a moment.

"Wait, there's no way to attach the camera?"
"Not like this."


Well David has a virtual hardware store in his garage so we cobbled together a new mount (and I told myself a zillion times to remove the mount off the old incredibly good but too slow and too low resolution camcorder).

We hooked up a cable and tried to watch Junior bouncing in his saucer thing.

File format not recognized.

We started Googling stuff in parallel.

"What's the file extension in Windows?"
"It says here it's Blu-Ray."

Ohhhhh. 1080 @ 60p is BluRay. And apparently Quicktime and such don't like BluRay.

We asked David's son about this because he's young and technologically connected. It's like childproof bottle tops - you need to ask a kid to open it for you.

"Oh, just use blah blah blah."

And it worked. 4 hours or so after I arrived.

Race Day

With an early 4:15 wakeup call I hit the sack hard.

Sunday we quickly got ready. David's wife had left us food, left me a towel for a shower, and in about 30 minutes we were ready to go.

"Before we get on the highway I need to get gas."
"Okay, I'll just follow you."

I followed his car and trailer. We drove up to a gas station. A dark gas station. It was closed.

I could see him hesitate but then he turned onto the highway. The show must go on, and if need by I had 5 gallons of gas for the generators (25 hours worth for each generator so plenty for the 6 hours we needed power).

We got to White Plains in good order although I noticed him driving a bit erratically, speeding up and slowing down at odd times. I figured it was a trailer thing and I kind of blanked on it.

We got to the venue, he got some directions, ran over to the van, hollered to follow him, jumped in his car, and got going.

He promptly ran a red light, with a cop right next to me (and therefore just behind him). I saw him run another light too.

I finally caught up to him, the car kind of nosed up against the curb. Apparently that's where the start/finish would go. I was about to lay into him about running red lights and such when he came over.

"I just lost the brakes in my car."
"I have no brakes. I have to use the e-brake to stop."
"Is that why you ran those red lights?"

He almost drove into the doors of the Macy's on the corner but managed to avoid setting off their alarm. We dumped all the finish line camera stuff there - I had to drive 3 blocks to the registration area, in a KeyBank branch. They sponsored the race and gave us indoor registration, bathrooms, seats, power, everything we needed to get stuff going.

A bit frantic by now we set up registration, starting just about 30 minutes before the first race started. I carefully put two grate covers down over the sewer grate under the van door - it wouldn't do to drop something important like keys or a phone or something in the rush to unpack the van. It took us about 5 agonizing minutes to get the absolute minimum set up but then we started rolling hard. Delaney, my help for the day, knew this stuff from the Bethel Spring Series so she jumped right in.

I honestly thought we'd run late with the first race but no, it went off on time. Things started getting more normal - I even started thinking about getting my bike out of the van and doing a race.

So I did.

Kitted up and on my bike I rolled over to the finish just before the Women finished. This gave me a chance to review the procedures for getting the finish shots, they worked fine, and lined up confident in the finish line camera set up. Delaney had a handle on registration; my responsibilities were being handled well.

In the race I noticed a few things.

First, it's a fast course. Two of its turns have a downhill lead in, two have flat lead ins. This works because there are both an uphill and a downhill on two straights. With just half a mile lap things went by very, very quickly.

In fact, on the first lap, I was close to a full straight behind the front of the race.

I just exited Turn 1 on Lap 1. The front runners are about to apex Turn 2.

Second, because it's a 3-4 race, I saw a wide variety of cornering skills. Some riders were great, including a former Cat 1 who managed to enthrall me at the races - he was my default favorite when I did races in New York and New Jersey.

Other riders weren't quite so good. A huge factor was cornering on the hoods. I could see those riders having problems with the front end bouncing around. They had to slow for the third turn, a fast downhill, because they probably couldn't hang onto their bars. On the drops I had to really hold onto the bars - I can't imagine doing that corner on the hoods.

Poor basics, like cornering on the hoods, multiply their effect as you go up the food chain. Riders on the hoods turned in early, possibly because they felt they didn't have quite the control they wanted (and could have had if they were on the drops). Early apexes are typical for riders who don't feel secure cornering; it's something easily worked on. These early apexers would leave the wheel they were on to cut the corner, then (usually) braking hard to avoid t-boning the same wheel they just left.

With a poor start position I tried to follow wheels, like I'm supposed to, but so many riders used different cornering lines that I couldn't find a good wheel to follow.

Although most of these riders managed to (poorly) corner themselves right off the back, the really strong ones managed to stay in the race until the end. Those still in the race really wreaked havoc in the group, opening gaps through virtually every corner.

It got to the point where even I said something to a couple people. I usually ride a bit harder after such comments and today was no exception. I felt pretty taxed by the course, my lack of fitness, my weight, but nonetheless I made some physical digs after my verbal ones.

I have to admit it was a lot of fun diving into the downhill corners and taking advantage of the huge gaps everyone left. It took a few laps for guys to get the hang of the course, and since I was at the back I had to follow other riders' lines and so I had to wait for the others to get the hang of the course.

I paid on the uphills. At first I thought I was going okay but a quick sanity peek down at the SRM told me some bad news - I was pushing close to 700 watts on the start/finish hill and my heart rate was climbing over 166.

This was about three laps into the race.

I tried to ease earlier before the fast corners, stay steady on the two slight uphills, and tried not to worry too much about gaps ahead of me.

The latter almost got me at the beginning of the race. I realized at some point that the guys in front of me were cornering poorly and then not accelerating hard. I was trusting them to close the gaps they left but they didn't, and eventually I went into the wind to get back in the field.

Gap riders left. I eventually closed this one myself.
This is shortly after Turn 3; I tried using the hoods on this hill but it was a bit bumpy.

Someone told me after the race that they were yelling at me that the field was splitting. I realized a lap or two after the above picture that, woah, I'm the last guy in the field. Everyone else behind me had sat up or gotten pulled.

Eventually I got into my groove. I guess I warmed up a bit - my last ride was a week ago, and that weekend's a story in itself (I'll write posts out of order for that one). Combined with some left ankle injuries (that has to do with the weekend too), I had few miles and few workouts recently.

The other thing is that once the worst cornerers were gone the field started cornering a bit better. I felt better about riding close to others and in fact this was the closest I'd ridden to others in a while.

A close corner later in the race. Note riders on hoods.

At some point, with all the guys on the hoods, the fast and tight corners, the never ending suffering (I waited as long as I could before looking up at the lap cards and it said 23 laps to go), I eased mentally.

I closed this gap - I'm on the hoods right now, soft pedaling.
Then I changed my mind.
3 laps to go.

I managed to get into the single digit lap cards without getting shelled but I felt no excitement, no adrenaline rush. I was waiting for the Sprinter's Renaissance that Indurain described, but, to put it not-so-succinctly, there wasn't nothin' there.

I sat up again, knowing that I had nothing for the sprint and not wanting to try and fake it and get myself in trouble. Those of you less fit than the rest know what it looks like to be off the back at a lap to go. In case you don't know just look below.

Coming up on the bell lap. Those dots in the center is the field.

I felt a need to keep going and the crowd responded with, as Joe put it, the loudest cheer of the race. I finished off the race with a slow bike throw then turned around and went to the trailer to check the finish line camera stuff.

The rest of the day went by like a blur. I worked the camera for the M40+ and the P123 race. Delaney handled registration for the M40s and the sporadic times we needed access during the P123s. As the day wound down we started packing everything into the van, then headed over to the finish area to get the rest of the stuff.

David's car was on a flatbed, the trailer moved into a legal spot. The fatigue started to hit about then, but the day wasn't quite done.

It had been a great race. Great venue. Great cooperation with the city. For a first time promotion, by a first time promoter, I was absolutely shocked at how well the race went. Riders gushed over the ambiance - it's like a Somerville or Nutley. It's faster than either, more exciting, and it's a race I'd love to do again.

With that in mind we finally left. I pulled up to a light and I could see the white Walk sign. I had a bit of time to day dream. I looked down next to the van and saw bare wood.

A brand new grate cover,

About 2'x3'.


See, Joe had asked me about grate covers before the race, if they needed finishing, stuff like that. I told him that the grate covers should be 2'x3', not too thick, and that they didn't need finishing. I knew that because we still have four or five grate covers from 1993, the first Bethel Spring Series (or the Bethel Training Series as we called it back then). I pointed out that they're in remarkable shape considering they sit out in rain, snow, sun, they have no finish, and they're going on 20 years old. In fact I'd just measured them to make more of them - they're the best thickness, best shape, and if all the grate covers were the same size they'd be easier to move around.

The new grate cover also reminded me... I left two of those precious 1993 grate covers on the sewer by the bank, to keep me from dropping my keys down there. I debated just leaving them there but I couldn't bear to lose that history. I somehow managed to get back to the bank, left the van idling in the lane (I felt like I was one of those annoying unmarked delivery trucks in NYC), grabbed the grate covers from under a new Acura, and stuck them in the van.

This made me feel much better.

I started the long drive home, thoughts running through my head. How to get registration even quicker. Better camera stuff. More consolidated equipment. Less steps.

There's something about constantly striving to improve, to maximize one's effectiveness. It drives a person to do better. It drives new ideas, new procedures, new ventures. It pushes things forward. It causes change.

And in this case change is good.

See you at the races.

Parting shot.

Monday, September 03, 2012

Promoting - Prepping The Bethel Van

I don't know what else to call The Van - I really only use it for Bethel. I think last year, in 2011, I drove it to and from Bethel, and that would have been it except a mechanic scolded me for letting it sit 363 days a year so I drove it a few days here and there. Whatever, it's telling that the van still had a bunch of gas in the tank when I drove it to Bethel in March of 2012.

It sat there until Labor Day weekend.

The Missus and I visited my dad et al in the area and, on the way back, took a detour to pick up the van. Luckily it started up right away - I don't know the last time anyone drove it but it was sitting in about the same spot I put it in back on April 15th.

As we got going I realized the van wasn't all that, at least not this trip. The windshield wipers were unusable and, more importantly, there was some short or loose connection for the dash. The interior lights wouldn't turn off when I closed the door (they should turn off).

The headlight knob allows you to turn on the interior lights by dimming the dash lights all the way but instead of turning on the interior lights turned off. When the dash lights got juice the interior lights turned on.

Driving with the interior lights on at night isn't good so I turned them off, dimming the dash lights until they were dark too.

The radio turned on and told time but the speakers had no power. And the fan didn't work either.

(Later I checked the wiring diagram of the van - a 1998 Dodge Ram Van - but to no avail. I'm thinking ignition switch or a wire/connection to it because the stuff that's always on - clock, lights, etc - all work and the stuff that's gets juice when you turn the key - dash lights, speakers, etc - don't work.)

Anyway the drive home became a bit more interesting. I didn't want to turn anything on or off because I wasn't sure what would happen. Therefore no high beams, no toggling the radio on and off (hoping for sound), etc. I even started avoiding turning on the interior lights to see my speed - instead I put my DroidX on the dash with the LED light on.

The Missus followed me, blissfully unaware of the various issues with the van, and we got home okay.

Today, on Labor Day, I set out to clean out the van. I haven't done this in a while so it's a bit dirty - full of sand, twigs, little debris like that, and, to my surprise, a couple large chunks of pavement, the largest being the size of maybe a baseball.

I also found this - cold weather Rudy. Since the headlock thing was broken I tossed it.

I emptied out the front, middle, and rear, and vacuumed up all the debris with a shop vac. While I was moving stuff around I decided I should paint the podiums a nice base layer of Zinsser white so, after making sure it wouldn't rain any time soon, I did just that.

I also started up the leaf blower (unused since about March, but stored improperly with fuel in it), threw out almost a garbage can full of stuff, and basically cleaned and organized.

 The "Middle", after vacuuming.
The Front would be the front seats and the area between them.

You can see rust peeking out from under the floor thing. It's getting rusty. The jack stands should stay in our garage, but we use them for the trailer at Bethel. The heater in the back is one of two we have, crucial for cold weather tent stuff. There are tent sides on the single bench seat I leave in the van (the white fabric type things to the left of the picture).

The single bench is kind of important to me - it prevents radical load shifts under braking. I put heavy stuff in the Middle and lighter, bulkier stuff in the Back.

While I was doing all this I did some miscellaneous stuff. I put a vent back into the ceiling - it fell out a long time ago and I couldn't figure out how to get it back in place. You have to push two sides together but one side is inside the ceiling. I used an L shaped hook to pull the backing towards me and voila, hole in ceiling is now a vent.

I also polished up the headlights - they're plastic and yellowing due to sun.

I replaced one windshield wiper (I had one extra in the garage). I also Rain-Xed the windshield, driver and passenger door windows, and the side view mirrors. The stuff helps a lot when it rains.

I checked, briefly, for loose electrical connections but couldn't find any. I'll have to explore further at some later point.

I also did a rust health check, kind of like a doctor tapping on your chest while listening to you breath. The rust is getting worse, that's all I'll say. Eventually I'll want to replace this with a garageable vehicle, probably a minivan.

 The Back, before the vacuum. Note USCF sticker (not USAC).

The pallets are there for muddy races so that we can put a "floor" down on the ground. You can see where the "second floor" (described below) sits, on the left side. There are wood stakes to the right. These were meant to be used to direct traffic from parking lots and such but I haven't utilized them yet.

The Van, with stuff from the Back unpacked.
It's huge. I figure I could live in that thing.

The gleaming white podiums should jump out at you. You can see, if you look carefully, a can of Zinsser primer near the middle podium.

Leaf blower sits next to a pile of shovels and brooms. The blue microwave box has a microwave in it. For cold weather races nothing beats being able to heat up food. It's small enough that the 2000w generator can handle it. White buckets are for tent weights. The big wood thing leaned up against the door is a second floor for the van - easier to slide things on that because the floor of the van has little bumps and such all over it.

Then, with the van about as good as it gets, I put stuff back in.

I had two goals at the beginning of the day.
1. Get the cold weather stuff into storage for Bethel 2013.
2. Get the rest of the promoting stuff ready to go in the van for the White Plains Crit on September 16th of this year.

Towards the end of my long day I put the cold weather stuff in storage. This meant stuff like shovels, shovels, and more shovels. The heaters I didn't move, the propane tanks for the heaters sit on our open deck.

The rest of it - tents, grate covers, stakes, rope, tie downs, radios, printer, cones, brooms, leaf blower, Echo pavement sweepers, drawer for pre-reg, and the newly painted podiums stayed either at the house or in the van.

The final bit - the actual registration stuff, the computers, and the finish line camera stuff - will find its way into the van September 14th so that I can drive down on the 15th (to my dad's) and then to the race on the 16th. I keep that stuff indoors because of the electronics and the value.

A final bit of trouble shooting with the van, some freshening up of some of the stuff we already have, and we should be good to go for White Plains.