Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Chesapeake, VA

I'm in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia.  I was stationed here for 5 years and accumulated a large pile of memories.

So I spent the week visiting. Coffee with a memory here, dinner with a memory there... Conversations about the past with people from my past leave me in quiet contemplation and I find myself seeking distraction with some soothing music, such as this little number from the Super Happy Story Land band.

What chases out the demons in your mind better than bigger demons?

I will be house-sitting (and dog-sitting) through the weekend, then taking off on Monday or Tuesday, heading to Ohio. Not much photography happening this week so here's some from the past.
Roads so flat you can take pictures without slowing down!
From Mesa to Tuba City

Camping with a view of the Pacific.
From California part 2

You would think a fire could burn without this much attention...
From Natchez Trace

Monday, May 17, 2010

I'm back in Lexington, Virginia. Here for another day, before heading to Norfolk for a week or so. The trip back from Arkansas was as long as you can imagine, though I was impressed that the Ford Focus station wagon got over 30 mpg with two bikes on the roof.
From Southern States

My efforts in Arkansas led to an invitation to further participating with the team! June will be a busy month traveling from Ohio to Philadelphia, Richmond VA, Alexandria VA, and Minneapolis.  I'm really looking forward to it and you'll be able to read all about it here.
From Southern States

I managed to get my mountain bike back to the van. It was being carefully stored by Paul in Michigan. He brought it to Indiana, where it was transferred to the team car for the ride to Cleveland, then transferred to the motorcycle for the ride to Lexington. It wasn't pretty, but it arrived undamaged. The van is getting pretty full though.
From Southern States

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The final day of racing at the Joe Martin Stage race has ended.  I was able to get some good pictures of the team today since the service was from a pit area instead of a car chasing the pack. 
The Kenda riders did great, they held their overall positions and we ended up with two riders in the money paying positions.  There were several crashes on the course but the Kenda riders managed to avoid being part of them, though they were stuck behind the crash a couple of times.
There were no flats today, nor any other mechanical failures.  Jake (the Breeze) finished the race with a badly out-of-true wheel, probably the result of a collision that he didn't even notice in the crowded field.
We are now on the long drive home.  Back to Indianapolis first, then for me, on to Cleveland, then back to Lexington.  I think I'll be there by Thursday.  More news as it becomes available.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The third day of racing was a circut: similar to the road race, but the course looped back on itself three times.  The riders spent three hours racing in some rolling hills.  Fifty mph decents on winding twisting roads kept us alert in the car.  The Kenda Team held their own though they are not stong enough to control the race.  I did one front-wheel change and passed out some water bottles.  Then it was back to the garage for post-race bike inspections and cleaning.  One more day, a 90-minute race in downtown Fayetteville.  Check the blog I mentioned a couple days ago for more photos.

The bikes lined up, ready for the riders to head for the start.
Another action shot of me in the team car.  I sat in the back seat, the traditional spot for the mechanic.  We'd carry 3 spare front wheels and 3 spare rear wheels, two coolers full of water and drink-mix, and a large assortment of racing food.  The wheel changes were my responsibility, the food could be handed to the riders by me or Paul.

Paul driving the team car chasing the caravan.  He would generally hand over the water bottles or food as needed and provide tactical advice to the riders.
This is about the best view I get of the racing action.  We were number eight in the caravan, not a bad position, but not great either.  We would race forward if they called for "feed" or "service" for one of our riders, then drop back to our spot. 

Friday, May 7, 2010

Long day of racing for some, long day in the car for others. The racers went 110 miles in the rolling hills around Fayetteville, done in under 5 hours. Our team had one flat, which required me to jump out of the backseat of the team car with two tires (not knowing if a front or rear was needed), change the wheel (it was a rear), make sure the brakes were not rubbing, and give the rider a push. It was done in about 30 seconds but there were no pictures of the event, my driver said "I was too busy trying not to freak out."
Here's some pictures from the day. Click on a picture to see a larger view.
Early in the race, I'm ready for action!

Just 155 friends out for a ride...

You think the bikes take up too much of the road in your neighborhood?

Back-seat driving.  Maybe the hair is getting a little shaggy...

After getting a tire change, our rider has to catch back up to the rest of the race.  Here it takes a moment behind the team car (at about 40 mph) to catch his breath.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Joe Martin Stage Race

Just a quick update since I have internet access. A few weeks ago I was asked to be the team mechanic for the Kenda Pro Cycling Team at the Joe Martin Stage Race in Fayetteville, Arkansas. I traveled from Lexington, VA, to Cleveland on the motorcycle, then to Indianapolis and then Fayetteville in a team car.
Wednesday, in the glamorous life of a team mechanic, I drove for 2 hours from our hotel in Missouri to our temporary quarters, got a ride downtown to buy some supplies but had to walk 4 miles back to the house while the car went to the airport, and then spent 11 hours working on the 8 team bikes. They are all carbon fiber, weigh about 15 lbs, and if you try to buy one, expect to pay over $6000.   My new tool kit is visible on the bench.  The first day, I used all but 3 of the tools in that box.

Thursday, the first day of racing was a individual time trial, a 2 mile hill climb. The winner did it in under 8 minutes, the fastest rider on our team was about 30 seconds slower, and unfortunately, two of our riders were outside the time-cut, meaning they were slower than 125% of the fastest time. They probably won't be allowed to start day two...

The race goes on till Sunday, tomorrow is a 110 mile road stage, Saturday is 92 miles, Sunday is a closed-course "criterium" that goes on for 90 minutes. I'm glad I'm not racing, it will be a long day in the team car following the race tomorrow, standing ready to jump out and do a quick wheel change...
For a much better write-up of the racing, check out the blog of one of the racers here: