30 October 2007


Here's the background: just over a month ago, I fell down the stairs in my dorm one evening. It looked as if I had broken my ankle, and I got to make a little excursion to the emergency room. Apparently, though, it was the worst degree sprain there is...with all sorts of nasty tissue damage and destruction. Being an intelligent Ivy Leaguer, I decided to race a criterium mere days after this, which gave me enough confidence to continue training on the ankle (albeit with significantly less volume than would be ideal/necessary).

Well, last week I decided that it was time to bump up the weekly volume to something a bit more respectable - in this case 15 hours of base/tempo (really not a lot, but still enough to induce a bit of general soreness and advance my fitness for once).

This was bad. A bad idea. Walking to class is painful now. It's not so much the ankle itself (although that's pretty swollen and bruised) that's hurting, but it's the achilles tendon which took a massive blow in the fall. Riding is out of the question for at least a few days. I'm GOING CRAZY! I feel so helpless. I don't know what to do with my free time now. And I can see the fitness steadily escaping from my body, although it's only been two days off the bike now. Damn.

It takes discipline to prevent myself from hurting myself, no matter how much I want to hurt myself, I suppose.

24 October 2007

Foxborough Ride

Ya, so instead of solely being a nuisance to society, I figured that I'd counteract my uselessness with a little usefulness by posting some of the cool rides that I pull out of thin air.

This ride goes through Foxborough towncenter (quite anticlimactic but nonetheless a bit exciting after braving some rt. 152 madness to get there) and to Gillette Stadium (where the Patriots play).


I actually had a pretty good time for the loop because I realized coming back that I was VERY pressed for time to get back in time for class, so I basically moved up the ranks from base pace to tempo pace to blasting through Pawtucket at 25mph+, swerving in and out of traffic and running every red light without hardly a touch of the brakes. Oh, it was dumping rain also and I was only in shorts and a short-sleeved jersey. And I had embarked upon the ride at 6:45am, which in this weird geographic location of ours here meant that it was still dark. It was fun.

Nothing like Mass-a-freaking-chussetts early in the morning. The ones entering the Dunkin Donuts aren't yet caffeinated and thus pose a larger than normal hazard for a cyclist's well-being, while the ones leaving the Dunkin Donuts are, well, just plain normal Massholes.

22 October 2007

rant rant rant rant

Ya so I slept about four hours all weekend writing history papers and studying for some exams from hell, so I'm tired and quite angry. Time for a rant.

For some reason people have been running a lot more red lights in the East Side recently. Now, of course this isn't horribly uncommon in Rhode Island. And I'm used to people blowing through quite vital stopsigns all the time, mainly because apparently they're optional. But I cannot understand the recent red light running on the East Side, because I think that they put those photo-red-light things sometime last winter in some intersections (Wayland and Angell, etc.) Before that, it seems like people were running fewer red lights on the East Side. They were quite behaved. But now all hell has broken loose when the light turns yellow or red, at all times of day.

I guess there's some sort of inverted defiant logic here. Here's a solution - get rid of all stopsigns and stoplights in Rhode Island and then people will behave normally. But only here, because then there's no goddamned sign to tell people what to do and they'll get out of "screw authority" mode and get into "wow somebody actually trusts me to do the right thing" mode.

Mainly, though, I'm just pissed because some damn SUV hit one of the freshmen at Brown over the weekend, and then drove off with a nice friendly "ahh, you look okay." I hope that a semi-truck does the same to that SUV. And trust me, if (once?) a Rhode Island driver hits me when I'm on my bike, I'm gonna sue the living crap out of him/her until he's living in shame under the Henderson Bridge. Especially if it messes up the paint job on my beauty.

18 October 2007

Bittersweet Motivation

Today was strange in that it was the first uneventful ride in a while. Just a quick spin in the East Bay between classes.

Sunday, I crashed headfirst into a lightpole - the only major contact involved the front of my face and cold metal. On Monday, I was nearly killed by a wayward semi-truck on a small group ride in Norton MA. On Tuesday, a squirrel committed suicide under my back wheel on the Washington Secondary - sending me into a precarious spin. Yesterday, aside from the continuous insanity on Cranston Street and Downcity, a pigeon tried its damndest to make contact with my front wheel - bringing me nearly to a complete stop. I have witnesses regarding the fatass pigeon, semi, and lightpole. No witnesses survived from the squirrel incident.

I also feel strange. I cannot believe that the road racing season is over in New England. There was so much that I didn't achieve. I'm angry that I made so negligible progress in the past two months towards a cat. 3 upgrade, and I can't even really blame it on my inability to sprint nor on falling down the stairs in my dorm. I just made stupid tactical errors in all my past few races and was a wuss when it really mattered. Whatever. I've only been racing since March. Apparently it was good experience.

It's motivation, though, for me to keep training in earnest. I'm already transitioning into base training phase...and maybe one of these days I'll start dragging my ass out of bed early enough to spend some quality time with the chilly iron in the weight room. People say that I have talent on the bike...but maybe they're just saying that to make me feel good about my slow, scrawny self.

I've got my goals set out for myself, though:
-Move up to the A category in ECCC this season, and have respectable results there
-Help lead Brown to an Ivy League championship this season
-Achieve an upgrade to cat. 2 by the end of next year

Goddamn. I wish I'd started road racing when I was younger. I still feel like the rookie that I may or may not still be.

17 October 2007

Fear - The Henderson Bridge

Nobody ever truly gets used to riding on the Henderson Bridge. Ever. It's like merging onto the Interstate on your bicycle. It doesn't feel natural. And yet, somehow, Providence roadies act like it's natural. There are better alternatives to getting over the Seekonk River - but those are in Pawtucket. No East Sider would be caught dead there.
What an ugly behemoth. A failed dream to build a pointless controlled access spur from rt. 195 to rt. 44 through the a portion of East Side and East Providence, from which we have this ghost of insanity.

Riding it seems the equivalent of forcing your bike to have unprotected sex with a prostitute in the middle of a battlefield. Nonetheless, all morals go to hell on the bridge. I've driven it before. You merge on, speed up to 60 mph for an entirety of 10 seconds, and then slow back down to a snails speed on Angell Street. And remember, you'd better pick the correct lane at the end of the bridge - because only one goes somewhere:

I love it.

16 October 2007


Why would I waste my time doing this?

Well, I have an inferiority complex - more so than most Rhode Islanders, and most cyclists.

Indeed, I'm a recent transplant to the 'biggest small state' and thus will probably never be considered a true Rhode Islander. But, I want to be one. I love the fierce independence, irreverance for rules, unbridled machismo, and quirkiness that scare most non-Rhode Islanders.

I'm also a relative newcomer to competitive cycling, but fighting hard to fit in.

The competitive roadies in big Northeast cities are the true hardmen of the sport in the U.S. Handling potholes without hardly a swerve and avoiding taxis without hardly a blink, the roadies of Boston and NYC are flat out insane. But don't discount Providence roadies either. The city might be much smaller, but in many cases the roads are even worse and the drivers even more insane. The weather that New England (aka New Belgium) roadies deal with is also flat-out insane. Rhode Island wheelemen are no exception.