Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year !!

So....i haven't posted here in 14 months, i think it is time to start it up again.

Happy New Year!!

New posts coming shortly.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Columbus Day Weekend Photos

I shot a lot of photos this past weekend, all for pleasure, not business. That lets me have more fun with it, be creative, maybe see the more artsy side of it all.

Saturday was the Providence Cyclo Cross Fest at Roger Williams Park and Sunday was the Grog and Dog Jog at the Wild Colonial Tavern in Providence.

Helen Wyman
Here are the links if you would like to check it out.

Scary...huh?  Zak Kudlac

There's a new sheriff in town. Not enough to take first place though.
Pat Tarpy
First Place Team Again, Tuesday Nite Turtles
Dave Principe, Alan Bernier, Zak Kudlak, Bob Jackman

Jay Curry

Jerks in Skirts
Ben, Keith, Brendan and Brien
Ryan Trebon
Martin Tighe

Monday, August 13, 2012

24 Hours of Great Glen Mudfest

It wasn't supposed to be a mudfest.

Team aR Black, Me, Steve Wolfe, Kevin Tilton & Brayden Dunn
Back in January/February, Chris Dunn of Acidotic Racing asked me if i would like to ride the 24 Hours of Great Glen for his team, I said i would since the Turtles had discussed it the year before but never went through with it. I don't ride a real lot, i do some road and some trail riding to compliment my running, but i figured i could log enough miles to be comfortable doing this. In the end, i could have logged more miles, i really don't know if that would have helped, but a dry course would have made it 100% better.

Friday after work, i headed up to NH in the pouring rain, the original plan was to camp out at Great Glen Trails, do a pre race ride, hang out with the Acidotic team and have a few beers. I ended up with a hotel room in Rochester, NH, figuring that a good nights sleep would be important and i wont get that sleeping in a tent. The next morning, i pulled into Great Glen by 8 am, it was wet, but not raining. The sun had been out until i got about 5 miles from Mt Washington and that was all i would see of it for the day. I walked a bit of the course, some single track near the near the Acidotic campsite. The downhill there was a called the Boneyard, it is steep, not too long and has logs across it to form steps, there was a bypass around it that you could walk your bike down if you wanted to be safer. I checked out the switchbacks leading up to it too, they seemed in decent shape, not to muddy, i would hang my opinion on that later on after riding it in the race.

Mud. Everywhere.
I was racing on the aR Black squad made up of Steve Wolfe, Brayden Dunn, Kevin Tilton and myself, i would ride 3rd. At noontime, they line up all the leadoff riders for a running lap of the pond and then they are off on their bikes. Steve led off for us, he handed off to Brayden and then, about 2pm, to me. I never checked out the whole course, so lap 1 would be an adventure. I had some butterflies waiting for the handoff, i'm not a bike racer, i wasn't sure what i was in for. I started quick, passed one rider and gained on a few more, under Rte 16 and over to the climb of Blueberry Hill, saw Giannina Lindsey taking some photos and hit the first uphill, that's when reality hit me. It was a muddy switchback, i pushed the bike a bit and was on my way until i hit a bridge at the top of the hill that i slid off of and my big ring chewed into it like a buzz saw. Another climb and then the real mud started it was sloppy, deep at spots, i couldn't get going in it and had to push the bike along with a few others through this crap. Finally past it, back under Rte 16 and finally onto the fire roads, time for some speed, i made time here, passed some riders, i love riding fast! The miles went by quickly until about 5, the you hit the Strava king of the hill climb, the first half isn't too bad, the second half was horrible for me. It was muddy, rocky and there were good size puddles, who knows how deep, i didn't want to test them. Next 2 miles was amid of unrideable single track (for me anyway) and fire roads, then onto the last single track section, up the switchbacks and to the Boneyard. My mistake coming down the boneyard was too far forward on the bike and taking the wrong line. I got halfway down and then performed a really nice digger, i knew it was coming and i was over the handlebars and landing pretty softly in the brush next to the trail, no harm done. A girl sitting there with a camera asked me if i was ok, i smiled and said i was fine and did she get the photo, when she said no, i scolded for it, told her to always be prepared. From there, i finished up the lap in 1:10 for the 8.7 miles. I handed off to Kevin Tilton and headed to the bike wash area, they were very busy, hit a hot shower and waited 3 hours to do it all again.

The site of my 2:30am digger.
Second lap, a little after 6pm. The rain had started. I felt good about this lap now that i knew the course. I slid off another bridge at the top of Blueberry Hill, did a beautiful header into the brush, got stuck in more mud, cranked out some fast dirt road miles and collected so much mud in my pedals and derailleurs that i had trouble clipping in and shifting gears. If i do this race next year, i'll get different pedals, probably Crank Bros. Egg Beaters. The mud was everywhere by now, picking up speed on single track was tough to do. They rerouted around one treacherous section of trail and were doing maintenance at other sections. Second time to the Boneyard, i walked the bike down, i had just got a nice chainring tattoo on my shin and didn't think i needed to give any more blood on that lap. Done with lap 2, i had 6 hours to my next stint which was to be a double so the riders could get some sleep.

I rested a little, now i know i can actually sleep in the back of my GTI, fold down the back seat, fold the passenger seat forward and i fit pretty good and it was comfortable enough.

Lap 3. 2 am. Light Rain. Back to back. I am not looking forward to this. Headlights on my helmet and handlebars, more than enough light. Waiting for Brayden at the handoff point under the main tent, chatting with Geoff Cunningham, he was riding great and would take his handoff shortly after me. Started good, walked a lot on the other side of Rte 16. coming down one steep hill to the parking lot before the tunnel, i took a wicked digger, don't know what i hit, handled this one perfectly the last 2 laps. I hit hard, knocked my back rim loose, once fixed, i was off. Geoff came by shortly after that, i tried to stay close on the dirt roads, but he was flying. Now another issue...fog. 50 feet visibility at times. Lights almost made it worse. Full speed  on a twisty dirt road in fog can be nerve wracking. More mud, more problems shifting, but only in the small chainring, oh yeah, that's the one i need the most! Run into riders here and there, short conversations and we are separated. Most riders you come up on or get passed by are friendly and will ask if everything is ok. We all know it is a grind, no sense in being an asshole. Walked the Boneyard again, lap finished, one to go. Headed to the bike wash before taking off for lap 4. Felt pretty good, or so i thought.

The Boneyard
1 mile into my double stint, about 3:45am, my quad is cramping, i have been drinking lots of water with NUUN tablets and some Hammer Gels. Up the Blueberry Hill again, both legs cramping, stop to stretch, go again, more cramping. I wanted to drop out so bad here. Keep climbing, pushing bike, can't pedal because of leg cramps. Now the mud, can it get worse? Back downhill toward the tunnel. Hit the dirt roads, can't pedal top speed, inner quad cramping on both legs. Finally gone after a mile or so. Zip through short section of single track, feeling better, still some fog, eerie feeling out there. Bike still not shifting good, lots of mud build up. Back tire wobble, broke a spoke earlier in the day. Long slow walk up the Strava climb, cycling shoes are not made for this. Now i am overdue at the finish, Kevin is probably wondering what the hell happened to me. I look up at one point and see the sky getting brighter, all right!! It is morning. Meet up with a solo rider near the end of my fourth lap, he is leading his age group, probably 12+ laps in. HOLY SHIT! Finally....into the tent, scan my card, where is Kevin? He comes running over and is on his way. Tim Lindsey isn't too far behind me followed by Chris Dunn. We all meet up at the bike wash area.

I get back to Camp Acidotic and Steve asks if i am done, yes, i'm toast, or to quote Roberto Duran..No Mas, No Mas!

Time for breakfast.

I want to thank Chris Dunn for asking to be part of this event. We had a great bunch of riders and support crew from Acidotic Racing. My performance was kind of lackluster, but i had a great time anyway. Maybe i'll even try it again, just hope it is dry that time.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Race #4 and #5

42 days into the new year and i have 5 races in so far, not too bad, but would be higher if there was snow on the ground.

My fourth race of the year was the Super 5k in Narragansett, RI, an out an back course along the ocean. It was a last minute decision to run this year, like 3 hours before the race. I ran the course as a warmup with Martin Tighe and Chris Jasparro, felt pretty good. I lined up on the front row to start even though i knew i would not get out fast. I haven't been doing any speed work, so there is no zip in my legs and i find i have to build up to pace instead of just blasting out. Something to work on in the spring.
The mile did go by in 6.08, the fastest i have done that in years. Middle mile was slow, 6.34. At the turnaround, i had teammate and fellow Death Race entrant, Issy Neilson come up on my heels, she was right there for close to a mile before i pulled away by a few seconds in the last mile, a 6.18. In the end, i finished in 19.41, my fastest 5k in 6 years. In 2006 i ran this race in 17.16, that was before all my knee problems. Now the knees feel fine and i will be getting faster, thing is, i have no real interest in running 5k's. Maybe i will do another one this year just to see the improvement, maybe.

The next race, #5, was more to my liking, a 15k trail race in Burlingame State Park, Charlestown, RI. The race was appropriately called the Brrr-lingame 15k trail race and it was chilly out, about 23 degrees and windy at the start. It is a two loop course, mostly single track with a lot of small ups and downs.
For some reason, i went out fast here, coming into the woods, i was running 5th, that ended real quickly. I was passed by 15 runners in the next mile, i only got one of those places back. That is what i get for the too quick start. I settled in and ran a pretty good first lap, averaging 7.12's, the second lap was slower. I started feeling the pace with about 2 miles to go, i looked behind and did not see anyone, so i backed off a bit and ran 1.08 slower than the first. As i crossed the finish, i was surprised to see three runners battling just 15-20 seconds behind me, i never saw them, one was Bob Sharkey, newly turned 60 and killer mountain runner. It is good anytime i can finish in front of Bob. I ended up 19th in 68.03 @ 7.19 pace, 1st in the 50-59 age group. The race was won by Greg Hammett with my only teammate today, Alan Bernier in second. The Westerly Track Club put 5 in the top 10 to easily win the team honors. Congratulations to them.

A big shout out to Mike Galoob for putting on this trail series this winter, the South County 4th Season Race Series. It is great to have more trail races on the schedule without driving to another state. I do miss the snowshoe racing, but this series is a good alternative.

Next up? I don't really know, i'll take it week to week. I'll be at Amherst for the DH Jones 10 miler, but behind a camera, not racing. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Canadian Death Race. I'm in!

I'm entered!! Crazy as it sounds, i just entered the Canadian Death Race in Grande Cache, Alberta, Canada. The race is in the Canadian Rockies, west of Edmonton. In a nutshell, it is 125 kilometers (77.6713 miles) in less than 24 hours, 3 peaks to run over, 17,000 feet of climb and descent. Sound crazy? Yes it is! 

Course Profile: Click here.


It is not so much a race as an adventure.

This will be a group run, i will be running with Thor Kirleis, Issy Nielson and  Henry Sacco. Thor and Issy have run ultras before, not sure about Henry. Me? I have never run beyond 27 miles and that was done in 1982, i never knew how to run slow enough to run farther, that 27 was in all likelihood done in way under 3 hours. I am banking on the experience of Issy and Thor to get me through this event.

I have 6 months to get ready for this, i'll need most of that.

How to train for this. Not really sure. 20-25 mile runs, repeats up Wachusett Mountain, a few runs up in North Conway with Kevin Tilton as a guide. Maybe some tough trails races like Soapstone Mountain or Seven Sisters. I'm already in Mt Washington, that will help. It will be interesting to say the least.

One thing is for certain, i WILL finish. And have fun doing it.

Stay tuned for training updates.

I hope they have good beer in Grande Cache!! 

Monday, January 23, 2012

First Snowshoe Race of the Year

A few hundred meters from the finish ( photo by Gianina Lindsey)
Finally, there is enough snow on the ground to race on. Very early Saturday morning, i headed up to North Conway, NH with teammate Chris Jasparro to the Whitaker Woods Snowshoe Scramble. It is a 4 mile race on groomed trails and some single track in the middle of North Conway. This was the first race of the Granite State Snowshoe Series since the first two races had been postponed due to lack of snow. Snow was falling lightly and it was a bit cold, maybe 10-12 degrees, but did not feel that cold. After registering and saying hello to many of my trail/snowshoe friends, Chris and i did a mile or so warmup on the trails. This was the first time on the shoes since last February, but i felt great on them, smooth and strong. 

As the race went off, i fell into a pace i thought would be good for me, the lead group separated quickly and i found myself entering the woods leading the second group while watching the guys out front disappear. Chris J was at the tail end of the lead group and seemed to be running very well, Chris, like me, is in much better shape this year and should place well in some of these races. This course is basically uphill for the first half and downhill for the rest. As i came into the start of the hills, i was catching up to Dan Hayden of Acidotic Racing. Dan was running bare armed out there, too cold for me, but as Dan said before the race, as long as he had gloves on, he would be fine. I was gaining good ground on Dan on the uphills and did catch and pass him about the time we hit the high point of the course. On the start of the downhills, it was different story, Dan ran with a bit more reckless abandon than i did, a few times i pulled up on his heels only to have him pull away again. In the last mile, i was maybe 10-15 seconds behind as we came out onto the last part of the course, what looks like a groomed 400 meter track, i closed a little, but was 9 seconds behind at the finish. I had too much left at the end, i need to learn to push harder at the end of snowshoe races, it is not quite the same as the end of a road 5k. I finished with a time of 33.53, last year i ran 38.50. I am running lighter and stronger this year and it showed, this was my best SS race in the 4 years that i have been running these things. Now if we can just get some more snow in NH so i can run more of the series, i will be very happy. Chris J ran a great race to finish 5th, this is his 3rd year doing these races and a huge jump from last year.
Big shout out to Jess and Kevin Tilton for putting on a great race...Thank You!

Post race? What else but a visit to a brewpub. In this case Moat Mountain Smokehouse and Brewpub. Chris and i met up with Don Fredrickson at the bar. Had an imperial stout that was very good and a rye ale that was just so-so. Food here is always good and i love their "yam fries".

Next week is the Sidehiller in Center Sandwich, NH. Lack of snow has already altered the course, it should be fast, just hope the snow lasts til the weekend. There should be a better Turtle showing at this race. Post race at Milly's Tavern in Manchester.

I started this week with the Epic Trail Run, Bradford to Salisbury, Ma. This was a Dave Dunham/Dan Verrington production. It was cold!! No it was f*****g cold, 6 degrees at the start and i had 20 miles to run. I should note that i had not run 20 miles since November of 2004, the Philadelphia Marathon. Pace was easy and the miles went by quickly, the company helped too. I only started to fade in the last mile, letting the pack go with 1/2 mile to go. Finished in 2:42, not a bad start to some longer runs that will be upcoming.

At the finish, Dan Verrington, Me, Todd Callaghan, Jim Pawlicki, Joe Shairs
Bob Jackman,Joe O'Leary, Dave Principe, Dave Lapierre, Ken Tripp
Thor Kirleis and Dave Dunham
Of course, we hit a brewpub on the way home, this one was Watch City Brewing in Waltham, MA. Bob Jackman, Dave Principe, Thor Kirlies and myself enjoyed a few brew and a bite to eat. One thing i will say about this place, they never seem to have anything i would call earth shattering on tap. The cask stout was ok, there wasn't an IPA on tap. I should have tried the barley wine, but after running 20, that would have put me in a coma.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Comeback in Progress

Flagging the course at Loon Mountain this year. l-r, Sam, Paul Kirsch, me, Tim Van Orden
Tim Mahoney and Bear. Photo by Paul Bazanchuk.

By the way, the sign say "mountain runners - we're not that bright". I beg to differ.
Miles - 1669
Jan. to June  641m
July to Dec.   1028m
Races - 18
Snowshoe - 6
Trail - 3
Mountain - 3
Relay - 3
Road - 3

It was a slow start to the year, but once July hit, i was starting to find a stride. Steady miles and dropping some weight finally got me to where i was enjoying my runs more. Longer runs were getting easier and seeing that most of those were on trails, i was really starting to feel good. I ran Mt Washington in June, totally bombed there. Ran Mt Ascutney a few weeks later and was faster than at half way at the Rockpile. Things were already turning around. I ran sub 6.30 pace for 5k at the infamous Ross Handicap, things were really falling into place. September was a down month, a lot of photography duties got in the way. October brought a big breakthrough at Vulcans Fury in NH, i ran strong for most of the 11+ mile race on tough trails. Check this race out next year if you want a good trail run. I ended the year with the Mill Cities Relay on my birthday, a very good run, 6.39 pace at 8 mile and then i dropped my wristband and backtracked to get it, losing all my momentum. I think the wristband was cursed, as it had dropped off the wrist of our lovely leadoff runner earlier in the day. Ran the Nooseneck 18k the day after Christmas and was strong until the last hill. I think 2012 will be a good one for me!

On to 2012


Blog more :)

Average over 200 miles a month. 2400+ for the year.

Drop weight under 150, that will come with the miles.

Take at least 20 minutes off last years time at Mt Washington. Bad race in 2011, lots of room for improvement.

Break 18 minutes for 5k. Should not be a problem.

Run more trails and avoid the roads as much as possible.

Run an epic trail race somewhere in Canada. Hmmm, where could that be?

Make more homebrew. And share it of course.

Stay Healthy!!!!

Take more photos at races, i ONLY shot about 70 thousand last year.

Favorite shot of the year? Could be this one.
Ben Nephew at the Rhode Island 6 Hour Race

Monday, December 5, 2011

Fall Wrapup

It has been a long time since my last post here, but since we are at the end of the fall and my running has improved, i should post something. Since my last post in mid-July, i have been pretty steady with the mileage, running 45-50 most weeks or about 200 miles per month. There have been aches and pains, but no injuries to speak of. Half of those miles were done on trails up until the clocks changed in November, now i'm mostly on the roads except for my weekly night trail run with John Peabody. Headlamps, water crossings, single track, roots, rocks, train tracks (look out for the Acela train) and lots of deer, it is fun, but not for the faint of heart. I just picked up a Concept2 Indoor Rowing Machine too, looking forward to some good cross training this winter.

8 miles in (Steve Wolfe Photo)
That brings us to racing. I have run 5 races this fall, 2 on trails and 3 road relays. The most recent was the Mill Cities Relay, run from Nashua, NH to Lawrence, Ma covering 27 miles and 5 legs. I was running this one for my secondary club, The Goon Squad. We were set up as a mixed masters team. Leading off was my excellent friend Sarah Prescott (Goon name:Goatie), Sarah has been a P.R. machine this year. Next up was very fast senior Linda Jennings (Goon name: Sonic Boom), Linda has been running some of the National USATF Grand Prix Circuit and is wicked fast in her age group. Running third was Jack Mulligan, Jack was filling in for late scratch Fernando Braz. I was next up (Goon name: Flash), i was running the long leg which was 9.5 miles. Our anchor runner was John Murphy (Goon name: Pusher). We knew we weren't running for the win in our division, but that doesn't mean we weren't going run fast anyway. When i took the handoff from Jack, i really did not know what to expect. I figured i would be happy if i ran just under 7's, my first mile was 6.24 after which i backed off a bit and tried to fall into a good rhythm. I locked on at 6.35-6.40 and held pretty steady for 5 miles or so then fell off a bit to 6.45's. It might have been better if not for unknowingly dropping my relay wristband and then backtracking a couple hundred yards to pick it up, that destroyed my momentum. After that, i just figured i would jog in, spirit broken, but i dug down and got back into high gear for the last mile. I may have cost us bout two minutes which was only one lost place in division. All in all, our team ran great despite my mess up. Once done, we all headed into the post race party at the Claddagh Pub, had some food, drank some Guinness and hung with friends and fellow runners. It was a great time! I can't wait for next years race! This was also my birthday and i treated my self by running faster than i thought i could right now, i was a good 15-20 seconds a mile better than i thought i could do for a longer distance. It is fun getting fast again, but i do have a ways to go before i will be satisfied. The goal is sub 6's. I'll get there.

Grog and Dog Jog

Other races i have done this fall include the Rhode Island 6 Hour Relay. Our team the Tuesday Night Turtles finished second overall after a number mishap by the then second place Fuel Belt team. There were timing chips on the numbers and one of their runners forgot his number and had to backtrack to get it. It is a tough way to lose a place. We went from a 3 minute deficit to an 8 minute lead in a lap and finally won by about 12 minutes, but way behind the lead Acidotic Racing team. I also was on the "B" team at the Grog and Dog Jog at the Wild Colonial Tavern in Providence. Run 1 and a quarter miles, eat a hot dog, drink a beer and hand off to your next runner. Dressing up for this race is not a requirement, but most teams do and that is the most of the reason this race is so much fun. Our team dressed up as Larry the Cable Guy, good thing he wears flannel shirts with cut off sleeves, it was 80 degrees plus at race time. Race time is basically thrown out the window hear, first over the line is all that counts. We were top 15, good enough for us.

TNT second place team at the RI 6 Hour Relay
My other two races this fall were both trail runs, but that is where the similarity ended. One race, the Lil'Rhody RunAround is flat, fast 8ish mile race with some roots and plank bridges to cross and a mile of pavement at the end. The other was the Vulcan's Fury Trail Race in Nottingham, NH, 12 miles? with about 1600 ft of climbing. Single track, steep ups and downs, stream crossings, running water down the middle of some double wide trails, climbing up rocks, a lot of twists and turns, basically what makes for a fun race. I had one tough fall here, sliding across a very wide rock while on a decent from the peak, a good amount of rock-rash that i did not even notice until the race was over. It was great fun, looking forward to next year's version. I will get more of my Turtle teammates to this one.

So, now that the fall is over and i am rounding into halfway decent shape, we look towards snowshoe season. This should be good, i have been racing on snow for the last 3 years, but never in very good condition. All we need right now is snow, bring it on! Hopefully i can keep up on my blog updates too.