Dissapeared

Hello. Anyone out there?

Yea, sorry I disappeared last week. It’s  been a crazy two weeks. My super lovely, totally awesome wife was in Europe visiting friends.

slovenia2

slovenia1

venice1

Yeah, clearly it sucked to be her last week. Any guesses where she was? The bottom one should be easy. The top two, probably a little bit harder. (The top two are not from the same country, so you can cross the bottom country off the list when thinking about the top two.)

Meanwhile I was home playing single dad. But what made it really crazy for me was mixing work with that. I am finishing up my sabbatical. And right now I am trying to get a PhD’s worth of data in a 2 week span. That’s exciting because it is a lot of data and time that has to be taken right the first time. (I tell my students that data isn’t good until the 3rd time you take it. I don’t have that luxury.) But the more cool thing that made work very busy (and therefore cut into my fun biking/bleeding time) has been a proposal I needed to get out. It’s cool for two reasons. Someone I know called me and basically said I have money, can you do this work? With proposals being funded at about a 10% chance, someone calling with money is something you cannot pass up.

The other really cool thing about this work is it will keep you all safe. Usually my work keeps you safe, but more through the “safety through superior firepower” method of safety. This project will keep you all safe without that little twist and I like that.

Anyhow, that’s my long winded way of saying that I was too busy to write last week.

But worry not. I leave for California and Boggs on Thursday.

Yeah here is the link to the race information I got via email.

bike_monkey

Clearly this is going to be interesting. I am sure there will be something to tell when that is all finished.

An Open Letter to Elden Nelson Part 3: Calling you IN

Dear Elden,

I am going to be serious today, because well that is where I am.

You know that I have been writing some smack talk about Boggs. And you know that, that was all in good fun. (And I know that you know that was all in good fun.)

You also know that my fall and winter have been long and difficult. It started with being away from home for the year on sabbatical. While that should be a fun time, its hard to be away for extended periods of time from the people who are important. During the fall things became complicated with family medical problems. My uncle was diagnosed with cancer and passed in the fall. That was followed with more sabbatical traveling this winter and more being away from home. All that is to say, it’s been difficult to find the motivation to train and look forward to the spring.

About a month ago we had a second serious medical issue come up, this time with my mom. It looked bad, very bad. For about a month we didn’t know what was going on or how things would turn out. What little motivation I had kind of went out the door with just trying to get through the day to day grind.

Last week two things happened, both on the same day.

We talked a little bit off line about making a fun bet and you didn’t want to bet against any Friends of Fatty. You said you wanted to go to Boggs and cheer for all of us.

The other thing that happened is that we got word on what was really going on with my mom. We got some good advice from a doctor my wife works with and we were able to figure out the real problem. It turns out we hit a “best case scenario” and everything is going to be just fine. Now we are facing antibiotics instead of surgery, chemo and radiation. Yeah, best case there. And really a weight lifted.

I am really excited to go to California to ride in a couple of weeks. I get to travel to the West Coast and ride with an East Coast friend Jeff (who won the trip to race Boggs). I raced one year with Jeff at the Tour of the Battenkill. While that is the one race I truely hated and will never ever ride again, Jeff and I have kept up the friendship. I also get to go and ride with two West Coast friends who I met through your blog, Dave and David. I met both for the first time when I went to Davis to ride Live Strong. I remember meeting the Thompson Clan and hearing about Rob and the bike Dave built for him and Rob to ride together on. David has been bugging me to come ride in CA with him almost daily since then. So this is the chance to do that. (And to bug him hourly about some writing assignment that he has yet to finish. I think you may want to join me in that.) I get to meet Levi and to ride with you (with oxygen included this time). So yeah, I am looking forward to the trip. Its a chance to relax, race and more importantly to remember that bikes, even at races, are about riding with people.

I am officially calling you “In” instead of “Out”. I’ll bring the guacamole, you bring the brats. We can both bring bottles of Carborocket and pass them to each other as we race.

Doug

An Open Letter to Elden Nelson Part 2

Dear Fatty,

Hey Buddy, how’s it going?

Recently I wrote you an open letter discussing your team plans for the 8 hours of Boggs race. I have yet to receive a reply from you per this letter. I realize you may of been recovering from you True Grit Race experience and have not yet had time to reply to the challenge that has been thrown down. Nice job on your solid “middle of the pack” finish at True Grit BTW. How did your wife finish again? Or maybe you are shaking in your bike shoes. Who knows.

I thought I would update you a little bit on the progress of our team.

You may be asking yourself who this mystery “Rider-X” is on our team. Well let me help you with that. He is in this picture.

riderx

Hope that helps.

I also wanted to let you in on some of our special training. Dave has been riding hard. He has a unique training program where he rides a special tandem bike with an awesome stoker.

dave_training

Dave and his family are World Bicycle Relief Ambassadors and their story is AMAZING. (If you don’t know the story you can find it here.) Dave and Rob have been training hard, and when they are finished training Dave has been going out for more riding to build up his speed. Yeah, two-a-days for Dave.

Since Dave has been doing two-a-days, I have been counting his training rides as mine. I don’t want us to have an unfair advantage when we meet at Boggs. Yes. I have been embarking on a true “Team Fatty” training regime of bratts, pizza, ice cream (I have been doing two-a-days on this one) and pie this winter, with a couple of latte’s thrown in each day for extra energy. So far its working great. I am up 10 lbs above my optimum racing weight, which helped me in my serious physical training regime this winter: luging. You would NOT believe how much effort it takes to lay relaxed on a sled and let gravity pull you down a hill for 46 seconds and then get on a truck to go back to the top of the mountain.  I figure that I am going to be a monster on the downhills where gravity matters.

I also have been taking advantage of our fabulous winter here to avoid riding my bike.

postwood-1

The snow here is melting (well except for the fact that it snowed all weekend again) and we are at about 2ft in my yard right now. I should be able to start a more “formal” training regime in June or July when all the snow has finally melted off the mountain bike trails.

I did figure that I should check to see if my bike was working so we took a trip to the deep southern state of Connecticut for some riding.

doug1_ct_easter2015-1

 

It was a great ride and my bike (rusted chain and shot bottom bracket) is totally ready.

I decided that I am also ready to race

doug2_ct_easter2015-1

 

and have begun to enter taper mode for Boggs.

 

See you in a couple of weeks,

Doug (Designated GC Rider Team Fatty)

 

Monday Morning Slider: 2015 US Masters National Championship (A Weekend in Pictures)

Two people to thank for today’s post. Laura Murphy whom you all have seen work from in the last 2 posts. And Cynthia Hausman who also took some fabulous photos. You can see  a lot more of her pictures at the US Luge Facebook Page.

The people make Masters a exceptionally fun event. Here are some of my favorite pictures from the weekend.

2015_masters_MVH_entrance

“In”

 

2015_masters_truck

“Up”

 

2015_masters_me

“Prepare”

 

2015_masters_me2

“Focus”

 

2015_masters_sleds

“Down”

 

2015_masters_jen

“Jen”

 

2015_USLA_Masters_EW_and_WW-1

“Mom”

 

2015_USLA_Masters_DG-1

“Young”

 

2015_USLA_Masters_JS_JM-1

“Serious?”

 

2015_USLA_Masters_matt-1

“Ummmm”

 

2015_USLA_Masters_jim-1

“Oops”

 

CS_and_EW

“Jedi”

 

doug_and_jen

“Padowan”

 

2015_USLA_Masters_JW-1

“Best”

 

2015_USLA_Masters_JM_and_MG-1

“0.003”

 

2015_USLA_Masters_race1_curve13_all-1

“Slider”

 

Monday Morning Slider: 2015 US Masters National Championship Part 2 (Race Day)

Author’s Note: The pictures in today’s post are again courtesy of Laura Murphy, who suffered a sub zero race morning (it is almost spring right???) to get some more awesome shots.

OK, so for my last run the night before the biggest race of the year, the race where I get to slide with Olympians, where some of the competitors have been sliding as long as I have been alive, I tagged walls. But I was calm and centered in the morning. And in a very non-Fat Cyclist way, I have been calm recently before luge races. It was race day, and well, I wasn’t going to win. So there was no real pressure (except what I heap on myself). I did, however, bring my game face

angry_eyes2

and my race suit. No sense giving up even before the race starts. You never know. There had been a lot of crashes during practice. And well it was possible that two of the good sliders could crash and I could sneak into 3rd. (And maybe I would hit a moose on the way to the track. The odds were about even, considering the only moose I have ever seen in the Adirondacks is on a sign.)

I also opted for my Leadville Tech-T as my base base layer.

LEADVILLE_team_bohl_logo

 

The quotes help me to put what I am going to do in perspective.

It was cold when I got up. Like below zero cold. (Just a couple of days before April. Hey Spring WTF?) But it was dry, and we were hoping the track workers had prepped to give us a fast track. Ladies and Gentlemen when we got there it was a fast track. The track workers had worked on the start ramp and had sprayed a light layer of water on top of the ice. Instead of the hazy ice we had been seeing the past few weeks, we saw a glassy track. The anticipation built.

Race day in the start house is different. There is a seriousness in it. Even if this isn’t our job, even if our future doesn’t depend on how we do in this race, well, who doesn’t want to be the fastest person in a sport in the ENTIRE COUNTRY. (Even if it is a niche sport like Luge. How many of you can say you were National Champions????)

I was in a good place, focused.

Here’s was the deal. There were 7 of us in our division (the “Not Yet in AARP” Men’s Division). 4 of the sliders were much faster than me. My sole hope of getting onto the podium was to: 1. Slide two heats better than I have ever done before. Way better. 2. To hope that two of them slid at least one really bad run, preferable two really bad runs. It was a long shot. In the “slow” sliders group there was me, my friend Jim, and a guest who is pretty good considering he only really slides with us during races. Jim has the ability to slide faster than me, but he has been suffering the dreaded inconsistency problems. You may remember Jim from this picture:

2015_USLA_Masters_curve18_JW-1

My line, while not perfect, was faster by virtue of the fact that I was ON my sled:

2015_USLA_Masters_curve18-1

I was the 6th slider and Jim was the 7th.

I didn’t pay much attention to the times of the first 5 sliders, but I did hear that one of my friends broke 45 seconds (this is THE metric for a really fast run on this track, from this start location) so I knew the track was fast. I pulled off, didn’t paddle and went straight down the start ramp.

I had a really nice run. Not a personal best, but it was one of my best most relaxed runs ever.

2015_USLA_Masters_race1_curve13-1

I made it through the Labyrinth (the first 1/3 of the track) cleanly. I got onto the chicane cleanly and even managed to relax there. Then into the heart. I felt the turns and did what was needed. And then I flew across the finish line up the out ramp and past the clock. I missed seeing my time, but the results would show that my time was 46.487 seconds (just over 1.5 seconds behind the race leader). It’s a lot of fun to carry so much speed into the finish that you go past the clock without being about to see it. Jim, slid a fantastic 1st run and had a personal best at 46.178 (he OBLITERATED his PB by half a second). I was in 6th place.

My people sent out a social media blast informing my fans of my good run.

2015_USLA_Masters_coreen-1

Time to get ready for the second run.

The Adirondack Mountains are a beautiful place. Even if you get cold and snow in spring.

2015_USLA_Masters_ADK-1

And one of the nice things about spring is that the sun in intense and warms things nicely. The cold -5 F temps climbed and kept climbing. Not to the point where the fast track was in danger of slowing, but to the point where you really did appreciate having a chance to be outside (even in spandex).

Run 2 was in reverse order of finish, which meant I was second off the handles. My second run was a carbon copy of the first. Nice, clean, relaxed. Just a hint of a bobble at the end. 0.08 seconds slower, but enough to be in first place after 2 sliders.

2015_USLA_Masters_race1_finish-1

My day and my season, finished.

2015_USLA_Masters_DB_finish-1

It was time to wait and see.

Jim came down next and had a slightly rough run. I moved ahead of him in the standings. Today’s finish is brought to you by the letter “C”(onsistency). It was time to see if any of the fast dudes would choke under the pressure.

The sport of Luge is timed to the 1/1000th of a second. And here is why.

3-29_Master's_Men

 

 

3rd and 4th place were separated by 0.003 seconds. After two runs, which took just over 1 minute and 30 seconds of total time, they were separated by 0.003 seconds. 1st and 2nd were separated by 0.020 seconds. So the short answer is no, none of the top 4 sliders blinked and I ended up in 5th place.

Neither of my 2 runs were personal best times. They were close, but not quite there. BUT, but, my combined time made this this fastest two run race of my career. I found my groove and ended the season sliding fast and confident.

 Picture of the Day

2015_USLA_Masters_spoils-1

 

“To the Victor….”