Thursday, February 20, 2014

B2C2 Spring Swap 3/28/14!

VENDOR REGISTRATION LINK


For the 4th time in the last few years, Marty is letting B2C2 invade his space at Headquarters Boston on Friday, March 28th, 2014 from 6PM-10PM for the mother of all bike swaps.

General admission (just hanging out and buying stuff) is $2 cash per person at the door.  Vendor spaces are $30 if you register ahead of time on our favorite website, $35 cash day of.  Spaces are 6 feet by 6 feet and do not come with any tables, chairs, or displays.  BYO furniture, just like previous years.  Vendors can reserve multiple spots if so desired.

We will open the doors to vendors to set up beginning at 3PM, the general public will be allowed in from 6PM-10PM.  In addition to the swap, there will be a bake sale offering delicious treats and a raffle with prizes donated by our generous sponsors.  Raffle tickets will be available at the door.

Headquarters is located at 12 Channel St. #202, South Boston MA 02210, right off I-90 and I-93 and easily accessible by the Silver Line and by bicycle.  There are metered spaces and garages around the area, as well as a loading dock for vendors to unload their goods before the swap.

All proceeds, as always, go to Headquarters (a working space for local artisans and creative types) and B2C2.  We're humbled by the support the local cycling community has shown in previous years and excited to see you in March!

EDIT:  As seen above, our design wizards have created some hot poster action for you, illustrating the wonderful things you could win if you come hang out and buy raffle tickets.

This year's sponsors:
Boloco (always and forever)
Mavic
Back Bay Bicycles
Headquarters Boston
Pavement Coffeehouse
Cuppow
SchonDSGN
Craft Beer Cellar
Wright Naturals
Greater Boston Running Company
Fat Cat Allston
Bikes Not Bombs




Saturday, August 24, 2013

CCNS Kermis

Of course I'm starting to find some fitness and finally feel confident... as the road season winds down.  Such is life.  Monday I went running for the first time in two years, Tuesday I did Wompatuck p/b Every McCormack From This World and All Others.  So I was not "fresh" coming into Friday evening's CCNS Kermis around the Rent stadium in Hartford.  I'm told they have training crits here, but since Connecticut is bat country I have no firsthand experience.  The course was awesome - fast and smooth, but at the halfway point they threw in a 180 degree hairpin that narrowed from "wide-ass road" to "$@#$ you Cat 4s, ride this footpath".  The wind also played a pretty significant factor - every time we were pointed north speeds dropped from 28+ mph to 25 or 26.


(GPS trace credit this guy)

So we headed out with 35ish Cat 3s (and one lady, who was apparently making dudes look silly on the jump after the hairpin).  Oscar "I have kids and a wife and work 60+ hours a week, what's YOUR excuse for being late to the race" Jimenez leapt away, Hopengarten bridged, I tried to join and accidentally dragged the field most of the way back to them (like a jealous ex-boyfriend, I need to stay close to make sure GLV isn't having fun without me).  Not long after, I saw a two man break leave the building and jumped down the gutter after them.  I looked back through filthy sunglasses and saw bodies on my wheel, so I assumed I was dragging the field again and threw an elbow.  Then I realized that I'm not one of those "cover or die" B2C2ers, no one's that worried about me, and only three gentlemen had joined my party.  I leeched onto the back of the chase, we caught the two up the road, and the break was on.

Most of the major teams were represented (Expo, RSC, Cyclonauts, Cheshire, and the rare Middlebury/NBX split kit).  We had a pretty good rotation, and most of the yelling was constructive, not angry.  Expo loved long efforts and hated recovery, and would spend most of my subsequent pulls sitting right next to me in the wind.  His choice.  Cyclonauts tailgunned a lot and was pretty close to getting gapped more than once.  However, we needed his army of gigantic dudes dressed like bumblebees to block the field, nor was anyone terribly concerned with thinning the herd with half an hour of racing left.  It became pretty obvious as we hit 3 or 4 laps to go and the gap worked its way up to 30+ seconds that A. barring some kind of Ben Wolfe-like effort from the field we would stay away and B. Middlebury was probably going to eat our lunch, as he was still pulling at 30+ when the wind was favorable.  With three to go I rode up next to him and said something like "I'm fading fast, but you can win this thing", which is code for "Please stick around for a while, if we get caught on bell lap it will blow a hole in my fragile sense of self-worth and I'll vomit all over my grad school interviewers in two weeks.  My future will be ruined and it will be your fault, college boy.  I NEED THIS".  True to form, he kept taking superhuman pulls until one to go, when he attacked the absolute holy hell out of us and no one even tried to cover.  We kept up the rotation until the last two straightaways, when I screwed up the sprint (of course Cyclonauts jumped first and made the podium, which I am not bitter about at all).  I came across the line in 6th, one out of the money/upgrade points, which is my usual station in life.  But god, that was fun, right?  right?

Props to CCNS for putting this on again.  They took a page from the Witches Cup school of "get the community to show up" race promotion, with food trucks, a beer tent giving free samples, and a goddamn bouncy castle.  They also got Richard Fries to show up and yell things through a PA system.  Next up is Mayor's Cup and the mysterious Downtown Hartford Jackson Pollack Criterium, which looks positively collegiate in it's infinite number of corners.  Late summer cyclocross is a terrible invention, spawned by those who fear a concrete definition of success and failure and just "want to have fun in the dirt".  Let's keep racing crits until autumn dies all around us and cross actually seems like a palatable alternative.

(I love you, cross racer teammates, please don't kick me off the team, no one else wants me at this point)


Thursday, August 15, 2013

2013 B2C2 Fall Bike Swap and Gear Sale

It's time for the B2C2 Fall Bike Swap! The swap will be held at Headquarters Boston on Thursday, September 5th and will run from 6pm until 10pm. If you're interested in a vendor space, please register in advance here - 6 foot by 6 foot vendor spaces are $25 each to pre-register and $35 each day-of. You can purchase multiple vendor spaces if you have a lot to sell or, if you'd like to sign up for just one spot and share the space with friends, you're welcome to do so. Vendors must provide their own tables, chairs, displays etc.

If you're interesting in buying or perusing, general admission is $2 per person.

We're working on pulling together the same degree of awesome as the last event - look forward to amazing vendors, lots of delicious baked goods, great raffle prizes, and more! 

All proceeds from the event benefit B2C2 and HQ Boston. Feel free to email Lauren at lauren.j.kling@gmail.com if you have any questions about registering for a vendor space or about the event.





Headquarters Boston - Located on the 2nd floor 
12 Channel St
Boston, Ma 02210

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Lime Rock Grand Prix Report

There is a place, far west from here, hidden in the green hills of Connecticut near the Massachusetts border.  In this place, someone built a race car track so that people with money could drive really fast and not get speeding tickets.  A man named Alan Atwood saw this track and said "Gee, I bet there could be a bike race here".  

And it was sweet.  Admittedly, B2C2 stunk it up.  We brought four guys: Matt Griswold, who is in far better shape than you'd expect from a medical resident, Brian, Preston, and myself.  It was beautiful the whole drive there, and then started raining sideways while we were staging.  An inch of water on the course, could barely see, probably-shouldn't-be-on-carbon-wheels amounts of rain.  The course had a kicker climb, a giant downhill into a left hand corner which everyone handled very nicely at 38mph on wet roads, and a chicane back to the start/finish stretch.  So we raced, and The Johan got away early.  Despite our efforts he kept a pretty constant gap on us, eventually winning solo by some large amount of seconds.  And since the usual B2C2 salad shooter strategy of "attack till something sticks" works less well when the break is long up the road and we hadn't talked about who was sprinting at the end, we got 14th and 15th on the day.  

But I'm not really writing this because I got 15th place and felt the need to share it.  15th place sucks.  I'm writing it because Alan puts on a fantastic little race, and he intends to continue doing so.  There were indoor bathrooms, pleasant reg staff, a pace car and a follow motorcycle, and quick results.  The race wasn't overly expensive.  The point of this 'report' is that we live in a scary world where good New England races are disappearing fast.  Sometimes they don't disappear, they just go to sleep and wake up tied to the bed wearing a rubber suit and discover that they're half Gran Fondo.  If you're interested in keeping the scene alive so we can play every weekend, the old rules of 'that's too far to drive for a crit' might no longer apply.  Support good promoters like Alan, and show up to the races that value your participation.

GO TO LIME ROCK NEXT YEAR.  Or I'll find the masters rider who crashed everyone out at Tuesday Night Worlds last night and send him to your living room, and he's gonna ride his bike into all of your nice furniture.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Transylvania Epic Stage 4: Up and Down.

I was pretty stressed out about the "Enduro Day". Previous editions of this event have treated my bike rather poorly, and with five timed downhill sections (a few of which we were told to "look out for") and minimal time to be gained by reckless riding, I adjusted my goals significantly.

And installed a dropper post.

Yeah, I was... worried.

The format was essentially a series of shuttle runs where your shuttle driver gets lost and you end up having to ride up the mountain after each run.You ride slow up the mountain, then ride as fast as you can back down. I started out in a group with Brian "Enduro Dad" Matter, Sam Koerber, Phils Thighs, and Wes Richards, though through a combination of their combined watts (and my own lack of excitement for humid, exposed fireroad climbs), I drifted back and hung out with Andrea, Jesse, and Nathan.

Here is an abbreviated breakdown of the sections:

Section 1: Twisty, fast, and smooth, but because I still have PTSD from the last time Mike and Ray warned us about a downhill run I picked my way down it like a Bosnian minesweeper. I shouldn't have, because holy damn, it was a blast.

Section 2: A bit more rocky than section one, this was ridden with a little more party speed than the previous course. Still no flats, still no mechanicals. Unfortunately I was still riding like an old man with  a trick hip.

Section 3: Crossing over the Event Horizon of Awesome, we plunged into a nearly brakeless, technical chute of drifty delights. There is nothing else I can say about the 3 or so minutes I spent flying down that trail. Seriously.

Section 4: This is the one we were warned about, and reinforced by Nathan saying some rather guarded words about the bottom. It was fast, it was wet, it was covered with rocks. The "hard part" at the bottom was approached at a speed that was incompatible with changing course, so I tried to lean back and boost over the yawning gulf that waited hungrily for my front wheel. Great (or at least nominal) success - second-to-last bit free and clear. I was feeling confident.

Section 5: And here is where you get your moneys worth.

I started out with my dropper post in the "up" position. I did not realize this until the first chute. Where I spent an interminable few seconds on my front wheel after my saddle tried very hard to jettison me from the bike. I managed to regain control, but was on a not-line littered with slick, off-camber rocks.

I clipped my pedal trying to regain the high line, which spun me into a 45 degree angle relative to the trail (and more importantly, the slightly-wider-than-my-handlebar set of goal posts I was approaching at 20 miles an hour).

Wrenching my body with as much force as my vestigial arms could muster, I straightened out enough to pass through the trees, but my weight was now distributed in such a way that I was pulled back down to the bottom line.

Which at this point looked like a high-speed turn on a CX course after the 4 race.

Just about now I clipped my other pedal, this time sending me directly into a small (though I assure you very sturdy) tree. My ricochet angle could have been worse, though it did cause my front wheel to jam into a long rut between two granite formations.

My back wheel, I should point out, was not in that rut.

Holding it at what I can only imagine to be an impossible angle, I emerged from the rock-rut just in time for the trail to veer hard left. Luckily, the boulder on the outside of the turn was there to smash my back wheel in the appropriate direction.

I still wasn't clipped in.

Which was causing me a fair amount of stress.

Finally I was able to get my bearings enough to clip in and point my bike in the right direction.

The first 40 seconds of my run were going rather less well than I had hoped.

I finally straightened myself out after a brief respite, and settled in for the rest of the run. Just after the rocks had finished having their way with me there was a flat-ish, all-out pedaling section. Which dumped me directly into a rock pile that would make any section of the Gloucester Grind look like the Big Ring Rumpus.

Overgeared and undermotivated, I got off and ran (well, tried to pick my way through without rolling an ankle).

A few bridges later and I was done.

And in one piece.

Thanks to Mike and Ray (and the rest of the Transylvania staff) for having the courage and flexibility to try new things. The enduro competition is one I am actually not participating in (for reasons you would understand if you have ever read any of my reports from this race ever), but it is a great idea and one that seems to be motivating riders to get out of their element and do something different.

I feel like this is a good a time as any to point out that I ate a whole chicken last night.

See you all tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Transylvania Epic, Stages 2 and 3, because my laptop sucks.

So yesterdays report got eaten by my flaky laptop.

Quick recap: Rocks, climbing, Phil Groves thighs, climbing, lineless rock piles, Phil Grove standing the whole way up a 10 minute climb, blown derailleur housing, rocks, climbing in the big ring at all times, hurty legs, singletrack of infinite awesomeness, climbing, 6th.

Today we started in the rain. My dreams of a civilized, neutral-ish start were crushed by one Drew Edsall, who decided to let my legs know just how today was going to go on the very first climb.

Much jockeying for position and moist panting occurred. For the first downhill singletrack section I slotted in behind Uncle Al Donahue, who in most circumstances is a highly desirable wheel.

The exception to this rule proved to be a twisting, rutted, rocky singletrack descent.

In the pouring rain.

Als bike flew past my face about 2 minutes later. I slowed to ask him if he was ok then set about the task of closing the now-sizable gap between me and Aaron Snyder.

I took risks.

I worked with Phil Groves Thighs to bridge back up to the lead group, which had by now noticed the rather sizable gap between them and the rest of us.

It hurt.

We latched on, and settled in for the pain parade.

Sometime around now I noticed Drew was missing.

Related: Sometime around now Justin and Brian noticed Drew was missing.

There was an acceleration.

And a gap.

Wes, by far the most clever (or foolhardy) of all of us, managed to stay on the wheel. I was towing Aaron, who (somewhat nonchalantly) said "it's a long, long day".

I did not listen.

Like a dumbass.

I bridged across to the threesome and decided almost immediately that I would be better off sawing both my legs in half at the knee.

I sat up and waited to see who would come to my rescue.

It was Sam Koerber and Phil Groves Thighs.

We "worked together", meaning Phils Thighs would take enormous pulls while Sam and I hid in his wake.

I should at this point mention that Phil was wearing what looked like a snowsuit.

The three of us reached the "Fishermans Trail", which would be much more fun on a dry day with a six inch travel trailbike. As it was, it was like riding through a field of cue balls covered in baby oil.

This did not matter to Sam.

Who apparently has no weaknesses.

He put about 30 seconds into me through that section.

I somehow dropped Phils Thighs and set about reeling in Koerber.

Which was... difficult.

I finally caught him a few miles later, and we worked "well" together - which more or less meant we traded pulls on the flats and I would get dropped on the climbs. I should also mention that sometime around now, he realized that his wheel had some kind of issue.

He slowed at the aid station, hoping to replace the wheel, but decided it would cost too much time. I waited up the road, and we kept at it.

It had finally stopped raining, and I peeled off my rain jacket and hat. This is important because putting my hat in my pocket jettisoned my food flask.

Which was half full.

I would not give up Koerbers wheel.

Luckily, Sam crushed any delusions of adequacy I might have had on the penultimate climb. He didn't attack me, just rode away - slowly, inexorably away. By the top of that interminable climb, he had 30 seconds on me. I knew I didn't have another 30 seconds of gap-closing wattage left in me.

I let him go. (ha ha ha "let him".)

I instead focused on riding at my tempo, recovering on the (very) few descents and keeping it steady on the flats. I got as "aero" as I could. I sprayed Heed into my glorping face-hole. On one of the rollers toward the end, there was a state highway vehicle re-graveling the road. Which turned it into a tractionless stretch of damp marbles.

My curses were many and varied.

The end of the course took us on the final bit of the TT loop and around the lake, the former I rode at a shameful pace. The latter, however, I stood up and sprinted like a floorpunching monkey.

Because I just finished in 4th place at the Transylvania Epic.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Transylvania Epic Prologue: Sometimes riding IS racing.


Today was time trial day.

I know you all want to hear that my bike exploded.

It did not explode.

This will hopefully keep many of you from having to read lots and lots of words.

I tried a "new strategy" for this stage. Usually I go from the start like a raccoon out of a trash bin, but today - after riding the course yesterday and witnessing the various misfortunes of my preride partners, I opted to "start easy" and "ride into it". Also, I was scheduled to start fourth from last, followed by Lindine, Edsall, and Snyder.

So, a real morale booster.

The course was pretty bananas. It was run backwards from years past, meaning the hell-climb was now a not-climb, and that always-soggy end section was first. Fellow Rimmy-jobbers Jesse and Andrea did a lap with me yesterday, with limited success: Jesse lasted about a mile before his hanger, derailleur, and cassette turned into an exhibition-worthy metal sculpture. A few miles later Andrea thought she broke her hand after her bike hit a land mine at the end of the "enduro segment".

So yeah, tomorrow, I was going to take it easy.

We spent the next morning riding the beginning and end of the course. This was of particular importance for two reasons:

1. There was a section of trail where my bars literally would not fit through.
2. The fresh cut, stump-riddled last section was... confusing.

The latter was of some concern due in large part to the "speed limit" enforced by the occasionally surprising directions (and newly-cut saplings) the trail would blindly veer into.

Enough postponing my excuse race report, here's how it went.

I went out, as I said, easy. As in "don't mess up, stay upright, be smooth through the first technical section".

I accomplished exactly none of those things.

After spending most of the morning trying to figure out a line around the "too narrow for my bars" part, I promptly wedged myself between them. A few embarrassed seconds later, I slipped on a root and almost took a swim.

So yeah, it was going about as well as you would expect. Five minutes into an hour-long time trial, and I was wrapping myself around trees like a monkey with an extra chromosome.

Oh well, at least Lindine hasn't caught me yet.

Yeah.

About that.

As soon as I got out of this self-inflicted shame warmup, Justin flew past me at what I can only describe as "Ludicrous Speed". Like I said, things were going great. The first hill was long and had a surface which was, to varying degrees, eroded away. I went "hard", but not "really hard". Like I said, pacing.

Unfortunately, I had to start racing sometime.

"Sometime" happened when Aaron Snyder passed me. I followed him at a respectable distance for a few minutes, and he dragged me up to Drew Edsall. Who I somehow followed for 15 minutes.

Not a bad rabbit, if you can hang on.

The next section was an "Enduro Segment". To participate in this race-within-the-race, you have to slow down, swipe an RFID card (BEEP) at the beginning of the segment, GO HAAHD, then slow to a stop again at the end and swipe your card (BEEP) again.

I was excited about this, because I like taking completely unnecessary risks for little to no tangible reward.

So I slowed to a stop, and held my card against the reader.

Nothing.

Impatiently, I did it again.

Silent mockery.

I had just spent about 30 seconds screaming at the tree the card reader was attached to.

It never beeped.

Now frustrated and filled with rage at having lost my rabbit, I proceeded to treat the rocky downhill like it ran over my dog.

Unfortunately, sometime around the bottom of the descent I started losing track of "racing".

Because holy crap, this was awesome.

I showboated the much-abbreviated "moto section" and tore through the super twisty singletrack at the foot of the hill. I was feeling good. Excited, even.I tore up the first half of the next climb. Note "first half". I started bogging down towards the top, even though I was starting to catch a bunch of guys who started before me. The next descent was terminated with extreme prejudice, and then I settled in for the 3-ish mile road section.

Which seemed... long.

I hit the last paved climb with about 15 people ahead of me. I made it my personal mission to catch every one of them.

I did.

Unfortunately, the fresh-cut finale went somewhat less well (as my bruised and bloody knuckles can attest).
By this point, the (very, very narrow) trail was full of blown-up riders, most at that point of their race where "on your right" means "Excuse me, sir. Can you please crash into a tree at your soonest possible convenience?"

So I kind of gave up on passing for a bit.

Again, I feel like I lapsed into "riding". Which was not, you know, ideal for a time trial. Get on it, old man.

I was just two minutes from the end. I put my head down. I went HAAHD.

Just in time for a completely spent (from his podium ride!) Nathan Ruch to meander directly into my flight path.

We both became aware of each other at exactly the same time.

Which was almost exactly two seconds before impact.

Pants sufficiently wettened, I rode as only a man faced with a 20 mile an hour collision with a thoroughly cooked masters racer can.

I came through in 1:07, tired but kind of wishing I went a little harder.

I did, however, suck marginally less than I thought I did, and was good enough for 9th.