Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Got busy!

Sorry about the lull here. Life got a little crazy (and still is with the holidays and all....)

I did the last cyclocross race of my season at Kirtland park on Nov 21. Woof! I had a plan for the start, and lined up where I wanted, even though it was second row. Got off the line reasonably, and was sitting comfortably mid field by the time we went down the hill. Yeah... midfield. I ended up hauling 3 guys around the course for two laps before thinking "Hey! Why am I doing all the work?" At which point I sat up a bit... and two guys got away from us. What the heck! I ended up chasing one down, the other was gone.

I got into a nice battle with Rudy. He flatted which let me catch up to him, then we just went back and forth until two laps to go when he either popped, or decided his season was done here also. At which point, I was also running from Mitch. Mitch caught me with a bit more than half a lap, and I thought I was controlling the gap. Then at the most difficult turn on the course, PM turned inside me taking my line. I thought about continuing my turn, and taking us both out... but decided that would be bad form. It's not nice to take out a leader when your getting lapped.

So, I finished 17th. Not where I wanted, but I raced about as hard as I could. So I can't complain about that. I finished 14th in the A overall, and fourth in the bragging rights 40+.

Overall it was a nice cyclocross season. I've got goals for improving my handling and fitness for next year, and I'm working out a plan. Now I just need the rest of my life to cooperate.

Now I get to concentrate on work for a while. Yes, emphasize the "GET TO", it's not really "HAVE TO". I'm having fun with this now, though I'm really ready to finish. All eyes are on an April 1st deadline, with a good deal of work to do before then. So it may be quiet, which is normal when I'm not racing anyway.

In the meantime, I can procrastinate every once in a while. So I picked up a small side project that my readers may be interested in. Check out the workout analysis software GoldenCheetah. OpenSource power/HR analysis (that means it's free to you). Documentation can be found at the GC wiki site.

What else am I going to do during the winter... but play with technology.

Friday, November 19, 2010


In the comments of my last post, I was anonymously accused of cheating in what I called the best race of my season.

I heard when you flatted at Brett's day one you just cut the course to get to the pits. That is called cheating.

From the quote it sounds like more than the author think what I did was wrong. They obviously don't know me at all, which is fine. But being stand accused, I figure I can defend myself. So here's what happened on October 30th at the Chagrin River CX.

I was in eighth place. Chasing Rudy hard, and being chased by Eric Lesko, Tony and Zak. I'm pretty sure I hit something entering the first metal tube, like the edge of the tube itself, on the fifth lap. By the time I hit the beach section, I knew my tire was going flat. By the time I came off the beach I was having a really bad time turning... totally flat. So I knew I was going to the pit. Eric passed me on the long straight after the beach. I made the left hand turn to the top of the mound. Hopped off the course, threw my front wheel off  the bike, and ran into the pit. Sara Harper was there, and asked if I needed anything. I pretty much ignored her (sorry). The pit was two loops further down the course, but actually only 10m from where I hopped off. I grabbed my spare front wheel, and dropped the flat wheel in the pit. Ran back to the bike, and mounted the front wheel and hopped back on the course where I left it.

In my defense, Brett stated at the line that we could pit from anywhere on the course, since the pit was only a single entry, as long as we returned to where we left the course to continue on. This is what I did.

Meanwhile, I went from 8th place to 15th place... just like that. I was pretty much ready to pull the plug on the race at that point to save it for Sunday. I didn't, but it took a LONG time for me to actually do more than just pedal along in 15th place. I did eventually see that I could catch Mitch... so I did. He fought valiantly, it was fun working to get by him, and once I did, he sat up. That surprised me, but again... whatever. By then Robert was also coming back to me, so I latched onto him, and managed to get that place as well.

13th was a good result, and I was pleased with it even though I figured I had more on that day. But it happens. Sunday was crap for me, so I have a lot of regrets on how I raced both days. I learn from regrets, but I did not regret my decision on my wheel change, and still don't.

My thought are rather than accuse me of cheating (in an anonymous comment), talk to me about it... I really am a reasonable guy. Or take it to the official. Brett, or the NEOCX can easily DQ or relegate me for that race. I'd understand... and I don't mind if they do it retroactively.

It's not like any of my placings have paid anything, or will make any big impact in the A race overall standings. Whatever. This silly game we play has no real consequences and means nothing in the grand scheme of life. Really. Read the quote from Adam Meyerson on the right... it's true.

I could have deleted the comment straight out. I moderate my comments to keep the spam content down. Deleting it would do nothing. I responded first in a comment, but that might get overlooked. So, make it public. I'll accept criticism from anyone. I do reserve the right to give more credence if I know who is giving it though.

Racing is mental.

Raced in Euclid at Blue Sky (or Not) on Sunday. I'd done some recon of the course over the last few weeks, so I had an idea what we were in for. Lots of grass, lots of off-camber, lots of twisty bits, a steep hill that we would hit twice, and a ball field spiral that transitioned between the infield and outfield. Rain during the week had some slick parts, but the city must have cut the grass before the rain. That actually made the course easier.

Jason, Zak, Dave and I lined up in a thin A field of 14. I'd again lobbied for call ups, and restricted start gate, they did both, but only for the A race I think. The call ups didn't help me, since I have been free falling through the top 10 into 12th. It's tough to stay in a top 10 overall when you don't actually get top 10 placings in any of the races. Oh well.

So, I lined up second row. Which totally screwed my racing thoughts up... like I had already decided I would not start well, so why bother. Plus with only 14, I was almost certain that this result would be better than a good deal of my previous races... so I didn't really have to try. WTF! Where do those thoughts come from?

Start was another 100m sprint to a 180, back again to another 180 before a long drag to the first off camber twisty bits. I pull up passing about 5 guys into the first turn, and am sitting in 12th at the second. Oh, it's supposed to be a RACE!!! I start chasing after the second turn.

Stupid the distance the leaders have by the time I get to the hill the first time, they are all most off of it. Which doesn't sound bad except that there was quite a bit of twisty stuff on top of the hill before the descent. I got around a guy coming down the hill to get to 11th. Dave came by me on the second lap, and the two of us battled with another guy for most of the rest of the race.

This race was all about controlling the turns, and sprinting out of each corner. I like to think I'm reasonable technically. Still it took me to the fourth lap to figure out a good line around the light poles at the top of the hill, and I screwed those lines up the last 2 laps.

The three of us sitting in 10th, 11th and 12th started to spread out, with me at the back. I just kept trusting that I could use my skill to close the gap to Dave in 10th. As the laps clicked on, I got 11th on lap 4. Then was just able to hold the gap to Dave through the rest of the race.

Jason is flying, ended up fourth. Zak was also there for 8th, and Dave rounded out the top 10. I finished 15 second later in 11th.

The result is good, but my head was not. It seems that if I start poorly, I settle for the placing and don't really put it ALL into the race. I still am fighting, but the intensity seems to be less. It seems like my best head race was the first Chagrin River race. I got a great start sitting in second. Crashed out of that, but kept the pressure on fighting for 7th through 10th, managed to keep the head and technique together until I flatted half way through the race. At which point, I let my head talk me out of racing to the finish. I have to unlock THAT mental potential somehow.


One more opportunity to make it all work this season. Kirtland Park on Sunday!

Monday, November 08, 2010

Cross my heart...

THE dreaded hill. We got snow on Saturday, and rain, and cold... cyclocross weather. I spent some time this week getting the bike(s) together, including the old surly that I could use as a pit bike. Boy is my position on that thing weird compared to my race bike. Ah well. I hope to not need it now that I have it.

Arrived at Todd field to see the course for the NEOCX Series. 5 dismounts, wow! And mud as expected. We even had a start grid, and call ups! Very nicely done. Call ups went by results before Brett's races last weekend. It'll be all upside down by next weekend when nearly everyone will have races dropping off the overall series.

Start on flat field to a barrier/short run up. Remount on gravel, a quick twist and back down that little hill. Sweep around to pavement, and around the outfield of ball field 1. Out and into some seriously muddy twisting leading to run up number 2. Back on the bike for 100m, then into THE run up the sledding hill. All the way up, then across the hill, then back down for a long field crossing. Drop down by the river, and the log dismount. Back along the river, 180 uphill, along the wood line to ball field 2 and the spiral to the pitcher's mound, and back out. 180, then twisty around outfield fences back to THE hill. Half way up this time, across the short way, and back down to ball field 3. Head to home along the first base line, then back out to third. Sweeping turn to 180 into the pavement through the pavilion. Into ball field 4 along first base line, 180 before home, then back out. A little twist before the outfield barrier set, and a 90 left hander back to the start/finish.

Short course, I got just under 1.5 miles, with 5 dismounts. By the time the A race went off, we were running a LOT,  all the twisty sections before the second run up, and a good deal across the top of the main hill.

Jason, Brent, Zak, Derek, Aussie and myself lined up in the 25+ A race. No count down for folks to jump, and we had a clean start. I did well to get to the light pole first, making sure to leave some space for Brent to come inside. The ONLY time I've lead an A race, lasted all of 100ft. 8th at the first run up, and I hoped I was away for a top 10. Until the first time "running" up that hill. I maintained a 13th place through the end of the first lap.

Speed chess. The idea in cross is to find the fastest way to get through everything, and limit the losses as much as possible. I'm constantly trying to solve the course problems, and I was having problems. I had a hard time figuring out the fast way through the spiral. I knew where I wanted to come out of the tight turn, but didn't quite figure out how to enter. I tried all kinds of different lines coming out of the thing also, not happy with any of them. I also had a hard time on the twists around the outfields, sure I should be able to get through faster, but not quite sure how. In the end I should have spent a LOT more time trying things in warm up laps.

As the race went on I was alone chasing Aussie with 2 guys fighting a battle behind me. One guy would open a gap that the other closed repeatedly each lap. With 3 to go, the closer must have figure the course out. I caught Aussie, and he caught both of us. So I figured I'd go defensive and try some games. I was in the middle, and let a gap open on pavement. Aussie got a little bit ahead when closer closed around me. WOAH! He's got more left than I expected. The two of them walked to the top of the hill slightly faster than I did, got on their bikes earlier and I was left trying to close a gap now. Unsuccessfully I might add.

So, I ended up in 15th or so right behind Aussie. We were the last guys lapped. Happy with my start, not happy with my running ability. I did get to see Jason battle, and narrowly miss fifth place, Zak came in shortly for 7th. Brent finished 12th. Not sure where Derek finished.

Peering through the data, I did the first two laps at sub 7 minutes (barely), then for the remainder I was running at about 7:20. I'm not sure where the entire 20 seconds per lap went, but I'll guess not having anything like a run on the hill was at least half of it. The last two laps I lost more time having trouble on the half hill sliding out, and clipping in off the main hill. Mud clogged cleats while descending at 30per, through a large puddle is a bit freaky. I did manage to stay off the brakes all trips down though, so that's something.

I've been lapped now twice out of 7 races... not including my DNF. Still, I was only caught by the leader both times, on short courses at slightly more than the half way through the last lap. So I'm close, just having a little trouble completely staying lapped free. My goals remain for the last two races. Top 10, and not to get lapped again. I think they are both attainable, but not freebie goals.

Both the remaining course will be short, with lots of turning. I expect the hill in Euclid to be VERY similar to the Todd field hill... I wonder if it's to late to start a running program?

Monday, November 01, 2010

River Cross.

Brett Davis put on the Chagrin River Cyclocross weekend. Costumes, and party cyclocross style.

Saturday was the mandatory costume race. No costume meant a 20 second time penalty. So it was worth figuring something out. Tough to tell the team, but the A race Team Spin/RR Donnelly represented Brent, Dave, Tom K, Zak and myself in a rather lightly attended field. After getting the whole field to wish my daughter a happy birthday, with her permission we were ready to start.

Brett did a UCI legal start... "I will blow the wistle in the next 15 sec", and I got the start of my life. Second behind John Proppe! I held it through the long straight, and continued onto the "beach", where I took a bad line coming off, and totally ate grass... nearly literally! 5 guys got by me before I remounted on the goofy side and got rolling again.

It took me a couple laps to stop beating myself silly for taking that line. I knew it was wrong, and did it anyway. So I'm leading a group of 5 chasing the front 6, showing my lines, probably not a great idea. Not that I have the BEST lines, but still. There's a few position changes, it lines out, and I end up in a slight battle for 8th four laps into the race. I did alright creating a gap to 9th with a further gap to a couple more, and am holding the gap to 7th with fifth place in sight.

I figure through the tubes on lap 5 I might have hit something different, by the time I'm going through the beach, I am having trouble turning, and as I attempted to get to the straight, I knew my front was totally flat. Crap! I rode it to the turn near the pits, and was immediatly passed by 8 guys as I change my front wheel.

I need a pit bike. Well, I "need" a lot of things, I WANT a pit bike. A pit bike would have saved me at least half of those places, and maybe more.

It is really hard to reset after loosing that much. Between being in second at the start, and basically crashing/flatting completely out of the race, it was REALLY hard to get the brain back to racing. I sat on Dave's wheel for a bit, then let him get away from me as I convinced myself the race was over, and that I should save it for Sunday. Dave went off in pursuit of some placings. A lap or so later, I saw I could get the next guy ahead of me, which motivated me somewhat, so I went after him. Once I got by him, I saw the next guy....

I ended in 13th, not real happy with my race, and immediately started thinking about lost opportunities. I should have gotten right back to racing, and gone for the best place possible. Screw the next day, your here today. Go for it now, and deal with tomorrow, tomorrow.

Sunday. I'm really disappointed about my flat and final result on Saturday, especially after seeing the stacked field for the A race. Jason, Brent, Zak, Tom K, Tom H, Dave, Aussie Rob and myself rode for the team.

I'm thinking the next thing to add to the series is a start grid at every race. We lined up bar to bar 20 across. Brett did his whistle trick, and I started moving backwards. I figure I was about 15th heading out the field and it got really aggressive at the turn into the woods. I took the inside line on the first turn which set me up inside, outside, inside, outside heading to the river. The first two were fine, the third I was pinched into swiping the tree with my left hip.... shredding another pair of shorts and gouging my hip pretty nicely.

K, race you bike, and make up for yesterday. I'm in a reasonable group, have alright lines, crashes abound. Jason goes down hard in the woods, I come out all right. It's feeling rather stampede-ish. Half way through the first full lap the guy in two front of me gets crossed up going through the soft stuff in the pines, the guy in front of me gets buy, as the first guy tries to save it. As I go by, he falls into me pushing me to take a straight line into a tree! I catch myself with my arms but hit the tree square on. I get untangled from that, and attempt to get moving again.

At this point, every part of me is sore. I try to keep pushing, but am going backwards fast. I figure I lost about 7 or 8 spots in the next lap. Each time someone went by, I tried to stick with the wheel. Until the last guy got by me.

23 minutes and I guess 2 and a half laps in, I called it quits. My first ever cyclocross DNF. To many trees, and not enough legs left from the previous day. Time to clean the bike up, patch up my body, put this weekends lessons in the books so I can get ready for the remaining three races of the season.

Next up the Team Spin race in Willoughby. Ready to run up that hill.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Cascade Park Cyclocross - Elyria

Did the drive to Elyria for the Cascade Park Cyclocross race. Fifth race of the NEOCX series. Somehow I'm on top of the 40+ series in eighth overall. Cool, though I need some better finishes to stay in the top 10.

Interesting course, we started riding up the sledding hill, then back down. A long road section to another short hill, and some nice twisty bits. Road section back through the start/finish to the other end of the park and a few more twists before returning to the sledding hill. That hill definitely was the entire race. Ridable, but a choice, and a lot chose to run it.

On my first warm up lap I didn't realize the road section took us all the way to the wooded section. So, when I rode it during the C race I followed to the far section, but was surprised to head up the short hill... so surprised, I broke my chain and nearly ripped off my rear der! I managed to roll it back to the truck... and contemplated calling it a day. A long drive for nothing... I didn't bring a spare chain, but still had the tool box with me. Crap! I used the large crescent wrench to straighten the deraileur hanger, and used a spare powerlink to repair the chain. Needless to say, I was not confident the bike would make it through the race.

Team Spin/RR Donnelly showed in force in the A race. Jason, Brent, Zak, Dave, Tom Humphrey and I lined up with another 15 or so. This is the first neocx race that did not have a count down, so it was tough for guys to get a jump on the gun. It was nice, the same way the UCI races ran in Cinci... Cool.

I did all right on the start, hit the hill about half way back and  I committed to riding as much of the hill as I could until forced to dismount. I was not forced, so I rode the whole thing and (according to some FB photos) exited in about eighth place. Nice, oh! That means I need to COMPLETELY DRILL the rest of this to hold my position for as long as I can!

A few guys, including Dave, got around me before we hit the short up hill. Urgh! Get through the twisty bits as quickly as possible and GO HARD on the pavement again. I ended up in a group of 4 through the barriers on the first go. Managed to get to the twisty bits first on that end, and hit the hill for the second time.

I liked the gap I got the first time so much, I decided to ride the hill every lap. It was the strategy to use. I left my group behind, and my race was set.

PAIN! My place was sorted out in two laps. It would have been nice to stop here, but not the case. I could see 9th through 6th place ahead of me, with 11th and 12th close behind. Sprint, twist the technical stuff, sprint, twist, CLIMB. I managed the gap to 9th pretty well, and wondered how many laps we'd be doing. The guys behind me tended to run the hill, and I was opening the gap every lap. The gap in front was pretty pegged throughout the entire race.

As the laps went on, the road section showed the race ahead of me. First I saw Jason sitting in third. A couple laps later, Jason in third, Brent in fifth. A couple laps later, I'm in 10th, I can see 9th still in front of me, then on the road heading back, Zak sitting on the group that includes 8th.

I finally see the lap cards with 3 to go. Breath.... three more times up the hill. I'm pretty safe in 10th. I MUST continue to chase ninth, or I'll risk coasting and possibly loosing my top 10 placement to the next guy.

For some reason, I still decided to run the hill this time. Maybe to give my legs a little break? Use some different muscles? Cause I'm such a good runner? Um... not really the case anyway. That decision cost me time... at least 10 seconds, and maybe closer to 20. I hit the road, see the leaders, and now I'm thinking I may get lapped. Crap again!

Two to go. I HAVE to ride the hill, because this may be my last lap. As I'm heading in, that's becoming more certain. I'm caught after the first road section. I follow the leader through the twisty bits, but can't match the acceleration before the second road section. Still, I rolled it in for 10th place! That's one season goal made!

The race goals are
1.) not get lapped.
2.) a top 10 finish.
3.) Top 10 series overall placing.

OK, so I get my second goal the first time I miss my first goal. Go figure. Still, I was grateful I didn't have to do that last lap. I was the last guy passed, and held my spot. I don't think that lap would have helped or hurt my placing. Just hurt my body. Still I flopped to the ground after crossing the line.

Jason finished fourth, Brent was fifth, Zak finished seventh, and I was tenth. Pretty descent showing by the team. Nice work! So I finished slightly above the exact middle of the field. YAY!

Mehul caught lots of photos of the faces of pain on the sledding hill. It would have been nice to run a slightly lighter gear for that. Maybe I can figure out a way to put together a decent B bike with a double ring set up. Run the single 42 for flatter courses, and the double for hilly things? There are times a 46 would be nice on flats or downhills, with a 36 or 38 for climbing? I don't know the right gearing answer.

Recovery and costume design in order for next weekend. Another short course, without the hilly bits, so it's going to be work to hold my number 1 goal. Maybe I can pull out another number 2 or two.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

50 turns by 10.

Being an east side course, Brent and I did a recon of the area a few Saturday's ago. I think I was pretty wide eyed at what we had hear the Solon course would consist of. I reserved judgement until the Thursday night open course.... with a high creek, that was to have two way traffic, and a steep descent, I was thinking that it would be a mountain bike race. Seriously, short track maybe? So I guess I'm partly responsible for the changes that put Kevin and a small troop into LONG hours on Saturday redesigning the course. Pretty much completely. In defense, I believe that ALL C racers, and a good many B and A racers were VERY grateful they didn't have to negotiate that descent at race pace. Especially after one of the race promoter team fell, broke some ribs and damaged some vertebra.

So, Sunday morning arrives, and we've got a drivers course. I counted 50 turns, many complete 180's, lots of tight stuff. There really wasn't a lot of elevation to take advantage of, so it was mostly flat.

Matt, John Bodell and Mehul did the B race with Bruce MacDonald taking high 9th place. Leah again rolled the fastest women's times to win her race. John's son Ian raced the Junior C race, and I hear he had a blast.

Zak, Brent, Jason, David Yohe, Tom Keller and I did the A race. The race started with a 50m LeMan's start, which is more than I've run in the last year... total. Though I'm not the only A racer that doesn't run much. I placed my bike on the forward facing side of the turn, and that worked well for me. Some one jumped the gun in the As, saying Go, as they did. I was fine, since I'm used to NOT getting a count down from Cinci. I somehow managed a decent run, and got to the center of the spiral in about 10th. Track stand, and then accelerate out of it away. I was feeling pretty good about my position, when at turn 25 (the 180 around the tree closest to the house), I turned too tight and went down. I couldn't get my right foot out of the pedal, and layed there while the four guys that were on my wheel went by. So instead of being at the front of my group, I'm at the back...with a gap. NOT GOOD.

I ended up passing a couple other guys that had mishaps, like tape jammed into a rear cassette... and they got back around me. Usually opening a small gap before making it stick. About half way through Zak came by me, and I couldn't hold his pace.

At one point, I was leading a couple of Lake Effect riders around for a couple laps. I couldn't hide my lines, since I needed to get around as fast as I could for everything. They each got around me at some point, so I sat on them for a lap. In the muddy descent I made a move to the right when they were both left, and got by both of them again. It was a bit dicey, as I was coming in hot, and had to stay pretty far to the right to pass safely. I still don't know how I managed it, since I couldn't repeat that move when there was no one around me. The move got rid of one Lake Effect, the other sat on for another lap, and attacked through the barriers with 2 to go. I worked to keep the gap manageable, but that was it.

Rolled in for 16th, with Yohe right behind me. I don't think I can help him race cross any better than he already is, at least on a dry course. Top 10 for Jason (5) and Brent (7). Zak ended up 14th, and Tom rolled in 21st as the last guy on the lead lap.

I ended up consistently running  at about 6 minute laps... after the first one at 6:10, I didn't think I was laying there THAT long, so the track stand and traffic must have helped slow that down. I certainly got a lot of practice turning, which goes with the result from the Dark Horse Cinci race. I still was 2 minutes out of the top 10, and 5 behind first place.

Good news as I am now on top of the 40+ results, sitting 7th in the overall. Currently the highest of the Spin/RR Donnelly team, thought that is due to a crash and some no shows. I have a feeling consistently getting 14-16 place, will not allow me to stay in the top 10 for the entire season.

Next up Elyria.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

3 days ... of UCI

Dave Steiner and I drove down to Cincinati for UCI 3 cyclocross festival put on as part of the Ohio Valley Cyclocross series on Friday.

Typical features of all these races are call ups based on series placing (5 top spots first) then registration order. They tape out a start grid 8 across, and however far deep is required. An uphill paved start location, long enough to string it out a bit, before the first technical spots. Fully taped course with LOTS of turns, and twists. These are REALLY nice courses. I have considered moving to this area just for these nice courses... if I could guarantee the whole series was like this.

There were also HUGE fields. Friday was the smallest with 51 cat 2/3 finishers. Which is misleading because they started the 2/3 field, and both cat 3 masters fields together. So there were 100 finishers, and I would guess about 50 dnfs on Friday. 121 finishers on Saturday, and 135 on Sunday with about the same attrition rate. That was just my races.

Friday - Dark Horse Stampede:
6am depart time to arrive in time for some course recon, since the only open course times were at 10:30. I hear last year was a mud fest, this year was total opposite... the course was dry, hard and bumpy with lots of elevation changes.

The start through the finish, then a left hand drop and immediate rise that stalls. The big feature was an amphitheater bowl similar to Kirtland park, but MUCH deeper without the terracing. The course twisted across this four times, leading to a set of three 4x4 uphill steps. The left side was widely spaced, the right was close. If you could ride it, you'd be setup to grind up the hill to a paved section, otherwise you were running. Some twisty stuff to the barriers, and then a set of 3 downhill sweepers. Another paved climb and more sweeping turns, lots of up and downs across the the back side.

I figure the course was just a bit over 1.6 miles with no real recovery spots. I was always concentrating, either hanging on for descents to set up for a tight turn, climbing a lung buster, finding a line. Work, work work.

I got a semi good start from my third row call up, ending in the top 20 or so. Did the start drop, and got stacked as a guy in front of me stalled on the next climb. I saw Steiner pass me, and figured I now had my rabbit to chase. I ran the stairs the first lap, and settled into the chase.

I figure I caught Dave at the start of the second lap, and encouraged him follow... well I would have, but neither of us could talk. I was able to start riding the stairs on the left side, and worked the rest of the course. Dave pulled his foot out of his shoe, and had to stop to get that sorted.... so he pulled the plug to save it for the remaining races.

I kept it rolling, continued to pick off guys. I ended up in a battle with one guy for a while. Heading into 2 to go, the 90* heat started to get to me, on the start pavement I decided to grab a drink from the bottle I carried with me. Mistake, I must have unintentionally just sat up for that drink when the guy got a gap. I tried to get rolling again to catch him, but made up no ground. I rolled in with no sprint for 23 place.

Day one in the books. We stayed on site, ate an amazing Belgian Waffle, watched Katie Compton school the womens field. JPow and Trebon fight a huge battle. JPow was rolling through the pit every lap for water and riding the tight side of the stairs. Trebon eventually got a gap, and I think JPow pulled the Steiner saving it for the next two days, finishing third behind Barry Wicks.

David Yohe rocked a 5th place in the cat 4 mens race, which started at 5:00.

I tried to eat twice my body weight in food before the next race.

Saturday - Java Johnny: 
Katie Compton was quoted as saying that this course was her favorite over all. Better than any domestic or Euro course she's raced. They closed the road adjacent to the park for the start straight, and built ramps to get up over the curbs. Lots of twisty bits and three paved sections, the start climb, the climb behind the pool, and a flat finish sprint. The technical bits were two right hand 180 turns in the volley ball pit... nobody rode them, pro or otherwise. There was a tight downhill 120* turn around a tree, and a hairy up and downhill S turn around a pair of trees.

Leah Halloran pull a Katie Compton on the Women's 3/4 field and won by about a year and a half.

Another HOT day, I decided not to carry water and risk loosing places due to a lapse in concentration. I would drink after the race. I again got a third row call up next to Steiner, Jason Halloran. Ryan Williams and Pete Duecher were there as well. The start was a bit crazy, but I rode it super aggressively and again did reasonable. Jason made his way to the front and didn't look back.

It was evident that my efforts on Friday were costing me as I could not match the pace of Dave as he passed me... or those of the other 10 guys or so that did the same. I did my best to get a groove going, and worked hard to maintain gaps... which worked alright. Yes, I did execute my best sprint on a cross bike for 41st place. I didn't gain anything, but I also did not loose the one place I could have from behind.

Jason killed it for fourth place, Dave got 33rd, Pete finished 68th and I think Ryan DNF.

Overall I was happy with the race until I found out my finishing place. Still I raced a good start, raced hard, sprinted the finish and put in the second day.

Compton won the women's race again, and JPow saved enough to ride away from Trebon on the last lap.

Derek raced the Elite masters 1/2/3 race, and finished 33rd.

Bruce MacDonald rode to a strong second place finish in the mens cat 4 35+ race. Yohe finished 3rd in the cat 4 mens race. Rocking team results.

This time I tried to drink twice my body weight in water before the start of the next race. I only ate my body weight equivalent this time.

Sunday - Harbin Park:
This is the big race. C1 is the highest UCI category cyclocross race.

After the paved start shoots you into a fast downhill section, twist around some up and down tree sections and a long uphill grind to the finish line, leading to a long slightly uphill sand pit. By the time I hit the sand, I was totally gassed from the climb. Then twist around some more to the downhill sand, a gnarly uphill switchback around a tree, some 4x4 crossings.  Hit some pavement, grass, pavement, then two sweeping downhill turns, lead to another super fast downhill, followed by a quick rise. Sweep through the woods, another sweeping downhill turn to the barriers, and back to the start sections. 

We again watched Leah "Compton" Halloran ride away from the field from the start. Another impressive win on her part.

I was super tired, but still motivated to race well. Again a third row call up, I aggressively hit the start, rode the technical sections hard and sprinted to the first sand crossing. I ran the sand the first time, and was totaled on the other side. I started to bleed placings like crazy. I totally had to talk myself into racing as hard as I could, which was not as hard as I wanted. Guys were passing me, and try as I might I could not hold the wheel.

I ended up running the sand all but the third lap, which I shocks me because I think I would have spent less energy spinning through it. I also know that it took everything in me to move my feet as I ran it on one lap. I read the the pro's were doing the downhill at 40mph! I was closer to 25. So I gave up loads of time there... especially on the third lap. As I came through the barriers a guy got around me, and I intended on drilling the down hill to catch him. In the end the little dip at the top bounced my chain off the front ring. Since I run a single, I couldn't just pedal it back into place. I know, I tried... for a LONG time. I kept rotating it wondering why it wouldn't go up, must have been oxygen debt. At the bottom of the hill I managed to really screw it up and wrap the chain around the crank. I had to hop off, and untangle it while about 10 guys rode by me.

In hind site that was probably the best thing that could have happened to my race. I lost a minute on that lap, which gave me some recovery. There's something about recovering from a mechanical that says, those guys are not as fast as I am because they were behind me. Now that my bike is working, I can go catch a lot of them. So I did... I actually ran negative splits, with the last two laps being my fastest laps. I even totally drilled the uphill finish over taking another 4 places to finish in 47th. Not a stellar place, but acceptable considering two hard days prior and my lack of drive on the first 3 laps. I had hoped I could top 20 all three days, instead I nearly hit the top half of all fields, only really succeeding on the first day. 

Jason killed it for second place, Dave got his best finish at 22nd. Pete flatted out early. Bruce got the upgrade and raced in the 2/3 race, but I don't see his result anywhere. 

Derek had a rough race in the Elite Master's race finishing 43rd and Yohe must have had a rough day also, finishing in 28th in the cat 4 race. 

We high tailed it out after the 2/3 race, since we had 4 and half hours of driving to get home. I ended up eating continuously for about half the drive, literally. I gained about 5 pounds over the weekend, I think that has a lot to do with the amount of water I had to drink as it's already coming off.

Overall, I'm happy with the weekend. I learned a lot. Raced my bike hard on courses that were fantastic, in larger fields than I've ever raced with. Lots of rest in order now, man am I tired. Then the big push in the NEOCX series as the racing here starts to get serious.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Stark Reality.

Well, my uncle wrote me Sunday and asked how my race went... Eh, not my best day. Some days it flows (Wendy Park) some days you work like crazy to eek out a result... Kent State Stark Campus.

StarkVelo put together a REALLY nice course. Very similar to last year, except they added some pavement, and moved the barriers around a bit. The fact that it was dry helped (or not, depending) to make a nice fast race.

The race started with a 100m sprint to a sweeping 180, then the long drag to the far side of the course. Drag, well, the serpentine course had a nice flow, before the turn around point, then flow back. I thought the barriers at the top of the hill were a bit strange, but it's fine. A nice S turn around some pines, and slog to the twisty bits. They are really fun up and down and turn around. A hairpin paved section, and back to the pain hill. They moved the second set of barriers to the bottom of the run up hill, very nicely forcing the run. Last year it was nearly ridable in the wet, so the barriers stated the intent nicely. Remount, and quickly get back to some more twisties before the end of the lap. Really? That was a script SV? I never knew.

I got a decent start, and attached to the back end of a nice group that included Zak and Dave. I sat on for about a lap and a half before my lights started fading... I would have loved to hang onto that group, but it was not happening.

Cross is interesting in the way that I could probably sit in that group on the road, but a technical gap here and there, and a small gap becomes unmanageable quickly.

At first I figure they were just moving that little bit quicker than I could, but I'd race my race and bring it back... then a couple guys passed me, then a couple more. Pretty soon, I had about 5 in front of me that I figured I should not have let go... On the up side, I did not give it all up, but started chasing... digging deep to not let any more space open and maybe, just maybe I'd be given a chance to get back into position.

It must have worked somehow, since the group with Dave and Zak pretty much stayed consistent lap by lap, and I think the other guys started to crack. I was able to pick off one by one until there was just 1 left.... with two laps to go. I was closing nicely, and just holding off the guy behind. I slid out in the twisty section before the pain hill... effectively ending that chase, and forcing me to retake the last guy.

My rabbit was gone. So the last lap was mostly about consolidating my place. A rough day on the cross course, though I'm pleased with the place (16th by my reckoning, faulty though that may be). I gave it all out there. I was just hoping for more than I had. Actually, my placing has a good deal to do with who had mechanicals also... at least 2 places for that. Though the Montana Velo guy was impressive. Shifting trouble had him back with me on multiple occasions. Last time he said "I wish it would just break so I could quit." That was the last I saw of him. He went on to catch Jason for sixth place. Impressive ride there.

It was cool to see groups of our Good Guys racing together. Zak and Dave in the group ahead, and Tom H., Tom K. and Derik working together behind me. Those three kept me motivated to keep it moving throughout the race.

Next up is the Cinci UCI3. Time for rest and recovery before the big CX weekend. Hup, Hup!

Monday, September 13, 2010

I have a secret... or two.

Wendy Park was this weekend. It's close enough to home, that I went out Saturday morning and did a cross workout with a buddy. We rode the "course" from last year, as well as I could remember. I got two flats... the best was as we were slowly going around the course for the first time, I said "Watch this edge on the transition to the pavement to the litehouse. Lots of flats here both years... um, just like I just did." Ended up with lots of work in sand. I then stopped at Spin Bike Shop, my team sponsor, and Wendy Park race promoter, to get a new tube, and found out: The course was going the other way, and there would be no beach section. It would be a roadie type course, wide open with lots of twisty bits at the end to aid scoring.

I arrived Saturday morning, and sure enough... it was pretty wide open, went in the opposite direction, had lots of twisty bits... but someone had put in a long beach section. There were two sandy bits, a short one that required left turn, sand, left turn in quick succession. Then over a double barrier, the right turn to a hockey stick shaped beach length. Very long, with a grassy short hill transition back to grass straights.

OK, the secrets. First, I guess I'm pretty good in sand. After last weekends race, I think I can make up some short coming in fitness with technical strengths. I may not have the raw horse power of the group I was racing with, but I was able to finesse the bike through the single track to make up for that. The sand at Wendy proved that even more. Since Cross is about "not loosing time", I could gain on guys that lost time in the sand and make them use energy to bring me back. In fact, I think I was also faster through the twisty bits than the others in my group. And I also used an Ernesto trick... I had a secret line through there that I would only use when the other guys could not see it. Sneaky me.

Lap one, I got a good start, not great but good enough to keep me in the top 20 this time. I was in front of the carnage, bike breakage in the gravel, but should have known enough to run the first two sand sections. I did not, and lost places there when others went down in front of me.

The rest of the race was a blur, eventually I ended up in a group that looked a lot like last week. Except that one of the guys I was fighting with last week was the breakage of bikage in lap one.

I haven't seen the results yet, but I'm guessing we did about 9 laps. I cleaned the sand in 5 of the 9. Lap one was a mess. Later, I was fighting it out with Eric Lesko, and bumped him out of my way as I went between him and the trash can (that was a good lap). A couple laps later, he made the comment "How do you get through the sand so well... ". I smiled... and said "Practice I guess". Of course the next lap I couldn't get out of my own way, with Eric behind me... "Um, Not like that." I also got tied up when lapping another guy. He was apologetic, and I should have been ready or called for space as I came up on him.

I found I was faster through all the technical sections even than the mountain bikers. And no one used my line, except for me. So I didn't want to give it away... and only used it when I needed to make up some ground. I'll keep that on in the jersey pocket for the finish.

So Eric flatted out, and I'm fighting for it with team mate Dave and 2 others. Three laps to go. If I can get to the beach first, I think I can open enough of a gap to take all of them. I'm first into the twisty bits before the start line, and I'm thinking to much about the beach and hit the ground. Crap, I get up fast enough to not loose and spots, but I had to adjust my shoe... and it sucked a little out of me. I go shoulder to shoulder with one guy heading toward the next obstacle, and he backs it off to follow me through.

I get to the beach first, and it's good, when I decide to push it all out! I went to change my hand position... and totally went over the bars. I lost places to the other two guys there... got it going again, with Dave on my wheel. We went in chase.

On the final lap the gap was closing, and I planned on using my secret line to get close enough to sprint for the finish. When Dave came around me right before the last entry. He was going to run it hard to get the next guy but misjudged something, and stacked it right in front of me... or beside me, either way. I was just thinking how far to the left will I have to go to not run his bike over.... I used my line, but there was no way I would make up the ground as the two were working for the sprint also.

I can't blame Dave for my finish spot. Really that one bad lap threw out my chances at those two places. I think I ended in about 16th or so. Still in the mid-pack, but I'm super happy with that result. I finished in front of people I have never beaten before.... for whatever reason. Overall a really good race.

I also decided to run the PowerTap during the race since I did not want to risk expensive tubular tires on Wendy's glassy surfaces. Surprisingly, I did not get any new max power numbers, and in fact thought I smoothed out the efforts overall. I ended up with a lot of 800watt jumps, but the 60min power was only about 250.

Whatever all that means... I don't know. Maybe my power numbers say I should be racing with the B's. Or maybe I can bring them up in two weeks for the Stark Kent State Race.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Yep... still midpack A cyclocrosser...

Cyclocross season started on Saturday at Manatoc. YAY!

On a very mountain bikie course, because there was single track... quite a bit of single track, but quite a bit of grass also. I expected some mud, since it basically rained at my house 40 minutes away for the better part of the night, and all morning.

Instead it was dry. Really dry. OK. With the many root crossings, I opted for clincher tires, and set the pressure at what I hoped was a good balance of pinch flat protection and gription.

Short story... I got a pretty crappy start, being almost, but not quite at the back by the time we got to the single track. Then sat behind the train as the race went away... I picked up spots in the grass, until the second single track entry. After two laps, the race was set. Steiner and I were with a couple of strong roadies... I didn't have the power on the grass to get by them when there was space to pass... and then had to sit on as they picked their way through the technical stuff.

I eventually got by one, who proceeded to close a 50m gap to Dave and the other guy in no time flat while my jaw was hitting my top tube. I could not do that, even though I was really trying. Blah!

I fought by him again in the single track and eventually built enough to leave him behind.

With three to go, Jeff Craft had a mechanical issue and pretty much blocked the whole trail. Dave and the other guy got by before Jeff started to run the uphill. The small gap that I thought I was controlling got larger. Jeff let me by, and then we started to fight it out/work together... ish... to bring them back.

Nothing doing, I tried to get by Jeff at the finish.... and didn't.

So, 13th place on the opening race... out of 26 starters. So, there it is... I am a mid pack cyclocrosser. Well, in the Cleveland As. I probably should have been more aggressive in the single track to get by the other guys in my group, and make them work to bring me back... instead of going hard on the grass and using the single track to recover. Oh well, lesson learned... I hope.

I'm hoping to get better as the season progresses. I certainly do have some areas that I can work on.... Let the fun season begin.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Uh.... I've got milk on my face???

In an effort to NOT procrastinate... I'm going to keep this short. Plus, my result was not stellar, though the team did well again.

I did the 2/3 milk race on Sunday. I showed up late, enough time to register, relieve myself, and barely get to the lined dressed. The team was great and pinned my number on while I straightened out my clothing so I could race the 50 miles in at least some comfort.

I took the first lap to warm up while Dave, Pete and Brent did all the work for the team. We had 8, and only the three of them did anything like race their bikes. One of Dave's attacks was nullified as much by the official chastising for the yellow line rule as any concerted effort of the pel. And being rather toasted from working like crazy, Dave drifts back and asked me if I could, you know, maybe help out a little. Oh yeah, this is where I'm supposed to be in a RACE that I PAID to do.

After an initial whine "I'm trying", I actually do try and go to the front for some more work.... and find I can actually participate. For the next three laps, I raced my bike. I followed some moves. Patrol when Aussie Rob (who Dave also asked to help) went off the front. Basically, work with the team. It was good to be there and help as I could.

I followed one split with a few danger folks in it, though only 5 of us, out of 15, were working, so the Carbon guys called it off. I thought we were caught there were so many sitting on... Dave ended up bridging to that move right about when we called it. At this point I decided it would be OK to drift back for some recovery.

At some point, a group got up the road. I'm not sure if we had anyone up there yet, but I decided to try to bridge. A Cat guy followed me but wouldn't pull through.... so after burying my self for a while and not getting there, I sat up. Then the Cat attacked me. Of course. So I jumped on that and he also didn't make it across. I was pretty sure that I would be fine for the remainder of the race, as long as I controlled my efforts. Another short recovery session.

A bunch of guys got across to the front group, and it included Aussie. I followed another move, which ended up having Dave, Justin and myself in it. Somehow I ended up on the front, and with Dave's encouragement, I went to work HARD. I knew then I would not make it to the end of the race, but I figured I'd throw everything into this effort. What would I consider success.... making it to the end with the field, or contributing everything I had for the team and possibly throwing myself away?

I decided I would throw myself away. Every time I came off the front I would recover for a short bit, then go back up there and pull as hard as I could. Until we were caught, with a bit over one lap to go. Dave and I discussed that Aussie was still up the road, and if we were chasing him or not. There was a rather large group up there... between 10 and 20 maybe? Was it in our interest to put all our hope in Aussie?

Looking ahead, we were coming into the base of the only appreciable hill. I got concerned.... If I could get over that with the group, I'd be alright. Unfortunately, the work had taken it's toll, and I was 50+ meters off at the top. I chased but the gap was going the wrong way. I chased hard for the remainder of the fourth lap, until it was obvious. I did contemplate a 10+ mile cool down lap, but figured that would be a good way to get lost. So I took a DNF. I have not DNF a race ever before this year, and now I have 2. At least in this one I raced my bike hard, and the team had success, as Aussie Rob once again raced smart, and sprinted for third place. Congrats to Aussie!

This is really just training for me know anyway. It was a 2 hour effort. I figure it as a warm up, an hour+ of hard work with some recovery and a cool down. About as long as a cyclocross race, and cyclocross starts in 3 weeks. So my season is really just about to start.

Enough procrastinating.... back to work.

Monday, August 09, 2010


OK, so I'd love to actually win a bike race. But you know the statistics and all, 60+ riders line up, and only one can win. Still, we show up to test ourselves, right? And besides, bike racing is a TEAM sport. Though it is sometimes lost in the cat 3, 4 and 5 fields.

So Tom Humphrey and I lined up for the Zoar 3/4 race on Sunday with Aussie Rob from the multisport team. We decided to work for Rob, which really does take pressure off guys like me. I just have to work my butt off, and leave the result for Aussie. If it came down to a sprint, we had to take the race at about 1K out, to make everyone work... and make the finish safer. Since everyone can't win, someone has to move. We would do that.

We rolled up to the back of the field, and I decided to cheat up closer to the front, since I didn't want to get stuck behind the whole field and wait for the climbs... like happened at the Tour of the Valley road race. Thereby, I elected myself to patrol the front at the beginning at least.

So, in my best cycling news style.

The first move of the day happened on the first climb of the first lap, when a group of about 10 got up a reasonable gap. Being on the wrong side of the gap, I first attempted a bridge, which failed. Then Tom and I went into chase mode with some help. At the turn before the second climb, the gap was down to 10 seconds or so, and we decided to conserve for the climbing, sure someone would finish the chase up. And they did, so it was all together at the end of the first lap.

First climb of the second lap, a Freddie Fu and SnakeBite rider got another gap. Dangerous enough, I chased with other help until into the second climb, when Freddie Fu came back.

The field was content to leave the SnakeBite rider out there for the entire third lap. There were a few folks that were interested in chasing, but no one was committed. I certainly didn't want to do it alone, and only became concerned when he was out of sight. On the final lap, Tom decided it was time to bring him back. So we went into chase mode, and ended his day before the final climb.

Heading into the final climb, Tom somehow rolled off the front. He decided to pursue this as long as he could, hoping to be there when Aussie needed him for the finish.

In the mean time, Aussie had decided the time to go... and at the base of the final climb, surprised all by attacking hard. It took the other contenders completely by surprise. Aussie had 200meters in short order. When the chase did start, some wheels where crossed, taking maybe 5 or more riders down. I ended up getting through the carnage, barely, and it took a few moments to shake off the effect of a close call.

Aussie had about 20-25 seconds over the top, with the main group of about 20 cresting slightly in front of me. My intent was to chase back onto the group, and be there for the finish, in case Aussie got caught.... or to be able to wind up something of my own if he made it to the finish. Instead, I ended up with the dubious honor of first guy over the last hill that did not catch back onto the group.

Aussie held a beautiful move to the finish for the win, I rolled in around 25th (estimated).

So, although I did not finish with an actual result, I am totally happy with my result in this race. I was patrolling the front, and making sure if Aussie was concerned about chasing anything, he knew I would help. In the end, knowing Aussie was on his way to the finish may have been why I didn't actually chase back onto the field. A completely doable thing on this course. I could see them, I just didn't put in the effort to actually finish the chase. In hind site, I'm not sure if I could have, because I was content to finish where I did.

And it was a blast! The three of us had a plan, and each of us worked to that plan. Plus Aussie was aware enough, to see the perfect place to attack, and have the legs to execute it to perfection. My jaw practically dropped when he went. It was an attack of beauty.

The next best thing to getting a result for yourself, is working toward a team result.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

A letter to the company owning the truck...

to: AAA Pipe Cleaning Service
A word of warning about one of your drivers road rage last night. It does your company name no service.

Last night at about 6:30pm, I was riding a bicycle northbound on Brainard Rd. overpassing I271. At this point there was no one behind me, and I often will take the whole lane as I plan on turning left on Aldersgate, about 100 yards up the road. I was approaching a red light when one of your trucks started honking their horn and screaming at me. They were still 100 yards behind me, no one else was around, and the light I was approaching was still red.

When the light changed, I proceeded to get up to the posted speed limit. Yes, I can get to 30mph very quickly on this slightly downhill section  of road. When your driver, still honking, decided to pass me left of the double yellow line, at least 15 to 20 mph over the posted speed limit, just so that they could stop in front of me, and make a left hand turn on Aldersgate. It seems that they had a call on Aldersgate, since they continued to follow me for a short distance on that street and stopped somewhere between Brainard and the first cross road. That is unless of course they were trying to hurt me by stopping to make that left turn. I will not know since I did not ask them.

I assume they were not angry with me to start with, since they started honking long before I had any opportunity to do anything to slow them down or piss them off.  The driver did put me, and his passenger/crew member in some danger with his actions. 

One point that I would like to make, a very large portion of cyclists are professionals. It's how we afford the equipment we have. Doctors, lawyers, engineers, and business owners. In short, potential customers of yours. Though not the norm, there are drivers who act like this without giving us a chance to let them know how dangerous their actions are to us. Driving in this manner in a company vehicle would seem rather short sighted.

I am not looking for an apology. Fortunately no one was hurt. I ride the way I do, in an extremely very defensive manner because of the actions of drivers like this. I only want to inform you of an incident that does not reflect kindly on your companies reputation.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Chess on two legs! Chippewa Creek 2010

A broken finger five weeks ago put my spring racing plans into the dumpster, so my first race of the year ends up being the fabled Chippewa Creek Road Race. Special thanks to the Chagrin River Cycling team for bring this race back to the area, and all the volunteer work to allow us to pretend to be kids again.

Things went right for me for a change too. On Saturday's ride, my shifting went to crap. So it seemed finally time to replace the chain and get things working for the race the next day. As I was adjusting everything, the rear der cable broke... explaining the poor shifting. Usually that would happen during the race.

Since I hadn't raced, and I know how the 1/2/3 race would have gone on this course, I decided to do the Masters race. Spin had Derik, John Bodell and myself. We also had one Spin Multi team member... sorry, I don't remember the name though. With no confidence yet, my plan was to lay myself out for the team. Whatever work I could do, and have some fun turning the pedal in anger... not saying I had no anger for the last 5 weeks, just that I wasn't doing it during a race.

About 40 in the field with the usual teams. Bike Authority, StarkVelo and MVC. I hadn't seen Glacial Energy before.

The first lap started out moving, while I tried to remember how to pedal in the field. Blah! This is going to be crazy unless we shed a bunch of these guys soon. I was also a little tentative about getting taken out, so the first lap was good to get those thoughts out of my head.

First time up the hill was quick enough to cut the field down a bit. A portion regrouped at the top, but the reshuffling got me closer to the front. Going through the rollers, the first move got up the road. Derik was there with a Bike Authority and a Stark. They got some space, giving me time to get up to the front 10, while Stark and Bike Authority tried to control the pace.

The move did not last long, as the other teams swarmed around the block. In short order, Chris Riccardi from Bike Authority went and one of the stronger single guys jumped up to him. I figured it was my turn to mark the move, so when a StarkVelo jumped to bridge, I went with him. As we connected to the tother two, I went straight to the front, and tried to help establish the move. Before we got to the descent, we were joined by Gorman from Orrvile, and an MVC rider. Someone said "We've got all the teams", and we started working to open the gap. I could not see much happening behind us, so we were away with 6 with 4 of the 6 laps to race.

Reasonably "easy" up the hill so we made it across together, but I could tell my climbing legs were a little sluggish. I had plenty on the rollers, so I would lead and fade the hill, and work the rest of the course.

Rudy bridged off the second time up the hill and connected in the roller section. Break of seven, and I'm pretty sure we'll stay away now. The problem is there's two from Bike Authority, and 5 singles. So the tactics will now be slightly different, and the work ethic may be compromised.

Next lap, another guy makes the bridge, and for a while I think he's from MVC, so there would be two BA and two MVC... when Rudy rolls off the front, I let the MVC guy do most of the work to bring him back, and jump a wheel to let the next guy finish it off. Turns out the last guy to join was from Glacial Energy. 8 away with 7 teams represented.

My strategy now is to get over the hill and not loose contact. I'm counting down the laps. I'll work if I need to, but I'm not going to bury myself, and get popped to help someone else finish with the field. Each time up the hill, I end up closing a slightly larger gap at the top. I probably could have sprinted for the prime on lap 3... since it seemed that no one remembered, or figure out, that the bell was rung as we went by a lap earlier. When we crossed for the 4th lap prime, I more concerned that I would be able to stick with the group.

That was the race. 8 guys going for 6 paying spots. Surprisingly little happened on the last lap. Rudy did a bunch of work pulling, and I thought for sure someone would attack... I guess if I had an ounce of confidence, I should have gone. I knew I needed to get away from these guys that were climbing better than I was to have a chance at the win or even at making one of the 6 spots. My excuse is it was my first race of the year. Instead I sat in waiting, and moving if anyone looked like they would jump. They didn't.

So we rolled to the last climb all together. Uphill sprint it will be then. I had been climbing in the 39 all race, but decided to stay in the 53 this time, knowing it would get fast soon. I gave it everything I thought I had, and I was still 200m back as Rudy crossed the line. I ended up 8th out of the 8, and am totally pleased with that.

I think Derik rolled across in 11th or 12th.

Of note, it didn't really seem like we worked well together in the break, and it didn't really seem hard. So maybe it is just as hard to get away as it is to sit in. Drew Bercaw's dad was hollering splits the last two laps for us. I didn't hear the time gap the first time, but we had 1:26 on the field with a lap and a half to go, and I hear we were up to 1:45 by the finish. So we must have done something right to keep the gap opening that much.. the 1/2/3 field may have slowed the masters field when they got caught. I'm just glad 1/2/3s didn't catch us, cause that would have screwed our race up a bit. Their finish was within that time gap. Close enough they'd have overtaken us in another lap.

My legs felt no pain on this mornings ride. Maybe my climbing problems were all mental. Time to do more hill repeats... and more races.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Plans. Well, I have them, of course. Then again, it would be nice to execute them. Unfortunately not to be this spring.

The dérailleur shifts gears... it's not a de-RAIL-er. That would cause a train to jump the tracks. It just changes the gearing so you can go at a different speed.

That said, I'm shifting gears. I had planned on hitting a bunch of the Covered Bridge races, and all the RATL series. Both are fun races in their own way, and with 8 races in 5 weeks, I should come out in ripping race shape.

Well, I was splitting wood... split, split, split. And so begins a story with a not so happy ending.

Leave it so say I'm typing with one and a half hands while my broken pinkie finger is nestled in this splint. I'm two weeks out from the injury and can only ride because I did NOT ask the doc if it was OK.

Group rides are freaky, so I stay at the back... not the best place to be, but it keeps me moving. Eating and drinking on the bike are difficult, first because I have to use my left hand, which is OK, if I think about it... but then all control is left to the splinted hand.... I have been working really hard at keeping a light touch on the bars. Though on really bumpy roads, it's better to firm up the grip a bit to dampen the jarring of the bars.

Next Ortho/OT appointment is May 10. So Maybe I'll be back in time to do Chippewa Creek. I'm just looking forward to gearing up!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

The Man in the Arena

One of the ONLY things I put on FB that I want to hold onto is this quote, that I found about 6 months ago. A Theodore Roosevelt speech that you can Read Here. Includes this famous quote:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

In the arts, especially, critics abound. But everywhere, in every field, we are told how we could have done better. Instead I want to be the "strong man", and to encourage other "strong men and women" that are getting dirty DOING.

Endeavor to do, and when you are not doing, refrain from criticizing those that are... unless you are ready to step in and assist them in the effort. Take a chance! The only sure way to failure is to not even try.

What a perfect day... to UN-FB

Here's my announcement. I haven't figured out a way to "productively" use Facebook. Maybe I'm an old fuddy-duddy now, though I do have some younger folks that agree with me. Seems to me FB is really just another big time suck... I cannot afford another one, as the interwebs are full enough of things to distract me from what I should be doing while sitting in front of the tube. SO, in a public service kind of way, I found a link with instructions to delete my FB account. YAY!

How to permanently delete your facebook account.

I think THIS is how I should use this social networking thing. No more crazy security concerns. I could link them, but I've seen WAY to many reasons you should make EVERYthing on FB private. So instead... I made it even more private. In 14days, my account SHOULD be gone.

Blogger back up, since it's about racing season. I may even start a new one soon on my other (read the one that pays) life. If I can finish writing my dissertation someday soon.

I find it oddly satisfying to actually do this on April 1. Maybe I'm actively NOT being an April Fool. Un-Fool day.

Besides, I'm way to wordy for FB and other social networks.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The OTHER season.

It is the beginning of the OTHER season, though it's mostly spectateing type. It's classics season... In February Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. Then March brings Milan-San Remo, Dwars door Vlaanderen, E3 Prijs Vlaanderen-Harelbeke, Ghent-Wevelgem. Then the big ones... Ronde Van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix! Then we wind it down with Amstel Gold Race, La Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

Ah to have the funds and time to go visit some of those locales.... someday, instead I got the race bike out and added Falls road to my morning commute. It's a nice addition that makes the commute into a real training ride.

And for training. Yes, I should do that. I've been riding and all, and I feel fast. Unfortunately, I can only tell if my "feeling" is reality when I lay it out in competition. Then I can tell that I should have laid off the ice-cream, and put it more miles. Well, I guess I already knew that... so I get to see how far I have to race myself into shape starting on April 11 with the start of the covered bridge series, and it gets hot right away when RATL starts the following weekend.

Here we go!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Usually, hibernating mammals put on weight in preparation for the long slumber of winter. Humans tend to put on weight while hibernating... well, I have at least. I have recently found that riding a bike is just like riding a bike, i.e. I still remember how. YAY! Throughout the last 3 months or so, I've probably logged a whopping 20 hours on the bike. Some year, I'll work on holding some semblance of consistency... or at least do a real winter training program. That would mean not getting caught up on the rest of life though. Life and work have been a bit all consuming lately.

On another note. I need to sell a car. It's time to retire my 1996 Saturn SL1, because we've come into another vehicle with less mileage. The Saturn has manual transmission with 110,000 miles. Single owner well maintained. I've also got a thule roof rack with two bike carriers. I haven't used the carrier much with the car, because I can fit a bike and a bunch of wheels in the back without the rack.

If you're interested, or know anyone who is, give me a shout in the comments. I do need to clean the CX mud out of the back still though... after the cleanup, I'll be posting it on the car sites.

When does racing season start again? Time to get the legs back on.