Saturday, September 29, 2007

Interbike 2007 Day 3

Last day. I was tired. Tired of walking, tired of standing, just plain tired. Had seen everything I had really wanted to see, so today was just looking to get a look a things I may have overlooked.


Spent some time at the Salsa booth checking out their mountain bikes. Here's some photos of the Dos Niner and the Mamasita in honor of the Soiled Chamois:

The Mamasita, carbon and scandium:
Sweet graphics!


FSA carbon crank.



The Dos Niner

Short travel.


Salsa's flattened chainstays.


Then I wandered around looking at road wheels.


Mavic.


Zipp.



Easton.


American Classic.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Interbike 2007 2.5

Yesterday's impressions:

Specialized has the most intense booth here. Rock star bright lighting, so hot it had to have left a mark. It was also the only booth to say no photos, although we didn't see that sign until after we'd snapped some shots of Boonen's and Sauser's bikes.

Twin Six looks great. Word was that they're going to come out with bibs next season. Starting plain to test the market and then expanding from there.

Sockguy is also expanding, coming out with a line of socks that is thinner than their normal ones and seems to be aimed at the roadie market. Damn I love their socks!

Met Tom Ritchey at the World Bicycle Relief booth. It was refreshing to hear him talk very passionately about Project Rwanda and bringing bikes and racing to that part of the world.

Met Magnus yesterday. He said he was meeting with Felt last night. I'd to find out how that went.

Interbike 2007 Day 2




Long day. Totally fried. Here's 2 pictures from the crit this evening. That's kind of how I feel right now... blurry.





Thursday, September 27, 2007

Interbike 2007 1.5

Oh yeah, I forgot- the new carbon Durace cranks were very cool also. Time for coffee and then back to the show.

Interbike 2007 Day 1

Me and Ned Overend.

It's not so much about the stuff, although it is pretty damn cool (the new XT was very nice) it's more about the people: all walking and talking bikes.

Inevitably you see famous or at least semi-famous people just walking down the aisle next to you. In a 5 minute stretch I saw Tinker Juarez, Ned Overend, Phil Liggett and Nelson Vales.


I got to talk to Ned Overend while he was at the World Bicycle Relief booth signing autographs. I asked him what his secret was for staying so fast while getting older and he said basically staying fit and not getting injured.


Ned has been racing a long time: he won the the first mountain biking UCI World Championships in 1990, so I also asked him what he thought the biggest changes/improvements in technology had been over the years. He responded with 2 things: first, full suspension and second, lighter stronger wheels.

The cyclocross race tonight was cool. The course was laid out on some soccer fields, but it crisscrossed over them giving us a view of the whole race. It's 11:30 Vegas time and I've ben up since 3:00 a.m. Vegas time- time to sleep.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Off to Vegas

Leave tomorrow a.m. Update when I am able.

Overheard

Lance Armstrong when asked to comment on the Landis arbitration decision:



I would love to answer that question but unfortunately I'm out of that business. I only have the ability to focus on one thing at a time.

He continued saying that said cycling matters are "just a distraction for me."

I'm here to fight cancer. I haven't looked online. I still love the bike and ride all the time but on the competitive side I'm just not engaged.



Without that "business" called cycling, how many people would raise money to ride with him? Without his 7 Tour wins, how many people would donate money to the LAF?

He is able to raise money for his cause because of cycling. While I might not go so far as to say he owes cycling, I do think he has a responsibility to at least answer the question. Either you agree with decision, disagree with it or fall somewhere in the middle (which is where I am at).


Source: AFP

Monday, September 24, 2007

Group Ride Cast

A typical group ride cast of characters:

1. The Gap Creator. This rider will fight you for every wheel and as soon as you give up and let him have it he immediately creates a gap. He is then unwilling and/or unable to close that gap, forcing the riders behind him to come around and close the gap.

2. The Complainer. No matter what happens on the ride, this rider is unhappy and tells everyone how unhappy he is. Too many attacks, not enough attacks, no one wants to pull, I'm the only one pulling, pacelines are stupid etc.

3. The Directeur Sportiff. This rider tells everyone else what to do, when to do it and how to do it. Start a paceline, counter-clockwise, clockwise. Green light, red light.

4. The Finisher. Rarely takes a pull and seldom attacks, but through effective pack management, this rider always finishes the ride.

5. The Sprinter. Only seen at the sprints, this rider sweeps around from the back of the group to contest any and all sprints. Prompting other riders to exclaim "where the hell have you been!"

6. Java-Man. This rider starts the ride with a coffee or shot of espresso and then after the first surge comments that what he really wants is a cup of coffee. His sole reason for riding is the post-ride coffee.

7. The Surger. This rider has the ability to sit in the group anywhere he chooses and then surges to the front, drops the hammer and leaves everyone scrambling to catch up. He doesn't stay away, rather he sits up and lets the group catch him. He then fades to the back of the group only to do the same thing a short while later.

It takes all kinds... have a good ride.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Ding Dong the Click is Dead

Click. Click. Click.

I hate when my bike is noisy. A noisy bike gets into my head, messes with my mental state and can take me out of my game.

Click. Click. Click

A noisy bike is a sign of neglect and almost of disrespect to the bike. I pride myself on having a bike that makes only necessary noise.

Click. Click. Click

So I had this CLICK. At the same point of each pedal stroke. Right at the top, after the lift and as I slide my foot forward. When your bike starts making a noise, you eliminate possible sources. Does it happen while pedaling, but not coasting. If during both then it's probably a wheel. Out of the saddle, in the saddle. So on and so on. Until you have a pretty good idea of the source.

Click. Click. Click

So, the click didn't happen while coasting, was not emanating from the drivetrain itself, and it didn't change when I was out of the saddle. One persistent bugger.

I thought it was the SPD cleat thingy in my SIDIs sliding forward and backwards as I pedaled. I tinkered with the shoes. The piece cannot be removed from the shoe but I immobilized it. Next ride... still. Click. Click. Click

Next I thought it was the replaceable shim on the Durace pedals. Replaced it. Next ride. Click. Click. Click.

Gotta be the pedals themselves then, possibly the crank, but I doubt it. Turns out it was the pedals. Cranks o.k. So, new pedals and cleats and no more Click. Click. Click. And I am once more at peace.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Overheard

Arlene Landis, Floyd's mother, when asked about the arbitrator's decision:

Just because two men say he's guilty and one man says he isn't doesn't prove his guilt.


Moms rule.

Source: AP/Yahoo

Floyd Landis- My Thoughts

This is a sad day. Not just because Floyd Landis' appeal was denied, but also because we as cycling obsessed fans will never know the truth.

The arbitrators basically decided not to use the positive testosterone/epitestosterone result because of the way things were done at the lab, but instead found the test that showed the presence of synthetic testosterone in Landis' samples could serve as an independent basis for a finding of guilty. The panel majority did not find Landis' arguments about the faults with the second test to be persuasive.

The problem is that the second test, for synthetic testosterone, is only done if the T/E test comes back positive i.e. over the limit. So, if Landis' T/E ratio had been within the allowed parameters, they never would have even tested the samples for synthetic testosterone.

Process is as important as substance. If the first test results are questionable, the whole result should be thrown out. This would mean that Landis' appeal would have been granted; no ban. This would not mean that he didn't dope, it would simply mean that USADA was unable to prove its case.

I watched his attack and ride on stage 17 of the 2006 Tour live as it happened. I didn't think it was super-human. I thought at the time that the teams let him go in the same manner they let Rasmussen go. He'll fade, doesn't matter, no longer a threat etc. I believed then and I still want to believe now that his win was a product of effort, endurance and sheer will power, not doping.

The only person who really knows if Floyd Landis doped is Floyd Landis.

Meanwhile Barry Bonds breaks Hank Aaron's record and is still allowed to play. Home run #755 was sold for $186,750 while #766, the record breaker, sold for $752,467.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Waiting for the Sun

At first flash of Eden
We race down to the sea
Standing there on
freedom's shore
Waiting for the sun

Can you feel it
Now that Spring has come
That it's time to live in
the scattered sun
Waiting for the sun.

Waiting for the Sun, The Doors.

There is something surreal about training in the dark before dawn. Temps in the low 70s, a stiff wind out of the southwest. Waiting for the sun. Not necessarily in the Jim Morrison dawn of time sense, but more in the I feel more alive at dawn sense.

With just please-don't-run-me-over blinky lights, the road and bike path are dark. Avoiding potholes and other obstacles by memory. On these dark mornings, I ride without the iPod. Only the sounds of wheels on pavement and drivetrain.

Nothing but base miles so far this week. Taking it slow and liking it. The sunrises this week have been spectacular.

About 3/4 through my ride at about 6:40 this morning, the sun was just coming up over Lake Michigan.


No more than 15 seconds and 100 ft. later, the sun is completely up. It was like someone just turned on a light switch.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Harden the F*ck Up

I have used the phrase "Harden the F*ck Up" since I first heard it before the Tour this year.

Christian Vandevelde gives a good description of what it was/is all about here.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Overheard

Stuart O'Grady on Paris-Roubaix:


Who would have thought that it would be 27 degrees, dusty and dry? For me, it was just like a typical training day in Adelaide in summer – hot and dry. And as Australians, we [he and directeur sportif Scott Sunderland -ed.] do know a bit about staying hydrated and racing in those conditions.

I'm hoping it's going to be dry and 30 degrees for at least the next three years in a row.

But you never know with Paris-Roubaix; it can be like that one year, and the next it can be like four degrees and driving rain. But it's those conditions that can make it so unpredictable, and it's why it's such a beautiful race.

For those Celsius challenged: 27 = 80.6 F and 30 = 86 F. You think he and Sunderland were just giddy as they rolled out.

If you remember, O'Grady had a seriously crash at the Tour and only recently started riding again.

Quote source.

Interbike

It is official. I am going. Plane tix, badge etc. all accounted for. get in Wednesday a.m. and leave Friday p.m. Only in for the show.

I know others out there are going. I'd like to meet as many other riders/bloggers as possible. Maybe a blogger meet-n-greet type of thing. Don't know much about the location or what's around there, anyone have any ideas?

Friday, September 14, 2007

1989

My mind is a buzz with thoughts of mountain bike racing and riding. It's got me thinking about how I came to be on the bike.


1989. Nishiki Colorado. Heavy, no shock, thumb shifters. Still hanging somewhere in my parents garage. Riding Palos for the first time when nothing was really organized out there and everything was open to bikes.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

More Meltdown pics

This is a great shot of the 30+ Sport group. My buddy Denis is #373, white and green helmet.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Palos Results

The results have been posted, Sport, Expert:

I was 6th out of 22 in the 40+ group and 26th overall out of 90 finishers.

Congrats also to Denis Smith and Chris Strout - 7th Expert.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Is there a grand tour going on?

Like in Spain or something? Oh yeah. The Vuelta de Espana. Not paying attention. I tried. I did. I really did. But I can't get into it at all.

Maybe it's because the more I think about what happened during the Tour, the whole race seems like a farce. Maybe it's because I can't be sure anyone racing is clean anymore. Anyway, I can't get excited about it.


No ride today. Decided to take another day off after the Palos race. Body felt fine, I just didn't feel like getting up and riding this a.m.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Palos Meltdown Photos

Found lots of photos of the race. This race was a blast. Being my first mountian bike race ever, I learned alot. If they do it next year, I will definitely do it. Also has me thinking about including more mountain bike raicng in my calendar. On to the photos.


This is the first time up Grassy Hill when I was in the lead of the 40+ group. Soon to be passed just before Gravity Cavity by the 2 guys right behind me who I believe went 1,2 in the group.

Pretty sure this is Gravity Cavity, 1st lap.

I think this is around Bad Ass Hill, 1st lap.


Second lap towards end of Turf. The guy passing me got 3rd. He originally tried to pass me on the 1st lap by the old stone bridge, but didn't make it and ran off the trail. As he passed me here he commented that it was a bad move on his part and we shared a laugh.


The Expert class start up Grassy Hill. Chris is # 473.




Lots of photos are up on the net:
red snail racing gallery 1 gallery 2

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Palos Race Report

Palos Meltdown
Sport Class, 2 laps, 16 miles
6th 40 - 49, ? overall

Pre race jitters kept me up. It took me a long time to fall asleep and then I woke up at least twice. Anyway, got out to the race at about 8:30. Plenty time to do what I needed to do before the 11:00 Sport start. I checked out the start first, instead of just taking up the Grassy Hill, they took us around and we ended up climbing up it, then coming down it and then climbing up it. This start would ensure that we would be split before hitting the trails.

As we were lining up for the staggered start by age group there were only 2 things I was focused on. The first was something Chris told me yesterday about the difference between road racing and mountain bike racing. On the road, you try to conserve energy as much as possible. Get into a move or break if possible, but otherwise stay near the front, but not necessarily on the front, use the group to recover. In a mountain bike race, at least in a cross country race, there is no conserving, there is only go, go, go until you can't go anymore.

The second thought was that I wanted to be at the front of our group into the first set of single track. I was worried about getting stuck on the Ravines and having to run them. So, my plan was to sprint from the get go.

They started us at 2 minute intervals with the 20+ and the 30+ ahead of us. Denis from On the Route was in the 30+ so I yelled for him as his group rolled off. I got into the front row far to the left which was where I saw the best line. The horn went off and I went as fast as I could, getting the hole shot into the first turn, up the first climb. I was even with another guy at the top, but passed him on the short down and was first the second time up Grassy Hill and was first into the double track.

I got passed by 2 guys right before the single track, tried to stay on them, but no go. They were just faster than I was. I really don't like riding right on someone else's wheel on single track anyway. No where to go if they mess up. That ended up being a crucial mistake because they were gone. I'm now 3rd in my group and I have at least 2, maybe 3 behind me. We started picking off 30+ riders before the wooden bridge.

All through 3 Ravines and Turf I was at the front of this group. Thanks to the guy right behind me who coached me on passing the slower riders. He didn't try to pass me. I would have let him if he asked, but he didn't. Cleared all 3 ravines with little difficulty. By the time I knew it we hit the log on Turf and flew right over it. Then we got onto the blacktop and I hit the gas on the climb dropping the guys I had been with.

Up Grassy Hill strong for lap 2. Tammi and Elora were at the top and I slowed just for s second to make sure Elora knew that I had seen her. Then onto the double track and the single track and I blew up. I got passed by 2 of the guys that I had been with before. So now I am in 5th. I needed to recover. I started crossing off each technical part of the trail in my mind: each ravine, each log etc. Passed a few 30+ guys and just kept pedaling, telling myself that if I could make it out of the single track and on to the climbs, I'd be fine. But, I was hurting. 2 other 40+ guys then passed me. So now I'm 7th.

Made it on to the blacktop climb and passed a few more guys, but not the 2 who just passed me. Over and down, over and down and all I have left is a loop around the parking lot and the Grassy Hill. I catch one of the guys who passed me and I sprint up the hill for the finish.

My strength was the climbing and the flats, but I suffered on the technical stuff having to slow way down and that's where I lost time and a potential podium spot.

Cograts to CAMBR for pulling off this event. The course was great. Everything appeared to go off with out a hitch.

Honestly though, this race hurt. I don't think I have ever gone that fast on the mountian bike before. I would definitely do it again.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Palos Preview Final

Went out to Palos this a.m. with Chris. We were riding by 7:30 a.m. Conditions were very different from earlier this week. Overall the trails were actually a bit faster. The turns were tackier, but the roots and rocks were slipperier. I expect backups on any of the technical sections, especially if it is slick like today was. Things probably dried out during the day, but we'll see. Saw only 2 riders the whole time, alot of runners- there was a cross country meet going on while we were out there.

Now, that brought back memories of high school when I ran. What an unforgiving sport. No one really watches and when they do they just tell you to go faster!

Anyway, we did a lap of the course with some sprints etc. and then Chris showed me some newer single track: the connector, Stonehedge- some very nice stuff.

Plan is get out there tomorrow around 8, ride the course, number up and chill until 10. Then do a warm-up and race at 11:00.

Borrowing a page from Thomas Frischknecht's race prep, I'll have a beer or 2 tonight and then crash.

Race bag is packed, bike is ready, I just hope I am.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Nothing

I did nothing today. And I mean nothing. No ride. No work. Nothing. There is something very therapeutic about doing nothing now and then. I did do things, I suppose: drink coffee, surf the net, watch some cable, but really nothing.

Ride Palos tomorrow. Then race.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Palos Prep 4

Another base ride this morning of 25 miles, nice and easy. I've changed my plans for the weekend, no group ride on Saturday, instead spend time on the mtb and pre-ride the race course, again. As it has rained the last couple days, things will have probably changed... any advantage I can gain will be good. So, no Judson for me on Saturday.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Palos Preview 3

Did a short (25miles) road ride this morning. I got used to the sun being up when I leave in the a.m. to ride, now it's dark at 5:30 and for half of my ride.


Watching the sun come up this morning though and listening to RATM, my thoughts were all about the mountain bike. Having ridden the race course 4 times now, I have a pretty good mental image of the trails, where the turns are etc.


There are going to be 125 starters in the Sport class on Sunday. That's alot of riders. I contemplated switching to the Expert class, which is one lap longer and only has 30 riders signed up, but am thinking that since this is my first mtb race, I'd get killed in Expert. I'd have to race against Chrisand this guy and they would surely kick my ass.


We'll see. My plan is base again tomorrow, ride Palos on Friday, road ride on Saturday (sit in on Judson to Ridge) and then Sunday race.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Tattoos of the Peloton #21 2007 SSWC


Adam Craig and Kelli Emmett, winners of the 2007 Single Speed World Championships. Winners get a tattoo. Nice placement!






Palos Preview 2

I rode the Palos course today. I did 3 laps of the course, about 22 miles. Pretty crowded, but not too bad. On 2-way single track I yell out " Rider up" or "Coming down" about every 30 seconds. At Palos, more than other places, there are alot of blind corners and with all the plant growth it's hard to see oncoming riders. Most riders coming up against me though weren't saying anything. I had 2 near misses. That's the main reason I don't ride Palos that much.

I rode solo. It was kind of liberating to tell oncoming riders that I was "solo."

I always seem to ride better on the mountain bike when I am by myself. Don't get me wrong, I like riding with other people, especially Tammi, but my mind is never just mine when I am riding trails with some one else. Riding alone, it's just me, the trail and my bike. I don't have to worry if I am going too fast (if I am in front) or am I going too slow (if I am not.)

The Palos course will be tough, but fun. Alot of climbing, alot of single track, but still should be opportunities to pass. I think the climbing will suit my strengths.

Alone I was able to talk to myself (in my head of course) about the course and the upcoming race. Pick out landmarks on 3 ravines so I would know when to shift down for the quick up. I would welcome a little rain before next week to pack down some of the gravelly stuff, but if not so be it.

I lowered my tire pressure and it seems to have worked. I didn't see anyone that I knew, talked to some guys about Winter Park. They saw the Rockey Mountain Roastery stickers on the 'Roo and then talk of trails, coffee and Rudy's sandwiches followed.

Plan this week is get base road rides in, Palos again Friday morning, Sunday race. Possibly MWC, but not sure.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Palos Preview 1

Palos yesterday was great. Just under 25 miles. Rode most of the race course. The massive rains of the last few weeks washed most of the lines away leaving gravelly stuff in the bottoms and in some of the turns. I think it also left many roots more exposed than they had been.

I took 3 diggers, mostly because I was a just a little tentative on the bike. I think I had too much pressure in my tires. 50 in back, 47 in front.

The diggers: 1 unforeseen, 1 endo and 1 "I'm a dumbass." The unforeseen occurred when my front tire bit on a root and just would not let me go, sending me down on my right knee. The endo occurred when I tried to anticipate the "next" line and missed my current line, again losing it on a root. The "I'm a dumbass" digger happened just letting my front wheel wash out, getting caught on yet another root. Moral of the day: protect your front wheel.

Here's a shot of the results of the unforeseen digger:

Just a flesh wound. If you don't crash, you're just not going fast enough. That philosophy though does NOT apply to the road. Never, ever crash on the road. It hurts... for a long time.

Anyway, still got out for Judson this morning. 70 miles on the road, did as much work as I could. Is it too much to ask people to pull through when they come up through a paceline?

Post ride java, mmmm mmmm good.