Monday, December 31, 2007

Best of 2007

Best race:
Even though I had the most fun racing cross, my best result was the Palos Meltdown. I hope they do that race again next year. With the Chicago Cross Cup expanding to at least 7-8 races and maybe more (a tenantive schedule is already out) I will have alot of cross racing opportunities. There's even been some rumors of some Spring Cult Cross races. We can only hope.

Best PRO race: Paris-Roubaix. Not just because of O'Grady's attack and win in hot and dusty conditions, but also because of CSC's team effort and sense of camaraderie as evidenced by Cancellara's post race comment:
As a defending champion, I'm very happy because I haven't lost it; we have won again as a team. I know what's on in Stuart's head now. It's a lot of joy. We'll celebrate it at the same hotel where we did it for me last year. In cycling, the sense of sacrifice must always be present. I already paired with Stuart in the finale of a classic last year in Zurich. It's a day of big cycling today; our whole team has done a great job.
Best photo:

Aiko Trail, Winter Park.
Bar width trail, a super down low trail at that. Even though this trail was only about 3 miles long, it was the most fun of the whole Winter Park trip. So much fun, that we immediately turned around, climbed back up and rode it again.

Best new piece of gear.
Got to be the cross bike.

2nd Place.




Close. Hard to choose between the new DEDA bars and stem vs. the Assos Roubaix F.I. Mille Bib Knickers. I gotta go with the DEDA though for 2 reasons. First, the shallow drop was just what I needed to be able to ride in drops more often and second, I only raced in the knickers once (Hales Corners) and while I wholeheartedly agree with Competitive Cyclists' review, I need some more rides in them.

Friday, December 21, 2007

GFJ Hardcore Award- Jonathon Page


I have alot of respect for Jonathon Page: living and racing a discipline that is so Euro.

He gets the GFJ Hardcore Award for the following:

He races the Superprestige in the Netherlands on Sunday, December 9, 2007, won by Sven Nys, flies to the states, races the US Cross Championships on Sunday, December 16, 2007, and places 2nd, flies back to Europe and races the 3rd Scheldecross in Antwerp, Belgium, today, December 21, 2007, placing 7th only 25 seconds behind 4th place Sven Nys.

So that's 3 races, 4537 miles of travel (each way) in 12 days.
Photo: velonews.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Trebon crash

Seems to me that this could have been avoided by a couple of different course designs:

1. Having some space between the 2 lanes of traffic. This would've provided space for off-course riders.

2. If you're going to have the 2 lines right next to each other, separate them something other than just course tape, like snow fencing.

If you watch some of the other video from the race, guys are flying off the course as they come around some of the turns, in many cases taking the course tape with them.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Ryan Trebon 2007 cyclocross Nationals Crash

If you haven't seen this, watch it. Danger Will Robinson! Thanks to Lou for the link.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Overheard

Georgia Gould on the slick frozen mud which covered most of the KC course:

It was like the course tape was a magnet, and my bike was the other end of the magnet. Some days you can ride your bike, other days you can't.

Ain't that the truth. Gould beat Compton twice at the December rounds of the Crank Brother's U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross in Portland, in similar, although, probably not as cold conditions.

At Montrose I felt like the bike just didn't want to go where I was pointing it. Instead of being part of the bike and "flowing" with it, I had to fight to get control of it. In my short experience with cross, it seems like Gould is right on: some days you've got it, others you don't. That's why a series is better than a single race at determining a winner.

Source: velonews

Monday, December 17, 2007

Overheard

Todd Wells, the 2001 and '05 cyclocross champ, on his 3 laps with Jonathon Page:

Page was banging into me like it was some juiced-up Euro World Cup race.

And rubbin, son, is racin'. Damn, I wish I had been able to go just to watch. Sounds like there was some good racing.

Source: velonews

Friday, December 14, 2007

Overheard

Brandon Dwight, commenting on the Colorado state championships this past Sunday where he placed second in the Men's open behind Danny Summerhill:

When you're racing in temperatures that a penguin would appreciate, all it takes is a great course, good competition and screaming fans to make you forget the cold and focus on having fun.
Ain't that the truth. Sunday's race at Montrose Park would have been horrible without the great course and great fans yelling and ringing the cowbells.

Source: velonews

iPod Heavy Rotation

Boy, U2
Live Phish 02, 7-16-94, Phish
High Voltage, AC/DC

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Will anyone care?

The Mitchell report on performance enhancing drugs being used in baseball drops in about 2 hours.

Supposedly he names about 20 players having used steroids and other products, many of whom are/were MVPs and Allstars.

Will anyone care though? I am not a huge fan of baseball, but don't most people want to see higher scoring games with more homeruns? Will they care how those hits are/were generated?

Will the major media cover this with the depth and indignation it deserves or will they reserve that only for cycling (Floyd Landis, Vino etc.)

I hope that this will wake people. Doping is prevalent in all sports.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Busted


Cold weather + hard plastic + crashing on ice = broken hood= no brake.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A short season

So, that's it... my cross season is over. Very short for me as I got the bike on October 25, 2007 and my first race was on October 28, 2007.

Season results:

Sunrise Park: 26/30 40+
Campton Cross: 20/35 40+
LAN Oak Park: 22/36 40+
Hales Corners, WI: 8/19 40+ cat 4s
Montrose Park: 22/39 40+

5 races in 6 weeks. I scored points in all of the races I entered.

Thanks to Lou at the Pony Shop, Chris Strout, Roman, Josh Mallan, Pete R. and others for encouraging me to try it. I am so definitely hooked. I have been searching for some focus in my training and I think I have found it. If you've ever thought about trying it, do it. If I can do it, anyone can.

The most thanks goes to Tammi and Elora for putting up with me racing so much and my incessant jabber about all things cross.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Race Report(Long)- Montrose Park- IL States- Chi Cross Cup #6

EPIC! The weather always seems to be a factor for this race. Temps in the low 30s and windy. I got there at around 8:30 and found Chris Strout already there with his tent set up. Instead of setting up my own, we hung one of my tarps to give us more wind protection. While it was cold, as long you stayed out of the wind, it was alright. I set up the trainer and went out for some laps. On my way back to the car, my front tire completely washed out on patch of ice and I was down, sliding on my side. One of those crashes where you say to yourself "dumbass!" No bruises or damage to me, but when I got up... the top part of my left hood was in pieces and the brake lever was sticking out almost parallel with the ground. The rest of the bike was o.k.


The course. I think this was the best course I have raced on. It really had a "flow" to it. A wide starting straight into a soft left turn onto pavement then 2 quick turns, short straight then up cricket hill, running because of the 2 barriers at the base of the climb. Remount, down the hill, 180 turn, 2 barriers and run back up the hill, then all the way down the hill and through a soccer goal (no net of course!). More turns, then up a short hill, down, under the viaduct and back up with a single barrier. Some turns, back under the viaduct, up a short steep, then finally(!!) some straight, back through the soccor goal. A soft left, more turns, a short, steep down, equally steep up with a barrier at the very tip, top. A tricky down with a couple of tight turns, then a flat around to the start/finish. They had cleared the snow off of several sections of the course, but not all, so you would be riding/running one section on the wet muddy grass and then go into a couple inches of snow. The hill had not been cleared of snow. Lots of twisty stuff, very technical.

Set-up. Ran the Mud2s again, 38 both front and rear. Jumped on the trainer at 10:30 and kept warm until our race started at 11:00.

The start. I basically had no rear brake. I could use it, but I had to reach alot farther to grab it and it had less than half its power. I lined up second row. Whistle. And we're off. Mid pack, passed a couple riders on the first run up the hill, then as we went down the hill for the first time, I realized that the lack of a rear brake was going to really affect my ability to descend with any amount of speed as both downhill sections had about 3 inches of snow on them. Descending with no rear brake was difficult. In any kind of soft stuff, you want the front wheel to roll, brake with the rear, sit back and let it roll through. With no rear brake, I had to brake with the front and that caused the front end to get a little jittery. Maybe I should have just run the downhill too!

The Race. I settled into a group with Doc Jones and Franco. We spent the race passing each other and a couple of other people. Every time I passed them, they would catch up to me when I had a mishap with the braking situation, then I would catch back up to them. On the last lap they both stayed away.

Result. At the race they had me at 22nd, now I'm at 26th. I'm not sure how that happened. Overall, I'm happy with the result, especially since I didn't have a rear brake.

Congrats to Lou, Kevin and Chris- 1,2,3 in the 30+.

I saw Tristan work his way through the entire 3s field and lap most of the rest of the 1,2s. Poetry in motion. Watched the start of the 4s and then had to bail as I was cold and hungry.

This race tested my technical skills, which were lacking. I have alot to work on for next season.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Race Report (Short)- Montrose Park- IL States- Chicago Cross Cup #6


Tough, but beautiful course.

Snow, ice, icey snow. Very slick.

Shattered my left hood/pod while pre-riding the course- no rear brake for entire race.

Shoulder bruised and sore from carrying the bike.

Legs are noodles.

22/39. 40+.

Need to eat, drink... sleep.

I love cyclocross.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Epic

I am excited. This week it has been hard to concentrate on anything but tomorrow's race.


I watched the IL States in 2006 and 2005. While it will not be as cold tomorrow as it was for those 2 races, the conditions promise to be epic.

Good luck to everyone else racing. Bags packed. Car's packed. Bike is ready. I am ready.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Just because

Sunday forecast: Periods of light wintry precipitation. Temps nearly steady in the low to mid 30s. Winds ENE at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of precip 40%.

At lunch today, a friend confirmed that he was going to come out to the race on Sunday and see what it was all about. Another friend then asked me why anyone would want to race their bike in "this" kind of weather.

I paused for a second and said "I guess, because we can." She responded that she thought it was more a case of us proving to each other who was tougher. I laughed and said something like "yeah, that too."

Now that I've had time to think about it though, I would have a different response. It's not about proving something to someone else, it's about proving it to myself. Each race I've learned more and have gotten faster.

And, 'cross is just about the most fun I've ever had on a bicycle.

iPod Heavy Rotation

Everday, Widespread Panic
Rated R, Queens of the Stone Age
Staring at the Sea, The Cure

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Just go faster

The forecast for Sunday has changed everyday this week... progressively getting worse. Last weekend they said 40 and rainy, now its a high of 33 and light snow/freezing rain.

Whatever... after Sunday at Hales Corners I feel like I can handle the snow. One good thing about the snow is that it makes the course overall slower, so my inexperienced dismounts won't hurt me as much. The snow also makes the course more technical, but at least there won't be a sandpit on Sunday! Goddamn I struggled with that thing.

It would be cool to be a rider who excels in crappy conditions. Sunday was my first race in anything but dry ground and sunshine and all things considered, I did pretty well.

I expect Sunday's field to be bigger and stronger than any of the others I've been in. All I can do is race: go as fast as I can whenever I can.

I've really laid off this week, no intervals, just some easy spinning with some light spin-ups and sprints to keep the legs lively. I want to hit Sunday fresh and ready for some speed.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

WI States HR Graph

About the same as last race, 189 high.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Monday, December 3, 2007

Race report- Hales Corners WI States

Snowed most of Saturday, then rained Saturday night, then got cold so when I went to sleep ice was everywhere. Woke up and the ice was gone and everything was melting. Figured we'd be riding in the slop. Not to be. Roman got to my place at about 6:45, we were on the road by 7:00. Figured this would give us enough time for coffee and any getting lost that might occur getting to the race venue. As we drove north, it looked like WI didn't get as much snow as we did, that is until we got close to the venue. When we got there at about 8:40, there was good 2-3 inches everywhere that was just starting to melt.

The course. I think this was the best course I've been on yet. Nicely set out. However, since we were the first race, very few riders had ridden the whole course, so we were riding in ice covered snow, you know the kind I'm talking about, the kind that is hard on top, but soft underneath: "CRACK" "Shhhlllepppppcccchhht."
A long starting straight into a soft left hand turn, hard right, sandpit then some off camber turns and into the first set of 3 widely spaced barriers, with a run-up immediately afterwards. Then the first pavement section, some quick turns, a short downhill, across the first bridge, some quick turns and then a hill, which for our race was unrideable. Down the same hill, some quick turns and back up the hill, but now with the 2nd set of 3 barriers in the middle, so run up the hill again, then some off camber turns, second bridge and a long finishing straight. With the snow and all of the running, the warm-up lap took 15 minutes! We figured we'd get 2 laps for the 30 minute 40+ cat 4s.

At 9:43 we went to the start and were advised that we'd have about 10 more minutes as part of the course wasn't marked off yet. My shoes and feet were wet and starting to get cold, so I ran back to the car and put some emrbo right on my toes. Thanks for the tip Tony. That did the trick.

Set-up. I ran the Mud 2s instead of the Razes. 40 pds. rear and 38 pds. front. Turned out to be pretty good.

The start. Everyone was joking about how the hole shot would be useless because the snow was so hard to ride through, better off letting the group go and ride some wheels until after the first lap. I lined up in the first row of 19 riders. Roman was to my right. Whistle and I push with my right foot... t h e b i k e g o e s n o w h e r e... rear wheel just spins out. I miss my left pedal and I start to fall onto my right side. This, of course, happens in slow mo. My only thought is to stay upright long enough for Roman to clear my right side, i.e the side that I am falling on. I did not want to take him out too. "Hey, dude, thanks for driving up with me... sorry I took you out at the start!" So with one foot clipped in I leaned the bike as hard to the left in a momentary pause... then down onto the snow.

Anyways, I'm on my side watching the whole field ride away. I jump up and can't get the bike moving as I am now in "unridden on" snow, so I run with the bike, get up some speed and jump on. By this time, the field is into the first turns 200 ft. or so away!

The race. Disaster strikes.. what do you do. You race MF! Anger at one's self can be a great motivator. I sprinted until I caught the last group of riders.

The snow made for a difficult race. If you could keep a straight line, you actually could get up some speed, so anytime the course got straight, I sprinted. Problem was if the front wheel just got little bit off track, it would bit into the snow sending the front end of the bike off kilter.

By the start of the second lap I had caught 5 or 6 riders. Also, I got the hang of riding in the snow. If the front tire did go awry, I got pretty good at pedaling through it. Alot of sitting back and unweighting the front wheel, like riding in sand or on a soft trail climb.

I then caught a group of 3 riders at the second set of barriers and decided to sit at the back and rest a little (if that's possible), wait until after the bridge and then try to sprint for the finish. One guy fell before the bridge and I came around the other 2 at the finish.

Result. 8th out of 19. I would be happy with any top 10 finish, but given my sucky, or to borrow an H. Simpson quote: the suckiest start that ever did suck, I think it was a complete success.

I only wish the race was longer than 2 laps because I only got the hang of the course on the second lap. So, I wouldn't do a 30 minute race again, unless I really had to.

We took advantage of the hot showers. Then went and got some food and coffee and came back to watch the 40+ and then 1/2/3s and 30+. The later races were mud fests as now there was a line that went all the way through the snow.

Well established track for the 1/2/3s. I'm not sure if we or they had better conditions.

So, onto to Montrose and the IL States on the 9th.