Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Interbike 2008 - CrossVegas

Cross Vegas was a priority as it is probably my only chance to see the top US PROS go at it. The course looked fast, but I heard later the grass was pretty thick. The course was pretty spread out so it was hard to see the whole race. I spent alot of time running from spot to spot to see as much of the lead group as possible. Lance showed. Cool. Basically, 15 guys rode off the front on the 3rd lap or so, then it whittled down to 10 and then there were some attacks and then Trebon's attack stuck.

The winner himself. Ryan Trebon before the race. I met his dad, Greg, during the race. The height definitely runs in the family. We were both trying to cross the course at the same spot when the lead group came by, both of us yelling our heads off. He introduced himself and there you have it. V-news did a piece on Greg Trebon a couple years ago.







Rumors were true. Lance Armstrong raced, riding a Trek x0. That's him in the upper left hand corner of the photo, I couldn't get any closer to him. He didn't win, but he did hang in there and finished the race. I read later that Lance rode a 53/39 for the race?!



#36. Mike Sherer. Fellow Pony Shop Cross team member. Was running fairly well until he lost a pedal. Got a call up right before Lance and started next to him. How crazy is that? Saw Ben Popper also, handed up some dollar bills.


This is the only action shot I got as my camera kind of sucks. I have no idea who this is.

Ed. Chris Strout has kindly pointed out that this is Adam Hodges-Myerson, proprieter of Cycle-Smart Coaching.


Had a great time and then went out drinking and gambling.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Back from Interbike

Got back last night. I see there was some activity in the comments. Thanks for reading everyone. I'll do an Interbike post after I download some pics.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Race Report: Chicago Cross Cup #1, Jackson Park

I am so happy to have the first race over. Everything I had was spent out on the course. The Cannondale was great: handling, cornering, everything about it.



The Course. Hats off to XxX Racing. This course was alot of fun and pretty hard. Long too. It was kind of like two separate courses:one- technical, the other wide and twisty. Nice wide start into a wide right hander, left and then into some technical stuff, including a set of double uphill barriers. Then an up, down, up, onto pavement, down and up into a single barrier, down past registration, a single barrier and then into the long sections that doubled back on each other with some twisty, off camber turns back to the start. It was wet when we started but some sections started to dry. There was a little mud, just a little, enough to make things a little slick. After doing 4 practice laps, one at pace, I decided on 38/36 for tire pressure, maybe could have gone lower, but I never washed out.



The Start. Could have been better, but not really my fault. The race flier said that the 30+ would start at 10:00 and we (40+) would start at 10:02, so we would at least have a clear path. Not to be. We lined up 30+ then 40+ then 50+ and the officials then said we'd be starting at the same time. Now, instead of being front row, I'm fourth row behind the 30+. That could have been o.k., except not everyone stayed in their groups, people moved up and I can't really blame them. Riders ready! And the 2008 cross season is underway.


The Race. A little bunching up after the start, but no wasted energy. Get through the first barrier, the uphill 2 barriers and through the technical stuff and I'm passing people. As we get to the longer sections I can see that I am, I don't know, maybe 10, 20 seconds behind a group of 5- there's my goal. I chase them for 2 laps and on the 4th, I think, I finally catch them, but it was a hell of an effort. I did a little body check as in:

Me: Hey legs.
Legs: Dude were kind of busy.
Me: I know but what do you got
Legs: What do you mean?
Me: Can we get around these guys?
Legs: Once and then no more.

So, as we hit the start area, I sprinted around all 5 and held it and that was all I had. Now it was just LT to the end.

Every lap, I could see and hear people. Tammi, Elora alternating between "allez" and "meow." Luca telling me each lap "Catch a rider every lap." Brian Conant, from a different spot each lap. The C4 guys, Baughb, Dan with baby! and some folk I didn't recognize.

Kevin Klug, the leader of the 30+ caught me towards the end of his last lap, my second to last lap and my race was over.


The result. 9th in the 40+. Although the first posted results had me at dead last. We talked to the officials, including some of the guys who were posted ahead of me, but who had finished behind (thanks), and notified the officials that some thing was up and they figured it out. A special thanks for all their efforts. I don't envy their jobs especially with 3 fields scored at the same time. The team did pretty well too, competitive in all categories.

What a great start to what I hope is going to be a great season.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Stream of consciousness 10:30 a.m.

Race in 2 days, got to be fast from the start to the first obstacle... don't crash at the first barrier, grant proposal has to go out by 5:00 today... what else do I have to do for that??? fast at the start. coffee, yes, more please, thank you. More US bail outs of mortgage lenders, how about my bailout? or yours? Vegas, Interbike, bike, bike porn. I have an ace and a 6, dealer shows a 2-6, what do you do? hit, no double. I said yes to more coffee. Text from Lou, getting psyched, respond- yeah I'm nervous. Grant proposal just got alot easier, no pressure, that's better. phone call, phone call, phone call. E-mail, get through those, delete, delete, delete, respond, save, save, delete... dealer has a 3, I have 15, stand. Dealer has a 7, I have 14, hit. save, save, respond. Phone call, let it go to voicemail. Check voicemail, I needed to talk to him. Call back. delete, delete, respond. Get to Jackson Park by 8:00 a.m. Plenty of time, plenty of time to kit up, warm up, number up and preview the course, especially the start. Easy ride tomorrow, some LT, some prints, hour maybe a little more, fresh legs for Sunday. dealer has a 5, I have a pair of 8s, split. Coffee, don't mind if I do.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

3 days

Great practice last night. Finally, after 6 practices I'm feeling more confident on the new bike. Went low on the pressure- like 30-32 on the Grifos. When I jumped out of the saddle on the pavement sections, I could feel the rim, very weird. We did 2 lines for the starts, which was good because I probably won't be able to get a front row spot every time. That's the last hard workout before Sunday and the first race.

Today and tomorrow I'm supposed to do recovery rides, which as you should know by now are my favorite rides of the week. I was actually going to just blow today off and sleep in, but then I woke up 5:15 a.m. I tried to fight it, I rolled over and thought I had fallen back asleep. Then I opened my eyes and the clock said 5:18, so much for that. I got up and rode for an hour. I guess my body knows better than I do what I need.

3 days to Jackson Park, then Vegas!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Happy Birthday

The US Constitution was adopted on Sept. 17, 1787 by the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia.

http://www.xmission.com/~nccs/freedom_defined/index.htm?const.html&2

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Random

Pardon the randomness, but I have alot of nervous energy. Combination of nerves as we approach the first race on Sunday and maybe just a little too much coffee.

Pyramids this a.m., mostly in the dark under a full moon. These are all out efforts, big ring, heart pounding. All 10 were good, higher than last week.

Even with all the rain this past weekend, I wish we had started racing already. Reading other people's first race reports: Molly, Sherer, has me chomping at the proverbial bit.

I'm going to miss Strout this year. He was instrumental in getting me to drink the kool-aid. I hope he comes out to some of the races to heckle us!

Seeing the complete team list for Pony Cross is pretty awesome. There are some mighty strong riders in there. I feel very honored to race with them.

Got the second set of tubulars dialed, so the bike is ready.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Theme song

I've been a Metallica head for a long time, since my freshman year of college, 1984, yeah I am that old. Anyway, I got their new album, Death Magnetic, on Friday and it is awesome! 11 songs, all but one over 7 minutes loang, some good metal chunk for ears.

I think I found the soundtrack for cross season.

"Broken Beat & Scarred"

You rise, you fall, your down and you rise again
What don't Kill you Makes you more strong
You rise, you fall, your down and you rise again
What don't Kill you Made you more strong
Rise, Fall down, Rise again
What don't Kill you Makes you more strong
Rise, Fall down, Rise again
What don't Kill you Made you more strong

Through black days through black nights
Through pitch black insights

Breaking your teeth on the high life??
Show your scars
Cutting your feet on the hard earth running
Show your scars
Broken Beat and Scarred
But we die hard

Dawn, the death, the fight to the final breath
What don't Kill you Made you more strong
The Dawn, the death, the fight to the final breath
What don't Kill you Make you more strong
Dawn, Death, Fight Final breath
What don't Kill you Make you more strong
Dawn, Death, Fight Final breath
What don't Kill you Make you more strong

Show your scars
Cutting your feet on the hard earth running
Show your scars
Breaking your life and Broken Beat and Scarred

But we die hard


7 days.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Out

Wiped out. That's how I fell right now. Cross practice last night was great. Every week I get a little better. This week's lesson was learning to lean the tubulars hard into the turns, no brakes, just aim and lean and you know what? They held, every time. I'm still playing with the pressure, but I think I have settled on 32-36. At least on the dry courses, like what we have been practicing on. Barriers, 5 starts and then tempo. I'm still not as fast through the barriers as I'd like, but getting faster each time.

Lou with the uber-pump.


I got up at 5:30 a.m. to do the pyramids. This is about as tough a workout as I've done. Basically, you start at 1 minute and work up to 3 minutes at 30 second jumps and then back down- full out for the whole interval and then double rest in between, so 1 minute on, 2 off etc.



With cross practice ending at 7:30 p.m. and the interval workout starting at 6:00 a.m., I did 3 hours of training in around 14 hours. At the end of the workout I was yawning and trying not to puke at the same time.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Upgrade

I received this e-mail yesterday:

James,

Your upgrade request has been approved and processed. Please see the
attached letter for further information.


Last week I applied to upgrade to Cat 3 for cross. It's not a big deal to go from a 4 to a 3, but it gives me the oppurtunity to do back to back races of 45 minutes each this season if Brian pushes me to do them.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Give Blood


What's cross without a little blood? Cross practice rocked tonight. Had some major mental break throughs on dismounting and the barriers. Mark, Roman, Lou all gave me some help today. Final thought is that I need to dismount EARLY, like 3 bike lengths or so before the barriers. When we did the 30 minutes of tempo I made it through all the barriers clean.
Cross is in the air. 18 days to Cross Cup #1 (Jackson Park). 18 days!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Second Opportunity

Last week presented another opportunity to ride all 3 bikes.

Rest week on the road bike- I love those weeks. Cross practice on Wednesday. The Cannondale is feeling better and better every time I ride it. Still struggling with the barriers a bit, but I am determined to get them down.

Tammi set up a sitter for Sunday a.m., so it was Judson Saturday, Palos Sunday and Judson Monday. Palos was crowded even at 7:00 a.m. when we got there. Lots of riders asking about the course for next week's race. If you look at what's out there, the race course options are pretty limited. In order for the course to loop nicely and had around 6-8 miles per lap, it almost certainly has to use 3 ravines and the trails on that part of the area. Since everyone else was going to ride there, we decided to ride the cemetery loop and avoid as many riders we could. There's almost no way that the race could use the cemetery loop as the course would have to cross 95th St. to get there. You can there from Bullfrog, but that trail is not really conducive to racing.
So we basically just did the yellow to get to the cemetery and then mile and half laps. Since I don't know that trail very well, each lap was a little bit different. It is my favorite piece of trail out there. Very well thought out, using the natural flow of the land to combine enough up and down and tight, twisty single track. If you squint just enough, you can almost forget that your just outside of Chicago.
Then we took Elora to the Kohl's Children's Museum and let her run around for 2 hours on sensory overload. It is a pretty cool place. Got back in the car and she crashed out for a couple of hours.

Of course, when it came time for face painting, she had to be a kitty.