Tuesday, October 28, 2008


While were sloggin it out in the wind at Barlett, a number of Chicago cross racers were taking on national competition in Louisville.

Congrats to my coach Brian Conant who took 6th on both Saturday and Sunday in the 35+.

Ben Popper took 24th on Saturday 26th on Sunday in the Elite, staying on the lead lap.

Devon Haskell took 9th on both Saturday and Sunday in the women's elite.

Greg Heck took 25th on Saturday and 29th on Sunday in the Men's 2-3s.

And, results are up, Pony Shop did alright at Bartlett:

30+: Lou 6th, Mark 9th
40+: Brian R. 3rd
1,2,3s: Luca 4th, Aspen 7th
Women's 4: Carolyn 9th
4as: Jack with the win!! Cliff 10th and Scott 24th.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Race Report- Chicago Cross Cup #5- Bartlett

Race #5, half way. Last year's race here was my first cross race ever, I placed 26th in the 40+.

The course. Windy. I can't remember the last time I rode in so much wind. ABD did a great job with this course, ran reverse of last year. Wide start line into an easy right and then really narrowed into a sharp left and sharp right. Straight into a single barrier run-up, opposite direction of last year. Two woods/wood chip sections. Wood chips always look more stable than they feel. Some nice pavement sections, including one loooong stretch of pavement where you got back onto the grass, full speed. On the backside of the course, a three barrier run-around, down, jump, up, jump, down, jump then ride up, down and through the long finishing straight. That was a mouthful!

This course was hard and fast, no recovery... any... where. Oh yeah, and did I mention that it was windy.

The start. I did 3 or 4 laps at different speeds. Then I did about 5 starts to test the corners. Finally, I did the single barrier run-up about 10 times back to back to see what the best line on the climb after would be and to stay warm.

Had a good, not great start. I just wanted to stay out of trouble. I hit the top of the run-up in traffic, jumped on but then had to jump off and run as the turn and hill back up was clogged. On the first section of pavement I can count from Boundy in first back to me and I'm in 10th or so. Not bad.

This photo is just after the start. Tim Boundy is to the right, Brian R. on the left. Roman is just hitting the barrier and I am just dismounting. What a great shot.

The race. So, once again, just settle in. Find the sections I can go fast on and ride smooth as I can. That, though, is often easier said than done. I pass a few guys. As I'm working my way through the 30+ I can see Mike from xXx ahead. He's my target. I could never get his wheel. I'd get close and then I'd mess up a turn and have to brake. I always underestimate the effort required to re-accelerate after screwing up a turn. Smooth, Jim smooth.

With 2 to go I see Jim from Turin coming behind me and he's gaining. I get the bell lap and I'm not lapped. That's good: one of my goals is to stay on the lead lap. Turin's coming. Every time we turn I look over my shoulder, he's there. Not on me, but there. Lou and some of the 30+ who finished are yelling at me as we hit the last and longest pavement section to catch the rider in front of me, who I thought was a 30+ rider, but was in fact another 40+ rider that I had lost track of. So, I'm out of the saddle and in the drops, clicking through gears. I had Strout's voice in my head from last year saying you've got to be first into an obstacle, so I'm thinking if I hit the barrier running thing at the bottom, Turin can't get me. So I pass the rider ahead of me into the grass and I was first into the barriers. After the barriers, out fo the saddle, sprint for the line.

The result. 7th. Some problems with the results, so only 1-10 were finalized.

Stuck around and watched the 3s, women's 1-3 and some of the Men's 1-3 and then had to go.

Photos: Velosnaps, of course.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Fun, fun in the sun
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Friday, October 24, 2008


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Haunted Houses

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Elora's preschool's Fall Festival

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

More from Carpentersville

Here are some pics from Carolyn(Velosnaps).

Go to Pony Shop Cross for Jack's spectacular endo!

Partial results are up, there seems to be a problem with the 1,2,3s and the 4as.

Pony Shop did pretty well both at the race and so far in the series:

30+ Lou 3rd, Mark 8th
40+ Brian R. 3rd, Me 7th, Roman 11th
Women's 4: Carloyn 17th.

After our race and once the results were final, we ate lunch and then watched the other races. It's always more fun yelling at the top of your lungs for everyone racing to go faster after you've finished your race.

Elora had more fun jumping up and down on teh moon walk thing. At 2:30 she had had it and it was time to go.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Race Report- Chicago Cross Cup #4- Carpenter Park

The course was great, the weather was great and I felt great, at least until the dry heaves at the end of my sprint for 7th.

The course. Very, very nice. A bit of a narrow start then right into, as Elora would say "the bump bumpy Mc bumpertons." Nice technical turns, then into a single barrier with a creek jump. Some more technical turns, then onto pavement, hairpin, back the other way on the pavement, right hander onto the grass, cruise around and into the sandpit. Rideable. Out of the pit, around some more then some nice click-up-through-the gears power sections. Around, double barriers up-hill run-up and around to the start.

I did my warm-up with 36 psi and crashed hard in one of the corners before the pavement. So I took a few pds. out. Definitely the lowest I've raced on yet.

The start. Call ups. 4th. Get a good spot. Have some difficulty getting back clipped in, can't get my left in. With 30 secs to go, switch to my right foot clipped in first, instead of my left. God damn egg beaters. I am seriously considering pitching these things. But I digress. Calm down Jim... Riders GO! Left foot takes me 3 pedal strokes to clip in. I fall back to about 15th or so. Roman got the hole shot. SWEET!

O.k. not so bad, don't panic. I can move up. Just stay up, pass when I can.

The race. Settle in a groove, no, my groove. Straight, brake, turn, accelerate, repeat. First 2 times through the sand I was good, but got knocked down by other riders. That's racing. Get up, get the bike, run. The run-up was fine and a good place to pass. The rest of the time through the sand was fine, strong, just pedal. I'm just trying to move up when I can. I can see 30 and 40+ riders ahead so I just focused on catching up to the next one in front of me, passing, repeat.

Eventually I settled in with a Mack rider and with 3 to go (I think) we rode together. Lombardo from the 30+ came around us at the start line with 2 to go, so now we only had 1 to go. I yelled up to the Mack rider that we should try to stay with him. He asked if we still had 2 to go and I said no, we all finish with him so we both gunned it. An ABD rider was just in front of us. When you think you have 2 to go and then there's only 1... what do you have to lose: full gas. Coming up to the sand I wanted a clear line so I came around Mack and hit it hard. We're gaining on ABD as we come into the straighter and faster parts of the course. We hit the pavement and ABD is right in front of us, Mack on my wheel. As we approach the barriers I hear a voice yelling behind me "Go Jim, get him on the run-up, you can catch him!" The voice does not stop all the way through the barriers and down to the finishing straight. I catch ABD at the top of the run-up, pass on the remount and hold through the last turn and get out of the saddle and sprint with everything my legs have left. Finish ahead of ABD and Mack and then a few dry heaves to confirm that everything I had was left on course.

I later found out the voice was Lou who had made it up to us on his last lap.

Tire pressure must have been fine since I didn't wash out and I could feel the rear rim on some of the roots, although I was a bit tentative in some of the turns after crashing on the warmup.

The result. 7th. I was 5th, but after talking with some of the other racers, that didn't seem right. We did kind of group protest and I got moved down 2. No worries.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Sunday's Race- possible detour

From the Chicago Cross Cup website:


For those travelling on Rt. 31, it will be closed to through traffic on the day of the race between Route 72 (Higgens) and Route 62 (Algonquin Road). This means you may still be able to get through, but it may take a while. If you detour to Rt 25 , turn West (light) on Lake Marion Rd in Carpentersville, left on L.W. Besinger Dr, and a right on Maple Ave. Maple will take you directly to Carpenter Park.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

New Day

The official results are up. 18th and I slid to 4th overall. During the race, when I saw Mark walking with his busted seat post, I thought to myself, flat, just flat damn it, oh wait, I have pit wheels, shit that means I'd have to run even more, o.k. chain break, come on break... I was deep, deep, deep in the pain cave with very little hope of ever coming out.

Given how absolutely horrible I felt on Sunday, I'm just happy I finished and I didn't get lapped by any of the 40+ finishers.

No ride yesterday, rest day. Today was a new day, a chance to recommit. On deck: 5 x 4 minute V02 max and then 5 minutes at LT. 5:30 a.m. was dark as dark can be. Thanks to Roman i know have a helmet light which worked really well. The wind was stiff out of the NE. I hit the 5 x 4s hard and then just to prove to myself that I could i did 10 minutes instead of 5 at LT. A solid hour and 40 minutes left me looking forward to this week's race, Carpenter's Park, an old venue for the series, but a new venue for me.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Race Report- Chicago Cross Cup #3- Hawthorn Woods

Chloe's picture says it all. What's the phrase? Sometimes you get the bear and sometimes the bear gets you. Well, the bear sat on me today. After last week, I had high hopes for today. Alas, it was not to be.

The course. Not much to say. Flat, straight, not very technical. About 200 m off the start we rode up one side of a toboggan hill, came down and went right back up, over a barrier, all the way back to the top and then back down.

The start. Call ups! Pretty funny. I was 2nd in the series and so got called up 2nd. They finished call ups through 1oth. I'm lined up with the leaders of the 40+, felling pretty good. Riders ready and then GO! I'm 5th into the first time up the hill going o.k.

The race. Ugh. Through the 1st and 2nd lap I'm o.k. moving between 5th and 8th. I tried to go as hard as I could at the beginning and stay with the leaders for as long as possible. just. not. To. Be. On the 3rd lap, after the hill I have no power. Nothing. I start to fade... Riders coming by me, I try to follow wheels and nothing. Fade... all the way back to 17th, I think.

Result. 17th 40+. Still score some points for the series, but definitely disappointed. I am trying to pinpoint what went wrong, to learn from it. I slurped a Roctane right before the start and that upset my stomach something fierce to the point that I just about puked with 2 to go. Certainly a mistake. Maybe it just comes to this course not being my type of course. But, everyone has to do the same course. The heat, definitely, but everyone rides in the same weather.
Aaaack. 7 more to go. Next week is another race.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


This is my cyclocross bike. The reason that this is my favorite bike is that it has only one purpose: to be raced. Sure, I use it for cross practice, but that's just a prelude to racing. Tubular wheels and tires, a single 42 chain ring, not exactly road ready. I suppose I could put road tires on it and use it for training on the road or for commuting, but to me this is a race bike, plain and simple, meant only to be pedaled in anger on race day.
Sunday is Psycho Cross at Hawthorn Woods. We have heard this is a tough course with a real shoulder-the-bike run up and some good pavement sections. Weather looks warm and sunny, so bring the whole family, I am. We're going to make a picnic out of it.
Photo: Lou Kuhn

Monday, October 6, 2008

Way to go PonyShop

In my enthusiasm to get my result out... I neglected to give props to my teammates who had some great results:

Lou, 2nd and Mark, 9th in the 30+

Roman, 4th in the 40+

Brian Conant, 2nd and Luca 4th(I think) in the 1-2s

Cliff, Jack and Scott in the 4a race that looked to be under the worst conditions of the day.

Devon in the 3s.

Carolyn in the women's 4s.

Let's keep the top 10s rolling in!

Race Report - ChiCrossCup #2- DeKalb

Chicago Cross Cup #2, DeKalb. Threats of rain the whole morning, but our race was only damp, with only some light drizzle. Ran 37psi in the Grifos. It was a little too much. I felt the rear wash out a few times. Great course, great race, great result. After our race we stuck around to watch the 3s, 1-2s and the 4as.

The Course. If only all courses could be this hard and shit eating grin fun all at the same time. Half Acre and North Central Cyclery did an excellent job. A short starting straight right into a a hairpin turn, some short straights broken up by technical twists. A bit of pavement and then a sharp run up with 1 barrier. Then down the same up, off camber turn, which turned out to be much trickier during the later races during and after the rain. Some more technical sections including the toughest turn of the course where it severely narrowed and took sharp right around a small tree where the course was full of mulch. This corner degraded each lap and by the end required you to almost stop to get through without sliding out. Then onto the longest pavement section where you could just gun it. Then back into the grass. Some technical bumpy stuff and then a single barrier, left turn into the woods where is was wet and slow, a final pavement section, where you could gun it again, back onto the grass, some off camber turns and then through the straight. About 7 minutes at speed. One thing was for sure, the start was going to be crucial and the course was going to be fast and brutal. Alot of roots and alot of bumps.
The Start This time they broke up the 30 and 40/50+, so we started only with our group. Front row to the left which would put me in line to be on the outside of the first hairpin turn. I practiced 5 or 6 starts before and knew we could not hit that turn at full speed, so my plan was to make sure I just went fast, but not too fast and straight for the outside tape of the turn. Pete Rolewicz was to my left and Roman was to my right. Riders ready! Whistle and we're off. I'm good off the line and third into the turn. We go around, I looked back and we had very slight gap. Before I knew it, we were headed to the run up.
The Race The 2 in front of me simply rode me off their wheels. I could not hold their pace. I tried. I didn't see them again. Midway through the 2nd lap Pete came around me, so now I'm 4th. As we're winding around I can Roman and a rider in red coming on strong. They both catch me. The rider in red is in front of me, Roman behind. We're working our way through the 30+ now. Red dabs in the-corner-around-the-tree-with-the mulch and we get by him, hit the pavement and Roman yells "Go Jim!" and it's full gas on the pavement. We can see Pete ahead of us and we're gaining ever so slightly. Back through the start, then through the run up and we see Pete go down in the same corner. We ask if he's o.k. and he said he thought he broke his finger/hand. I hope not, anyone hear anything?
On the start of the 4th lap we get 3 to go. Roman and I are together, trading pulls. Just before the start of 2 to go Wayne Simon from the 50+ came around, I tried to hold his wheel, which I did for about a minute and then he was gone. Behind us I can see a group of 3 a few turns behind us, not really gaining on us, but not going away either. With 1 to go, I just drilled it, everything I had left.
The result. On the podium and in the money ($30)! 3rd in the 40+.
Before the season my goals were to be top 10 and to not get lapped. After 9th at Jackson Park, the podium was the goal.
Photos: Courtesy of Carolyn at Velosnaps.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Interbike 2008- Tim Johnson

One of the coolest things about going to Interbike is the chance to meet some of the PROS. If you're lucky, maybe even an opportunity to have a conversation. Last year I got the chance to talk to Ned Overend for awhile. This year, I met Tim Johnson, the current US Cyclocross Champ. He was signing posters at the booth of the production co. that is distributing a documentary about his 2007 season called "The 9 Ball Diaries."

So, we talked about cross, of course, and us riding the same bike and that the Pony Shop has a cross only team. He seemed pretty impressed by that and signed a poster just for the shop.

Although Cannondale wasn't in attendance, a fact I find to be disappointing and lame, we did find TJ's bike at the Fizik booth.

Nice to have your intials be part of the bike model.

Roman, showing his cross form.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Woke up yesterday morning, got on the bike and didn't have anything in the legs. I couldn't finish my interval workout, lame, lame, lame. After three of what was supposed to be five efforts, I just stopped and crawled back into bed hoping it would all just go away. I guess the late Vegas nights caught up with me. At least I didn't come home with a persistent cough like last year.

Woke up this morning after a solid almost 9 hours of sleep. Feel much better than yesterday, but the house was cold. Didn't ride because it's Wednesday and we've got practice tonight. Feels like Fall is here!

DeKalb in 4 days. Rumor has it this course should be hard and alot of fun.