Sunday, December 02, 2007


So to start the fun Kristie and I drove down with Kona. It didn't take as long as I expected, which was a nice change. I had tons of time on my hands to check out the sweet heated GIANT tent that Matt Baroli has been setting up at all the cx races. Kerosene heater and was a great place to sit on the trainer and not get cold.

On my first warm-up lap on the course I was amazed at how much I actually liked the course. Now granted it is Waterford and there's only so much you can do, but I really thought Joe and the crew did a great job with what they had to work with. You'll always have the ridiculously bumpy infield and that horrible section after the long downhill by the guard rail, but considering all the elements at play I was pretty happy with how it all turned out.

At the starting line we got a call up based on the series points, which was great because I got to pick my spot right in the middle. Granted at this time there wasn't only one nice smooth path down the finish straight; rather there were 200 lines all crossing each other. I knew there were a few things I would need to do in order to be in contention after the first lap. The start is obviously crucial in any race. For this course, I wanted to be first on the first lap in four spots. The first left turn on grass, the first barrier set, the first tricky off-camber turn down the gully, and the first into the second set of barriers.

I took it out as hard as I could to make sure I wouldn't get into trouble with my first three goals, which in this case came fast and furious. After I had a good gap on the first run-up I put the hammer down in the only places I could, which were the straight sections of the course. Nobody was gaining huge time in the corners, but you could definitly lose huge time if you made a mistake. So I concentrated on working my rear off through all the power sections while recovering and taking it easy through the turns.

After the first lap I knew that if I let anybody catch me I was going to hear about it from Jeff. See, previously at the first Vet's park of this year, Cory and I took it out HARD on the first lap. I had a very small gap of around 5 seconds on him going into the finish line on the first lap and I figured I wasn't going to be able to hold onto that. I eased just a bit and let Cory catch on, only to be dragged around for the remainder of that race. I took 2nd to Cory that day and got a (good) earful from Jeff about I wasn't going to let it happen again without a fight.

After I had my gap I just tried to control things as much as is possible in a 'cross race. This year there seem to be a lot of guys close together in the B-field. For one, Cory, who showed he has the power of somebody much older than him. Tony dropped me like a lead weight at Munson and can run through sand with motor legs. Patrick and Justin aren't easily out of sight and Roger has been known to throw it down as well. David also came on strong at Munson. With so many people to watch I just decided to take it into my own hands and make as many people chase as I could.

Man on my last lap all I could think about was not crashing and not breaking anything on my bike. Coming across the finish line I probably had the dumbest smile on my face but I didn't really care. Seeing Gordon at every finish line this year and the support he's thrown out has been great. It was a great feeling giving him a high five and then seeing Kristie, Shannon, and my inlaws (Mike and Karen). Mike even brough Tink (toy poodle) who was wrapped up in his coat to keep warm. Not what you expect to see at a cross race! (apparently Kona got a bit tired from the cold and had to go sleep in the grand prix...)

Next year will bring a whole new level of pain while racing for 60 minutes. As Jeff said, it's only a matter of time until the "new guard" starts to overtake the "old guard." Joel, Eric, Matt, and Andy all slugged it out this year with the big dogs. I guess I'll have to live up to the big boy knickers and step it up one more notch. I've never been more excited to step to the next level.

For now I'll be skate skiiing with Kristie and watching her coach the JV Alma girls bb team. I'm looking forward to a bit of time away from training. I hear ice cream and oreos calling in the distance.

Next year isn't far off and we're already planning for a BIGGER and BETTER Ithaca GP of 'cross for 2008! Stay tuned for updates...

Also I found all my old pics from when I used to race. I'll be occasionally posting up a few that I got scanned into my computer.

Thanks to Kristie, Matt Baroli (and Lisa), Jeff, Tom K, Matt Janko, and the team for a great season. Also thanks to all that came out to support our 'cx race. Good luck to all those heading out to Kansas. I believe the last time nat's was there they had a freak snow storm and sub-freezing weather. Again?


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

State Championship Predictions

If I were a betting man I'd bet that one of these four racers will be the Michigan State Cyclocross Champion! (Don't worry, the link is G-rated...but quite, quite stuipd...)

Just doing my part to make the internet more fun...


Sunday, November 18, 2007

Munson cyclocross

(photo courtesy of Jeff Zimmerman)

So why not? Well I'm sure there were a few objections to the Big Boy knickers today. I guess I don't really care about those nay sayers. They were warm, matched the kit pretty well, and were obviously attention-getting.

Anyway, back to racing. From the gun Cory jumped off the front. I figured we would be able to bring him back and after a lap we were all back together. Tony tried a brief jump heading south on the gravel and got a small gap. By this time Cory had a mechanical issue and it was down to a small group. (Please excuse any mis-writing was cold and my memory seems to have a few gaps here and there) At one point with about 4 to go Tony jumped again on the gravel and was able to maintain a small gap over me for the remainder of that lap. For the next 2 laps that gap continued to grow and I was getting caught by David Morrissey.

David and I rode together for about a lap and a half. I figured I wasn't going to bring Tony in by myself and that wind was relentless today. I welcomed the draft. With the bell lap Tony was gone and I wasn't about to let David have third in a sprint. I attacked him in the sand (he ran, I rode) and maintained a small gap to the finish.

I have to be happy with 2nd today since I am still feeling the effects of the Iceman-crampeth race last Saturday. With two great weeks coming up here before the state championships I'll be able to recover and focus on what needs to happen to take down the state championship. Hopefully between Jeff and Joe we'll have a course BETTER THAN LAST YEAR with more laps and less back and forth on bumpy stupid grass.

The Big Boy is out.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


This year marked my 4th Iceman attempt, but the last time I raced was in 2000. Lots has changed from what I remember. Maybe part of it was racing in the 19-24 category. I guess most of it was because of the expert-nature of the 19-24 category. That was the fastest and most sketchy start of any race I've ever been in. I figured things would sort out (and slow down...) after the first 2-3 miles. Not quite. This reminded me of the worst cat 4 race I've ever been in. The speed wasn't bad, it was the sand that was killer. And the frosty leaves. And the fact that there were 20 guys plus myself that wanted to be in first going into the singletrack. Combine 2-wheel slides, frosty leaves, sand, a crazy fast start and you have yourself one FUN race!

I guess I'm getting ahead of myself. To start out the morning I managed to screw up my normal pre-Iceman food of pancakes. I figured the next best thing would be oatmeal. I messed that up too. How can you mess that up? Trust me you can. I managed to leave on time but with an uneasy feeling of things not quite going right for my return to the MAN of ICE race.

I loaded up the truck and headed out to Kalkaska to be greeted with the coldest Iceman I've ever raced. Come to think of it, there was even crusty snow (old) on the first single track. That marks the first time I've raced the Iceman with snow!

In the parking lot I unloaded the F3000 (sorry Giant, some old classics just don't go out of style...but their forks break). After my first spin to warm up I found that my front tire was punctured with a slow leak. A smooth change of the tube got me back into business, but with less than the perfect warmup. I managed to line up in the 2nd row a full 15 minutes prior to my 9:30 start time.

The gun went off and it was on. Full speed onto the first narrowing; we had a really nice group rolling right along. Then we hit the first singletrack section and things splintered.

The next half hour or so of racing kind of blurs together, but I remember putting in a monster pull on the dirt-paved road. Two other guys were with me and we managed to close a gap of about 10 seconds on the group of 5 in front of us. In that group were the likes of Tom and brother Torrence from Colorado (Pearl Izuimi). Dangling off the back of our new group by about 30 seconds was a U of M rider in my category. By the time we hit mile 17 I think I was in 4th or 5th place in my category.

After the hills by Williamsburg road was the first sign of difficulty. I started to get those light tingles in both of my lower quads. A quick shift took care of them...but with 10 miles to go it was a sure sign that things were going to get extremely difficult.

It really hit the fan with about 7 to go (I think...). The U of M rider caught me after the "wall" downhill and I was unable to raise the pace (due to the leg crampage getting into the painful to very painful range). Since the last 7 miles of the race have the steepest of the climbs in it I prepared for the worst and dropped it back to a comfortable pace. I figured we had done a lot of damage to those behind us, and if I maintained a moderate pace while trying to spin the cramps out I could still manage a place in the money (top 7).

Well let's just say things didn't go as planned. It all really came to a head on the LAST single track section (about a mile to go) after I had been passed by (seemingly) everyone and their brother. The cramps were bad but managable until we slowed and turned into the right-hand drop into single track. When I briefly stopped pedaling to make it around a turn both legs (quads, calves, and hamstrings) simultaneously siezed, forcing me off the bike completely. Talk about the absolute worst pain I've ever experienced on a bike...

With 1 km to go the last racer in my category to finish ahead of me would pass me. I was again on my bike at this point but with every pedal stroke I could feel the pain seeping back into my muscles. Finally over the bridge and across the finish line. Ouch.

The bottom line is that I had roughly 21 miles of the best MTB racing in my life followed by the absolute worst racing (and pain) on a bike in my life. I was very happy to be finished and greeted by Kristie, my dad, Shannon, and Patrick, but I was dissappointed by my last half hour of racing. End race time was 1:55.09. For someone who starts concentrating on 45 minute 'cx efforts in JULY that doesn't seem too terribly bad, but what is bad is that I was with the group that finished in 1:49 (for 5th place), meaning that in the last 7 miles of racing I lost 7 places and 6 minutes (ended up 12th). Not exactly what I had hoped for.

With all the negative things done with, I have to say the majority of racing was fun, which is exactly why I like racing. The cramps are something I can deal with by preparing for a 2 hour effort, but let's not joke anybody by thinking that I would ever give up a season of 'cx for one Iceman. I'll definitely SIGN UP IN THE LOTTERY to get into next year's event.

Some good news: Kona got her stitches out last week so she's all better and shopping like a little shopper. Kristie started her official coaching career (AHS JV girls basketball!!!!!), which will be an exciting experience for her!

Also, mad MAD props to Jeff Weinert who returned to the Iceman after 8 years to DOMINATE the single speed class with a win (1:42.36)!!! Maybe those naysayers commenting on tms should quiet down before they awake the little giant again...

2 races left (Munson cx and the state championships...) Then it is time to RELAX and skate ski with Kristie. That is if we get any snow...


Sunday, November 04, 2007

Vet's Park Weekend

Finally a cool weekend to race 'cross! The course on Saturday was a clockwise beast with a very long and decisive run up. After Roger took it out fast, Cory and I pegged it until we had a gap we could play with. With two to go I hit my pedal on the long run up and Cory put it down enough to gap me. I got it within about 30 meters at various points for the remaining lap and a half but he proved to have more power that day. 2nd is never the most desirable position but I was happy my form was where it should be.

Today's course was counterclockwise with lots of similar features from Saturday's event. Our field today was 20 strong with a new guy from Ohio (name?) and a bunch of U of M racers. From the gun we took things out quickly. Roger ended up spilling on the off camber, slippery section coming back from the tennis courts. Fortunately for me he stopped sliding in time for me to squeeze by on his right. I dropped a few gears and put it down for a bit. Tony was able to hang for a bit but eventually we (Ohio and myself) were able to gap him a bit.

Ohio and I rode around for the next 5 laps testing each other at various points. He was pretty strong on the flats but I was faster in the technical (running or barriers) sections. With two to go we were neck and neck through the trees on the corner of Dexter and Maple. He lead us down the hill towards the softball fields when I noticed him having chain difficulties. I figured it would be as good a time as any to put the hurt on, so I went as hard as I could and was able to hold the gap until the finish.

That officially marks the first time in my life I've crossed the line first in a 'cross race. It was a great feeling but with two races left (plus the Iceman) I am more focused now than ever.

Next up is the Iceman!

For those about to 'cross...


Saturday, November 03, 2007

Vet's Park day 1 update

Quick update here...

Today was a great day to race 'cross! Shannon came out to watch us run around Vet's park for 45 minutes. The race started FAST with Roger Bowswer going to the front quickly. Right before the long run up I came to the front to set the pace. The only follower was Cory Stang, who eventually proved faster up the run than me. We had 2 minutes on 3rd place today, which is a great indication that I'm ready to race tomorrow and at the Iceman a week from today.

Another post will follow sometime after tomorrow...

See ya,

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

October 13-14

So this weekend Matt Baroli, Jeff Weinert, and I headed down to the UCI races in Ohio. I drove down to Matt's house on Friday night so we could get an early start on Saturday morning. The ride to the Java Johnnie's UCI race Saturday went faster than I thought. Saturday would prove to be the first time I've had to wear my LS skinsuit because of the temperature. The course was twisty beyond belief, which didn't exactly suit my riding style the most.

I got a great start (3rd into the first turn) but quickly the two juniors from Papa John's put the hammer down and I slid back to the chase group. There were only one set of barriers to navigate, and they were on an uphill section meaning there would be no braking while racing into the barriers. Down and up another hill brought you into the sand volley-ball pit with a 90 degree turn in it for fun.

When I was with a group I managed to do ok through that section (not great...just ok) but I would find out watching other races that there were much more efficient ways to get through all that sand. Check one up for the "learned something" box.
At the end of the day I finished 7th out of 30 or so, which was respectable. I was hoping for a top 5 but I just didn't have it on that course with those competitors.

Sunday brought about a HUGELY different course than Saturday's course. Harbin Park is 1) Gigantic and 2) Hilly and fast. This course had a very difficult off-camber turn within 300 m of the starting line, so I pretty much knew the top 5 would be a necessity on the first lap. I applied some good advice from Saturday's event to Sunday's start, and sure enough I got the whole shot. 1st into that corner definitely helped, but I would soon fall victim to the two Papa John's juniors again.

This course was crazy fast, and even though it had some nice power sections, there were enough technical fast turns to make it not my favorite (but better than Saturday's!). At the end of the day I ended up with a group of 3 others racing for 8th place. I lost that battle in the sand on the last lap (again...sand gets me) and took 11th. 11th doesn't sound so good, but when you line up with almost 60 guys it isn't so bad.

Important thing #1 from this weekend was that I had an absolutely great time. Important thing #2 from this weekend was that I learned more from this weekend than I have all 'cross season. Knowledge is everything when it comes to 'cross. I guess fitness is important too. And bike-handling skills. Ok knowledge must be up there pretty high anyway.

See ya.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Sandy Creek

Special thanks to Thomas K for capturing this great pic of the winning break!

Man. Sunday felt like I was in a sauna for 45 minutes of sweating. Aside from the heat, it was an amazing day of racing!

When I left Alma it was already warm. It's october, so why fix the air in the car? Days like this, I guess. Warming up for the race was difficult at best. With that kind of heat this late in the year my body does wierd things. I never really know how I'm going to react until about 2 minutes into an effort. Then it's either good or bad, and there's no tricking myself into thinking bad can be made into good.
Luckily for me, two minutes into my first effort I was feeling great. Great is not the right word, because I was riding 'cross in 85 degree weather, which is never really great in my mind. I'll take 50 and rainy anyday for a 'cx race. Anyway, we lined up for the start with the usual suspects minus Roger (Two Wheel) ready to take it to each other. I got a great start behind Scott from New England (in town for a wedding). He went pretty hard but I was very concerned about going at it too fast and blowing up with the heat. I let Scott chill out front for about a half a lap before we gradually caught him going into the first sand 180 degree turn.
Our lead group was relatively large after the first lap (8 strong?). Rolling through the finish line we turned out a pretty good lap. It wasn't long before our group dwindled to 3/4 with a Tree Fort racer dangling on and off the back with Cory Stang, Scott (from Mass), and myself working pretty well together. At the pavement on the bell lap I put one hard dig in and popped Cory and Tree Fort off the group, but Soctt was able to hang. I was pretty maxed at that point and was hanging on with everything I had.
I knew going into the beach run that I needed to be in front to have any chance of gapping him after the run, but I just didn't have the power to get by on the sections that were clear. Scott gave about 5 hard pedals as he jumped on the bike and had a 5 m gap pretty quickly. That's all it took to pop me off, so I rolled in for 2nd place.
Considering how fast our times were compared with other races (we beat both masters classes...which doesn't happen every day) I am pretty happy with 2nd place. It's better than 4th at Bloomer and I'm getting faster.
Next up is the two Ohio UCI races. Matt, Jeff, and I are headed down. I hear other MI'ers are going to show...Foshag, Wiz, Card, Steele, etc. Hopefully we'll be able to light it up.
See ya.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Bloomer CX

4th place today in the B-race. I'm rather dissappointed with that result for some reason, despite the fact that 4th is the best placing I've had in a 'cross race since I was 17 years old and demolishing the B's. Today I wasn't firing on all cylinders; I would attribute that to this past week's training block being the toughest of my life. Training through races can be tough mentally.

So there were only 16 of us at the start of the race today. I expect that number will increase next week at Stoney as the C race had 6,093 racers. As usual I got a good start and sat in the top 3 throughout the first 3 laps. On lap 2 or 3 I was sitting second wheel to Roger Bowser when he took a spill on the off camber turn from the tall climb by the velodrome. I managed to hold a front wheel stand for what felt like an eternity before I stumbled. Kristie and my dad (both spectating today...) said 7 people passed us right there. In addition, the eventual winner attacked and held the gap for the remainder of the race.

The following few laps saw a consistent chase group of Roger, Cory Stang, and the eventual 3rd place winner (name?). Cory had some tire pressure/traction and chain issues, Roger chased back to us and we mounted an unsuccessful chase and ended up sprinting as a strung-out group for 2nd through 4th. I guess I can't be dissappointed with 4th, considering all the elements at play today.

With focus, my training will get me where I should be. It is always tough racing when you know you shouldn't expect much. I definitely felt it a few times there today.

All the pics are from Kristie. Having a sweet cheering section helps when the legs get heavy! I was absolutely exhausted on the way home, and apparently so was Kona.

See ya at Stoney.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


Just wanted to post a few comments I got in regards to the race...

"Great job putting on the race last weekend! Man...that was cool. There's something to be said for a race that you can't stop talking about......The course was great, the band was rockin' was a great atmosphere. I think I sped up everytime I got close to the band and running the stairs. The band was SUH-WEET!I hope to do it again next year. Thanks again for putting this together!"

"Huge props JB for putting on what I though was the best race atmosphere I've EVER experienced at a 'cross event in Michigan in my 10+ years...Thanks again!!"

"Three words to describe the race in Ithica today: AWESOME, AWESOME and AWESOME. Everything from the course, the band and the weather were picture perfect."

"The LIVE band "nervz end" was rocking in the "amphitheater of Pain" right next to the course pounding out classics from Mettalica, Soundgarden,Creed, AC/DC , Pantera etc through out the race. I swear my heart rate would jump 10 beats every time I had to ride near that stage. AWESOME"

"I hope this race gets bigger in years to come. The band and overall atmosphere was pretty cool....what a cross race should be, I'll be back."

"Good job with the race today. It was a really fun course and everything went really smooth, except for me not winning the alpha q fork!! The band was really good also. I hope you can host the race again next year."

"The first race I will be doing is the Ithaca Grand Prix of cyclocross. This is a new event and I am looking forward to the race. Being that it is the first race of the year it is going to hurt. I know this, and every year I look forward to this pain. I forget how much it is going to hurt, but I will be quickly reminded once on the bike."

Thanks again to everybody who came out and supported the event!

See ya.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

2007 Ithaca Grand Prix of Cyclocross - Report

2007 Ithaca Grand Prix of Cyclocross - Woodland Park

Matt Jankowiak and myself

Wow! What a great day for an event. The weather, although a bit chilly at 7:00 a.m., was a perfect fall day. Saturday was equally as nice, although a bit colder during the course preparation time.

Matt Jankowiak, Jeff Weinert, Matt Baroli, my dad, and I went to Woodland Park at 3:00 on Saturday to start setting up the course. 5 hours later we put the finishing touches on everything and were off to a pasta buffet at my house. Deb, Shannon, my buddy Sam and girlfriend Maureen, and Kristie prepared a great dinner after a long day of course preparation. We were all pretty much exhausted and we had an early start today so it was a pretty short night with every bedroom in my house full (that's a first!).

This morning I drove out to the course with a truck load of registration and course fixing materials. Let's not forget the sweet prizes from our sponsors...those made the trip too. I also brought my bike, with hopes of racing in the Elite Men's race today. That would proove fruitless as I was pretty exhausted from the busy days prior.

My buddy Darin came over to the park as we were putting up the final signage on the course, setting up registration, and setting up the concession stand. Before I knew it the 10:00 race was upon us and the band (Nervz End) was setting up.

The start of the 10:00 race saw 8 "C-men" and one junior 10-14. Unfortunately, no B-women showed, so they missed out on some sweet prizes. The 10:00 race did 3 laps on the great course that we set up. As I expected the entire race blew apart very quickly. Results are at the bottom of this page.

By the time Nervz End was playing the atmosphere of the park started to increase, with the Elite's arriving and the 11:00's warming up. Again, the 11:00 start time came quicker than I expected. Down to the starting stretch I went with my checklist, prepared for our biggest fields of the day.

Nervz End rocked throughout the day! (Tallon, Right, guitar, is 16 years old!)
The B-men started first with 11 racers. One minute back would go the combined Masters 35+ (5 racers) and 45+ (4 racers), followed by the Elite Women (4 racers) 30 seconds back. The starts were clean for all events except for the Masters categories which saw a bit of a slip up at the top of the course (sorry!!!).

The Killer B's started fast and the race was dominated by Joe Slonecki and Cory Strange...two FAST racers! Leading the masters charge were the usual suspects...Mike Seaman, Matt Baroli, Joe Brown, and Andy Klumb. Anne Schwartz killed the Elite women's field, which was spread out over 3 laps!! Results are below...

Matt Baroli and Mike Seaman charging up the sled hill

Joe Brown rollin'
The main event for the day was the Elite Men's race. Starting at 12:3o, the weather had warmed up nicely in the sunny areas. Wind was picking up from the SE which would make for a difficult back stretch. The race was fast from the gun and within a lap there was a SIGNIFICANT gap between the leaders (Wissink, Weinert, and Sarri) and the rest of the field (Budacki, Cameron, Stark). The leading trio charged around the course churning laps around 6:00. Eventually Sarri's elastic snapped and it was left to the dual "W's" to fight it out. Coming into the last staircase in front of the band it was neck and neck. Weinert took a slight lead at the top but Wissink quickly closed that gap. The charge from 200 m out would prove to be fruitless for Weinert as he popped out of his pedal at the top of the hill to the finishing straight, leaving Wissink alone by about 10 m to the finish. Needless to say, Mike, Jeff, and Tim DESTROYED the rest of the elite field (sorry, I don't have time gaps...). Any chance there'll be a top 10 in store at the UCI's for either Jeff or Mike??

Weinert, Sarri, and Wissink up the sledding hill
At the conclusion of the Elite Men's race the boy scouts plus some GREAT volunteers erased the course in about an hour. Not bad work considering all the flags and ribbon we had out there. The awards ceremony was quickly over, prizes and purses passed out, and it was time to head home to talk about successes and things we'd change.

The bottom line is that today was a great day of racing! 43 'cross die hards showed up to hone their skills pre-Davisburg. Wish we could have seen a few more but we'll get it next year. For those of you who missed it, with the band and the SWEET course it was an event to remember.

Special thanks to Robert Linden and Rick Plite for their help and support in this...and there's no chance in the world this could have been pulled off without Kristie's help and support either!

Hope to see you next year, but for now I'll see you next weekend.


Juniors 10-14
1) Addison Evon

1) Marc Dettman
2) Mark Caffyn
3) Brian Jankowski
4) Greg Johnson
5) Curt Potocki
6) Dennis Bauer
7) Ben Miller
DNF) Dominic Wieczorek

1) Joe Slonecki
2) Cory Strange
3) Tedoro Ramos
4) Patrick Russell
5) Russ Greenwood
6) Matt LaVasseur
7) Tony Wieczorch
8) Jeff Zimmerman
9) Doug Gatto
10) Scott Chapin
DNF) Tom McArdle

Masters 35+
1) Mike Seaman
2) Ray Auger
3) Bob Sisson
4) Adam Slough
5) Brian Mitchell

Masters 45+
1) Andy Klumb
2) Matt Baroli
3) Joe Brown
4) Dennis Dodson

Elite Women
1) Anne Schwartz
2) Rachel Steele
3) Lisa Meils
4) Whitney Kroll

Elite Men
1) Mike Wissink
2) Jeff Weinert
3) Tim Sarri
4) Don Cameron
5) Rich Stark
6) Joel Budacki
7) Todd Frerichs
8) Matt Ashley
9) Eric Muehl

Again, thanks to everyone who came out and helped or raced in this event!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

CX Race Update

It is finally upon us...after months of planning, finding sponsors, and just plain working my arse off, the Ithaca Grand Prix of Cyclocross is a week away!

Things are all in order now for the race. Sponsor's products have arrived, the barriers are made, food and drink for the concession stand is waiting consumption. Our pre-registrations have even increased online! I suppose (hope!) when you offer the biggest cyclocross purse in Michigan other than the UCI races, people will come. Not to mention it will be great for racers to experience a new venue.

Let's hope we get some juniors to the race!! (None are pre-registered as of Sunday morning...) If you're reading this and planning on coming, bring a junior! Had the late great Dennis Cotcamp never brought me to the 1997 cyclocross state championships, I may never have known the sweetness that is 'cross. From there we went to nationals and the Chicago Supercup together. Find a spare bike that fits, or just have them ride a mountain bike. Just bring somebody new into the sport!!

Our volunteer staff is set. The official is set. The details are set. All that is left to do is race!

Hope to see you there...


Saturday, August 25, 2007

Back in Black

2007 Giant TCX

Frame: Aluminum Compact Geometry, size XL

Fork: Easton EC90

Rims: Mavic Open Pro 32 spoke

Hubs: Hugi 240

Tires: Vittoria XG 34 front, Hutchinson rear

Brakes: Radius with Clark cartridge pads

Stem: Cannondale Fire 120 mm, 7 deg rise

Handlebar: Bontrager Race Lite VR, 46

Seat: Selle San Marco Aspide, titanium

Seat Post: Cook Brothers

Shifters: Shimano Dura Ace 9 speed

Front Derailleur: Campagnolo Daytona

Rear Derailleur: Shimano Ultegra

Crankset: Ultegra 6500, 39-46 rings
Bottom Bracket: Shimano 105

Cables: Clark teflon coated

Grip Tape: Proflie Cork bringing back black splash

Chain: Sram PC991
During day 2 of the build, Kristie went out on her last long ride before the DALMAC. As I was posting this, she and Kona decided it would be a good idea to hit the couch after such a long effort!!!
Come to the Ithaca Grand Prix of Cyclocross and see the new TCX (and Kona) for yourself!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Fort Custer MTB TT

A win!

Woke up this morning pretty excited to race my mtb. It had been raining for about 24 hours so I figured the course would be crazy wet. Once I drove through almost 2 hours of constant drizzle, I arrived at the course and warmed up. It had officially been 7 years since I last raced my mountain bike seriously. I had only been to Fort Custer once previously, so I vaguely remember the "trenches" and that's about it.
From the gun I hammered the first 2 miles, which were pretty wide open for a mtb course. After the first few miles I settled down into a great rhythm; hammering the open parts and trying to maintain speed through the rest of the twist.

The tires today were Bontrager Jones, and I must have had only around 35 psi or so in them. They hooked up like champs. They also remained clog-free, which was equally important. The course was greasy at parts, with standing water in the low spots, but for most of the course it was just very fast. Please take note to the GIANT waterbottle in the cage. Since I ride for Team GIANT - Michigan, I felt it necessary to sport the kit plus the water bottle. If anyone had asked why I was on a 1999 Cannondale F3000, I would have told them that Cannondale was actually made by Giant Bicycles back before 2004. Well actually not, but that's ok.
If you're observant, you'll see that is a 2x8 drivetrain with Grip Shift ESP 9.0SL shifters. Not the lightest of the light, but very forgiving in the mud and grit today. Who needs the granny ring anyway? WE LIVE IN MICHIGAN!!
So I finished with a time of 1:04.57, which was first in the sport 19-29 class by just over a minute. For my efforts I got a medal and I won a wireless computer from Trek in the drawing. Not a bad day's work.

I'm pretty happy with that time and my overall feeling coming into 'cx season. This TT was supposed to be a bit of a test; roughly 60 minutes of alternating pace, just about as close to 'cross as you can get without actually being cross.

Speaking of 'cross, my race yesterday and ride today felt like mid-November. The rain and cooler temperatures have been welcome (to me). I don't think I'm ready for winter yet but I sure don't mind the cool off and wet down. My favorite weather for 'cross is cool and rainy, so I pretty much don't mind this at all.

As for the Ithaca Grand Prix of Cyclocross, I just got a shipment of Tifosi eyewear in today to add to the pretty strong prize list. While you're reading this, why don't you go ahead and pre-register and save $5?

Any questions about the race please ask!

See ya.

Sunday, August 12, 2007


Saturday was the BTR Criterium in kalamazoo. Kristie, Kona, and I drove down to the race, which was my first time at the event. For whatever reason the scheduled start for the pro 4's wasn't until 3:30, which is the latest start of any race I've done.

It was pretty warm out, and the parking lot was a bit of a hike to the course. Kristie and Kona managed to find some shade in the new-looking industrial park. Our race didn't start until 4:05 and was shortened from 40 minutes + 2 to 35 minutes + 2. Both the delay and the shortened race were a bit of a downer. My cheering section was great, as usual!

Before I go too deeply with this, I have to clarify that I, now as an "official" race promoter, know some of the difficulties in putting on a race. That being said, the primary impetus behind the Ithaca Grand Prix of Cyclocross was the fact that (in my opinion) the course is sweet. Granted, it's a cross race versus a crit, but the bottom line is that the terrain often dictates a successful event. For example, the Gaslight crit has a sweet location with a finish downtown (fun for Kristie), but the last corner left a bit to be desired from a safety perspective (not fun in the pro 4's).

So, for the BTR circle crit, the finishing "straight" was more of a semicircle. There was a constant turning left throughout the sprint, making for an interesting last 500 meters. Fortunately there were no crashes in the pro 4's, but of course there were close calls. In the end I think I took 15th place, which doesn't really matter to me since the purpose of this race for me was to get some intensity in as preparation for 'cross. Don't get me wrong, finishing better than 15th was a goal, but so was coming out with all my skin.

I think that, despite the misgivings of having a late start and a shortened race, I'd give the event a "C." Probably won't go back to do it, but it served its purpose for me. Hope it grows next year and ends up as a solid event in Michigan, but it's just not for me.
I can't wait for 'cx...

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Ithaca Grand Prix of Cyclocross

It's finally final...the inagural Ithaca Grand Prix of Cyclocross! Check out the flyer below and clink on the link to register online (and save some $). Any questions drop me an e-mail. Bring your friends!!

Hope to see you there...


Monday, July 09, 2007

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Dexter Crit

Today's crit was overall fun, which is the goal with bike racing (at least for me...). I took 13th of 38 starters in the cat 4 race. Not my best result ever but 1) I didn't crash and 2) I didn't crash. I did, however, manage to win a prime (sunglasses) towards the end of the race. Those are always nice.

The big story from what I saw came during the 30+ race. It's amazing to see how strong some riders are...Bruley, Weinert, that guy from Indiana that won...really puts things into perspective. After the crash there was a nice split in the field that wasn't going to be brought back. Nice job Jon for taking a prime (another pair of glasses) and Weinert for taking 3rd, or 2nd in the state. Good show.

Kristie came with Kona, our new dog to watch the races. Kona was a pretty big hit...she's only 12 weeks old and now has a official pink bandana to make sure people know she's a girl (thanks to Shannon!). After the race we went to Shannon's house for lunch...then drove home with Kona sound asleep on Kristie's lap for the entire ride back home.

I pretty much can't wait for 'cross, but I'm sure as always towards the end of 'cross I'll be ready for the couch. It seems so far away but the first race is in mid-september, which is only 2 and a half months away. That's going to fly.

Hope you are all going to race cross this year...especially the race our team is putting on!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Better than last year...but...

So this year's Cedar Creek RR definitely went better than last year's for me, since I have all my skin and my bike isn't broken. Unfortunately, I can't say the same about a handful of other cat 4's, who crashed going UPHILL at around 18 mph. I understand riding with other people is difficult (I guess...) and when the pack starts to accelerate and stand up sometimes people freak out, but honestly...crashing while going uphill? That is a new low.

On that note, Kristie managed to capture a picture of the only three people I trust in the cat 4 field. From left to right we have Jason from Jack's Bicycles, me, and Roger. I met Jason during cx last fall (which obviously means he can handle his bike) and Roger from the winning break at Cone this year. Here are the three of us at the end of the 2nd lap.

So unlike last year, this year I stayed within the top 10 throughout the entire race, as to avoid such things like crashing going uphill. Everything was going to plan until we passed the 2K to go mark, when my left hamstring completely siezed. In 7 years of racing I have never cramped as badly or as untimely as that. Talk about dissappointing. I faded to the back of the field where I could barely pedal. I came in off the back of the pack, ticked off.
I guess in the end it was "successful" in the fact that I stayed upright. What ever happened to the Grand Blanc road race? Obviously the course wasn't amazingly difficult (or have 17 mile laps), but it DID have 2 lanes for cyclists during the first few miles and the last 4K or so. I know there will be crashes in all the races, but it might be helpful to actually have a road surface that would allow for a more spread out field, especially during the last few kilometers. The best thing about Cedar Creek is the fact that the course is twisty and not flat. The worst part is the condition of the roads and the narrowness until the last kilometer. If I could change one thing it'd be that.
Congrats to Jon Morgan and the masters 30+ team for nailing the finish for a win. Also the women's team in their debut. Matt Baroli managed a 2nd place in the 45's, and Jeff Weinert and Bob Hockin managed good finishes in the 1's and 2's.
Plans for me include riding, working on my house, and racing at the Superior Bike Fest next. This weekend is the Greek Festival in Saginaw, so that will be excellent.
See ya.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Gaslight and Cedar Creek

The Gaslight crit was awesome. All except for my racing, it was an awesome event. Mad props for the promoters!

Sunday marks my second attempt at winning the state road championships since my return to cycling. I'll see everyone there!

On the house note, Kristie is doing some sweet post move-in refinements. It looks great.

See ya.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


As Jake so truly pointed out, it is time for a new post, so here it is. Kristie and I bought a house!! For all you homeowners out there, you know what these past 8 days have been like for me. For those of you who don't have the pleasure of mowing your OWN back yard, believe me it is a great experience. Kristie has been busy hanging pictures and moving furniture. I've been busy trying to find matching socks from the mess of clothes I have. (Kristie's closet is already 100% organized...I'm living out of boxes still). I can't believe she puts up with me sometimes!!

As for cycling, I'll be racing on Monday in G.R. at the Gaslight criterium. That's about as far ahead as I've thought lately.

Oh yeah we just got some new $ for the cyclocross race...if you know of anybody who would like to help (physically or financially) please let me know!

See ya.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Cone Azalia Report

I think I can summarize today's race in one word: WOW.

Kristie and I drove in from Pigeon to Milan this morning. The weather today was fairly mild, except for a very strong wind from the east. I think it's safe to say that the wind was a key factor in all the races today.

I don't remember if it was Jeff Weinert or Matt Baroli who told me that the race will start quickly and to be at the front. I'm glad I took their advice. After the neutral start of the cat 4 race (3 laps), the pace quickened after the first set of railroad tracks. I was sitting in about 6th or so when a Wolverine flatted. Fortunately, he had no difficulty controling the bike and I was able to move around him smoothly. Sometime shortly after this came the first attack from a Breakaway team rider.

By the time we hit the second right-hand turn, the Breakaway rider had a few seconds on the group, which was now only slightly smaller than when we started. When I looked back (now heading west on pavement) I saw the majority of the field strung out in one, single-file line.

Turning right onto the first real section of difficult dirt roads, the field was absolutely obliterated. I didn't hear any crashes, but based on the number of water bottles strewn about, it was indeed much more rough than I thought it would have been. I still was sitting in about 4th or so after the left turn (heading west again) onto the most difficult sections of dirt road. There were water bottles everywhere, and only one "good" line on the right side of the road. Still, a "good" line is by no means smooth, and there were a few large divots in the path.

When we turned north again (and into a quartering wind), our group had dwindled to only about 7. After we turned right (east) onto the final straightaway, I was finally able to see the portions of the peloton splintered along the road, fighting the wind. The Breakaway team rider was still alone on the front, and there were six of us chasing (including a teammate to the leader).

Things came together within our group as we crossed the finish line for the first of three times. We managed to get through the entire second lap without losing any of our group, which was nice because we had a nice mix of rest between efforts. When we started north on the dirt, about half way through the second lap, I thought my legs were going to explode. My heart rate was pegged and I was suffering badly. When we finished that dirt section, there was a gap of about 5 bike lengths that I just couldn't seem to make up. Fortunately, a rider from ADA (I think) was on my wheel and we were able to bridge the gap. Our group of 7 had a nice gap on the field, which I would assume was all over the place.

After crossing the finish line to the bell lap, the second (very rested) Breakaway team rider attacked on the dirt heading south. He quickly gapped us and at about that same point, the rider from U of M flatted. We (and by we I mean the three other racers in the group) chased for a while, but after leaving the last dirt section for the last time I knew it was useless. We were unable to close the gap even slightly, so I figured we would be fighting for second. We managed to work as best as can be expected for 4 guys all on separate teams, "chasing" the lone leader.

Coming down the home stretch I was absolutely gassed. When I attempted to pull through I was only getting about 20 mph out of my legs. That would quickly slow as soon as the wind really hit my face. After the 2nd lap I figured I would try my best for a top 5, but it would prove to be difficult.

With about 1 km to go, I figured my legs were useless and I wanted to try to hurt anyone else that was in my same position, so I jumped on the left side of the road. Quickly the Breakaway team rider (the one that was alone for the entire first lap) and another racer were on my wheel. I swung to the right and managed to get out of the wind briefly. The only damage that caused was to the rider in the orange-ish kit, who quickly got back onto the 3 of us.

When the sprint started I had jello for legs and I was sucking oxygen like a 70-year old at the bowling alley. The Breakaway rider in the lead had about 15 seconds, and we weren't going to catch him. His teammate jumped first, followed by the two other racers, then by me. I was in 5th place on the road. I had made my goal, but I was able to pick off two riders within 100 m of the finish. I finished in third place, even though my legs/lungs didn't deserve it today.
Kristie was sitting at the finish line and I couldn't believe I had even finished in that group, let alone take 3rd place.
Today marks the first time I've ever won money in a cat 4 race, and it sure was nice. Here's the grass "podium" in front of the lake.
As for the other Team Giant - Michigan boys, Weinert took 19th in the 1-2 race, while Matt Baroli flatted a few times in the 35+ race. I don't know where Terry finished, but from what I hear it was a slugfest all around. Bob Hockin flatted out (I think) as well.

Mad props to Jake Rytlewski for finishing 2nd today in the 1-2 race. I am pretty sure that makes 2 firsts and one 2nd in 4 Cone Azalia races for him, but I might be wrong. At the conclusion of his race, he mentioned something about "400 Watts," so he must have been putting the hurt on those boys. Or else he was talking about really bright light bulbs. I don't know.
See ya.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

New Addition to the Family!

Ok so after a few months of me amazingly being able to keep a secret, the newest addition to the family came on Kristie's birthday today. It's a Rocky Mountain Trailhead mountain bike. It will officially replace the 1997 Cannondale Killer V 900 HT, which never really fit her correctly anyway. Needless to say, she was pretty excited!
Here's the first spin:
Happy Birthday!

Thursday, February 22, 2007