Less than a week away and we're down to the 'cx state championships. What are your predictions for next Sunday in Waterford?
With the Wiz trying to regain the USGP jersey in Portland, the field will come down to the usual suspects minus the fastest guy in MI. Will Card show up with his Ohio form? Weinert is on his way back but Sari has shown he's the one to beat lately. Foshag can't be counted out and neither can Vince. Will DC and Ashley round out the top 5 this year? Can't count out Mark P who gets my vote for most improved on the season. Cory Stange and Jason Lummis will be in the thick of the pack. Hopefully Todd Frerichs and I will remain on the lead lap...
Is there any question? May the Schwartz be with you...
In the 35's T-bone Ritter will hope to dig out another win, but he'll have to fight hard against Simon says and Kevin McGrew. My math may be off but it looks like DC took the points series there already. Selle and Baroli will fight for third, but don't count out Rich Stark if he races in the 35's.
In the 45's it should be Baroli fighting Mark W, but who knows what everyone will race. The Princess Mike Seaman will be digging for a solid 45 minutes and can ride in the crap weather. Don't count him out. Joe Brown will hang on and once again finish in the top 5.
Any question here? Trying for a perfect season, is Matt Willing to dig deep one more time? Pete T and Patrick Russell will round out the top 3.
WAYNE (censored) COOK! Osgood will fight for 2nd but who knows who else will come out and play with one gear. If the weather is crap, Waterford could be the course of the year for a single speed.
John Osgood and Jason M will battle it out in the snow. John's form is tip top but the two battled through the mtb season and will have to pull out all of the stops in the short race to come out on top. In the 40+ category my vote goes to the Surly Marc Dettman. Hands down winner there.
Post your top 5 for the Elite Men and whoever is closest will win a pair of Toe Warmers and a few Hammer Gels (apple cinnamon flavored).
Osgood showed some sprint form to take his 2nd W in as many weeks...
Baroli dug deep and rode hard to finish 4th in the 35's
Selle chased HARD but couldn't close the gap...
T. Ritter showed everyone what's up with a W today
Mark Dettman came over again from G.R.
WEINERT rocked 4th today, looking stronger than a few weeks ago.
And I think I took 10th today, but we'll see when results get posted. For the first time this SEASON I felt like I actually had power. It was probably just my body thanking Robert for a course that I could actually RIDE instead of another weekend of running. I was ready to hang up the bike had today gone badly. It is mentally a terrific task to hang onto the back of the field all season with guys like Wiz, Sari, Foshag, and the Pony chasing me down from the front. Glad things came around (a bit) today! Thanks Curt for the pics.
Mike and I headed out to NJ on Thursday night to race in the USGP's at Mercer County Park. On Friday night before the number presentation, we stopped at Nino's to grab some food. We had pre-ridden a bit of the course after arriving in NJ around 2 in the afternoon.
These pics won't come close to doing this past weekend's conditions justice...we ran about 800 meters per lap, with lap times in the 15-minute range on Saturday. Fortunately they dropped a section of complete running for Sunday's race, making lap times in the 12:30 range.
This sand was one of the only ridable sections of the course, and was mildly fast to race through. Unfortunately, at the end of the pit by about 75 m you turned right into a section that was faster to run than ride. Tack on another 150 - 200 m of running there...
Believe me, I was happy to be done on Saturday. I ended up 23rd out of 89 pre-registered racers. 4 laps in about an hour? Yeah, that was the slowest 'cx race I've done in my life. Temps weren't too cold, just muddy as heck. Unfortunately I found my backup 'cx bike was broken on Wednesday, so I didn't have a change for Saturday's race. My bike felt about 15 lbs heavier by the end of the slug fest, and a change or two would have been appreciated.
Mike had some business to take care of with trying to defend the USGP Leader's jersey. Despite a phenomenal effort, Mike wouldn't win the Mercer Cup 10k run. I worked the pits for him and he took a bike every half of a lap. It was one of those few days in 'cx racing where if you didn't have a spare bike you didn't have a chance whatsoever. It was hectic in the pits with the top 10-15 guys having pit crews working to keep riders on clean, properly shifting bikes. Mike managed to hang on for 4th place and retained his WHITE (perfect for the mud...) USGP's leader's jersey for another day.
The PRO men's race was absolutely crazy, with Tim Johnson showing off his mud skills by absolutely crushing Wells and Trebon. Johnson was by far the fastest racer that day, with everyone else suffering in his wake. It was amazing to see those guys tear up the course that I had suffered on a few hours before. There were a few places where I HAD to run that the pros did either, based on their preferences. The biggest difference, by far, was the speed at which they ran those sections. They ran 5 laps on the course, and after about half of a lap there was no doubt who was going to take it home.
Saturday night we found a laundry mat where only three of us spoke English. After cleaning our clothes we packed it in and headed to the hotel. Sunday morning was rough; my legs hurt like they have never hurt after a race in my life. My stomach and almost every muscle in my upper body was sore from running and trying to keep my bike upright in the mud, so I wasn't exactly in the mood to race. On top of that, the weather took a turn and continued the rain but dropped in temperature to the low 50's. Wind was gusting to 30 mph, and of course the park is located on a large lake...
Mike found a Specialized bike over at the tent that I would use as my pit bike, which was invaluable to me. Not only was it nice not having to lift and run with a bike caked in mud, but the path through the pits was faster than the regular course, so it was an easy place to make up ground. I ended up 25th, which wasn't in my goal of the top 20, but considering my inability to run quickly, I was pretty happy with my weekend's results.
Mike's race was another run-fest. It had started to dry out just enough to make it next to impossible to keep momentum, even on the downhills. Mike repeatedly ran down the hill leading to the "uphill" run into the pits because it was faster than riding. Again, bike changes every half of a lap, with the Wiz taking 6th. Unfortunately that wasn't enough to hold onto his white leader's jersey, but he'll be headed out to Portland, Oregon to finish things off in a classic 'cx setting.
That was a pretty fun weekend, and most importantly I learned a LOT. I was happy to be out there but it is always great to come home to Kristie and Kona!
I had a pretty good start, taking the "right" line at the first sand pit. Within about 100m there were two crashes around me; one guy behind me buzzed my rear tire and bit the dust, and almost immediately after the guy in front of me tanked it. Between those two crashes and the sand pit, that broke up the race nicely. The rest of the race had me sucking wind fighting off a rare asthma burst. Haven't had one of those for a while. Needless to say it was a bit difficult to race throughout that. Towards the last three miles I started to feel the ever-so-present Iceman Cramp-eth legs that show up for me routinely. In the last quarter of a mile I had an EMU guy bump me hard while passing...nothing like fighting for 13th spot. In the end 1:52.25 was 2.25 short of my "goal," which apparently wouldn't have even come close to the winning time of 1:40 in my class. Hmm...
Jake and John Rock-eth
John Osgood's goal for Saturday was to break the two-hour mark, which he crushed by over four minutes! He and the TSB guys had a tent close to the finish. The race highight was when "Diesel" (don't know his real name...) rolled by the tent, picked up an open Guinness, and downed it by the line! Those guys know how to have FUN at bike races.
Jake Rytlewski rocked the pro class to an 11th place finish! Keep posted for an EPIC pic of
Jake from 2000, rocking a DETROIT Lions kit. A picture is worth a thousand words. Stay tuned.
Sunday morning we woke up to a light snow and much colder temperatures. Too bad the most extreme weather on Saturday was a brief 15-minute session of light sleet for the pro race. Maybe one of these days I'll be able to experience a "real" Iceman.
Last year's state 'cx race substituted for one, and it looks like Munson will be cold this week. Too bad I'll be in NJ for the USGP's!
Briefly, Saturday was a great day to race; I ended up 13th with a few DNF's. Finally I felt like I had power on the bike though, as I was able to hang with a group consisting of Mark P, Peter Ehmann, Tony, and Ron Stack. After Peter caught Cory Stange, I was hoping the pace would drop just a bit. It didnt, and the group was almost instantaneously smashed. Mark and I ended on the back of that group, and with two to go I was slowly being popped off. On the last lap (crossing the line at about 59 minutes!) I couldn't take Mark's pace and ended up 13th, in what was the longest 'cx race ever (1:07 and change).
Sunday didn't quite fare as well. I didn't feel very solid in the warm-up (the course seemed to be entirely uphill, which even a physics teacher can conclude would be impossible...) and pretty bumpy still. Right before my race it started to drizzle a bit, which would prove to be an issue for me. My start was ok in the small field (absent today was Card, Weinert, Tony, and Don C) but I couldn't make the jump into the group ahead. I had the technical aspects of the course pretty well dialed in, with the exception of the last 180 degree turn onto the finishing straight.
I was riding with Todd Frerichs and we were pretty much trying not to get lapped. At one point just before the uphill by Zingermans, Todd looked over and said something to the effect of "This is all I got, so if you have more than go!" Needless to say I stayed glued to his wheel, as his pace was about all I could take. I led into the barriers by the S/F line. I wasn't really trying to punch it, more like just keeping momentum to the upcoming drag. I came into the 180 degree turn at what I would consider to be an average pace, when WAM, my front wheel slid out and I was on the ground. I don't even remember braking in the turn, and I'm usually pretty good at not crashing during a race. It happened faster than I could even really react, and unfortunately my left knee took a blast of my handlebar. I knew within about 2 seconds that I wouldn't be getting back into the race, so Jim took my transponder and Jon had my jacket. Robert was all over the ice and I retreated to my car in officially my first 'cx race DNF. Not a good feeling, but at least nothing is broken and the season plans are still in order. At least the power on Saturday was going in the right direction.
Thanks to Shannon and Chris for coming out and cheering on Saturday. Kristie was in Pigeon for her sister's wedding shower, so Kona was with me on Sat. Kona was pretty exhausted from the day outside and slept for the entire car ride home and most of Sunday. Next weekend is the Iceman followed by the USGP's in New Jersey! I'll be bringing out a stack of 1x9design stickers...
"According to Adam Meyerson, UCI Cyclo-Cross commision member, inscription forms and information on being a UCI event for next season are now available, and the deadline for registering events is just six weeks away, on December 15th.
Of note is the expiration at the end of this season of the UCI's exception given to North American promoters on minimum payouts. Currently UCI promoters in North America have been allowed to put up half the value of the UCI mandated payouts. These minimums are enforced at European races, but lowered to help further introduce UCI races in America. It seems to have worked, with the record number of UCI races in the States today. But if the higher payouts are enforced next year, we might see either fewer UCI races, higher entry fees, or expanded sponsorship needs to maintain the current number of UCI races. With the economic crisis on hand, hopefully a quick recovery can help make sure the latter option is a viable one."
I have to agree, it seems like we have a ton of UCI races around the states this year compared with years past. I have a feeling that increasing the payout in these events would effectively kill all but the largest ones...
So this morning Kristie and I headed down to Jeff's house pretty early. She had a shower to head to on the north side, Jeff and I were headed to the race at Lower Huron. Thanks to Jeff, Kristie and I didn't have to drive two cars down, as it would have been next to impossible for us to coordinate the drop off/pick up with a race and shower in the middle.
Jeff and I made it down to catch the end of the C-race, did a few laps, saw the B-race, did a few laps, warmed up during the masters race, and then prepared for 60 min of suffering.
Last year I didn't head down to this race simply because it was a bit too much to do after the Cinci UCI's and the mad rush of the early 'cx season. This year, without a good excuse to miss it, I decided to head down to the race for the first time since I was a junior. Interesting note about that one...back then Robert started the race over across the river and the bridge included two-way traffic to the crazy run-up, which was different than the one this year but similar in angle and magnitude. I was in the B's for that race (this must have been in 1998...) and in this particular day I was leading the race with about two laps to go. I remember coming around one of the corners by a tree near the finish line and coming upon a crazy guy on a road bike standing in the middle of the course. I nearly missed drilling "that guy" and yelled something so he would move from the course. I don't remember exactly how I finished the race, but what I do remember very clearly is "that guy" was in fact Frankie Andreau, who stopped by while on a ride. Whoops!
Well today didn't go much better, but at least I didn't try and run over anyone. I feel like I have a four cylinder and everyone else is running on 8 or 12. I didn't get last, but that was really only because Mark P blew a major gasket towards the end and not because of any super-human effort by me. I think I remember my lap times being relatively consistent, which is nice, but it would be nicer to take 10-20 seconds off each lap. I guess I have a long time to get better, but it would be nice to have a bit of that right now...
Next weekend is OFF and I plan on resting up for the Vet's Park / Iceman / USGP???
So this past weekend I drove down with Kristie and Shannon to Chicago. Friday night we got a late start and didn't make it to Chicago until 11-ish. The next day we were busy with the Northwestern vs. MSU football game and the 60th anniversary of the 1949 Rose Bowl team. My grandpa, a trainer on the team, is one of only a few still around from that team, and since Rose Bowls don't exactly come around every other year for NU, they make a pretty big deal about the two teams that have ever visited Pasadena in January.
Saturday after the football game we had a nice dinner with all of the former players but it was a long day and I was pretty exhausted. Sunday morning I managed to get a spin around the hotel parking lot before breakfast, which was the first time I made it on my bike in over 48 hours. My legs were accordingly stiff and non-responsive, so I was hoping for the best with my "late" race time of 1:00 Chicago time.
Shannon, Kristie, and I arrived at Hawthorn Woods city park around 11:30 or so and we were greeted with WARM temperatures and a packed parking lot. The Chicago Cyclocross Cup series is a well-oiled machine considering that all of their races are put on by different promoters across the Chicago area. Fortunately for me this race was only 16 miles away from the hotel! After registering in the 1/2's for "only" $25, I took a pre-ride lap of the course between the 11:00 and 12:00 races. I managed one lap, and was quickly amazed at the sheer size of the sledding hill within 200 m of the start.
Our start found the first 10 called up from the Chicago series, so I was in the second row with a total of 23 starters. At the gun it was a bit sketchy, as the start straight was narrow (maybe 3 m maximum) and there was an off-camber turn within about 100 m of the line. We headed off to the right and quickly swept around for our first jaunt up the far right side of the sled hill. At the absolute top we did a 180 degree left hand turn and bombed down the hill, only to be greeted by another 180 degree right turn into a single barrier (at the bottom of the hill). I remounted and rode to the top again (all but one lap was ridden) where we turned left one last time and bombed down the hill again.
The course then twisted around the back side of a baseball field and onto some very curvy pavement. The wind cut across from the right as we did a "munson-esque" out and back (all on pavement). We hit one fast barrier which required a swift remount before being back on cobbled pavers within 10 m of the barrier. There was one small section of mud when we rode through a ditch and then rode around the perimeter of a large grass field. A few more turns by the pits brought us back through the Sram start loop, only to be greeted once again by the beastly sled hill.
Considering my lack of riding and overall lack of energy and power lately, I felt pretty good. I rode with the group of 10th through 16th place for most of the race, but couldn't respond to the attacks in front. 10th and 11th were separated by about 10 seconds, with 12th and 13th taking it to a sprint. I finished about 15 seconds back from them and was pretty happy with 14th on the day. Most fun of all was the sweet cheering section I brought with me...Kristie, Shannon, my mom, dad, uncle, and two cousins all came out to support me. It is always nice to get some encouragement while you're suffering like a dog around a HOT course.
One thing I took away from this weekend was that we have a pretty sweet set up for 'cross racing in Michigan here. Except for Robert's rope, which is difficult to see in sections that wrap on itself, we have two great series available for 'cross (plus the Ithaca GP and the pumpkin series...). Sometimes it is pretty easy to criticize but until you put something on yourself it is also important to remember how much work it takes to put on a quality event. The Chicago races were well-run and aside from a few narrow sections here and there, it was a fun course. I'm glad I was able to get out and see a different race from a different series, but was a bit sad to miss the UCI's in Cinci.
Oh yeah Cyclocross Magazine's issue 4 should be out any day...check out the Ithaca article when you get a chance! Thanks Kristie for some sweet pics from Sunday!
1) The Ithaca GP went well, only 60 riders, but it was a great day to race! Hopefully more people will show up next year, but 60 was a nice increase from 43 last year.
2) Today's Stoney Creek 'cx was my first official jump back into the A's. Let's just say I didn't get lapped...no snap = dropped from the last group on the course = riding 4 laps by myself, trying to hold off the train of Jeff and Mike. At least I held off those two and finished on the lead lap. I guess there's only one way to go when you're on the bottom!
I will do my best to update the blog more often. This week was homecoming at AHS, meaning I was just a tad busy. That on top of the Ithaca GP didn't do well for my sleep or just plain time at home. Now most all of the extracurriculars are done, so I can focus on improving from today's finish.
Quite the mud fest out there today! Terry and I drove out to Highland Park in Grand Rapids this morning. It has been raining now for almost two days straight out here. In Alma we're somewhere close to 5" as of now and it is still coming down. I would imagine G.R. has been receiving about the same based on the course today.
Rick Plite of Kiss Cross put together a great course based on the conditions. We only did eight laps in the A's, which ended up being pretty short but nobody seemed to complain. There were two sets of double barriers and one in front of a slight hill. Add to that two switchbacks (oddly enough the one on the uphill was very ridable while the flat one was sloppy mud about 4" deep) and you have a fun course.
The A race started off like a gun, as to be expected. Don Cameron and Steven Howard took it out hard and gapped everyone in their wake. Rich Stark was up there a bit as well as one or two others that I can't remember at the moment. I was in the chase group with 5th through 8th position for a few laps which included Simon Bailey and a Founders rider (name?). The Priority rider in 5th place ended up blowing a gasket and dropped back pretty fast right about the same time that Simon and Founders put in an effort, which popped me off. I ended up rolling in uncontested for seventh place around 30 seconds back of 5th/6th place (which ended in a sprint).
My body and bike were both covered with mud and it was a great day for a race. At least it kept on raining today as if it had stopped we would have been breaking derailleur hangers left and right. As it was my Michelin Mud tires were spitting up huge chunks onto me throughout the day. The bike and clothing is all clean and ready for next weekend's romp over in Davisburg for the Tailwind UCI Double cross!
Kristie is coming home from Florida tomorrow!! I can't imagine why she would have wanted 90 degrees and sunny as opposed to this rain and clouds we've had...
Mike and I rode out at Ithaca today. Too bad there was a polka fest going on in the south pavilion...in a short amount of time the amphitheater of pain will be filled with the sounds of metal!
A week from today I'll be lining up with the boys from G.R. and probably a few stragglers from the east side at the Highland Park Kiss Cross race. I'm excited to finally see how training has gone but that can have both good and bad results. Let's hope they're good...
Seattle’s Cascade Bicycle Studio has teamed up with Seven Cycles to offer both steel and titanium ‘cross frames with a limited edition, glow-in-the-dark paint scheme to celebrate the Seattle’s pioneering night race and ‘cross party, Star Crossed. The frames are being offered with an impressive 2-week delivery time, which means if you act quickly, you could even be riding your new glowing steed at this year’s Star Crossed.
Zac Daab, owner of Cascade Bicycle Studio and founder of the Hup United club (featured in Issue 2), came up with the idea of creating a ‘cross bike specific to his market and region. Daab thought the Star Crossed event, being the “queen” ‘cross event of Seattle, was the ideal race to inspire these specially-painted frames.
Glow in the dark paint? Will it last? Daab says the special paint, if cared for appropriately, can keep its glowing properties for several years. But the paint and reduced prices may not be the biggest selling points; it’s the 2-week delivery time that may be the biggest draw, according to Daab. “Typically, if you order a custom ‘cross frame during the season, it’s likely you won’t see it until the following year,” he explains. “With this Limited Edition project, the customer can expect to receive their Limited Edition frame in 2 weeks.”
1 Yakima AnkleBiter Deuce top mount bike rack (msrp $100)...and 1 Yakima Lockjaw top mount bike rack(msrp $85). Condition of both are used and probably 7/10 to 8/10. No locks but the plugs are still in place. Fits ROUND yakima bars. $50 for the AnkleBiter and $40 for the Lockjaw OBO.
Cyclocross season is fast approaching it is time to get everything finally dialed in. Chains, shifters, everything that wears on a bike wears 10x faster on a 'cx bike. My absolute favorite is grip tape, which I seem to absolutely destroy.
This year I'll have the luxury of a spare bike. This is not only great for racing (mechanicals won't quite be such a downer if you have a spare bike) but also for training, by spreading the miles and wear onto two drivetrains instead of one. In addition, I'm in the process of making the switch back to a set of tubular wheels for 'cross. Back as a junior I had that great luxury, and I'm looking forward to them again. This year I'll be running Challenge tires for the first time (back in the day all the only game in town was Tufo's...unless you went to Europe to pick up a pair of Dugasts).
So for these last few weeks before the season really starts it is important to keep all of your equipment maintained and dialed in, because before you know it we'll be lining up at the first KK race of the season in Grand Rapids. Once it starts, it is a mad dash to December, with most of the weekends between now and then packed with at least one race. Time and daylight for training will start to diminish, leaving time for bike maintenance at an all-time low.
Training for bike racing is always a bit funny to me because sometimes you don't know what you should have done until a few months after the fact. You can always look back and think to yourself about what you would have changed during a certain training phase. This year I'm in a whole new ball game with 60 min elite races. My workouts have been going well but you never really know until you line up on any given weekend and slug it out for an hour. These coming weeks before the first race therefore are left a bit up in the air as to what specifically to work on; you can only base your knowledge off of what limited you last year.
Speaking of starting the season, the Ithaca GP is coming along nicely now. I'm surprised that pre-registrations aren't over 20 yet (with the Enervit bonus), but it is still just under a month away. Time for me to start finalizing staffing details for the day so I can watch the event go off (and maybe even race...).
School will be starting for kids on Tuesday. This year Kristie has an air conditioned room!!!! I'm very much mentally ready to get back into the swing of a regular schedule and teaching.
Can't wait to line up in a few weeks...'cross season is officially on us soon!
Sven N: ...Normally the season starts Erpe-Mere 14 sept, but I will start one week later in Neerpelt. But over the whole season I try to race I think 10 races less than last year because I see that the young riders are doing fewer races than me and I must try to be good at the end of the season also. So 30-35 races is enough for me in the winter now. For the last years we raced about 45 races in a season. That is a little bit too much. There’s no time for training anymore so you see that the condition is going a little bit down. It’s better to train a little bit and have some more rest so you can be good at the end of the season.
Yesterday I drove down to Lansing and picked up Chris Gehrs, Kristie's cousin, for his first mtb race. On the way down I saw an antiques store burning...
When we got to the race it was already getting warm and the air was dry. Fort Custer was pretty sandy, which made it almost as slippery as last year's mud fest. I ended up 2nd in the Expert 19-29 but with a time of 1:05 and change there is room for improvement. Good to know what to focus on for the next few weeks until 'cross hits. This TT is a great feeler for 'cross racing because of the mix of slow, technical areas with pitchy climbs followed by fast, flat sections. Seems to mimic 'cross as best as possible except for the whole getting off your bike aspect.
The highlight of my day, getting to lead the kids race around the woods for a mile:
Next race will be Kiss Cross's highland park in September! Before you know it we'll be in the middle of November wondering where the time went. Until then, time to get back on the bike.
Well my first and last crit of the year is officially over without incident. BTR this year was run in the opposite direction as last year. Fortunately we raced early in the morning so this year was about 20 degrees cooler than last year's event.
The race started off as any normal cat 4 race would go. Not too much excitement except for the relatively wild sprint for the water bottles prime. The $50 cash prime next went a bit more smoothly though. About 30 minutes into the 40 + 2 lap event saw one of the WMCR riders get off of the front. I decided to bridge the gap into the wind on the back of the course.
After the bridge we worked together for about a lap and a half before we were joined by another rider. At that point the group decided it wasn't going to be our day and they picked up the pace. Back into the middle of the pack I went to recover for the sprint. The last lap went as well as can be expected. I ended up 13th after having to brake in the last turn. It was the typical sprint, slightly sketchy but at least nobody crashed.
Today the weather was nice and cool, which only gets me more excited for 'cx!
2 official registrants for the Ithaca GP...only 18 more spots to go until the Enervit bonus expires!
So today is August 6 and I have been in 'cross mode since the middle of July. I guess that isn't 100% correct because I'm in 'cx mode about 2 weeks after the season is over in December. It doesn't take me long to start thinking of the pain and suffering that will be in the coming months.
This year will be quite different as I'll be moving back up to the A's where I left off as a junior. Granted a lot has changed since then. Back when I used to race there was no separate "masters" category, rather you raced in the A's 35+ or under 35. That made for some nice sized fields and as usual it wasn't the under 35's putting the majority of the hurt on everyone.
This year the Ithaca GP is taking a similar approach on getting the "elite" field back up to where it should be, numbers wise. Also, the fastest 35+'ers can probably hang in the top 10 of the Elite race anyway, if they can stretch their effort to a full 60 minutes. It'll be interesting to see what happens! Speaking of the race, this year's event is coming off pretty well now. Sponsorship items have been showing up at my doorstep and online registration will be opened up in the next two days. John Osgood put together a shirt for us, which will only be sold as pre-orders available through the race reg website. Check the Ithaca site for pics, as they'll be posted asap.
Last night I went for a ride with the Alma Tuesday group, which was nice for no other reason than I got to ride with a group. Mike Seaman, Napper, Randy, Sally, Jeremy, and I headed out but after about half way, Mike and I were the only ones left. Considering the fact that we had both done good interval rides earlier in the day, our hammer fest wasn't at 100% but it hurt nonetheless. It felt good putting it down in a two man TT for about 25 minutes. Mike is definitely pretty fast right now. Hopefully my speed and endurance will come into form like it did last year.
I don't think I've ever been as excited for a 'cross season as this one. Despite knowing that I'm jumping into a category in which my expectations aren't to win, I'm looking forward to being back up with the fast guys of MI. I figure I have a lot of experience that most people moving up don't exactly have, so maybe that'll put me 5 minutes ahead of the learning curve for anyone else moving up. Speaking of that, it'll be interesting to see how much things have changed this season with a few 'crossers leaving and a few coming up. I understand that Joel Budacki along with Jay Moncel are gone, but who is going to make the leap up to the A's? Jer Walker is back in town and won't take long to jump back to his former form. Will Cory Stang or Patrick Russell move up? Roger Bowser has shown some form on the road earlier this year. Will Tony the Giant Killer make a move? If Justin Todd wasn't taking 3rd place he was nipping at the top 5 all year. David Morrissey showed some late season form as well as Jim Hilditch.
Not to mention the busting categories of the C class should fill a nice Killer B field this year. It is exciting to see 'cx get bigger.
This weekend I'll be hacking it out at the BTR and then over to Fort Custer on the 17th to race in my all-time favorite MTB TT. Kiss Cross came out with their schedule so it looks like my first 'cx race will be on the 14th at Highland Park in G.R.
Ok so I guess it's time to update this about our trip to Europe. I'll give you a brief picture show with the main areas we went to, as 15 days abroad takes a while to do completely!
We started off in Rome for a night. Here we are at the Trevi fountain, which was much larger than I ever thought. Watch your wallets here...
Rome was all cobbled
Our ship, the Carnival Freedom, had an outdoor movie theater. Nightly selections were tailored to the places we'd been or were going to (Gladiator, Elizabeth, etc.)
Naples was our first stop. We went to Pompeii, which was really cool. I remember learning about that in school and it was one of those things that I always thought would be neat to see. If you get the chance, it is worth it!
Our next stop was to Dubrovnik, Croatia. Originally this wasn't on my top sweet places to go, but it was on the cruise itinerary so I didn't really have a choice...man was I surprised. This was probably one of the most amazing places I have ever been to. There is a walled city that was absolutely blown to pieces during their civil war, which wasn't too long ago. When they rebuilt the city required everyone to use bright orange roofing tiles, to remember the city's history. I'd go back in a heartbeat.
After Croatia we spent two days in Venice! Here is Kristie sitting by the Grand Canal.
Of course we took a ride in a gondola. It was a great way to spend our 3rd anniversary!
After a day at sea we stopped on the island of Sicily. We took a trip to Taromina, which is a very small town just past the place where they filmed the Godfather scenes in Italy. It was HOT that day.
On our way over to Barcelona we sailed by the volcanic island of Stromboli (yes, I got hungry just thinking about the name). Apparently they didn't learn much from Pompeii (see above pictures) because there is a very small town located just at the base of the ACTIVE volcano. Hmm...
In Barcelona we walked all over the town, mainly to see this chapel by Gaudi. Yes, apparently the term "gaudi" actually came from the guy that designed this chapel and other structures around Barcelona and Spain. It looked like a sand castle that was dripping with water...
Apparently we don't have the pictures uploaded from Cannes or Florence, but they were both pretty cool places. I can see why people like that whole area of Europe because it is pretty amazing.
It was a great, long trip, but it is always nice to come home. Kona played the entire time with Champ, one of her best friends. When we got home she slept for 13 straight hours and definitely was exhausted beyond anything I had seen before.
I couldn't think of a better way to spend our 3rd anniversary!
Ok old picture time here folks! Here are a few from my former days...the first four pictures are all from the SAME location...WHERE and WHEN were these taken?
Your's truly running through the MULCH (hint hint) pit...carrying my IF Planet Cross! I took 6th that day behind Mr. Brent Bookwalter.
After the race I was an absolute popsicle. Who's over my left shoulder holding my pit bike? Who's over my right shoulder? For the record, my pitbike at that point was a Trek 930 26" mtb converted with stainless steel adaptors (hand made...) to run 700c wheels. I am OFFICIALLY the first ever 'cross racer on a 29er.
Who did I spot in I.F. colors?
Who was all smiles at the start? Now for some serious old school...where and who are we? (I'll give you a hint...that's Robert in the maroon...)
Hope you enjoyed today's edition of old school cycling photos. Want more? I have a bunch.