Sunday, November 30, 2008


Less than a week away and we're down to the 'cx state championships.  What are your predictions for next Sunday in Waterford?  

Elite Men
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...

Elite Women
Is there any question?  May the Schwartz be with you...

Master Men
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.

Single Speed
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).

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A few from today

A win for Mike

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.

Monday, November 17, 2008

USGP New Jersey - Mercer Cup 10k

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!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Holy registered racers.  Bigger than my 1999 'cx national field, that is for sure!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Iceman Cometh, Jake and John Rock-eth, Iceman Mis-eth

Iceman Cometh
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.

Iceman Mis-eth
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!

Monday, November 03, 2008


It is your responsibility, so do it.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Vet's 1 and 2

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...

Hope everyone has checked out ISSUE 4!