Friday, November 27, 2009

A few good friends

Black Friday didn't keep us from riding, but the roads almost did. Matt Jankowiak, Mike Seaman, and I headed out today to put in a few miles. Leaving around noon helped the temps rise just into the low 40's, but the traditional Michigan wind reared its ugly head. On our way out we encountered this, which involved a slight detour through the city.
The rail trail provided a nice break from the wind. Matt has ridden twice this year. Once was a week ago and the other was today. He's starting his base miles REALLY early this year.
We even managed to see an old friend.
Holland's KK race Sunday should be a good time. This weather has been amazing for training but hopefully will give way to the white puffy stuff for some skiing soon!

What are we waiting for?

Monday, November 23, 2009


When is a win not quite a win? When you go across the line doing this but not knowing Wiz had abandoned early! Hey, a win is a win, but next time maybe I'll know how to cross the line.
Crossing the line in 2nd...I mean 1st...

Sunday was a great day for 'cross in Michigan. Kristie and Kona made the trip to Rochester with me which is always fun. Racing at 1:30 allows for a reasonable wake up time compared with when I was in the B's and leaving at 7:00 to drive to races. Having a personal photographer and cheering section is also nice!

Hats off to Robert and the crew who put together this year's edition of Bloomer! That course was FUN and took a que off of the Icecross in going for a bit more superprestige-esque-ness in course design. Of course Robert could have left out the fun dirt downhill and "singletrack" section that wasn't singletrack, but what fun would that have been? The double pits were well thought out and the course had flow to it - much like a USGP course.

Pack racing was the order of the day for the 35's and 45's. The SS class was scattered throughout.

So at the line we started with seven SS'ers among the Masters 35 group. A flat pavement start is never too fun for anyone with one gear, as you quickly spin out and have to relax while the field takes off away from you. This race was unlike any other SS race I've been in though because we were pretty much one big group of seven or eight through the first two laps. I had a pretty good gear (albeit a bit light at times) for the day but it always left me gapped on the pavement sections. Fortunately the finishing pavement area had a dirt switchback turn, which drastically slowed the group in front of me, allowing a brief moment of contact. After going through the first barriers, however, it was hard maintaining contact while spinning out my gear.

Up in front was a mean group of 35's along with Mike Wissink, Eric Kohler, and Rich Stark, all riding SS. Sitting in fourth to those three didn't seem like a bad place, but with two to go I saw Eric pop off the back of his group, which was now starting to explode. I grabbed a mental gear, which pretty much involves questioning why the heck I decided to buy a bike with one gear anyway, and dug in for a half lap to try and close the gap. When I finally made contact after the barriers by the pit I decided it would be best to try and push the pace because Eric makes me look like I pedal squares on most days. After digging deep to drop him I came out of the velodrome area with a bit of a gap. John Osgood and Curt Potocki were screaming at me and I heard something about Rich getting gapped...sure enough when I looked up I saw the orange gloves popped off the back of his group too.

Drilling it over the barriers for the last time, trying to catch Stark the Shark.

One to go and a gap of eight seconds or so to Rich. He was pushing a 42 x 16 or something insane like that, which made my gear look like a tricycle against his monster truck. Apparently doubling up and racing both in the Elites and SS was too much, as I passed him up the singletrack-ish climb. Figuring Rich isn't the kind of guy to go easy, I buried it for the remainder of the lap, checking over my shoulder every once in a while to make sure I didn't see the orange-gloved man gaining ground.

When I crossed the line I figured I had taken 2nd to the Wiz, but not wanting to screw around with the points series he pulled off before crossing the line. Hence, the red box for me.

I can't ever know what it was like to watch that race, but the group in front provided a great pace for me with one gear. Tactics, positioning, and good old fashioned racing ability played a big part in the 35's and 45's. The Specialized crew did well with Wiz taking the Elites, Princess Seaman popping off a rare sprint victory in the 45's, and Wayne holding on to fifth place in the SS.

Holland should be fun, and another chance to ride with gears this year. With states around the corner I can only wonder what the weather is going to bring in the coming two weeks. One thing is for sure, it is getting to that time of year when people are either getting faster or slower and not much in between. Next year's plans are already being set with new and revised goals to finally make the jump to the big boy's club.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


I can't imagine this ever happening...

Sunday, November 15, 2009


This morning's drive to Stoney seemed longer than usual. I packed both Tricross and Tricross SS, and didn't exactly know which I would be racing today. I decided to get to the park before the B's so I could get a few laps in on the SS. After a less than stellar warm-up I decided to bag racing in the elites and have fun with one gear for a change. Definitely one of my better decisions when it comes to racing this fall, as I had a great time finally RACING against people and not just riding around at or above FTP for an hour +. It was a nice change riding with people that I have never raced with before. Some were faster than I expected, and others were a bit slower.
Anyway, the race started off well with a good placement in the top ten-ish. Going into the sand I decided to run more on the first lap than ride, which was a good decision. My gearing was just a bit high though with the wet grass that followed the sand so I felt like I was S - L - O - W there. My only consolation was that everyone else was suffering just as much, which was good.
I managed to stick close to Eric but by the end of the first lap I was dislodged and in a group of 35's. The rest of the race was more fun than I've had in a while, learning how to keep momentum and get on top of gears during times when it is easier to roll. Anyway, six laps later I rolled across the line in 2nd place amongst the SS'ers. 2 + min down on Eric and 1 min in front of Wayne. It was a fun, cool, windy day for 'cross and I'm looking forward to lining it up at Bloomer!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Icecros Video

What a fun race...for those of you that missed, take a look at Michigan's best super-prestige impression:

Sunday, November 08, 2009


So this weekend featured some amazing weather for the first full weekend in November. Kristie and I decided to head north on Friday. A few weeks ago I decided I would sell my Iceman entry and I'm glad I did. Saturday morning I woke up and was not in the mood to fight 4500 other racers in Kalkaska. A few of the 'cross crew did fight it out, with Osgood snagging 9th, Mike Seaman 16th, Weinert and Stang winning, and Wiz managing a top 15. Huge props to Jake the Snake for a hard fought 7th place. If I'm correct he hasn't touched his mtb since last year's Iceman.
As for me, I managed a nice ride in the rolling hills around Boyne, East Jordan, and Boyne Mountain. It was so warm I ended up removing my knee warmers and wishing I hadn't worn such a warm LS jersey. What a great day for a ride...

So this morning Kristie and I headed to Timber Ridge to partake in the first Icecross race. Rumors were abound with who would or wouldn't be racing today, with a few big name pros dropped in there. Turnout was on the small side, at least in the A's, with only seven racers taking to the line. Temps were in the 60's at the start making it feel like a nice September day, not an Icecross after all.

I managed to hole shot but overcooked the first turn, leading everyone a tad wide and having fun in the sand by the tape. The first lap was pretty fast and the techincal, super-prestige racecourse was a blast. Going into the second lap I was second by a few meters to the eventual winner. The gap was a bit too much and I ended up being overtaken by Derek Prechtel and a Wolverine on a 29'er. There I sat in fourth place with a monster gap to fifth and a small gap up to the group of three in front.
It is ironic in a way that before the race Mike and I were talking about how hard it can be to close small gaps when you're already on the rivet. What seems like a small 5 second gap is an eternity on a course as fast as Icecross. After 51 minutes I rolled across the line in fourth, taking a nice hand up of a local Oatmeal beverage on the last lap... FINALLY I felt like I could push on the pedals. Average speed on the day was just over 16 mph.
Also, Osgood managed to squeeze out a fourth place in a pretty competitive B-field. Good to see Jamie Rytlewski making the jump up to the B's in his first season of 'cross. Jake's sweet steel Pinarallo was at the park but was left on the rack after a KILLER effort on Saturday!