Saturday, October 31, 2009

Not quite...

Not quite the kind of day you dream of today at Vet's...a bad combination of the flu going around my school plus an overall lack of rest makes for a long three laps. 8:01, 8:37, 9:17...I can do the math as well as anybody. That doesn't equal a good day. Here are a few pics of those that did manage a good race or two.

Good luck for those of you who will chance it tomorrow...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

USGP Louisville

So Mike Seaman and I headed out Friday afternoon with the car packed on rain soaked roads. The rain stayed with us all the way through Ft. Wayne, but word from Louisville was that it had stopped a few hours earlier. When we finally arrived at the hotel we found the Michigan crew hanging out in the hotel bar.

Saturday's race started off with just a few drops of rain in the air. The course was already chewed up and the races before mine made sure the track was ridden from tape to tape. It is funny to listen to first timers at an event like this comment on how much the course gets torn up. When one category features as many racers as we'll get at a full day of racing in MI, the courses take a beating.

I had a great starting spot which landed me next to John Osgood on the front row. Sure enough though, in typical fashion, five racers were given a starting spot in row ZERO (that's right, in FRONT of the grid...) based on OVCX points. You're telling me they forgot to do that when assigning numbers? Whatever, I'm sure they'll fix it for Sunday (they didn't). Anyway, fortunately all five of them lined up on the opposite side of the starting grid which gave me a clear lane for the hole shot. BANG and I was off, finding a gap in front of 107 racers like nobody's business.
Into the first few turns the course was slippy and I was happy to be out front. Shortly after the start (400m-ish) we hit the first set of planks. I chose a line on the left which proved to be a bit slower in the run to the barriers. Two guys passed on the right. We're off our bikes, flying over the barriers, when I hear the distinctive sound of someone having difficulty with the planks. Out of the corner of my eye I see the guy in fourth place start to lose it just as I'm setting my bike back down for a remount. Then it happened - RAD RACING dude caught his balance by placing his foot THROUGH my rear wheel, instantly toasting it.

I've wrecked wheels before and know when it is time to figure a quick fix versus just starting to run. This was the latter situation, so I took off with the bike on my shoulder. Heading into the pits I had to be in last place, but the Wiz was there with my new Tricross Singlespeed. Fortunately the Sram guys put a wheel in for me and I was able to change again later on, but the damage had been done. 3rd to 107th in an instant, but that is 'cross. I ended up catching half of the field ending up 50th. Not a great day...

Sunday I was hoping for a better race overall. I had a spare set of clinchers with me but the wind and sun had significantly dried things out from Saturday. I decided to swap my green Michelin Mud for Osgood's Challenge Griffo clincher. It's funny how sometimes decisions get made that you never think will come back to haunt you, but this was one of them. Had I just stayed with the Muds who knows what would have happened...

So the start was similar to Saturday's. One main difference was that I hadn't exactly pre-ridden the course, so the first few turns were blind to me. Whoops. Anyway, Osgood and I stacked the right side of the starting row in awesome position, and the promoters left the OVCX guys back in the pack (no row ZERO this time). The whistle blew and it took me a second to get on top of my gear, but once I did I opened a gap instantly on the field. Going into the first barrier set I was all alone - nobody to step on my wheel. I ended up getting caught by the eventual winner about 3/4 of the way in that lap and finished the lap in 2nd place. That effort was good and bad - it got me out of trouble but required a bit of settling in. After the HR normalized I found myself in 7th with two to go. Ok just keep rolling...keep rolling.

Going into the Green Monster (which blows the Flying Rhinover out of the water...) you didn't have to brake whatsoever. No different on this lap, and I hit it with enough speed to carry me up the first four steps. I set my bike down on the top and once again felt that horrible feeling of my bike stopping in its tracks. PANIC MODE. What happened? I must have popped the wheel out of the drops. NO. I wrecked the rim?? NO. Then I saw it, a bulging tire jammed in my brakes bad enough that I couldn't free it. I stood on top of the Green Monster for what felt like an hour (but was probably closer to 5 seconds). Screw it, start running. Down the Monster, through the start, over the barriers, through the sand, and finally to the pits. When it was all said and done, once again I dropped from being in contention to DFL. I think I ended up 76th on the day.

The only good news is on the last lap, running with my bike on my shoulder, a bunch of guys were screaming that there was money in the mud pit. Of course I stopped and found a dollar - what else was I going to do?? To top it off, a short while later a High Life was held out in front of me, so I couldn't be rude and deny it, right? Ahh...

So what started out bad for me ended up with two good learning experiences and the knowledge that my fitness was indeed coming around (FINALLY). Not coming around enough to go jump in with the lead pack next weekend at Vet's, but coming around in smaller terms. We'll see.

One thing I confirmed this weekend was how FAST Michigan's masters are compared with everyone else. Wiz, Weinert, and Moncel rocked this weekend as did a few of the 45's. It was great to see Curt Potocki and John Osgood hit up their first USGP experience. Mark Caffyn, Mark Dettman, and Mark Wolowick all made the trip as well. Anne Swartz was representing in the elites while Kelly from the Wolverines rocked in the Master's category with two WINS.

One thing is for sure, I can't wait for next year.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Racing again...

So after a few weeks of various other commitments I get to race again this coming week at the USGP's. Let's hope my legs remember how to do this thing we call cyclocross...

Monday, October 12, 2009


Chicago Marathon 2009

So Kristie came home in February this year and said she was going to run the Chicago marathon this year. She has never run this type of distance before, but she did some research and found a training plan that worked very well for her. This weekend was the big event, and most of our families were able to join us in the windy city for the run!
At the start Kristie was one of 46,000 starters in the chilly weather. Temps at the start were somewhere in the low 30's.
Things quickly warmed up into the low 50's. Due to a horrible messaging system from Verizon I missed her TWICE in the first 9 miles. Fortunately, just after mile 16 I was able to join up with her. I took my supercommuter (1998 Trek 930 SS with fenders) and put on about 35 miles in the city yesterday. I was in parts of Chicago that I had NEVER been in before...
Kristie finished in 4:24! I was so happy to see her throughout the day once I finally knew where she was on the course. It was great to see some of our family members out on the course too! Overall it was a huge success and I have never been more proud of Kristie. She set a goal and demolished it - she deserved it since she worked so amazingly hard all summer.

Next up for JB - USGP's in Louisville.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Support science education...

Ok obviously this has nothing to do with bike racing but it does have to do with something very, very important - education. As you've probably heard on the news and know from your personal investment accounts, money isn't exactly growing on trees lately. Consequently, schools are constantly fighting to balance a budget on a price-per-student number that can seemingly change at an instant.

Overall I consider myself and my students to be very fortunate with the supplies and resources we do have available, especially when you look at other schools in the state. Part of me feels guilty even making a proposal like this! However, with your help I can take one more step to make my physics classroom that much better for my students.
Take a few seconds and check out the proposal I have written for a visualizer/document camera. If you have a bit to spare and want a tax break because of it, maybe consider donating to the cause.


If you have any questions please let me know!

Back to racing soon...