Monday, November 28, 2011

Holland, etc.

This is how these guys roll - tents and trainers and power washers.  They even bring their own fake lawns out for the show. 
Mike and I drove out to Holland yesterday to see what the Kiss Cross crew has been up to since my first 'cross race of the season at Plaster Creek Park.  For those of you that haven't been to race at the municipal stadium in Holland you're missing it.  Hands down one of the most enjoyable events both times I've made it out there.  Two years ago saw mud, and this year didn't disappoint:
Post-race goodness.  Note the lack of front straddle cable on my bike and the unique rear derailleur placement on Mike's bike.
But the real joy started before the Rick Plite countdown...  As I was standing at the start line fiddling with my brake levers I felt an odd snap from my front brake cable.  Sure enough (look closely at the above photo) I managed to pull the straddle cable completely out of the nut that secures it on my TRP's.  Oh well, it was slow and muddy so who needs brakes anyway.  Two years ago FARMER blew by me on a bike that didn't even have brakes.  I took the straddle cable off, handed it and the extra nut to Rick, and rode without a front brake.
I don't even remember how many laps we did, which is a change for Kiss Cross because usually we get to count our own laps.  I've been working hard for the past three months studying classical mechanics at CMU in order to get my counting abilities up to par.  Fortunately, in a drastic turn of events, Rick used an electronic timing system for the A's at Holland.  WHEW.

Consequently I have no idea how many laps we did.  I followed a Founders guy for 50 min + 1 lap thinking about how much fun it is racing in mud like that.  For the first time this year I got to roll on my Specialized Terra's in the mud.  They ride like the old Michelin Green's that are so coveted.

Holland Photos.

Next up is the Michigan State Championships held at Davisblurb (thanks for that one, Marc).  Don't forget to practice your shoulder presses and stair climbing before going over the flying rhinover.  You don't want to pull a muscle.  With all luck we'll have some interesting weather by Sunday...

Look at that orange wall sitting all smug just staring at you, daring you to try to actually run up it.
In other Tailwind news, check out Ten Mile Media's video from Bloomer Park.  Not only do you see a few of the Michigan greats, but you will also see a certain someone in a certain Specialized kit NOT GETTING LAPPED immediately after the scene with Tom and Sven sprinting it out at the line.  Oh yes.

Then the last race of the Michigan season is held at Midland on Sunday, 12/11.  Be there or don't plan on racing your 'cross bike in Michigan in 2011 EVER AGAIN.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Great Tubular Sell-Off

34c Challenge Fango (from Richard Sachs team), aquasealed $50
34c Challenge Fango (from Richard Sachs team) fresh tube and basetape from TIREALERT with 60mm valve stem, aquasealed $55

Cole T-25 wheelset (tubular) from Richard Sachs team WHEELS ONLY $450, Dura Ace 12-27 cassette + $55, no skewers.  Sorry...the front was up in the garage and I was too lazy to go get it for a photo op. 
Kenda team double wheelbag, new straps sewn on because the originals were worthless.  Internal  pocket for skewers.  $SOLD
Ambrosio F-20 tubular rims laced with double butted spokes to Ultegra 6700 hubs.  Rear needs to be retensioned, probably better for someone lighter than me.  Wheels only $325, Ultegra 12-25 cassette + $40
I'll be at Kiss Cross on Sunday, Tailwind on 12/4, and Midland on 12/11.  Not interested in shipping come race your bike.  racepromoter at gmail dot com if you want more info!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Bloomer Park 'cx

Sunday's race at Bloomer was fun.  Last place indeed can be fun, especially when you take home a $40 gift certificate AND a t-shirt from Cycletherapy for winning the holeshot prime.  Unfortunately, doing so burned pretty much almost every match I had (that's sad...), so the rest of the race was rough.  I was hoping to stay on the wheel of fast TWTango Andy but just didn't have it.

In other news, Snuffleupagus was pretty upset after we rode over him every lap...  You just never know what you'll see at a bike race.  And you'll also never know the thoughts that run through my head while trying not to get lapped by the speedy duo of Sven and Burke.  I guess the above picture is a clue.

Have you been practicing leaping tall buildings in preparation for the Orange Crush at Springfield Oaks?
My back is already screaming at me and we haven't even raced there yet.

It is amazing how long it takes for the 'cross season to get here and how fast it goes once it is here.  Only three major races left in Michigan.  First up is the Thanksgiving spectacular that is Kiss Cross in Holland.  Last time I raced there it was a mud bath and it took me three days to get clean.
I bet you didn't know you could ride this slow on a 'cross bike...
Turn right then left, basically.
Then Tailwind hosts the state championships at Springfield Oaks.  Last time I raced there:

And then to cap off the 2011 Michigan Cyclocross season, the Tri City Cyclists are once again hosting a race at Stratford Woods in Midland (The Big Bad Wolf).  Last year the race was in October and Tom Burke won.  This year the course will be a bit different but still feature a lot of the trademark beach:

Monday, November 14, 2011

Stoney Creek

Umm...yeah ok I'll take it.  Sven lapped me and he was flying.  Too bad there were only five of us that finished the race.  I'm guessing Tailwind won't be holding a race next year on the Louisville weekend, but that's just a hunch.

Friday, November 04, 2011


Yesterday turned out to be a rough day.  Immediately after Vet's Park on Saturday I picked up whatever Kristie had the previous week.  For those of you that have managed to hold off the sore throat of all sore throats this fall, congrats.  But having that absolutely killed me for the week.  It was all I could do to sleep through the night let along ride my bike.  I did manage to get in a whopping 75 minutes over two rides on Monday and Wednesday though.  And each of those made me feel worse than I did before, so that was helpful.

Anyway, I decided to head up to the Iceman on Saturday morning instead of staying up there on Friday night like was planned.

The last time I did the long drive in the morning was for my first Slush Cup experience back in 1997.  The drive is "only" two hours to Kalksaka from here, which aside from the 5:00 a.m. departure isn't too terrible.  I managed to fall onto the packet pick up area by accident while trying to find the high school.  I was a bit surprised to see such a major operation operate on the floor of a small room like that.  In years past having the pick up area inside at the middle school was a pretty good set up.  However, the new start format is significantly better.

I rolled to the start expecting to be able to drop my jacket off, but I was running very late and couldn't find anyone before the whistle blew and everyone started riding.  Oh well, I rode the whole thing with waaay too many clothes, but I figured it is better to be a bit overdressed than underdressed for a 30 mile point to point race, just in case something happens.

So aside from my relatively hectic start the first hour of the race went pretty well for me.  I felt good, not great, and kept up a good pace heading into Williamsburg road.  I don't remember if it was before or after Williamsburg, but right around 1:10 into the race I started to feel it...

If you don't know what "it" is, read THIS from 2008 or THIS from 2007 and you'll start to get a picture.

And speaking of pictures, I am literally so desperate trying to figure out how to NOT cramp during longer races that, per suggestions from the inter-web, this was my pre-race preparation:
So what is desperate?  Desperate is saving pickle juice for the past five weeks, buying a travel size shampoo bottle, packing this delicately in my race bag, carrying it upside down in my jersey pocket, and hoping that I wouldn't need it.

But of course, like every MTB race I've done for the past three years, shortly after an hour into the event it starts.  On Saturday it started in feeling just a bit sluggish going into Williamsburg road.  Although it's a bit of a drag up there, it isn't like I should be rolling as slowly as I was at that point.  Ok, settle in a bit and don't push it...

(Which is basically code for you might as well pack it in, because it isn't going to get any better.)

So over the next 13 miles or so, I flirted with pushing on the pedals and backing off enough not to start to seize.  And when I did feel a flare up, as soon as I could get them under control I took a shot of pickle juice.  So back to being desperate, you have no idea what that's like until you slam pickle juice in a race...

I knew after Williamsburg that my chances for doing well were out the door and it was just a mtb ride, not a race, at that point.  So I rolled it in, basically soft pedaling for the last 10 miles.  Anita's hill hurt like a beast as I walked up.  But amazingly with about 5k to go my legs started to feel a bit better.  So I started to roll it a bit, and I was passing people left and right.  That is until the trail turned up for just 50 m too long, and my left hamstring cramped so badly it forced me off my bike, hunched over in pain.  More than 24 hours later that hamstring still is not right.  

I crossed the line in 2:01.10.  I haven't gone slower than 2 hours since I was 16 years old in my first Iceman.  Granted, the courses back then were much shorter than yesterday's edition, but still...  And to make matters even worse, 13th place was the same time as mine, so I couldn't even break that tie.  14th place in the 28-29'ers.

One cool thing was riding my Stumpjumper 29'er for the first time in an Iceman.  The past four times I had raced Mr. Ice I was on my 26" F3000.  Riding on 29" wheels was a lot of fun for a course like that.

I wish I could actually race the Iceman someday and not just ride the thing.  Yeah that would be nice.

Congrats to those that did.