Friday, December 28, 2007

Christmas Day


Me and Kristine spent our first Christmas Day quietly at home. We both got plenty of great stuff. She must have read my mind (or my Ebay watching list) and got me a new pair of Pearl Izumi cold-weather gloves. I've been using the same pair of PI Pittards Fleece gloves that I got from Pearl direct on an employee purchase deal when I worked at Answer - a long time ago let just say. After opening all the presents, I convinced Kristine in allowing me to go for a quick ride. Perfect weather, about 40 something. No leggings and no gloves for the first time in a while. I needed to burn some calories before our big Christmas feast.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

I used to go FAST on this bike?


After ripping around on sub-18lb 'cross bikes for 4 months, it's time to get the MTB back out and attempt to ride that thing. MTB is still my "bread 'n butter" bike, but it takes a few rides to get it re-figured out. The very-rocky trails at my local ride spot are challenging to begin with. Combine that with not being "one" with the bike AND a fresh layer of snow makes for a big meatball sundae. I have over 2 months to get all the cobwebs out before the first mtb so i'm not too concerned.

Cyclocross Season (mostly) Over


With all (or at least 90%) of the craziness out of the way and the bad weather settling in, it's time to start enjoying my LIFE OFF THE BIKE. Went to Quinn's band concert at school the other nite. Not hearing her practice her flute everyday, I didn't realized how good she was. New school for her this year. She's doing OK in school, although old habits die hard, like forgetting to turn the work in. She's in 8th grade now so everything will start to count towards college next year.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Cyclocross Nationals - Elite Men




What a difference a day makes. After yesterdays ice-cold frozen tundra, the sun came out and turned most of the course in to a sloppy muddy mess. Ruts were still frozen but at least there was a coating of gritty slurry covering everything. Starting spot on the grid wasn't too bad since all of these guys are fast. I didn't move up too many spots going up the paved start hill but once we hit the muddy sloppy grass, guys starting flailing like fish on land and I moved up quick. I was able to pick guys off one at a time but any little mistake would send the 10 guys on my wheel right on by. Hit the ground hard twice but at least the ground was softer than yesterday. Coming up the paved hill expecting to see 2 laps to go, I got flagged off the course as the last rider 1 lap down in 41th place out of 98 starters. Tim Johnson and Jonathan Page were coming up right behind me. Johnson has a winning streak going as far as Nationals held in KC, he won the last time they were here and todays weather was flash back to that day. Defending champ Ryan Trebon hit the deck earlier in the race and got smashed by another rider. He on on the ground for a while and the course marshall actually re-routed the course around him till he could be moved. Chris Horner spent the night in the hospital getting his appendix removed so he was a DNS.

video

Cyclocross Nationals - Masters 35-39


With guys like Travis Brown, Mark McCormick, Brandon Dwight, and a host of other fast guys, this was going to be EPIC. The muddy ruts from the previous days races were frozen solid and treacherous. Several inches of fresh snow fell over night and it kept snowing throughout the race. I had a terrible start position but that really didn't matter. I was able to move up about 30 parts on the long paved uphill start hill and then got by other 20 or so as we hit the grass and guys started hitting the deck everywhere. I kept it upright and picked guys off one after another. The first lap was a mess in the traffic but once I got past all of that and up into the top 20, things were easier as the talent level was higher and the lines could be picked easier. The main line was getting too much traffic and polishing out so the the fastest route was often off-line in the fresh snow. I managed to pull off 16th place out of 90+ starters. Not too bad. A better starting grid spot would have made a top 10 for sure. NEXT YEAR, I'll register a little earlier. An old teammate of mine on Nantucket Nectar/Specialized took the win ahead of Mark McCormick who was right with Brandon till he crashed into a lapped rider. Tough Break. video

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Kansas State Cyclocross Championships

COLD, COLD, COLD. The temps were in the high teens, and the ground covered some fresh frizal (that's freezing drizzle). The paved sections of the course had to be taken out since they were like ice rinks. The rest of the course was acutally fun and challenging. The "run up" was actually ridable for all the guys in my 1/2/3 race. The turnout was rather small with only 4 guys braving the elements. Shadd Smith and Cameron Chambers set the early pace with me pulling up the rear and not doing very good at it. I kept Cameron close for the first half of the race but faded from that point on. The only other guy in the race, Joseph Smaltz, was no where close behind me so it was just a solo training ride for the last 25 or so minutes. I never did feel my toes the whole race, or for about 30 minutes after the race. Thankfully the race venue (a high school) hot showers available so I rode straight from the finish line to the showers to unthaw. Kristine bundled up and braved the weather and got some great pics. She had my street cloths and towel waiting for me as I ran to the showers. Right now, it's super cold out here but it's supposed to warm up before Nationals next weekend so that course could turn into a real mess. video video

Monday, December 3, 2007

Going back to Cali, Cali, Cali

Spent the weekend in SoCal with Kristines family to watch the big UCLA vs USC game, drink plenty of beer, and exchange some early x-mas gifts. Heading for the airport right after work on Friday. Southwest Airlines is always a comedy show with wings and this time was no exception. Any plain heading for Vegas (we though though Vegas on the way to the O.C.) on a Friday night is bound to have a few drunks or people trying to get drunk. The row in front of us had 3 girls heading out to LV for a bachorlette party. The Plane left KC about 30 minutes late due to bad weather in Vegas. No big deal if we were only going to Vegas, but we had a catch the connecting flight (more on that one below). The 3 stewardess's (2 chicks and 1 dude) offered a free drink to any passenger that could guess their combined age. After about 30 minutes, they came though the cabin and wrote everybodies guess down. After reviewing the results, they announced that only 1 person on the whole plane guessed the right answer: Row 9, on the right-side of the plane, in the middle seat? Since it's Southwest, nobody know's what row their in so everybody starts looking around and eventually everybody is looking at me :-) YEP, I got it. I free Heini ! Know the rest of the story about our connecting flight. Since we left KC 30 minutes late and only had a 1 hr layover in LV, we had to hussle to out next gate. We look on the Departures board and it isn't even listed. Uh Oh. Some random guy laying on the floor under the departures board pipes in: "you lookin for Orange County, it hasn't been up there in hours, don't know when it's leaving.............". Great! We find a Southwest person that directed us to a gate. We get there and find out that 2 different planes are coming in to that gate and depending on which one gets there first, that will determine the next flight leaving that gate. Fortunately, the right plane made it first and we were soon (albeit about an hour late) on our way to Orange County. Saturday was spent tail-gating (on the couch) and eventually watching USC give the Bruins a beating. X-mas gift exchange and a fantastic prime-rib dinner ended the evening. Sunday was spent walking the 2 dogs (Kona and Sammy) up at the Huntington Beach off-leash area. After that it was back to the airport for the flight back to the cold crisp air of KC. Now i'm at work, falling asleep 'cause I hit the pillow at 2am this morning and up at 6.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

New "bike rack" for the truck



I'd thought about doing this for a while, but finally pulled the plug on Friday. With 3 cross bikes going in the back of my little pick-up, and not much extra in the cookie jar, I came up with this:


Total out-of-pocket cost: $1.98 for a roll of galvanised plumbers strapping.

5ft-long 2x6, some drywall screws that I already had, and 3 old front hubs in the junk bin.

Ya, it's Ghetto, but worked like a charm!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Jingle Cross - UCI Elite races, Iowa City, Iowa

Day one: Very Cold. Got a descent start and stayed on the right wheels at least. The course had a nasty climb which suited me, but got very ugly in the closing laps. Very steep at the top and the 42x26 hurt. Buried myself 10 times over to stay in the money. Ended up 21st out of roughly 39 starters and stayed on the lead lap. Todd Wells put the hurt on Chris Horner and Bjorn Sealander.

Day tow: COLD! Got a crappy start and just never really felt in control of my legs. The main climb/desent was now reversed, making a brutal run-up (for mortal human beings) that you could re-mount and climb the top portion, followed by the a fast bumpy descent (yesterdays climb). Todd Wells and Chris Horner were riding up the run-up, even after they placed logs at the bottom. Beyond impressive if you ask me. He would hop the logs and almost be at a complete stand still, then just power up it. The crowd was going insane as he did they on EVERY LAP. Meanwhile back in the "laughing group", I was not laughing at all. Lower back was DONE, and the legs never had anything to even attempt a moderate stride up this thing. Mananged to get lapped by Todd and Chris so at least I had 1 less lap than some and ended up in 24th, in the money baby. BOTH DAYS! BOOYA

Monday, November 19, 2007

Nebraska Cyclocross #4 - Lincoln, NE

A light over-night rain and MUCH COLDER temps were on tap for Sunday's series final race. With the course reversed, making for a long paved start, caos insued. These starts are crutial so I made sure I was where I needed to be. I got on the wheel of Bill Stolte and Adam Mills and the 3 of us started to pull away. Behind us, the chase was on with Adam Lang, Troy Krause, and Darren Shlake, and Cameron Chambers. Bill Stolte would put in a surge and leave me and Mills behind periodically but then seem to wait up for Mills to get back on. I was doing a little work as possible since I knew the Mills was way stronger and would eventually put me in trouble. I could see this coming so I let him guy and allowed the chase group to come up. Cameron tried a few attacks but was plagued by mechanicals and was never a factor later on. Once again it came down to me and Schlake and Adam Lang. Adam would eventually fade leaving me and Darren fighting for 3rd and 4th. Darren was going for the Nebraska State Title, and with Troy Krause and Jesse Petersen not too far back, we worked together to make sure he got the State title and I got the series. He would pull down the long paved road while I would keep the pass going on the grass. All worked out and now it's time for the UCI Jingle Cross races in Iowa next weekend.

Nebraska Cyclocross #3 - Lincoln, NE

A good size field of 22 riders were on hand in very un-seasonably warm weather and bone dry conditions. Since I was leading the series, I unintentionally kept the whole field waiting while I showed up a few minutes late for the start. Actually, they were trying to get the race started early and I was right on schedule. As I always do, I picked the two guys on the front row that wouldn't mind me backing right in. Start from the back? Me? Ahhh, not today. At the gun, I got the wholeshot and led onto the grass with Bill Stolte, Adam Mills, and Tony Wilhelm (all HRRC/
Trek Stores) setting the front group. The first few laps stayed together with myself, Darren Shlake (Monkey Wrench), Iowa's Brandon Jessop, and KCCX's Adam Lang keeping the front group together and not letting the 2 Trek teammates run away with it. At about the mid point in the race, Stolte and Mills started to pull away while I was locked into the chase group with Jessop and Shlake. Adam Lang fell away and me and Darren tried to get rid of Jessop but he wouldn't budge. Jessop would eventually drop me and Darren and bridge up to Adam Mills. That was perfectly fine with me and Darren since Jessop just couldn't keep him mouth shut. He's obviously fast, but just wasn't happy with how me and Darren were riding. If he had been paying attention to the series points, he would have known that me and Darren were going for the series title, and he was stuck with us and wanted us to pull him around. Darren told him he was a dick at one point and I told him he should go back to Iowa. One "the mouth" was out of our way, me and Darren starting working each other over. I had the lead coming into the double run-up and put in one last attack on the small hill before the paved finish but he got back on my wheel and came around me in the sprint for 4th while I got 5th. Adam Lang hung on for 6th while Troy Krause, Chris Wallace, Ryan Legg, and early race leader Tony Wilhelm rounded out the final money-paying spots.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sunflower Cross - Lawrence, Kansas




Very un-seasonably warm weather and bone dry conditions are not my forte. Very strong field of guys including Shadd Smith (KCCX\Verge), Bill Stolt and Adam Mills (Both HRRC/ Trek Stores), and Cameron Chambers. The race kicked off with a frantic paved start to a sharp left onto the grass with the triple barrier right after that. KCCX was all over the front with Shadd Smith, Bill Marshall, William Gault and ChrisCross winner Mathew Ankney leading the charge. Bill Stolte, Adam Mills, and Cameron Chambers all made the initial front group. I got the good start and made the first selection but it pushed me too deep and I had to ease up. Once I got my breath I was able to start pulling guys back. Mathew Ankney and Adam Lang were the first guys I got around. Bill Marshall and a fading Bill Stolte were next. Bill was able to stay with me as I continued to hunt guys down in front. Brad Sullivan was next and he quickly got in behind me and Bill. I knew Bill was fading but he wasn't falling off either. I quickly attacked with a few laps to go trying to dislodge Brad and Bill but Bill stayed right with me. Coming into the bell lap, I knew I had been doing most of the work and Bill was fresh. We had brief words but just heat-of-the-moment race stuff. He's incredibly strong and pulling him around the course lap after lap was giving me some good PR but I knew he could easily drop me and he did. Hitting 1-to-go he got the gap on me and I just didn't have the snap. Ended up 5th which is still good considering the guys I finished ahead of. Brad Sullivan held off a hard charging Bill Marshall and William Gault while Steve Songer and Dave Hejduk (bothTeam X) rounded out the top 10. After the race Bill Stolte told me he felt bad for sitting on for so long, but it's all part of good racing. I knew he was back there and I could have forced the issue more but I didn't. Good hard racing is always good, no matter which end of the deal you fall into.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

TOTAL COMMITMENT !

Jonathan Baker is definately committed. He sold his house in Colorado, took a 4 month leave-of-absense from his job (a very nice job), and moved the whole family(Wife and 2 children) over to Belgium. Just like Jonathan Page before him, he's going through the ultimate trial by fire over there.
The level of organization required to pull this off is un-imaginable. Kudos to all the companies that are supporting him in this adventure: Primus Mootry frames, the Vechios Bike Shop, and ROL wheels. Time will tell if teams over there will take notice of his commitment and jump at the chance to get him aboard.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Riverside Cross Festival - Day 2 - Riverside, Mo




Had another ALMOST perfect day. Got a great start and got rid of everybody on my wheel, expect for Jesse Petersen (Monkey Wrench) from Nebraska. I was hopping the barries every time through just like Saturday and that got me a nice gap on him each lap, but he would fly across the sand pit and make up the gap every time. Shadd Smith was once again off the front and running away with it but this time we could see him less than 1 minute ahead. While me and Jesse were busy trying to get rid of each other, we had pulled away and left the rest of the race behind. Adam mills was able get off the group he was with and had 4th wrapped up will Jesse's teammate Nate Woodman was holding down the 5th and final money spot. Comeing into the last 1/4 of the last lap, I let Jesse lead into the barriers. I hopped 'em and tried to sprint away. Coming into the sand pit, I ran it on the right side where he had been riding it, trying to mess him up and keep my 2nd place. I had played this card the previous lap and it worked like a charm. Unfortunately, I showed my hand 1 lap too early and he knew it was coming. He was sprinting behind me entering the sand and rode right through the middle and had 20 feet on me coming out the other side and held the gap to the line. Very impressive.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Riverside Cross Festival - Day 1 - Riverside, Mo

Had a perfect race, even with a flat and bike change. Had a Challenge Grifo bead come apart and the tube started sticking out. Thank God it waited till right as I was coming into the pit before it blew. Did the bike change and got back to the guy I was with, and eventually passed and dropped him. Shadd Smith was still out front with Bill Stolte in second. I was back in third with Cameraon Chambers in 4th and a hard-charging Josh Johnson coming up in fifth. Cameron slid backwards as Josh worked his way up to me. He got by me and put a small gap on me. I was concerned with Dave White and Adam Mills about 10 seconds behind me so I put it in conservation mode to hold 4th place. Dave White was able to get past Mills to round out the top 5. Chris Locke as usual put on a great event with Roger Harrison and Heather Jordan putting in the always great jobs.


video

Monday, October 29, 2007

Boulevard Cup - Kansas City, Kansas

Big fields turned out to get a sneak preview of the Nationals course in December. the 2 sets of stairs weren't build yet but the single planks and the run-ups still gave everybody of taste of things to come in a December. the course was FAST. Super hard-packed grass that was mowed to about 5mm's. After yesterdays Capital Cup race, I was looking forward to a better result. the uphill paved start was less caotic than i'd expect. Tilford and his Trek/VW boys all over the front leading off the pavement and onto the grass. Entering the first set of barriers on lap 1, Tilford and Shadd Smith worked an early advantage while teammates Bill Stolte and Adam Mills settled in to 3rd and 4th. Behind them I found myself together with Joseph Smaltz (Team X) and we kept the gap to Bill and Adam from growing. Behind up the race was fragmenting but a large chasing group was now forming that had some serious fire power. The exposed course and light wind gave an advantage to the well-working group while me and Joseph continued but couldn't keep the gap. The large chasing group contained Tom Price, Bill Marshall, David Hejduk, Tony Wilhelm, Jeff Winkler, Cale McAnich, and Troy Krause. The pace was fierce as Wilhem and Hejduk fell away from the big group. I resigned that it was better to get caught and work(or hopefully draft) in the group than continue with Joe so I let the Team X rider slip away while I got swallowed up. Over the last couple laps everybody in the group was attacking each other and pushing every turn hard. On the bell lap, I sat comfortably on Bill Marshall's wheel before a sharp acceleration by Tom Price sent everyone sprinting for a wheel to get on. It killed me but I managed to get on a wheel of Cale McAnish but he had already lost the wheel he was on so it was over. My break-away companion Joseph Schmalz hung on for 5th, while Bill Marshall won the sprint for 6th with Wikler, Price, and Krause. McAninch followed in by himself for 10th while I tooled in for 11th.

Boulevard Cup - Video Clip

video

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Capital Cross - Topeka, Kansas

A packed field came out to do battle at a brand new venue at Hummer Sports Complex in Topeka. The course was 3km of mostly fast grass. The paved start was slightly uphill and it didn't take long for the favorites to make their way to the head of the race. Steve Tilford and Bill Stolte used the first couple laps as a warm-up so the race stayed generally together. One they started racing\, they were off and gone, leaving a chase group of myself, Adam Mills, Tony Wilhelm, David Hejduk, Bill Marshall, Jeff Winkler, and Karl Kiester from Denver. This pack stayed together for a few laps with no real group forming behind us. About midway through the race, Wilhelm, Mills, and Kiester got off the front of our group. They slowly pulled away leaving me, Marshall, Hejduk, and Winkler to race out the closing laps. We would eventually pass Kiester having suffered a flat. Coming into the closing laps, we all through in digs to get away but the course didn't lend itself to solo glory, so a sprint finish was un-avoidable. Coming into the last steep climb before the run-up, I lost the wheel of Hedjuk and Marshall but was able to get a small gap on Winkler. I held that over the finish just trailing in behind Hejduk and Marshall. 7th doesn't sound good out off 16 but it was a pretty stacked field and everybody in front of me was at least pretty fast, and I still had fast guys finish well behind me. I always race better on the 2nd day of a double-race weekend so tomorrows Boulevard Cup race on the National Championships course should be a good one.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

You know you're in the Mid-West when.......

....your co-worker is wearing overall's to work. It's an OFFICE JOB that is supposed to have a dress code. Having worked in California most of my employed life, were an office job requires a minimum amount of clothing common sense, I find this completely un-believable. He was born, raised, and never lived anywhere else but here so that may explain things. As far as dressing for success, this guy sho ain't gitten 'r dun!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Nebraska Cyclocross Series - Omaha






Suffering the absolute WORST sinus problems due to the heat and wind, I amazed myself on Saturday. The weekend only got better. Saturday Chris and I made the trek up to Omaha for the first 2 races of the Nebraska Cyclocross Series. The never-ending summer here in the Midwest, a constant cycle of Fall-like weather, then a return of heat and wind has every plant blooming and my sinuses just go ape. This week was the worst. I've been on sinus med's, Clariton, and Vick's Vapor Rub just to get though the day and night. Saturday's race was very hot. 80 plus. Not cross-weather at all and not was I excel in. I had a great start and settled in with LocalCycling.com teammate Brad Sullivan and Trek/VW's Tony Willwelm. Brad and I tried to tag-team Tony a bit. Brad was riding great and I figured I would drop dead at any moment. Brad got a gap on me and Tony so I turned off the gas since Tony wouldn't pull though. Coming up fast was Lincoln Industries Troy Krause and a hard charging Darren Schlake. Tony fell off my wheel and I was know along in 2nd with Tony going backwards though the field. I didn't have the strength to get back up to Brad so I put 'er in cruise mode and and held on for 2nd. A the finish, i was completely DONE. Lung cheese was plentyful. Weather report showed Sunday would be much cooler low to mid 50's and windy. I recovered amazingly overnite and felt great. I took the lead right away and pushed the pace early to thin the field out. I used the long gravel climb (that was a long gravel descent yesterday) to my advantage and pushed it hard up it every lap. Just like yesterday, It came down to myself, Tony Wilhelm, and teammate Brad at the front and pulling away. I would push the pace on the sections of the course that suited my and ease up and let the others great the wind and recover. Brad eventually had to ease up and fell way while Tony and myself continued to throw everything at each other. One trip through the sand pit, we found ourselves side-by-side and neither of us giving an inch. I made several big efforts to get rid of him before the finish but he stayed right with me. I let Tony go by me right before the long head-wind straight. That gave me about a minute of rest before the 180 turn at the top and became a tail-wind drag race for about 200 meters to the line. I played it calm as cucumber and waited till the tail-wind kicked in and lauched my sprint so I could get to a trick little s-turn around some trees right before the finish line. Worked PERFECTLY. Tony's not exactly up to his usually speed so he'll be tough in the up-coming races. Ciao. Need to go pop some sin-u-tabs.


Photos by Tom Winfield

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Chris Cross - Lawrence, Kansas 10/14/07


Following yesterday completely horrific performance up at Spooky Cross in Des Moines. I wasn't sure what to expect the following day. Sunny and warm temps turned taking illegal water-bottle hand-ups a fine art without the USCF official catching on. I got a perfect start right behind Shadd Smith (HRRC/Trek Stores) , Bill Stolte (HRRC/ Trek Stores), and Mathew Ankney (Mercy Cycling). Shadd and Mathew checked out rather early leaving Bill Stolte, Myself, and Brad Sullivan (Local Cycling.com) in chase group #1. Behind us, a large chase group #2 had formed with some farily fast guys including David White (KCOI Boulevard Brewery), David Hejduk and Adam Lang( both Team X), and Cameron Chambers (Badger), and a few others. About 20 minutes into the race I started loosing power and dropped off from the first chase group with Bill and Brad and was caught by the 2nd group. All six guys in the 2nd group blew by me and I wasn't even staying with that group. At about 40 minutes in, I was feeling better and noticed that 2nd group was fragmenting and I was gaining some ground back. The moral took a little boost when I started catching them back. One by one I was able to bring all 6 of those guys back and get back on the final podium spot in 5th. Sometimes you just feel really good or really bad with no real explanation of how or why.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Des Moines, Iowa - Spooky Cross #1

Rode like a true champ.....for the first couple laps anyway. Then the champ turned into a chump. After leading the first lap and getting the prime, I just didn't have it when the race actually got fast. Got a descent start and rode up a very steep, greasy hill while everbody in front of me ran. I rode right by everybody and ended up leading by the top. That probably wasn't the best strategy considering the guys I was now in front of. After crossing the line to take the lap 1 prime, the legs just turned to rubber and the wet spongy grass seemed to feel 1 foot thick. I immediately dropped back to 5 th and tried to hold off Troy Krause but the moral was sliding and so was my pace. The misery wasn't over. Now in 6th, I had another guy bridging up to me and couldn't hold him off. I figure after a 3 hour drive, my legs just weren't really in the mood. Another race tomorrow at Chris Cross - in Lawrence, KC.
video

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Coming Soon!



I will be making a more formal announcement about this later once I get most of the finer details ironed out. First trip is scheduled for late May to coincide with the '08 Giro d'Italia. The trip will be based out of my house located in the small mountain town of Roio del Sangro, located in the Abruzzo region of Italy. This region offers a terrific combination of high mountain wilderness and coastal shoreline. There will be plenty of fabulous road riding, fine food and wine, and history lessons about the region. Daily excursions will also include local medieval castles, tours of local pasta and olive oil factories, ect. Inquire further by contacting me at markstudnicki@gmail.com Ciao

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

First 'Cross races of the season in the books


Saturday’s race in Newton Iowa, being the first one of the year, was just an exercise in getting-the-cobwebs-out. Got the PERFECT start which is a miracle considering it was a LeMans start with us running up the run-up and over the barriers to our bikes at the top. Led for a little bit in the early laps, but didn’t have the next higher gear to go with the attack of Josh Johnson (Big Shark) and John Olney (ICCC). Unfortunate mechanicals by Brian Eppen and JJ Bailey turned what would have been a 6th place into a 4th. Sean Walker (Atlas Core) pulled away from me in the closing laps to take the 3rd and final podium spot with me in 4th. Sunday’s race was a LOT DIFFERENT. Day 2 effects some racers different than others. This time I had the next higher gear were as some of the fast guys from Saturday seemed to go backwards. Sunday’s race had a traditional start and the bonus of a pair of Oakleys to the leader of the first lap. They did this crap last year and it makes for an “interesting” first lap. You’d be surprised how many people try to hole-shot off the start and then clog the race up 2 turns later. I got a bad start but at least I have the ability to get my way back into it within a couple turns. I wasn’t intending on going for the prime but thought is prudent to stay at the front anyways just in case I got itchy feet. Josh Johnson and Brian Eppen both seemed like they wanted the shades so I was more than happy just staying on their wheel. We all came through after lap 1 together with Brian taking the shades without much of a sprint from Josh or myself. We stayed together for a few laps before Brian started to check out. Josh got a small gap on me before a spectacular explosion. I quickly caught and dropped him, only to find him back on my wheel and than attack me the following lap. Than it happened again. I was just keeping it steady and he was yo-yo’ing like no tomorrow. He recovered with a couple laps to grab 2nd place while I had 3rd wrapped up. Meanwhile, the race behind us was falling apart. Saturday’s 2nd place John Olney crumbled at some point and DNF’d, Saturday’s 3rd place Sean Walker faded to finish 1-lap down as many did.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Don't let the cute white dog fool you!


My beloved little white Westie dog Lou lived up to it's nickname of "Snap Dragon" last nite. My mom got caught in the middle of a power struggle between Lou and Athena (the scary "looking" but totally mellow Staffie Bull). Two perfect teeth holes in my moms arm later..... Lou is a very nice and lovable dog but is definately a BIG dog in a small dog's body!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Back from my Italian Vacation


Got back Sunday night after a long day of driving, flying, waiting, more flying, and more driving. Will have plenty of pics posted soon but here's one.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Leaving for Italy in 2 weeks


Only 2 more weeks of work till I leave for the biggest vacation of my life, 2 days in Rome, 3 days running around Tuscany, then another full week enjoying the Abruzzo region from the comforts of my own house.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I love the smell of freshly mowed grass in the morning....


...smells like......MOWED GRASS. Here we go again. My pre-'cross-season program is coming along nicely, albeit rather painfully given the heat wave we're in. All the mtb miles, road miles, trainer miles do NOTHING to prepare you for riding at 99% for 60 minutes on bumpy grass with the occasional dismount, run-up, and/or remount. Finally "broke through to the other side" this past weekend with some really good speed and the legs are responding well to the running. The form is right where i'd like it to be. Can't quite do a full 60-minutes at full speed but that will come over the next couple weeks. I'll slowly build up to the point when I can do a full 60-minute race simulation at something close to race pace . Ciao

Friday, August 10, 2007

Friends shouldn't let friends race when there's a Severe Heat Advisory


I learned my lesson (the hard way) at this same race last year. This poor guy didn't. I had heard a story than once you've had some level of heat stroke, that you will always be more succeptable to it thereafter. I was scary-close to ending up in the hospital at this race last year, and haven't felt the same riding in hot weather ever since. Words couldn't adaquately describe the purgatory my body went through in the last 30 minutes of that race and hour or so afterward. Lesson learned!

Italy Trip now just 4 weeks away




Here my trusty little white westie dog makes some final travel arrangements.

Training for 'Cross season in full Shwing!


Check this out! What better way to develop ground-stomping speed for 'cross season? Do the local "Tuesday night Worlds" on your cross bike. Here I am motor-pacing behind a loyal teamate, running a 39 *12/26 (yes a single ring), and running 45 psi in the big 32c Michie's. I even did 90 minutes before and about 30minutes after this thing. I contemplated retirement later that evening :-) Ciao

Monday, July 16, 2007

Lunatic Fringe - Smithville Lake, Missouri


Round 9 of the Midwest Fat Tire Series was another hot and humid affair. the trail system at Smithville Lake is super twisty but fast and fairly smooth. I got the holeshot and used my technical prowess to slowly get a gap. Riding efficiently was the key here. I came through lap 1 with a descent lead so I eased up a bit, anticipating have to do a 3rd lap. Fortunately my 2nd lap time was still quick but not fast enough to come in under the 90 minutes, so that second lap was it. I know have a good lead in the Series for both the Vet Expert class and for the Overall Sport/Expert combined. That being the case, I will hang the mtb up and start my Cyclocross preparation.

Tall Oak Challenge - Jefferson City, Missouri


Round 8 of the Midwest Fat Tire Series kicked off in very hot and humid conditions. Fortunately most of the course is in the trees and some scattered clouds cept the heat-lamp effect to a minumum. I got into the single track in 2nd right behind Tim "TK" Kakouris. He's fast so he sure wasn't holding me up. He is super "quick" out of tight turns so it was important to stay close but not try to match his accelerations, rather just come back to his wheel gradually. I was feeling good so I went by him after a mile or 2 and tried to work a small gap but he stayed close and we came through after lap 1 more or less together. I started to feel the heat and he climbed by me about half way around lap 2. He got a good gap right away and I had to put it into conservation mode. I finished lap 3 just under the 90 minute cut-off so I had a 4th lap to "cool down" on since none of the other Vet's would make the time cut-off.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Ivan Basso at ' 06 Giro


You'll most-likely never see this again. Basso just won stage 8 of the ' 06 Giro and well on his way to winning the GC. I had the pleasure of witnessing this in person at last years race where I was camped out at the finish line. Couldn't get over there for this years race but I will be going in September for 2 weeks or R&R. Actually it will be 1 week of rest in Tuscany following by 1 week of 15km climbs down by my house.

Heartland Series all Wrapped up (and rained out)

The 4-race Heartland MTB Series finally came to a close but not the way organizers had intended. The first 2 rounds were postponed due to bad weather. The final round scheduled for this past Sunday (the first round's rescheduled date) was cancelled, again due to plenty of rain. I had the 30-39 Expert series already wrapped up so nothing really changed. Teammate Josh Taylor took 2nd in the series. Ciao

13 Weeks Till 'Cross Season


Now that's it's in the 90's, so humid you need gills to breath, and the ticks are eating me alive, the official count down to 'cross seaon has started. already getting the bikes dialed in, tire selection, ect. Looking forward to another season in the Elites. I had a fairly successful season last year and should be able to raise a few more eyebrows this time around. My MTB will get hung up August 23rd and the 'cross specific stuff will begin that will focus my body and mind towards that magic 60 minutes of 'cross hell. Ciao

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Midwest Fat Tire Series – Dornword (Topeka) KS

Another HOT and HUMID day, but at least it wasn’t as hot as last years all-time record. The trail system that Tom Travis has put together out there is pretty impressive and very technical. Some good rain Saturday morning made the course a little slick in some spots but overall made for perfect traction. I got the hole shot with Greg Shimonek and Stephen Jarret all over me. I led for the first lap and a half but with ½ the race still to go had to throttle back and conserve. Greg shot by and was gone. I was able to stay ahead of Stephen for a while but it was just holding him up so once he got by he was gone. I basically just rode the 3rd lap in survival mode and settle for 3rd place in Vet EXpert. Kent McNeil (Trek Store – Omaha) put the wood to the Expert class. Former team-mate on CowTown Tige Lamb came in 2nd after a race long battle with Badger’s Cameron Chambers.

NOTE: No picture because my photographer, the lovely Kristine, was in California visiting with her family.

Heartland Series – Crowder Lake, Trenton MO


HOT and HUMID would be an understatement. Plenty of knats buzzing around. At least the course up there is more of what I can go fast on. Plenty of big-ring flying with only a few short climbs. Managed to come through lap one right with the leader (sort off teammate) Greg Shimonek (Trek Store – Omaha) and had Kevin Limpack (Trek Store-Omaha) right on my rear wheel. I couldn’t hold Kevin off and settled into holding down my 3rd place spot to the finish.

Midwest Fat Tire Series - Drywood Creek State Park – Farlington, KS




Some heavy rains in the KC area scared a lot of people away. The course, located about 90 minutes due south of the metro received a good soaking in the early morning hours but the weather was great during the race. I was off and running away with the vet expert win but still needed a fast time towards the overall. I was able to stay with (younger) Expert rider Jason Stiger for most of the race but the heat started to get to me. On this course, once you start loosing speed over the rocks, it’s all over from there. Cameron Chambers was WELL up the trail easily taking the fastest time of the day with Jason 2nd and myself (winning Vet) coming in 3rd overall. Me and Kristine enjoyed a nice picnic after the race but had to run for cover then an impressive storm came through the race site. Heavy rain, thunder and lighting lasted about 30 minutes.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Lou Gets Her Summer 'Do


My loving little white Westie got her summer hair cut and looks even more adorable then ever!

KC Cup - Heartland Series #4 - Blue Springs, MO




After several well-deserved weekends off to live life like a normal human being, The KC Cup kicked off the mtb fun again. This is the 2nd race in the Heartland Series (after the first 2 rained out and rescheduled) We had quite a bit of rain leading up to the race but the organizers did a great job of working with the course. It was quite muddy and slick the first lap but started to dry up and got very sticky in the later laps. Got the holeshot and just worked up the first technical climb with 1 guy hanging on to me. I was able to get a small gap and worked it till I was out of sight, then set my attention towards catching as many of the Pro/Semi/19-29 experts that I could. Only caught 2 since we started many minutes after them. Hung on for the win in 30-39 Expert and expanded my lead in that series. Looking forward to getting as many races done before the real heat hits us later this summer. Ciao.

Rhett's Run - Columbia, MO



May 6th was the next round of the Midwest Fat Tires Series, aka Rhetts Run, out in Columbia Mo. That day saw some of the worse rain and flooding that Kansas City has seen in a long time. I looked at the live doppler radar in the internet and it looked like the race had a slim chance to happen rain free so we left KC in a total down pour. It poured all the way to about 15 miles west of Columbia then the sky opened up to a gorgeous day. The course was in perfect shape and definitely is well suited more my speed and technical prowess. I got the hole shot and never looked back. Had the fastest time of the day which sure helps out in the overall championship . A few sprinkles during the awards but the rain held off. Then the drive home. Just as we got on I70 to head towards KC, the heavens opened up and it was BAD. Traffic on I70 stopped or slowed to about 5mph several times, and I actually pulled off and stopped twice which says a lot since I can drive through ANYTHING. It poured all the way back to KC. Ciao

Crocodile Rock - Perry Lake, KS


















Today was round #3 of the Heartland Series. This was actually the first race in the series since the first two were rained out and rescheduled till late June and July when it will be super hot. Today it was ONLY 91. The hottest day i'd ridden in before today was maybe 80. Went out to do a lap of the course and didn't realize it was about a 10 mile lap. Made it back just in time to head to the start line and weazle my way on the front row. Felt OK for the first 1/2 of the first lap but the heat just got to me and that course really doesn't suite me much. From that point on it was just a ride. Kristine worked my water & wheel pit and just about passed out from heat stroke. Worked my way up to 3rd basically do to others having mechanicals or heat related issues. Team mates from the Omaha store took the top 2 spots so LocalCycling boys took a top 3 sweep.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Tour de Tick - Midwest Fat Tire Series

Pulled out the win in Vet Expert but couldn't hold off a hard charging Jason Stiger for the overall win. Jason was the only "younger" Expert to show. Jason got the whole shot and got into the single track first. I had a small problem getting clicked in off the start and got in 3rd. Jason started pulling away so I yelled at the guy in front of me to pull off and let me by. Once I got by I chased jason down and got by him on the first major climb. I was climbing really well and put a gap on him right away. I was taking it easy on the descents, worried about a soft rear tire and he would slowing close the gap back up. I attacked the climbs over the next couple laps and thought I had a good gap on him, but he charged back on was right on my wheel starting the 4th and final lap. My legs were toast and he took advantage on the climb and attacked me. I couldn't respond right away and let the gap grow. I put in a hard chase and closed the gap down later in the lap but didn't have the form to close the deal. Still had the first place "Taco Bell" money for winning Vet Expert in hand but I wanted the overall. Jason put in a great ride (even without the long hair).