Friday, January 29, 2010

'Cross Worlds in the US in 2013

Very cool, will definately drive over to Louisville to watch this. Masters Worlds in Louisville next year, not so much. I guess I'm not flying to Belgium next year. I was looking forward to seeing Brugge to. The only problem with having Masters Worlds here is that it will be just another ELITE race. Every UCI Elite guy that hasn't raced in a World Cup prior to the race will line up and turn those Masters races into what the Masters races at Nationals are, but much worse. USA Cycling should really look at this a bit more.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Off Season and Winter's return

2 weeks into the off-season and I feel reborn. Have about 4 weeks left before the local road events start up. Had 1 good week of weather, but the cold is back for this weekend. Back to wearing every single piece of clothing I own. Plenty of heated discussions going back and forth about who IS a sandbagger and who ISN'T. I don't work for USA Cycling so I can't fix the current system. Been getting some killer riding in with some great guys. Did a tough 3hr gravel ride on Sunday with the 360 boys Andy Lucas, steve Songer, and Brian Williams, with me and Joe Houston representing for Localcycling/Slimenudgrossun. These are all the same guys I race with it by the way. Started from Brian Willians house in Paola. Wasn't bad at the 10am start but the temp gradually went down and the wind went way up. I had forget the leg warmers so I was bare-leg'in it. The wind-chill was ugly by the end. Good roads with little traffic and lots of small hills. 3 1/4 hours for 50+miles felt good.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

New road bike

I don't get new complete bikes very often, so it's cause to celebrate when i do. Picked up a new carbon-framed Sette Primo from PricePoint last week. the carbon frame is well over a pound lighter than the alumimum Kinesis-made frame I was on before. The complete bike comes in over 3 pounds lighter. I typically don't care much about a pound or 2 here and there, but 3 starts to jump out at you. This bike came with a complete Ultegra SL 6600 group. I dig the ice-grey color on those components even though most did not. These shift levers also still have the external shift cables, whereas the newer 6700 levers went for under-the-bartape cable routing. That does LOOK slick, but that just adds a lot of bends to the housing. Considering that most of my 'cross pit bike did not survive it's 3rd (or 4th) season, I was in need of an entire group of components and a wheelset, which is almost an entire build kit. This complete bike was about the same price as a build kit. That also enables me to keep my old road bike complete and use it for commuting only and this one for racing. Yes, racing. I will probably contest a few more road events this year, pending open weekends in the MTB schedule. All of the new Ultegra 10-speed stuff will work double-duty and go over to the 'cross A-bike in the fall and all of the old A-bike stuff will get handed down to the pit bike. The old pit-bike stuff will be reserved for commutter bike backup stuff. Everything has it's purpose(s).

Got the new bike out on the road on Saturday for a solid 3 hours. Rode up and did 3 laps around Lake Quivera (Quivera Road, Johnson Drive, Renner Rd. and Holiday Drive). Pretty hilly little loop and 3 laps is tough. Bike felt super solid. Super stiff but not harsh thanks to the carbon frame. New components always feel great. Neutral geometry doesn't require over-thinking. Besides the complete Shimano component group, the bike came with FSA bars, stem, and seatpost. Nice stuff that all performs perfectly.

Some people critisized me for buying mail-order and not suporting one of the local bike shops. As much as I like to support the shops in the area, and I do appreciate any discouts they give me, I simple was not in a situation to spend twice as much.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Epic Holiday Cross - Kansas City, Mo

For the 3rd year in a row, the Epic Holiday Cross lived up to it's name.... Epic. Twisting in and around the Tuileries Shopping Center, the course always provides some surprises. Most of the snow had melted away but left the ground saturated and after everything froze during the night, we were treated to a very icy course. Once course after an hour of preriding, much of the ice broke through, exposing several inches of ice cold water and mud. The organizers did an amazing job of melting some very dangerous ice patchs in a couple of the turns in the cobble parking lot. I was happy that the 40+ Masters race was the first race of the day. The course seemed to get worse each lap so later races definately had there hands full. I got off the start in 3rd behind Andy Lucas and teammate Josh Taylor. Josh gave me some room in turn one and I got through and onto Andy's wheel. I was content to follow Andy since he was going pretty good. About mid way on lap 1, I had an opportunity to get go so I took it. One we jumped onto the sidewalk section, Andy came flying by me on the right, about twice my speed, then had a very spectacular crash. Hitting a patch of ice on the side walk, he went by me with his back end sliding out to the right, then back to the left right infront of me. Fortunately he shot to the right before going down so it didn't take we out with him. Looked spectacular but fortunately no major injuries. The left teamate Josh Taylor now in 2nd. For the rest of the race, I just kept it steady and kept Josh at a safe distance. Bob Downs (Planet Bike) had a great win in the 50+ masters field. Starting 10 seconds behind us, he got through the 40+ field and caught me with 4 laps to go. By the end of the race, my feet were more than numb from riding and running through the ice-cold standing water. The course had definately changed by the end of our race. The muddy sections got mudier, but some ruts seems to be freezing back up. Being the 24th race of the this years 'cross season, I was in no shape to race the Open race, so Shadd Smith had to race by himself. Thanks to Roger for having the pressure washer after the race. No I have a month or 2 to relax and get some easy riding in before the local mtb and road stuff kicks off.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Grote Prijs Shawnee Cyclocross

Wow. What a day. With all the snow we had, it took a lot a people and a whole lot of time to get the course cleared and in some kind off shape to race on. The City of Shawnee provided a Bobcat and several people to do 80% of the work on Friday. I went out on Saturday to help out and put the final touches on a few sections. After working for a while, everybody did laps for an hour or so to get some lines established. The forecast for Sunday was for bitter cold in the morning but up into the twenties by noon. That meant hard and icy (but fast) early, and slushy later on. Most of the course had 1 perfect racing line about 12" wide, some sections had 2, pretty much where the Bobcat tracks were. As long as you stayed right on the main racing line (or the other if it was there), you could actually haul ass, but you get off that and it would bring you to a dead stop, either right in the middle of the course or over a snow bankd and off in the 2 foot deep powder on the other side. No need for much course tape since you couldn't go anyway the Bobcake didn't clear. My Masters 40+ race was the first go go off at 11am and it was still in the single digits. The course was rock hard and fast, provided you stayed on line. Off the start, I immediately pulled my left foot out of the pedal. Hadn't done that in a while. The paved start hill was pretty short so I didn't have much time to move back up before hitting the tricky left turn off the pavement. I did manage to cut off a few guys and was somewhere around 10th coming down the first single file section by the wheel pit. This is where it split into a left and right line. I went right and caught a rut which shot me straight into the 3foot pile of snow along the course. I lauched over the bars and disapeared into a cloud of while powder. My helmet and face were completely packed with snow and my gloves covered. I scamptered back onto the course and ended up completely screwing a few of the 50+ masters that started 10 seconds behind us. I was not only dead last in my race but I was back in the 50+ field. It took a while to get back going and up the tricky section by the tennis courts. Once up that section and around the tree, the course splits in 2 fast lines and I could start moving up. At this point, I was already 30 seconds + behind the leaders. My teammates Josh Taylor and Joe Houston got the holeshot, and rode the first section perfectly and were already a couple straight-aways ahead. I was in serious panic mode at this point. I got by a few guys on the first lap and noticed that I was coming up on Steve Songer and Andy Lucas. Fortunately for me, they didn't get great starts either and were still working through traffic. If they had, they would have been gone. I was definately getting winded chasing back up so hard. About 1/2 way through the race, I managed to get up to Josh with Lucas right behind me. Right after I got into the lead, I did another high-speed snow explosion. This time my chain came off which took some time getting back on. Andy got back by me, so it was back into panic chase mode...AGAIN. I was pushing it pretty hard, which made up time on some parts of the course, but definately caused some catastrophic moments that were counter-productive. Ultimately the fastest laps were the ones where I didn't push it as hard and as a result were error free.

I have to apologize to the girl that was on course that I did a perfect hockey check on . She had taken the low line off of the run-up/ride-up, and I was coming fast on the upper high line. Right before I passed her, she hooked up and came up and onto the higher line, and I just flat-out nailed her. She didn't go down fortunately but i sure hope she's not hurt.
With a few laps to go, I clawed my way back up to Josh and Andy. We all made numerous passes for the lead and we were all banging into each other. One of us would crash, take out the guy behind, letting the 3rd guy by, just to watch him mess up , taking out one of us, and so on, and so on........ I just got back into the lead right before the bell lap. I thought I had a small gap back to Andy and Josh but they got right on my wheel along the long head-wind straight leading to the paved start hill. I had to sprint up the paved start hill in order to get off the pavement first. At this point in the race, I was hurting bad. The only chance I had was to lead out the last lap and NOT screw up. I some how managed to NOT mess up too bad too many times and got a small gap on Andy which stayed till the line. I was completely hammered after that race. Definately the hardest masters race this season, probably hardest race period. It took everything I had and every minute of the race to get that win. Breathing that hard in that single-digit air was nasty. With only a handfull of guys in the Open race, I figured I jump in and get some more pain and misery. By the time that race started, the course had definately changed a lot. A few sections got more rode in, but most of the course was just getting wetter and slushier. Once the race got going, I slotted into 3rd with Shadd Smith running away at the front and Chris Wallace in 2nd with Planet Bike owner Bob Downs in 4th. I managed to claw my way up to Wallace and got by him once, but then I botched the ride-up and he got back by. I stayed close and got back on his wheel before the long head-wind straight-a-way leading to the pavement. Just as I got on his wheel, he slid out and I crashed right into him. I got going pretty quick, but this allowed Bob Downs to get back up to me and eventually by me. I stayed close for a little bit, but I was dying. With a couple laps left I just didn't have much left so it was conservation mode from there and I came in for 3rd.

Monday, January 4, 2010

2009 - Year in Review - Goals for 2010

Definately glad to finally get 2009 in the books. 2009 had plenty of excitement. A few "Ups" and a few "Downs". The road of life isn't necessarily paved, but more like a Spring Classic, with some moderately-paved sections interupted by cobbled mine fields, or just long sections of gravel.

The first cycling-related event of last year was the same event that was just postponed: Epic Cross. Last years race definately lived up to it's namesake, and this year's WOULD have been worse with the entire parking lot under 2" of snow.

Last years Grote Prijs Shawnee (cross race #20 for the season)was characterized by 2 crashes in the first minute: The first one that handed me the lead, and the 2nd one that put me in dead last. Gave it a good fight but never really got back into the action. At least I could now clean the "A" bike and hang it up for 8 months.

No race action in the area for a while so it was just base training till March.

First MTB race of the year was the Devils Revenge Off-Road Duatholon, which included a short, 2-lap MTB race. I went out there to help Chris Locke set up the course. At the last minute, I ended up jumping in. Full report HERE

The following weekend, I did one of the Perry Lake Training Races. On average, I might do 1 road event each year and this was it. Full report HERE

Sold my '69 Nova on Ebay. That project stopped progressing forward years ago, but I finally put an end to the misery on March 29th.

Worst day of the year was April 17th.

Headed to SoCal to visit family, and watch the Dana Point Gran Prix. Full reports

May 19th Kristine and I headed across the pond for our side project
Had a fantastic time. Full trip report HERE
and HERE
Slide shows HERE and HERE

Video clip HERE

Headed to San Francisco for some fabulous wine tasting.

3rd actual race of the year was the MTB race in Emporia

Ended my Tuesday Night crit season on August 1st with 18

Ended up doing 10 of the Wednesday Night Hill Rides. Typically I prefer riding off-road on Wednesdays, but given the amount of time the trails were closed........

Ended my Commuting season on August 2nd with 50 trips to work and back for a total of 1,800 miles and 100 gallons of gas saved.

Headed to Lake Tahoe on September 3rd for some fun with the family.

Watched the final stage of the Tour of Misouri in KCMo

Spent Thanksgiving in SoCal

Cross Results in 2009:
KC Cup Swope Park 2nd masters 2nd open
Diamond Blackfan 2nd masters 19th open(too hot)
Boss Cross 1 11th open
Boss Cross 2 12th open
Chris Cross 1st masters DNF open
Capital Cup 1st masters
Boulevard Cup 1st masters
Smithville Lake 1st masters 5th open
Boss Cross 3 1st masters ? open
HPT Topeka 1st masters
Vet Cross 1st masters
Kansas State 2nd masters
Lincoln #1 5th open
Lincoln #2 9th opeb(rolled tire)
Boss Cross 4 1st masters
Cross out '09 1st masters

2010 Goal: Don't really have any racing-related goals, other than just having fun at the races and not taking myself too seriously. Didn't do much in the way of MTB racing last year since the mtb racing schedule around this area was a bit lean. 2010 is looking to be quite a bit better with the Unified Federation of Dirt thing. Won't do a boat-load of travel but at least there is stuff close by. Not sure I can get back to the MTB form I had in 2008, but i'll give it an honest effort and whatever happens happens.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Cross out the Old Year - Shawnee, Kansas

With all the fresh snow on the ground, it was a bit of a challenge for the organizers to get the coure into something race-able. I pre-rode it on Wednesday night and it was definately a mess. Lots of snow and it was melting so that means wet feet and a slushy bike stuck in one gear. Fortunately the temps overnight firmed everything up nicely. It was still in the high teens for race time but the sun was out. I kicked myself for not having a dedicated mud-tire setup at Kansas States, which cost me the race there. I made a point to not get caught out like that for these last few races of the year.
The course started on a 5ft wide sidewalk for about 100 yards then onto the first tricky off-camber grass section. Me and Steve Songer started on the front row since we are the top 2 in series points. We blasted up the start and I managed to lead into the first tricky section, but it was easy. The first section is all off-camber with a main high line along the fence and a low line if you couldn't hold on up high. Armed with fresh meat front and rear, I blasted across the upper line and into the next short off-camber climb to the 180 turn. Did a perfect one-foot pivot and hit the next little downhill section and short climb pretty hard. The next section was a long straigh slight-downhill section along the fence. I kept it steady down this the first time to recover a bit. Songer had some issues shortly after the start so it was teammate Jeff Uhnra behind me with Josh Taylor behind him. After the long downhill, there was a haybale dismount than some tricky stuff around the ballfields and back to the start/finish. The entire course had one main racing line about 12" wide, but other lines developed quick. The main line was getting wetter each lap. To avoid the freezing spray, I started using the off-lines more in the later laps. The course actually got faster each lap and it appeared to start freezing up on the last lap. I kept the pace steady and did a farily good job keeping the peddels from getting clocked. Only lost the use of one-side of my right pedal. With the race only 30 minutes, I did an extra lap to prepare for Sunday's Epic Cross race.