Sunday, November 28, 2010
Sunday, October 17, 2010
After the initial instructions, the entire group moved down the road for the start. I don't usually line up on the front row and didn't plan on it today, but I found myself between Cam and Tony with Jed next to Cam. To top it off, Jay Chesterman from Omaha, Basso, Vandelune, Alread and Blackford where on the second row. I briefly thought about swapping places with someone, but then thought "screw it". I figured that I'd go as hard as possible and ride a good line. In most of my races, I seem to start near 10th and then pick a few off at the end of the race. I wanted to see if I could hold the harder pace as long as possible. It was a 40 mile race, but even if I won my class, I couldn't win the overall series. I might as well try.
After we started, I sprinted as hard as possible to the entrance of the narrow double track. I was fourth wheel going into it behind Cam, Jed and Tony. They were pushing hard, but I was holding on. We hit the first steep hill, which is maybe 200 feet and possibly 10% grade. I stood and pushed a higher gear and although I didn't get passed, I did lose some ground to the first three. On the fast section after the descent, Chesterman came around me. I kept him in sight for a bit and stayed 5th wheel up the second tricky and steep climb. At this point, Basso was screaming at me to keep it up. We were pushing hard and I think breaking away from those behind us. However, Pete destroyed the sidewall of his wheel and all I heard was the sound of a deflating tire and the end of his race.
It was all that I could do in not passing, but I wanted to be smart and save it for a pass that would stick. I waited until after the levy and north end bridge and jumped on the short hill afterwards. They couldn't respond and I was now in 8th or 9th place. That had to be one of the best moments of my racing season as I rarely have the opportunity to make a tactical decision and then to have it work.
While sign up continued, the kids took to the mini-obstacle course like ducks to water. We didn't get the time to explain what they were working on, but it didn't matter, they had a blast on the "miniature skinnies".
We had a brief meeting and the group of older kids took off to J11 and Denmans. It is a short ride on the paved trail and then the dirt gets progressively harder. It is probably the best trail around to allow the kids to work on growing their skills.
Monday, October 11, 2010
Jed G. and I left town on Thursday for the uneventful 7hr drive up north. I had secured a place to stay with a group of Rassy's guys and gals that have done this event for 10 years or more. They have a house that they rent in the start town of Hayward. It is a great location, on a lake and near a good restaurant. The start is less than a mile away as well.
We did a short pre-ride on Friday morning and the gang took me under their collective wings to show me the course and to point out the various items to watch out for in the first 5 miles. Our alarms were set for 4:30am in order to secure a good place on the start line. The majority of us did not have "preferred starts", so John N. made sure that we all got our bikes down to the line. Front row for John and I!
After eating some breakfast and then lounging around, we finally kitted up and walked to the start line. When we had placed our bikes upside down on the start line we were the first row of maybe 200 bikes. However, this race had over 1800 starters and now the majority were lined up behind us.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Rick did an excellent job in setting up our site for the weekend and we started at noon. After one round of 4 laps, we were neck and neck. After the second round of laps, they were up by a maybe five minutes (6 hours of racing). We weren't panicking as we had a few small mechanicals and they hadn't. Certainly, they would have problems in the coming 18 hours.
As we went into the night laps, we seemed to be running very smooth. Still running quick laps, but they were slightly quicker. I did my last single lap at midnight and settled into the car for 2-3 hours of sleep.
I woke up at 3am and got ready for my 4am laps. Overnight, we run two laps each in order to get some rest. Bill handed off to me and it appeared that we were now about 30min down (45 min laps on average). I decided to go as hard as possible for these night laps and see what I could get back. Although the mind was willing, the body was not able. I pulled a 55min and 59min night lap. I just could not get my heart rate up. By the time that I handed off to Rick, they were close to lapping us.
A taste of the trails (from a late fall pic). Not easy riding for 8miles.
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Short story is that I thought I could get to the singletrack in 6th or 7th place. Pack of 17 took off and I found myself in 17th place. I guess "plan B" was in order....
I scrambled into 16th before the singletrack and then caught the pack with the inevitable crash that slowed places 10+. I passed a few and worked my way into 10th or so by the end of lap 1.
I passed a few more and a few others must have dropped. I had hoped to catch up to Jason Alread that I could see about a minute ahead of me. Alas, he was too fast and we finished in the same order. I ended up in 7th out of 17 and in 2nd out of the 35+ (to Jason).
Looking at a pic of the starting line, it all makes sense now. I see a team Radio Shack rider, last years 1 and 2nd place series riders, the top 35+ rider from NE, a top regional roadie and a genetic freak (in a good way) that crushes all in any riding or xc skiing contest. No wonder that they took off at a speedy pace. The fact that I'm a slow starter probably saved me and allowed me to pic off others and finish.
I'd like to say this was "plan C" and I executed it well, but I think it somehow just happened.
24hours of Seven Oaks coming up this weekend. I hope that the trails are dry.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
We were going to use the Cat3/Beginners loop, which has you climb the front side of the ski slope and then along the back side ridge and back to the bottom. Since the lap was only 3miles long, the Cat1/Expert group would be doing 6 laps. I heard estimates of 300 feet of climbing a lap. I did a quick recon lap before the race and knew it would be a fast race. Add that there were no slow people on the starting line, I knew we would have quick laps.
Thirteen of us started and quickly rode towards the opening climb. I took my place near midpack and thought that I would see what happened. Nate Cline had a frustrating start and I got past him at the top of the climb, so I was in 7th. With the knowledge that I am not even in the same riding zip code as Cam, Kevin, Michael, Jay and Kent, I was happy with my start. Ryan Feagan had been training hard for several longer races, so he was the unknown in front of me.
Saturday, July 31, 2010
This day had the option for the Karas Loop century. RAGBRAI loops you around a short section of the course to add enough miles to equal a 100. This is a pretty big deal for cyclists and I asked Hannah if she wanted to attempt it. I didn't push it, so I was surprised when she said we should do it. The loop was about 50 miles into the route, so we had already been pushing a decent pace. She was a trooper and probably had less whining than me, but we completed the loop and moved on. We completed a little over 100 miles on this day.
Friday, July 23, 2010
Thursday, July 22, 2010
(typical view on the race course - stolen from Brad Keyes)This past Saturday, Nate C. and I drove over to Scott County Park, just north of Davenport for the ScoCoPa Chase. As we drove over we talked about how hot the race conditions would be (mid 90s plus humidity) and how to race smart. I usually embrace the tough conditions because I know that others hate them. I figure that a positive attitude will help and we are all in the same boat, so any advantage (mental or otherwise) will help.
We arrived a good 90 minutes prior to the start and I only did a short 10 minute warm-up prior to lining up at the start. We were expecting a large field (being so close to Iowa City), but only had 18 or so at the start. Nate pointed out a few people to watch for and I initially lined up in the second row. But, then I had second thoughts on my fitness and the competition and moved back to make room for others. When no one stepped up, I figured what the hell and moved back into the second row. I was more concerned on if my training over the past month, and more importantly my week of rest, had been properly completed. I was hoping for a good race, but trying to be realistic in that my fitness may not be there yet.
When the whistle blew, I took it easy for the first 10 seconds. I was probably in 12th spot, but felt stronger and no one was coming around. A quick glance to the the others and they seemed to be working pretty hard (and I wasn't). Knowing that the course was full of tight sidetrack and passing would be hard, I decided to punch it on the last bit of the opening climb and hit the singletrack in about 10th position. It was hot and dusty, but the front group was moving well. The front runners were pulling a way when the guy if front of me washed out his front wheel and fell. I almost ran him over, but a quick trackstand gave him time to get out of the way. I was able to get close to the front group as the tougher section of the course came at us.
I caught up to a Bikes to You rider and he seemed to ride an OK pace, but after 5min I thought that I could go faster. However, was determined to keep me behind him. Since I didn't know the trail, he had the advantage from the front. When I tried to pass him, he would get a jump on the sprint and close down the passing lane. After a few minutes of this, Ryan Neipart had joined us. I let him buy hoping he could get around. At the time I didn't know who it was, but when the FORC jersey passed, I knew he would know the trails and be a good wheel to follow. Ryan tried hard, but couldn't get around either. However, the pace was taking it's toll on the leader of us three and he pulled to the side of the trail and stopped just after the start/finish. I hate to say it, but it was a boost of confidence to push someone to crack.
Ryan kept ahead of me by 100+ feet and I slowly reeled him in over the course of lap two. We also passed two other riders and I reeled Ryan in towards the end of lap 2. At this point, Nate and I had stashed a cooler in the woods. I grabbed my second bottle and used a tip from Nate and stuffed a handful of ice cubes in my jersey pocket. The race was using timing chips and as you crossed the start/finish line, the system beeped loudly. I heard his beep and started counting. Ryan had 15 seconds on me.
I decided to give it all on lap 3 and knew that I had to catch him in the first 1/3 of the course as that is where the most passing opportunities would be. I did catch him in the right spot and he let me by without any issues. I asked if he had seen anyone in front of him and the answer was no. I still pushed as hard as possible in hopes of seeing someone. Towards the end, I could hear someone, but couldn't find them. I did push it too hard around a corner and took a short side trip into the woods and over three smaller trees. As I stepped down, my calf cramped. It hurt, but it also told me that I was pushing my body in a good way.
In the end, I crossed the line in 2:07.48. Nate C. had finished just in front of me with a 2:07.10. I had finished 6th overall and 1st in the 40+ (2nd in 35+). I was really, really pumped at the end of this race. My heart rate average was 168 for the 2 hours and held consistent on each lap. It should be closer to 174, so I know that I have more in me. This was probably my best race ever at the cat 1 level, I raced smart, had to use strategy and rode hard. As a result I was actually racing and passing with others and not riding by myself. I will find out if this was a fluke on my next race this coming weekend.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
This is the start of the beginner race at Farragut State Park, just north of Couer D'Alene, ID. I think this is fall of 1994. This was my first season racing and needed to win this race to win the WIM (WA, ID, MT) point series.
I'm on the orange and yellow GT Karakorum with the red t-shirt and white helmet. Notice the guy in front of me with the Tioga disc rear wheel (or more likely the plastic inserts that made it look like a disc).
Friday, June 25, 2010
I'd love to do this route as a tour, but this makes it much harder to think about attempting.
Ride safe out there. On the other hand, take risks and live your dreams as that is what makes life worth living.
Sunday, June 13, 2010
I spent 4+ hours helping out the shop on Saturday night at the Hy-vee Triathlon. We were setup within the bike check-in and helped folks out with brake and gear adjustments as well as pumping up tires. I probably pumped up close to 100 and I'm sure that the other 5 guys had just as much. This first pic is from a viewing stand, looking south to the lake with the swim. I think there was a little over 1500 bikes.
Friday, June 11, 2010
Monday, June 7, 2010
JD and I drove up early enough to get a recon lap in. I wasn't going to waste the energy, but in the end, it was probably a good idea as it helped me memorize a few sections that would help in the race. The bike rode nicely in the pre-ride, the parts were working fine and the gearing was spot on.
Six of us toed the line for the Cat1 mens race. Jed Gammel, Nate Cline, Jason Alread and myself from the Rassy team, Jesse Bergman (the race promoter) and a new face. After the sprint off the line, we headed into the singletrack. I took the last spot with this normally fast crew and just hoped to hang on. As luck would have it, my chain jumped off at the start of the singletrack. I quickly dismounted and put it back on and then began my sprint to catch-up to Alread. I was able to latch back on and on the first long climb, continued the push to get in front of him. Jason was a little tentative as he had not pre-ridden the course and he let me go. I was having hopes to getting a small gap on him, but by the end of the 1st lap he was back on my rear wheel.
I let him take the lead on lap 2. The 2nd place singlespeeder caught us before the long climb and he put the pressure on. Alread kept up with him and they got a 15 second gap on me. I had to recover a little on this lap, but was able to keep them in my sights. They slowly increased the gap to 30-40 seconds. At the end of lap 3, I started to push hard again and began to catch back up. The singlespeeder was done with 3 laps and Alread has stopped for another bottle so I was able to get within 10 seconds. I tried to make the last effort to bridge, but he kept the pace up. I never did close it down. By lap 5, I was probably close to 30 seconds and kept it about that pace until the final climb or two.
By the end, Alread beat me by a minute. I think that Jesse had him by a minute as well. New guy won it. Nate got 2nd, Jed came back for 3rd after cutting a tire and having to stop and replace or patch the sidewall.
Overall, I was very happy with my progress. I gauge myself from race to race against the names that I know and by how far they beat me in the previous race. I know that Alread wasn't at the top of his game (I could see him trying to stretch out his back), but he beat me by 6min two weeks ago. It was fun to finally have a race in which I was closer to someone and wasn't racing by myself. It added an entire element of strategy that was fun to play with. Nate had beat me by 9min at Banner and I think it was a similar time for this race. He said that he had one of his best races, and he is riding very strong. I hope to somehow close that gap a little over the coming months.
Thursday, June 3, 2010
I just finished putting the final touches on the Stumpy. New tires, Roval wheelset, X0 cassette (11-34), X9 gripshift and e13 34-tooth crankset. Pulled off old shifters and front derailler. Weight dropped from 26.25 lbs to 23.5 lbs. Still have a possible .5lb available to drop in the seatpost, stem and bars. Need to tune and test before the race on Sunday. Not ideal to make all of these changes prior to a race, but they needed to be made sometime.
Thanks to Rasmussen Bike Shop for the race help this year. Great gang, great shop!
Monday, May 31, 2010
Happy Memorial Day to all of the veterans out there, both living and passed.
This pic of the family is from out Subway sandwich lunch at Greenwood park. We followed lunch with a paved trail ride around Grays lake, Principal park and back through Waterworks park. 10.25 miles on knobby mtb tires. The girls held up pretty good.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Nine of us lined up and if I was trained, it would be hard to get 5th at best with this group. No problem, I lined up at the back and figured I'd give it my best. I felt tired from all of the trail work that I did to prep this course, but I also had semi-fresh riding legs. What would happen?
As the race started, I followed the group into the single-track and had no problem holding onto the back. The speed started lifting and knowing that it was over 85 degrees, I thought I should let them go. I could still see 8th place towards the end of the lap, so I figured that I would be giving up 1 minute on the first lap. We had seven laps to ride, so maybe some of these guys would blow up.
Lap 2 had my stomach churning a little bit, so I had to back off a little. Laps 3 and 4 were a little better. Each time that I came through the finish line, my split times were within 60 seconds of each other and my heart rate was steady between 162-165avg. I was actually riding pretty good, I just didn't have any high end power (normal race pace would have the heart rate averaging closer to 175 a lap).
During these first 5 laps, I had a few of the fast Cat2 riders and singlespeeders come around me and I would use them to pace me for awhile. At the end of lap 5, I could see another Rassy's rider in front of me and figured it was 8th place. I picked up the pace to try and chase him down and 1/3 of the way through the lap, I caught him. I was surprised to see that it was Rick. I tailed him for a bit and discovered that he had blown-up. Probably went too hard and with the heat, it had beat him down. He was toughing it out for points and after a few minutes, he let me by. I pushed it hard to see if anyone else was catch-able. In the end, I couldn't find the next guy, I had let them get too far out in front.
In the end, I placed 7th, as one person had a mechanical. I think this was 4th place in the 35+ category, so it should be worth some good points. Looking back, I'm happy with how the race went. My lap times and heart rates were consistent. I think that I ended up closer in time to a few guys that I marked (compared to last year). I need to work on the upper end heart rates and get some endurance rides in. On the positive, I think that the fact that I'm 4lbs lower than last years, end of season, race weight helped. I also rode the new wheelset and tires and they definitely spun faster. I'm glad that it appears that I haven't lost too much fitness, with proper training, it might be as if I hadn't missed a beat.
Stole the photos from Nick, thanks!
Friday, May 21, 2010
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Friday, May 14, 2010
Monday, May 10, 2010
The original look. White appliances, white Corian counter tops.