Monday, July 14, 2014

Back to it

It has been a year but I will hopefully start writing some more for the upcoming CX season.

Friday, September 20, 2013

A new season begins

The cyclocross season officially starts this weekend for me with the Trek CXC Cup at the Trek Headquarters in Waterloo, WI.  I had a chance to go to China for their first UCI cyclocross race with all expenses paid but then realized it was the same weekend as the races at HQ and figured I better head to Wisco. 

The new bikes are the same as last year except for new paint and 11sp.  Yeah, they are better, they go to eleven.  I stayed with the Cronus instead of the new aluminum Crockett as I new the fit was already dialed by Chris Balser, the Bicycle Fit Guru.

I was also enlisted by Optum to drive the team car out to Tristan. It is kinda strange driving it around as I got many looks and would realize I did not know them, they were just looking at the loudly wrapped car I was driving.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Big Show

I guess I have time for a write up as Penelope and I are snowed/iced in at grandma and grandpas.  

The elite races were held about a half mile down the road from the master's venue.  It was the same course that I raced on at the Louisville USGP races earlier in the year.  On Thursday while I was out riding on the road I was able to ride the start/finish area as they were finishing up setting the course.  I stopped by the Trek area to check out their setup.  Mark was busy setting up Katie's bikes and Matt O was working on Emily's bikes.  By the time I was headed back to master's course, they had opened the elite course for training and I almost headed out on a lap but decided against it.

Riding the start/finish on Thursday

Mark dialing in 1 of Katie's 4 bikes 

crowds were awesome
Friday morning it was decided that all of the events would be moved and scheduled for Saturday.  The course was near the river and would most likely flood so they were building sand bag walls to keep water off the course.  That would mean that Saturday would be an all out cyclocross bender, 4 races and lots of beer drinking.  

I had general admission tickets but our hosts had a table in the VIP tent and were gracious enough to give me one of their extras.  It was a large, heated tent with catered food and all the Sierra Nevada beer you could drink.  I had a 1 liter stein that would help with that.  The lines were long to get into the venue but the VIP tickets had us cutting the line.  It was kind of a pain getting around the course with all of the people trying to get through the course crossings.  I guess there were around 10,000 people at the races.  We were there from 9 til 4 watching all of the races and drinking plenty of beer.  Trek brought a charter bus of employees down for the weekend and they had huge CXC flags all over the course.  I think most people were happy about all of the races being on the same day because I could not have done it all again on Sunday.

Katie headed up the stairs

Logan Owen before the steps

Saturday night we had our season ending Trek CXC party at the Maker's Mark lounge.  We had a few drinks, I had Katie sign a cap for Penelope and then headed down to the FoamParty.  There was a line down the block but I was able to get the Trek crew in with a text to Brandon G.  It was packed and all of the World Champs from the day were there. We had our photo taken on the red carpet and called it a night.  What a fantastic day of racing and celebrating the end of a long season.

Sunday we checked out a basketball game and also checked out the course to see that moving all event to Saturday were a good idea.

Sat here first-top row of arena

hosts had season tickets-moved to here-2nd row on floor
Sunday! moving the races to Saturday was a good idea

Friday, February 1, 2013

4th in the world

The final race week of the year is finally gone and done.  I ended up 4th in the final today for Master's 35-39 World Championships.  I was only 20 seconds off the podium so that was the bummer.  I had a front row call up in the #7 position which was only made better when 3 of the front row did not show up for call ups.  Talk about an amateur move (yeah, I am talking to you Russ, Haha).  I had a pretty good start but not the hole shot like I hoped.  I moved my way up to 4th by the second lap and could not close the gap to the podium.  Hollywood was out on the course yelling what lines were the fastest which helped a lot. I was pretty bummed with missing the podium but after calming down I started to feel a bit better about it.  My teammate, Tom Price was an ace in the pit.  I was able to get 1 bike per lap and without that I would not have finished.  Brandon Gavic, of 2013 FoamParty fame was also helpful in getting my pit bike ready while I warmed up.

Tom also helped Mark Savery to his World Championship win in the tough 40-44 age group.  It was a huge win and awesome to see right before I hit the line for my race.

The master's venue became a non priority to the promoters as the big race was coming up on the weekend.  The power washers were left out on Thursday night and were frozen which meant only buckets and brushes for the races on Friday.  I am not sure what Tom's secret was but I cannot thank him and New 40-44 World Champ, Mark Savery, enough for the place to warm up and all of the help.

Yep, there is a $9000 bike in there. Not mine.

The after race is always the worst part.  I had a rental car that would not hold bikes because Ian, from HED, drove my bikes down so I had to find a place to clean them before sending them with him. Brandon found some races with some rack space and they dropped us at a shop about a half mile from the venue where I was able to wash both bikes back to race shape and get them to Ian.  We hung out at the shop and dried off with some beers with the owner who Brandon and I both ended up knowing from our days in Tucson.  Small world.

The season was finally over and it was time for the beer drinking to begin. Although, I am a pretty big talker when it come to the off season as my wife would say.

Up next, the Big Show.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Tractor Pull

Wow, the heat races were like tractor pulls out there.  I don't have any good photos except for my teammate getting the hole-shot in the 40-44 but it was 2 laps of the heaviest riding I have ever done.  I was racing in the last of 3 heats for my age group at the end of the day.  The morning events were 2 hours behind because of course repair from the overnight heavy winds and rain.  The flight in was the roughest I have ever been on.  I was really unsure if we were even going to land without crashing.

Teammate Mark with the hole-shot in 40-44
I did not get the hole-shot but was 3rd into the first corner with the Canadian National Champ and a rider from Denmark.  Russell Stevenson rode from the 3rd row and won by a minute and I ended up 3rd right behind the Dane who was took 3 bike changes.  I stayed on the same bike so I would not have   to clean 2 bikes.  My 3rd should be good enough for a 1st row call up for the Final on Friday.

I did a clothing pre-wash in the yard of the host housing so clean up went pretty well.  The rest of the crew was out running errands so I went with the hosts to a celebratory event for Louisville hosting the elites.  The mayor and others responsible for the race coming were all there so I felt out of place.  They were even doing photos on the red carpet out front.

Out front on red carpet at the event bike shop

Yeah, I hate being a fan boy but how often can you get a photo with Mr. Nys.

Thursday is a break between races so I will probably just ride the trainer for an hour and call it good.  Friday should be completely different with frozen death ruts instead of mud.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


I have been slacking on the Nationals report only because I was hoping to find some more photos since I, like most, really do not want to read a long detailed race report.

I drove out early on Friday morning in order to get there and get a couple laps on the course.  It was pretty muddy and would definitely be a weekend where a great pit crew would be essential.  I cruised a couple laps and then cleaned up and headed off to Waterloo to tour the Trek HQ and spend the night at the Moran's.  Micah gave me the full tour and it was a pretty cool place to see.  Almost everyone had a bike next to there desk.  I even walked out with a new helmet.

My race was at 2 on Saturday and I would have a front row call up based on my 6th place from the results last year.  I did not have a great start and never really saw the front of the race.  The Challenge Limus was hooking up well but the first 2 laps I was not hitting the lines. It was mostly one track and I overshot some corners and had to run which was costing seconds.  I had teammates/pit masters washing bikes so I was taking a clean bike every 1/2 lap.  Mark, Tom and Jay were fantastic and I could not have had better people in the pit for me. I ended up 11th on the day which was far off the podium and where I thought I could be.

I ended up having to leave and head home on Saturday night so I was unable to see Katie win the Elite women's title but I was at home on the trainer watching the women's race and racing the men front the warmth of my basement.

Three more weeks of training have passed and the season is finally ending this week with the Master's World Championships in Louisville, KY.  I fly out on Tuesday, race the seeding heats on Wednesday and the final is at 2 on Friday.  It looks like the weather should be pretty crappy and cold.

The Elite Championships are on Sat. and Sun. so there will be some beers consumed to celebrate the end of a long season.  The Trek CXC season end party is at the Maker's Mark Lounge on Sunday night so my early Monday flight and workday could be a rough one.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Holidays and resolutions

I have been slacking off on the blog lately but without good reason.  It was a great holiday season with plenty of family time but not as much relaxing as there was still 6 weeks of training left before the final races of the season are over.  Hopefully they will move Nationals back to December next year as most of the working/family cx'ers would like to have the Christmas season off.

Penelope got a new kitchen for Christmas but the most fun part was the box that I got to make a fort out of.  A door and a window and she loved it.  The basement has been a great play area since we have not put furniture down there yet.  She even has her Cozy Coupe down there.

I was hoping to put more of a dent into my collection this year but alas, it is skinsuit season and it will have to wait until February when the racing is done.  I have a bit of work to do come February.  We did drink one of the Rogue VooDoo beers at the New Year party so the photo isn't quite up to date.

My gift to Annie was tickets to Elf at the Ordway so Grandma Linda took Penny and we spent the night in downtown St. Paul.  It really is my favorite of the Twin Cities downtown areas.  We had frites and beers at the Amsterdam and headed to the show.

Last weekend my parents came up at the last minute so Annie and I could go to Chicago the the New Years Resolution CX races that were held at a Hilton Golf Course resort.  I needed to get some racing in before Nationals and it was perfect with the course being out the hotel doors so Annie could come down 10 minutes before the start and take my clothes and head back up to the room after the race.

I raced at 9 am both days in the 30+ masters race. The first day was dry and hard. There was no snow and the ground was frozen but pretty grippy except for a couple corners.  I made the lead group of 3 and then with 3 to go it was 2 of us.  I think he dropped his chain at one point so I put my head down and held it to the line.  My legs were cramping but it was good to get that first effort in my legs.
Day 1, sun out but not for long

The elite race in the afternoon is when the weather moved in.  The snow started coming down like crazy and was making a mess.  I ended up manning the pit for my teammates, Matt and Isaac.  Luckily they were without incident.

After waking up at 2:30 am to a fire alarm, we went outside to see the snow gone and the temp up a bit.  By 3:30 were back in bed for a shortened night.  The start for the 8 am race was going to be slick.  I rode a lap at 7:30 and the melted snow had made a skating rink out of the start road.  They salted and by the time we started it was pretty much melted.  I was a bit tentative at the start hoping that the others would not try to be heros and take us all out on an ice patch.  I was dangling off the lead 3 for the first half of the race because I was being overly cautious on the corners.  They would all sit up on the start/finish straight and with 2 to go I was on them and put down my attack.  One guy came with me and we were alone.  I hit the barriers just before the finish in the lead and knew it was gonna be a sprint.  I put my head down and knowing I am a terrible sprinter, I waited for him to come around but it never happened.  I took the win for a second day in a row.
Sprint to the line
lapped guy to the left, yellow helmet in second place
much colder which also made the podium beer nice and cold
This post comes from the basement of the Moran's, who are wonderful hosts, after my preride at Nationals in Verona, WI.  It is going to be a messy one tomorrow.  Hopefully the temps stay above 32 otherwise it will be a nasty/dangerous race if it freezes up.