Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Jingle Crossing and Ferris Wheel Lines Part Deux

Last year Jingle cross was crazy fun and raced both days. This year its only one day, but my first UCI Elite race, holy shit! One day will probably be enough and I'm just hoping not to get pulled. It will be mad fast with some of the country's heavy hitters lining up to take all that money. It should be way cool and great experience to really see how fast the top guns are while I dangle.

Last year I got into a little squabble with a fellow racer after he pushed me (open handed) into a bush on the course. After the race words ensued, hence the Ferris Wheel lines quote. I started back row in nearly 130 racers and made my way up to 6th. This was not done by waiting in line for the ferris wheel, it was by being aggressive, taking chances, and letting it all hang out. This fellow racer got all peeved when I cut him in a corner while making my way up. Let's just say it ended all good with only words exchanged and some parting gestures.

Everybody eat up and see you on the other side.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bourbon and Night Time Cold Medicine

The last few weeks have really been a blur as work has ramped up considerably. Just got back from a business trip to Denver and caught the proverbial travel cold. I even went heavy on the Emergen-C and Airborne to no avail. D-Town travel is no big deal, was just very busy from early morn till late night every day working my arse off. So now I am fighting the head and chest cold running on no sleep and just pounded a bourbon and a couple of night time cold capsules, night night kB. It has seemed like I've been fighting something for several weeks, never realy sick, but not feeling 100 percent, well not even 80 percent. Better to get sick and get it over with, rather than have it linger.

Last week we finally got our new kits so were able to don them at the Kansas State Championship. Several of the team riders had good performances like Larry, Dave, Mat, and Joe. I completely faded, after a nice start in the 1/2/3 race. The course was pretty fun, had more climbing than it looked, and a cool cobbled section. The University of Saint Mary was a new venue for cross and sits up on a hill littered with older brick buildings.

Now its rest and recovery time to get ready for Jingle cross next weekend. Jingle cross has been a tradition for the last few years, so planning to head up there after turkey day. Timmy Johnson and the Wells brothers will both be on the scene, so should be a sick weekend.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

2008 Cross Nationals Course with a Halloween Hangover

Uggg... as if cross wasn't hard enough, racing with a hangover on a hot day is pure torture. Not to mention most of the local contenders were out to get their feet wet on the course. Boss Cross #1 at Tiffany Springs Park in the North Metro drew some new faces and new kits to the new Nationals course for 2008. Usually drinking more than 3 or 4 the night before a race is not in the cards, but Halloween got the best of me and Saturday I was paying for it.
Walking around the course and watching the earlier races, it was clear there would be lots of climbing. Hot too, mid 70's again and I'm so ready for some cold adverse conditions, real cross weather. I questioned whether I'd even race or not and held out until 3o before the whistle to register cuz I had nothing in the legs and felt like hell. The course is situated on a big hill and it more or less traverses across and up the hill, then down, up, down, do it again. Lined up with 22 of my friends and away we went. I'd breakdown the course like this First 25% is a paved start into some flowy turns and some tight S-turns and a cool whoops section, Next 25% is pure climbing with one double barrier, Next 25% fast descent with some off camber turns and a few sweepers, Last 25% several 180s, stair run-up and some off-camber turns and back to the pavement.

My race was lack-luster at best, the front group rolled away like a freight train and I was struggling to stay in contact with a group, any group. People came back as the usually do, so I climbed my way back into the race, well not in contention for anything just my pride. I did ride half the race with Jesse from Monkey Wrench Cycles and he was wearing a helmet cam capturing the course and he told me I'd be famous. I thought he said cyclocross tv would have it, but not sure. Maybe the mag, who knows, but I'll be looking for it. By the end of the race I'd worked out my demons and was feeling halfway normal again. I never even checked the results just rolled on home, but think I probably finished top half.

Elite Start (Jensen, Schmalz, Tilford, and the rest)

If the weather turns snowy and icy like last year, this will be one hard course with lots of hill running, nasty off-cambers, and a harrowing descent. There's lots of real estate in the park to make some mods which could flatten out some of the climbing add some longer straights.

Joe got the holeshot in the Cat4 race

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Joe the Plumber - Wall Ride

Joe must have been looking for his plunger after he clogged up the pipes on this wall ride attempt.... the onlookers were totally confused.

Once our plumber friend got his chamois changed, he took some vid of guys cleaning the run-up/ride-up.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Albert Clinches his first World Cup

Niels Albert of Palmans Craas laid it down on a stacked field in Tabor, Czech Republic over the weekend. From the beginning he rode super strong off the front. This was Albert's first W on the World Cup scene....expect many more. Nys crashed after a barrier section by running into Mourey's rear wheel, which set him back into the 2nd chase group. Nys clawed his way back into the main chase group and managed a solid 4th. Nys is the man but might need a little technique practice or he could end up with another one of these.


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Smithville CX Festival - Wicked Windy

Wow, what a great weekend of racing. Thanks to Chris, Heather, and all the rest who made this event happen. Sunday's race was the most fun I've had all cyclocross season. It wasn't epic conditions, massive fields, or an incredibly difficult course.... it was just real Racing. The course had a nice road start into a flowy tree section with some slick corners. Then over to my favorite part which was another flowy up down side to side grassy section that was super fun. Then down toward the lake where the WIND unleashed on everybody. It had to be 30mph winds on Sunday that seemed to pickup thru the day. The big crowd pleaser was the Wall runup followed by the money tree.

Day 1 - - - Got a great start and hung in with the uber fast guys for the first couple of laps. That was all great, until I started to fade. That pace was just a little too much for me, and I started getting passed by a few guys on the 2nd/3rd laps. I then glued myself to Studnicki's wheel for about half the race. A few too many gaps and closing said gaps left me out in the wind. Marshall was closing in on me and next thing I know he's way back due to a stop in the pits for a wheel change. I was out of the money so I starting picked dollars off the tree and ended up with a fat $3, a pocket of leaves, and a couple clothespins. Cameron and a few others were riding the Wall with good success.

Day2 - - - 10 degrees cooler, a lot windier, and a similar course with a few reversed/rerouted sections to mix things up. I wasn't sure how I was going to feel after Day1, but I was going to take a different approach. Going for it on the start worked me over on Satuday, so I was going to play it a little slower off the start and work my way up from there. The start went well and was rolling around 5th wheel or so for the first lap. Shadd and Cameron rolled away and Shriner was sitting 3rd with me close behind. Through the whoops section, something happened with my drivetrain as I tried to pedal and it felt like I had no chain, just resistance-less spinning. Keep trying, looking down, but nothing. I jumped off right at the pits, gave it a good spin and it was back on I got rolling trying to bridge back to Shad. I run a double guard single ring, so no idea what happened there. Within the next 2 laps, my group formed. This made the race for me and really had a blast. Shad Shriner, Mark Studnicki, Bill Marshall and I settled in together and the racing started. The group swapped pulls, attacks, surges and made for a lot of fun. With 2 to go, Bill got gapped in the tree section and the pace quickened to hold it. A solid surge on the blacktop section and Studnicki was off, so it was Shad and I fighting for 3rd. Shad then got a gap that I could never close down and I ended up 4th. It was tons of fun out there today getting windburned and my legs torched. Cameron took the W on a borrowed bike, way to go. Same bike as I have and he loved the carbon.... hmmm.

Check out the cool video from mruder

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Boulevard Cup Take 3

Yes Take 3 as in 3rd time doing this race. Each time I've done the race, it has been held in Wyandotte County park (home of Cross Nationals 2007) but at a slightly different location within the park. This time it was further back in the park than prior races and on flatter ground. Rolling into the park, there were tons of cars, EZ ups, and people everywhere so looked like a much bigger crowd than the day before. KCBike.com puts on the race and I have lots of good friends still on the two cycling teams, Boulevard Brewing and SKC, so always good to get out and support them and they usually have a bunch of beer!

The Masters were racing, with Scott leading, as I walked up onto the course. Hejduk was chasing, but it looked like Scott had a good handle on things in the closing minutes of the race. He went alone to the line sprinting down the road on those white file treads. I didn't get to see much of the race, but from his report and others, it was 360 runnin' a train on Scott, but they couldn't get organized enough to make it stick. 6 on 1 should be easy pickins', but he hung tough, let them put in a bunch of attacks, tire themselves out, and then roll away... I like it.

I got to see one of my wife's good friends do her first cross race and looked like she was enjoying every moment of it. Caught a few minutes of the 3/4 race, but had to get my own self together for the elite race. I could tell the wind was picking up, but the temps were still very moderate, so heat wasn't going to be much of a factor. The course was tightly mowed and ultra fast, except for a couple places with headwind and mud. 22 starters lined up and I'm totally unprepared when I hear 'Racers Ready; Tweet!' Fumbling as I try to get in my pedals as the race moves up the road. Finally clipped in and get it going and almost DFL as I make it off the pavement onto the grass. Now I'm in chase mode and drilling it as best I can on the first two laps. People are coming back and I'm feeling pretty good around the course, except one spot. On the backside of the course after the double barriers, there was a mudhole followed by a slight uphill drag which was killing me every time. I truly struggled up that thing the whole race. This became apparent to the patient guy sitting on my wheel 75% of the race. Three of us established a "group" that wasn't really working togther but riding together and trying to drop each other. It was Shad Shriner, Andrew Coe and myself. Well Andrew (a Seattle transplant) must have noticed my struggle up that backside pull and attacked hard with 3 to go. He left me and rode away from Shad as well. I settled into my solo time trial mode again and watched those trying to claw their way up to me and finished it out. 9th place on the day, nothing spectacular. There were a couple guys down from Nebraska there put on quite a show bunny hopping the barriers in a crowd packed section of the course. Good day all in all. Thanks to all who put on the race, maybe next time I'll get some of the Boulevard beer.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Capital Cup

The #2 race of Series 60 CX held out in the capital city of Kansas, hence the name. It was the first real fall day we've had for cross, yet it warmed up quite nicely by the later races. Early racers had dew laden course that was frought with spongy power sapping grass. The course was almost the same as last year, but was shortened up to only 3.2K! Wow, it must have been 5Ks last year.

In the earlier races, SlimenundGrossen teammates Scott and Joe both did well. Scott has been solid in the Masters category and again took 2nd place behind Winkler. Joe is still hanging tough in the cat 4 races clawing his way up the rankings. Joe finished in 4th behind his neighbor and cross newbie, Todd. That really steamed him up, but hopefully enough to motivate him to not let it happen again. Joe was less than a bike length behind the neighbor going up the last runup, but alas the gap opened even wider in the closing seconds of the race. Even through my harsh cursing and screams of motivation Joe coudn't close the deal.
My race played out about as expected, especially given the low racer turnout. A dirty dozen lined up for the 1/2/3s and I recognized all but a couple. It was heating up and I had done a pretty decent warmup on the trainer, working up quite a sweat. Downed a bottle before go-time and got ready to roll. The start was fine and I was sitting around 5th wheel, but as the front group picked up the pace on the first lap, I was stuck behind a guy that wasn't going with them. I tried 3 times to get around him, but got cutoff and never got around. Well the front group rolled away as I watched. Made the pass and attempted to close it down some, but they were moving and I wasn't able to bridge up. It was then and there that my time trial started. Just keep the guys behind you behind you and try to move up if possible. When the field is that small and you're sitting in no-man's land, its tough to do much of anything. I started checking time gaps and was staying in the same place 30 seconds back of Shad and 30 seconds up on the 2 behind me. It more or less stayed that way the rest of the race give or take a few seconds. Highlights were the Mound of No-Mercy which featured two steep run-ups, spiking everyone's heartrate and creating gaps on the running challenged. The sponge grass dried up some by later in the day, but still was a power sapping effort everytime through the backside of the pit. I ended up 8th place on the day.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Windy City Cyclocross - - ChiCross Cup #3 Hawthorn Woods

It could have been called Hotter than Hell Cross and they wouldn't have been far off. Honestly not too bad, the temps were in the high 80's with a steady 10-15 mph wind (not too windy for THE windy city) and SUNNY skies. Sounds like a great day to be hanging down at the beach on Lake Michigan with some cold ones but we cross junkies and self proclaimed masochists choose to flog ourselves. The Hawthorn Woods suburb NW of Chicago was playing host to race #3 in the local ChiCross Cup series, so away we went.

After 2 nights of mucho wine, late night cavorting, and feasting like Kings at N9ne what was I thinking jumping into a cross race on a hot blustery day?Not to mention in full Belgium form, we engaged in the drinking of Absinthe, look out! As always I underestimated the drive time and arrived one hour before the whistle... not too bad really. But I hadn't ridden in 3 days, no pre-race opener the day before, so it was imperative to get some type of warm up. I got registered, changed, and headed out for a quick lap. Course was pretty fast with long straight aways and not very technical. The only exception was back to back climbs up a HUGE sledding hill. The base of the 2nd climb had a barrier forcing a dismount, but getting back on the bike wasn't too problematic . Out for a quick warm-up on the road to blow out the cobwebs and then the family shows up to witness this spectacle so affectionately called 'cross. Most of them had never watched a 'cross race, only heard me tell stories about it.

Call-ups for the local studs begin and I zoom up into the 2nd row when they say 'and the rest'. There were 26 starters with riders from teams like KillJoy, SRAM, Planet Bike, the Pony Shop, and Team XXX. The officials said it was ok for handups due to the heat, so my bro Vinny was in the pits with bottle in hand. We don't get feeds in KC, so I really wasn't expecting to use it much, ya right.
Whistle blows and we're off. Fast pavement section into a right hand grassy S turn leading into the first climb. Ride the climb, descend, over the barrier, remount, and ride the climb again, descend... Heart rate at MAX! I'm sitting fourth or fifth wheel as we hit the double barriers. I had a bad line going into them so made for a not so smooth dismount on the choppy ground. Make it around to the mud ditch. My rear wheel loses traction on the up side of the ditch and guy behind me hits my rear wheel and down he goes, Sorry man. Around the soccer fields and thru the pits we are jockeying for position. Back onto the pavement and up the hills again. 3 laps in and still in 4th or 5th with the leaders and my stomach starts cramping something fierce. Must have been that huge Porterhouse lodged in my gullet. This was the first time I really wanted to quit a race. It hurt so bad and I just didn't think I could make it another 45 minutes. The in-laws were all there cheering me on, so I had to stay in. I sit up and ease off the gas and start to drift back through the field. It felt like a ton of people went by, so I jumped onto this group of 3 guys and followed, was more like getting towed. I started taking water in the pits every lap and was still burning up. The sled hill was dredded every time and I wasn't climbing all that well. Zoom in on that hill, I'm up there.
30 minutes in and I'm feeling much better, at least no stomach issues. The pace feels slow, so I attack through a twisty section but get caught near the barriers. I sit on for the next lap and when we hit the long straight along the soccer field, I dropped it a few gears and hammered a solid attack. I look back as I entered the pit area and I have at least 30 seconds on them. Sick! It actually worked. I settle into a pace and now in survival mode with one other guy. He either took a feed at some other point on the course or chose to hold off and drink on the road section. When he was sitting up drinking I was pedalling away on the bell lap. 9th place in the 1/2/3s on a pretty hard course. It wasn't overly technical by any means, but the hills were killer, the heat blasting, and a fast straight course kept the heart rate pegged. All good stuff, but best of all I had the largest fan club out there.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Diamond BlackFan CX Challenge

Hot Hot Hot!! This was the first race of the season in the Kansas City area and kicks of the De Stad Cyclocross van Kansas series.

The early racers dealt with a dew laden course, slick corners, and lots of encounters with the ground. This was apparent by all the grass and dirt stains on the kits as well as a few bloodied knees and elbows. As the day wore on and the course burned in, the temps climbed into the upper 80's, but felt like 100. The course wound its way through the Sar Ko Par park in Lenexa, KS and kept riders on their toes as they accelerated out of and braked into the numerous turns. Bike handling and riding smooth through the corners was key on this course. There were two sets of double barriers and a lengthy sandpit run forcing riders to dismount.

Being a glutton for punishment I've been planning on doubling up on the races during the beginning of the season. My first race of the day was the Masters and of course and I started from the back row. Not a great start as many peeps were faltering in their pedals but made a quick punch up the pavement and moved up 10 spots or so. Two laps pass by and I've moved up through the field. The next few guys were the usual Masters ringers... Hejduk, Songer, Winker, Dunsmuir, and Tige. I get up to the group and let Scott know I'm on and recover for a minute. Winkler has already rolled off the front and not gonna chase him. Songer went down in a corner, so it was time to go. I got on the front and Scott and I traded off until we popped the other two. We rolled in togther to take 2nd and 3rd. 40 minute race.

20 minutes later... 1/2/3's lining up. I lined up on the back row with Shadd and go! Much faster than the Masters and I was just trying to get up in good position and settle in. Not even halfway into the first lap Tom and Camerom got tangled up and went down right in front of me in a corner. I swung out and missed the pile up and started working my up. I'd really gotten the lines down in the first race so was able to capitalize on that and not work so hard out of all the corners. The pace was hot in that first lap and I hung in with the main group as we made our way around the course, making up a spot or two. The day had really heated up and was starting to take a toll. I was so thirsty and needed a drink bigtime. People were starting to fade back so had moved up into the top10. About 45 minutes in and my stomach was growling, crap that is not a good sign... the tank is going empty. 50 minutes and 3 laps to go and I started cracking. Then the passing started. Each time through the sand was tough and felt like 1000 degrees. Ended up in 17th place after 1 hour 12 minutes. Nearly two hours of racing and I can't wait for cooler weather.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Hermann Cross Under the Lights

What an amazing race to open the season with! The race was in Hermann, MO which is a small town in wine country littered with wineries and B&B's. Certainly had all the elements of a good 'cross course and a stacked field of racers. At the start there was a technical twisty section into an off-camber double barriers that were at least 20 inches high. Then down the spiral road section into the darkness. A couple fast grassy stretches with U-turns, a sand pit, then the long slog through the mud (150+ meters). The last and most prominent feature on the course was the steep stairs about 6o of them. Count 'em 60*13 laps = 780 stairs... this was a make or break for most and a lot of people were broken down.

So the race begins with a lot of callups and palmares for many of the racers. State and National Champions abound from many of cycling's disciplines and guys with UCI points as we round out the nearly 50 racer field. I of course did not send in my 2006 State CX championship so NO call-up for me. Three full rows of call-ups, then the rest... I anticipated this so got tucked right up in behind the third row. Tweet and the chaos starts through the twisty turny top section. People are jammed in like sardines, some off their bikes, some on as wheels overlap, people go down as the mass makes its way forward. Quite a mess actually but it moves along to the barrier section and then we get rolling. The first lap wasn't too bad as I kept on the gas to make up some ground from the start position. I wasn't chancing the sand pit on riding as it was very deep and I watched people endo over on pre-rides. So run the sand and hit the mud section. The lower part of the course was completely under water the week before due to flooding, so the ground being saturated had turned into a tractor-pull like mud pit after the early race. Make it through the mud and out onto the road section leading into the stairs. Up the stairs in major traffic, but gun it through the start finish to start getting separation from the rest of the field. The essentially went on lap after lap and the mud became the hardest part of the each one. Other racers from local teams gradually faded back and I kept making my way up through the field. Honestly I never knew where I was in the field due to the darkness and oxygen debt. About midway through the race a fan at the top of the stairs waived a dollar in my face and somehow I just snatched it out of his hand... the crowd went wild!! 8 laps to go OMG. Not really knowing where I was but I just knew that had passed a bunch of the 360 guys... finally on the bell lap Songer and I had swapped positions a few times and going into the final stairs, I leaped up the stairs as hard as I could and got separation into the finish. We had been lapped by the leader and the 2nd place guy at the very end. Ended up in 16th. Going into this race I had zero expectations, but was happily surprised given the field and conditions... especially no lights and a mud clod in my left eye.

Scott Hupping it thru the mud

Friday, September 19, 2008

Veldrijden is Here!!

Not that it has ever left the forefront of my thoughts, but the race season is right around the corner now. Sure other parts of the country have already held a race or two, but the first one in our neck of the woods is a night race in wine country this Saturday.

Its been awhile since I've posted and there are a million things to talk about cross-wise. I'll have to organize the mess upstairs before I start babbling randomly. MTB Done, Road Done, Cross (sly smile) Just getting Started. Preparations have been underway for months, but its Go-Time this Saturday. Still got a few items to check off the list, but generally ready. The Hermann Invitational Night race should be a blast, except for the 60+ stair climb every lap. That's gonna kick me right in the jimmy, especially with the cast of characters on the start list. No call up for me, I should have thrown in my 2006 Missouri State CX Champ credentials and I'd have gotten up to the 2nd row. Oh well Huppity Hup!

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Wereld Kampioenschap and Belgium

It's so hard to believe that last week I was in Belgium racing my bike in the Masters World Championships of Cyclocross. What an experience!! I met so many cool people along the way and learned a lot too. The race itself was only an hour out of the whole trip, but will leave a lasting impression in my mind forever. The two days leading up race I was able to ride the course quite a bit as it was right out the back door of our cabins. It was very technical with tight twisty singletrack, roots, drops, bermed corners, and of course SAND, SAND, and more SAND.

Race day started with an early jump down to the registration place to get signed up. The place was bustling with bikes all over outside and inside was packed with cyclists. The officials said my age-group was missing the shoulder numbers so to come back in 30 minutes. I hung around and waited for a minute and happened to be first in line... receiving none other than #1. How cool! I went back and ate breakfast, had some espresso and prepped for the day. I was able to watch some of the other people in our group race in the morning and the lines had significantly changed from the day before. Some sections were now rideable where they weren't on Friday. The weather was super windy, light rain, and around 40 degrees. I did my warmup on the roads around the park for a solid 30-40 minutes and seemed to be as ready as I was going to get. Typically I don't have jitters before a race, but I did that day. I had to keep telling myself to focus, calm down, and that its just another race... do what you do and race your race.

The whistle blows for people to come to the bullpen for callups. They start calling random numbers to the front row. Mud&Cowbells Greg gets a front roll callup as does his buddy Kurt. Many more names and numbers called, then finally... #1 Kyle Bush United States in a heavy Belgian accent. I was back in the 4th row and was just hoping to make up some ground. I chatted with a nice guy next to me for a minute as the rest were getting called... David Lenoir who was wearing a French national skinsuit. One minute. Its on now. TWEET! We roar down the wet pavement for a solid 400-500 meters into the hard 90 degree left. I'm still in good position and make the turn, no crashes yet. Into the sand, made it about 15 feet before I was forced to dismount and run. I felt like I passed 50 people running, but surely didn't. Got around the corner and back on the bike, ride the beach section and then blast thru the deep sand up onto the single track (people were going down everywhere). Over the first root drop, twist turn, more sand, another root drop, more sand. Still holding solid but the guys in front of me are bobbling a little so I give some room. Get passed by a couple guys near the pits. Up the first runup and remount on the top "hump"... get all jiggy down the backside in the sandy soil. Down the dropoff into the sandtrap and ride it! Up the next runup, more sand then more twisty single track back to the pavement. I jam it on the pavement and pass a couple guys and really hauling. Lap 1 down... only 40 minutes to go. I really help my position until the last lap when my lower back was hurting pretty bad and I got sloppy. I was riding the sand almost all the way to the beach, which is a feat in and of itself, which probably contributed to my lower back pain. I had been taking a left line thru this one deep sand section and this time I got pulled far left and was going off-course right at one of the big wooden posts. I almost had to leap off the bike to avoid it by somehow missed it and went thru the tape. Back on course and two guys had passed. Made it around to the pavement and the leader laps me at the start/finish. 37th place out of 53 starters. Can't say it was my best performance, but I did beat some of the Euros. Not last, but did get lapped which I was really trying to avoid. I was there amongst Belgian champions and former world champs so considering, I'll take it.

All in all my most amazing cycling adventure/experience ever and can't wait to do it again next year. What I will do different is to go earlier and race more over there. The courses are different, way more technical, and the pace is uber fast. Starting to plan next year NOW! After the race I caught up with Monsoir Lenoir and exchanged emails, saw Greg and crew and got the debrief. Just a well run event with actual certificates of participation for all the racers. All I can say is get over there and do it. Already have people onboard for next year.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Almost There!!! Belgium within reach

Its almost 1am right now and I just got done with all my packing and prep. This included clearing the camera and video camera memories, etc and needless to say getting all the bike shit together and boxed up. We leave tomorrow morning for the journey of a lifetime. It's going to be sick!! Alison, my wife, had all her stuff ready by mid-day, but of course I had to get a 2 hour ride in this afternoon and then tear down the bike, get it packed. I was busting balls on G Keller last week about all the stuff he took, only to find out all my stuff wouldn't fit (I only took half what he did). I'm like a little kid on the Christmas eve right now and can't even think about sleeping. The alarm is going off at 6am, so its time to hit the sack, at least lay down and rest. I want to be able to sleep on the plane tomorrow evening so this might not be so bad.

Peace out my Americano brothers, its off to the Motherland of Cyclocross. KC to DC to Brussels to Mol... Destination Zilvermeer. Break off some Belgie legs, I hope. My new favorite quote was found the other day on this guy's blog when I was randomly searching around.... "Eff 'em I say. I'll crush their souls and ride away on a bike made of their bones." This was written in the context of going to Worlds, so it is so fitting.. I love it.

Friday, January 11, 2008

T-Minus 5 days and Counting- Breathe

Holy Sheetz! The days are whizzing by like telephone poles on a roadtrip. I have 5 billion things to do before lift-off and not getting crap done. Right now work is sweating me bigtime, it feels like a wrestling match where you're being pinned and they guy is squeezing the breath out of you and you're just waiting for the slap on the mat. Or maybe better when a wave is holding you down,washing machine style, you can see the light of the surface but you can't yet take a breath. Just too much to do before I even think about packing, working day and night, but the end is near. My bike is still a wreck from last weekend, gave it a quick bath, but it's lookin' ugly and muddy. Need to clean it up pristene, pickup a new chain, ....blah blah blah the list goes on.

My UCI license finally arrived and the foreign permission letters, so now just have to get a photo affixed and laminate. Another menial task to take up some of my scarce minutes. The grandma is coming to stay and watch the kiddos while were gone, so that is making the whole trip possible. Just have to get through another 2 days of work, and take a huge breath before the next wave pushes me under, packing. I can see the light.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Vindication by Domination - Grote Prijs

After taking my lumps at Nationals I had to get back on the horse and keep Belgium in my sights. Watching what I ate (not so much) and training during those cold snowy days of Christmas has paid dividends. Last week I raced with the Elites (1/2/3) at the Epic Holiday cross race and the conditions were pretty harsh. It was cold and icy snow on the ground mixed with sandy mud. I put in a good showing and hung in for a 4th place finish.
This week however was the final race in the De Stad Cyclocross Van Kansas race series, and I was leading the points race. As much as I wanted to do 2 races, my race was the last of the day and didn't want to risk my chance at winning the series. Our Localcycling.com team puts on this race, so we were out the day before doing course setup and it was going to be a muddy muddy race. Especially being the last race of the day, that course was going to be chewed up by the time I hit it. The start was fairly fast up 500m of pavement and I took 2nd wheel into the first turn. I followed the leader through the first few sections, then made my move and turned it on. After that I pulled away from the field and had 15 seconds by the end of the first lap. A key point on the first lap was riding a large dirt mount that most would run (Thanks David for the heads up). See example of Studnicki doing it in this clip on his blog.

There were some deep mud sections that I did run when my momentum slowed but other than that it was pedal to the metal the entire time and by the end I had at least 1:30 on 2nd place. That was the final race tune-up for Mol, so feel great and ended up winning the series as well. My legs were so sore on Monday, moreso than any other time this year. That's a good thing from my perspective knowing I went really hard and the thick mud will be good practice for the sand in Mol. The crowd was great and cheering me on so much I just kept pushing. Boulevard beer provided some nice libations for the crowd, 6th Glass Quadruple Ale, so they were in good spirits by the last race of the day.

Mitch Before a Flat took him out

Nationals Update - Late & Lame

Well it has nearly been a month since my last post and much has transpired. I got my ass kicked on the Nationals Ice Course. Since then things have looked up and training has been going well in prep for Belgium. I raced the B's at Nationals and had I known Saturday was going to be such a treacherous ordeal, I'd of went harder and been one of the top finishers. Ended up 15th in the B's. trying to save myself for Saturday. Had I only known...

The Saturday Master's 35-39 race was in epic conditions that included deep frozen ruts, blinding snow, and frigid temps. Although I'd been saying I wanted conditions like that, I could have done without the frozen ruts. I started at the very back and made up a lot of places on the start, but after a few near crashes and bobbles, the confidence went out the window and I fell back. I never got lapped but still got pulled and ended up in 60th or something ridiculous. Both days I got pipped at the line by the same ProPeloton rider, don't remember his name, just another Boulder guy. Enough about that, got bigger fish to fry. The first of which was changing my damn seatpost so I wasn't in a TT position. Geez that nearly killed me out there in the ice, felt I had not control. When I put a seatpost with setback on it is a world of difference, even with the added weigt. I went from a Thomson Masterpiece (chopped) to a stock Ritchey, but now I wouldn't trade it.
See the pics of the mayhem.
Looks fun, huh?
kB from the Pits
The Starting Ditch

Ice Boulders abound

Frozen Tundra polished off nice on Top
The Ditch of Death
Tight Off-camber
The Day After...

Monday, December 10, 2007

KS State Championships = Snow Cross

The snow wasn't too deep, but it was frozen and crunchy out in the prison town of Leavenworth, KS. Temps were around 20 with windchills in the single digits. Luckily or unluckily the cat3 race was the last one of the day, starting at 2:15. At least this gave me time to spend with the fam in the morning and not run off at first light. The forecast had predicted freezing rain, but that held off until today, only some light snow and cold weather. The weather did scare off a few, but the usuals were all there and ready to rock it in the snow. This is actually one of the first wintery weather races we've had this season. I am the defending Missouri State Champ from last year, but the race was being held in St Louis, so had to skip it due to the weather and driving time.

Line up, get the whistle from behind and it's Go Time! Nail it and get the holeshot. Lead the first lap, taking some of the sections cautiously as I didn't pre-ride the whole course. About 3/4 of the way through the first lap a guy passes, but immediately goes down cuz he took the corner too fast. He's back up and I just grab on and don't let him get too far ahead. Another guy goes by me at the start/finish area and now I'm sitting in 3rd. Not feeling too bad, but not feeling that strong either. Not sure when the next two went by but think it was about midway through the 2nd lap. Just keep going strong and now to try to reel these guys back in as I'm now in 5th.

The Start

kB got the holeshot

End of the 1st lap
Bridge up, Rest, Attack, and Repeat. Three times and now back in 2nd, but Pink Pippy Longstockings is on my tail and I can't seem to shake him. Bell lap and I'm pinning it out of every corner trying to get a comfortable gap, but he's still there. Finally nearing the finish and my fave spot on the course, a long straight away the turns left into a downhill with another immediate left, so essentially a 180 with a downhill on the turn. Each time I'd use those moto-x skills...put the leg out and let the ass end slide around and get right back on the gas. This time didn't let it swing out too wide and really stood on it and got a gap and sprinted to the finish line. I really had to work for that 2nd place. Now on to Nationals, just a few days away and nasty weather hitting hard in KC.

Snow Angel

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Boss Cross #2 - From the Banks of the Mighty Mo

The finale of the Boss Cross series took place on a true 'Crossy' day in the city of Parkville. For the past two days we've had rain, freezing rain, and temps in the 30's so it was bound to be muddy. The course was right on the banks of the mighty Missouri river in a little park. There was lots of sand fo' sho' and a couple wet muddy sections. The places that were not truly muddy, were soft enough to suck the energy and juice for everybody's legs. The winds were howling with gusts in the 30's which had to bring the wind chill down into the teens.

I got my pit bike built up this week so was ready to finally have them both at a race. Even better I had my boy Bob there to work the pits for me. True Pro stylie, pit man Bob in the coveralls ready to handle whatever the race might throw at us. The start was pretty typical with most of the usuals lined up and ready to roll. Ready Go! and we're off. I take 2nd into the holeshot and sit on the leaders wheel for the better part of the first lap. I pull away and have a pretty good lead for the next couple laps, then come the "Kid" and he goes by but I'm attached to his wheel like a tick! We have a good gap on the rest of the field and next thing you know Chris misses a corner and I take the lead again and pull away. Another lap and I'm going over the bridge which then drops off about a foot into a downhill section... big wind and I land a little sideways on the front wheel and roll it. I stopped quickly and find the tubular rolled in a small section. I push it back on and have to make my way 3/4 of lap back around to the pit thru big mud puddles, muddy ruts, and sand sections. The kiddo gets a big gap on me and I roll into the pits and do it true "Pro" stylie with Bob holding the fresh bike and taking the old without missing a step or letting the chase get a second on me. Unbelievable!! First pit bike change and it came off perfect. Bob's my pit-man for sure at Nationals, great practice run.

The rest of the race went like this. Songer is on my wheel for at least two laps and I know he's resting up back there ready to pounce. He makes his move and I try to stay on. It doesn't happen and his gap gets to at least 100 meters. Chris aka the "Kid" flats and we go past him while he's running to the pits (a long way). Try as I might, I just can't bridge up to Songer. Damn, the "W" has contined to elude me all season and I ended up 2nd place. Things could be worse, much worse and each race I feel a little stronger and always seem to have some unexpected challenge to deal with. A tire, a crash, detour, you call it.... experience is the best teacher.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Belgium Bound

It's official, we are heading to Mol, Belgium for the Masters World Championships in Jan08!! Oh my this is exciting. It's been on my mind all year, but just hadn't pulled the trigger. When a few locals were going and had everything lined up for accomodations, it made it that much easier. Mark from localcycling.com has been over for the last 3 or 4 years and has it down pat. He has friends on the ground and knows how to navigate the country on a budget. We'll be staying at Zilvermeer, right on the race course, in some cool little A-frame cabins. Since my better half is coming too, we've planned it so I race about the 3rd day there, then vacation/party the rest of the time. We'll for sure hit Hoogerheide for the World cup race on Jan20, then off to Brugge, Antwerp, maybe a couple days in Amsterdam, and if everything works out right cap it off in Paris.

So right now its just get through the massive workload, keep training for Nationals, take a week break, Christmas, then ramp it back up for the final stretch into Worlds. It weird to even say that, but its ON! I'm going to Belgium!!