Friday, February 11, 2011

The Future

Greetings All,

Changes ahead for Veldrijden Colorado, when starting this a bunch of years ago, I had no real expectations or planned direction of where I wanted to take this experiment. All I knew is that I wanted or felt as though I needed a means of expressing my cycling life. While this blog has obviously been cyclocross centric, this space has also allowed me to lay down some digital history of my entry into the cycling world and how it's morphed into a lifelong career path.

As of late, my posts here have become more and more sporadic, not because I don't have anything to say but simply because there is a finite amount of time in a day and a don't have the time to keep this site operating up to my own standards. In a perfect world, I would carve out some space on a daily basis to organize my thoughts in words but that's not reality. So this may come as a massive disappointment to the 12 regular visitors of this blog, but fear not, I do have plan B

Moving forward you may find my contributions at a new blog : SRAM Factory Cyclocross Team
I've partnered up with a few other SRAMmies and will representing our Colorado scene. My cross compatriots, Scott McLaughlin and JP will be competing from their hometown of Chicago. I couldn't be more stoked about this change, I hope you'll bookmark the new site and as always please continue to read the fine fine work that Greg Keller is putting out at Mud and Cowbells, The boys at Frites n' Mayo Velo, Dale ( Crossin Colorado ), from not Boulder. ( links down to the right ) and Lorties site for some words and amazing images.

Thanks for a massive amount of encouragement from all, I truly hoped you've enjoyed the ramblings and I'll see you at the races.


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Best and Worst of 2010

Greetings, suffice to say if you're reading this, you've successfully navigated your way into the New Year ! So Happy New Year ! I hope all your personal and professional hopes and aspirations are met.

With no further ado, let's dig in the past season from my view:

Best New Race Venue:
Goes to the Halloween Boulder Cup at the Dicks Sporting Goods parking lot at the mall. ( or mawl, say it with a New Jersey accent )After burying myself at the previous days Colorado Cross Classic at the Reservoir, I had doubts about whether or not I really wanted to drive back North while subjecting myself to a course that had been previewed online with very poor reviews. "too much flat pavement", not technical enough" etc, etc. We all couldn't have been more wrong and thanks to Chris Grealish for proving us wrong. In my mind this course epitomized cyclocross racing, it was the perfect leveling of the playing field and held in a mall parking lot of all places...who knew ? So caps off, I had a ton of fun racing this course and that doesn't mean it was easy because it was anything but. No, that's not a smile below.
Worst New Race Venue:
Goes to the USGP in Ft Collins. I had much,much higher expectations for this venue. Initially word was that it was to be held on the grounds of New Belgium Brewery's property. It ended up in some field behind a car dealership. Not exactly showcasing a national elite level event in my mind. The course for me, didn't flow well, the shorter second day was a modest improvement but Saturday's race felt much like a death march, many long climbs that turned into slogs, barriers that were placed where you already riding barely above walking pace (remember, I'm speaking for myself here ). I simply didn't enjoy the ride. The parking lot to the North turned into a very slippery muddy disaster and I barely got out at the end of the day without nearly sideswiping numerous other cars. If the USGP is coming back I hope some more planning is put into place to really show off what US cyclocross is about.

My Best Effort This Season:
State Championships: Yes I had better placings during the season in both the 35+4 and 45+ events but in my mind the States course really didn't suit my talents and that fact had me pretty gripped at the start. I'm typically not so good at maintaining that kind of speed during a race. I kept it together tried to be smooth and efficient and had a great day on the bike and a perfect way of ending the Colorado season.
Best Techy Bits of the Season:
Tubulars: Finally made the switch after some 15 + years of racing cross and not sure now why I had waited. The performance advantage is mind boggling and I equate it to a full suspension mtn bike vs. a hardtail. The gains in traction, control, weight are absolutely astounding. I had put this off as it seemed like Tuby's were reserved for those who take racing very seriously and certainly the cost is prohibitive. I also never trusted my ability to glue. I've gotten over that after reading Stu Thorne's instructions here . After tearing off a dead, rotted Rhino, I now have full confidence in the tires ability to stay firmly attached to the rim. The only downside...the dreaded rot that kills off a tire in the prime of it's life.

Sears Craftsmen Hand Held Air Compressor: Best Tool Ever.
I stuck the small Silca brass fitting on the end so I don't have to use valve extenders to air up tires or check pressure. The digital PSI reading is accurate, you don't have to carry around an unwieldy pump. It's not super expensive and has become an extremely useful tool in a limited bag of tricks. If you're anal about tire pressures, this tool will become your best friend when conditions are changing quickly.

Failed Policy Award:Goes to the ACA and the Colorado Cross Cup change: I'm honestly not sure what the advantages of awarding some races to be points races vs. a season long tally of points accumulation. I know that between an 8th, 12th, and 15th. place finishes in the 35+4 group, those placings still had not netted me call-up position by the time we were racing in October just because those finishes were not Points Series races. My feeling was and still is that this lead to dangerous racing and prompted my change to the 45+ group primarily because a smaller field of veterans is way safer than a haphazardly placed field of Cat 4's. I look forward to changes in 2011. Why not keep a season long tally and do call-ups based on that tally, keep the CCC and make those events double points or something ?

That's a wrap but here's some random thoughts
Did La Nina give us such a dry,warm fall ? I'm not sure but I hope next season brings some variety back to the front range. This season was dangerously dry and sparked 2 fires up in Boulder. Here's to some moisture
Lack of drama. This season for me was marked by a season without sickness,mechanicals, flats or drama of any kind even after a fair amount of races ( 15 total ) I'm not complaining it was just...weird, wierd in a nice way.
The Cyclocross Family: honestly this is why I show up every weekend, in all the years that I've been racing since starting out at a local TT series in Connecticut before I had my drivers licence to mountain biking to cyclocross I've never been part of such a strong, welcoming, supportive, tight knit community as we have in Colorado. I feel super fortunate to be a part of it so THANK YOU ALL.
Thanks for reading and again, Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 19, 2010


Although it's only been a week, it seems strange to not be constantly monitoring input and output and prepping/scheming for the weekends upcoming races. The first few days after returning from Bend was spent consuming mass quantities of food (perhaps something about standing outside in the cold and wet for a few days) and sleeping absurdly hard for long hours. It felt as though the body has been at a constant state of readiness for months on end and to have it all end was a massive groundswell shift in my energy level.

While I had briefly entertained the thought of filling out the field at the last Boulder Cup in Lyons, I couldn't muster up the motivation to make the drive up to Lyons. Nationals in Bend put such an exclamation point on the end of the season that it's difficult to rally again for more. That being said, if I had a piss poor effort in Bend, for sure I would have tried to tack one on the schedule to end my season on a high note. ( I'm not ruling out the Jan 8th race here in the Springs but it looks like some Taiwan travel may interfere)

To make withdraw symptoms worse, Keller posted this beautiful video from Jamie Kripke on his site which in my mind is about 10-20 minutes too short. Stunning work.

Next post: the Shotty awards- a round up of the best and worst of this past season!

thanks for reading

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Bend Day 4- Finale

So many stories come out a day of racing when all is on the line for the stars and bars jersey. Thanks to the interweb many, or all of you know what happened today in detail, here's what you may have have missed:

Mo Bruno Roy, stacking it hard in the first mud pit area and carrying on despite massive chunks of mud clogged in the vents of her helmet, clearly a sign of the force of the impact. Bleeding from near her eye and a face coated with dried on caked mud, fought from the very back well into the top third of the field. Her hubby Matt was keen at looking at Mo's lap times compared to Georgia Goulds but after he brought her to the hospital for an examination and stitches.

A pretty decent representation of Santa's (male and female )an Easter Bunny, the masked, nearly naked Mexican wrestler who was assaulted by Gumby and a Yeti in the mix. This was all happening in concert with the mens pro race for a display of the serious side of cyclocross.

"Boups" showing his running prowess by passing multitudes on foot every single lap while others were all trying to ride a particularly boggy section of the course, he was making everyone else out there look silly.

Adam Craig, switching back and forth between a singlespeed and a geared bike and finally settling on a singlespeed which looked to be in a pretty tall gear, then taking cash handups on the last lap.

Volume, sorry but streaming live video doesn't do justice to hearing and feeling a dozen or so talented musicians wailing away on percussion in sync. Trust me, between the drums, bells, horns, and voices , you can't even hear yourself think. I need to come better next year because using your voice to support riders is like bringing a knife to a gunfight.

Everyones true opponent this entire weekend was the course, it demanded finesse, power, patience, skill, water, sun, wind, balance and a ton of luck.

Congrats to Katie Compton for her 7th National Title and to Todd Wells who put together an outstanding effort out there today. Also an impressive effort by the green machine of Cannondale/ for putting all riders in the top 5!

Below is my most coveted piece of new schwag, a UCI approved go no-go guage for 32c tires and the other side cures dehydration! ( Thanks Stu )

That is all from here, thanks for reading

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Bend Day 3

This morning I woke up to a nice heavy, steady mix of rain and snow, what a perfect start to a full day of masters and U-23 racing ! I offered up a hand to help out the massive Colorado contingency here this weekend, standing at the start of the 40+ for Pete Webbers and Brandon Dwight's warm up gear and then pitting for Keller. Standing in front of Pete prior to the start, I swear as long I've been involved or a witness to bicycle racing,I have never seen such an intense pre-race focus. I'm for sure glad I wasn't racing in this class to have this kind of fury unleashed on me and others in the field. All rode a textbook race with all Colorado riders filling out the podium, Pete 1st ( Congratulations!!) Brandon 2nd and Jon Cariveau 3rd. Keller unfortunately was victim to an unavoidable crash in front and ended up running a huge length of the course before turning over to his B bike and soldering on. Conditions were EPIC with very heavy cold rain occasionally turning over to wet snow, huge wet flakes saturating everything in sight. Great rides by others from the bubble: Michael Robinson, Ward Baker, and Dan Farrell.

The Colorado dominance continued on for the remainder of the day with Danny Summerhill taking the U-23 race, Jonathan Ward won the 35+, and Matt Pacocha was first across the line for the 30+. Some scenes from the venue today. The weather really couldn't have been better and just adds to the atmosphere. This posting is no replacement for the feeling of standing in a few inches of saturated wet grass, smelling and feeling the smoke from an open pit fire, adult beverage in hand, wind blowing, pissing down rain and happy as a clam watching riders fight their own battles all day long. This is Nationals and this is why anyone who shares a love of cyclocross owes it to themselves to come and be absorbed into the fold. It's like no other.
Photo from Friday's 45+ race courtesy of Dave McElwaine/, more can be found here at

Tomorrow in my humble opinion, is going to be a barn burner. If Ryan Trebon stays upright without a mechanical, he could easily take this. Powers is obviously on form and motivated for the trifecta (NACT,USGP, and a Nationals win ) My sentimental favorite, Tim Johnson seems to be under the weather a bit but he also was at Fort Collins and stomped on everyone by a healthy margin, he can never be counted out and there is no one better in the mud in my opinion.

Thanks for reading, one last post to come


Friday, December 10, 2010

Bend Day 2

I'm not a late in the day racer, I was loitering around my hotel room going bonkers stewing in my own juices waiting for a 3:30 start time. Prior to lunch I figured I might as well suit up and spin out the legs for a bit. I headed North on a nice winding road that lead out to an Oregon State Campground ( Tumalo ) that Jen and I camped at over a decade ago. While we were living in California, we loaded up a camper truck and drove the length of the California and Oregon coast initially trying to get to Victoria, B.C. until nonstop rain had us looking at maps in Portland. We picked Bend, knowing absolutely nothing about it other than we knew it'd be drier than the coast. We ended up spending 5 days here and became very taken with the area so when CX Nats came here it wasn't a difficult decision to return for both years.

After some leftover pizza for lunch and a valid effort at taking a nap,(too amped) I finally rounded up all my gear and headed out to the track and was able to take a nice long warm up ride for at least an hour. By start time, the winds were kicking up and temps were dropping quickly.The track was completely saturated from overnight rains and other than pavement, there wasn't a firm spot on the course. We were lined up in a very gentlemanly manner and the whistle blew shortly thereafter. I was stoked to get through the first left-hander without incident when suddenly there were bikes and bodies everywhere at the first mud pit. I was able to avoid the drama but lost some places by dismounting and running around the wreck. The first 2 laps were a blur, it was super difficult moving forward because of traffic and limited lines in the murky sections. any feeling in my fingers and toes were gone. Braking and shifting became stabs at levers, not well executed movements. In the murkiest of sections I spotted ( more like heard )Boulderites Dan Farrell, Keller, and Pete Webber making sure I wasn't languishing or whiling away my time. At 3 to go , I could hear that Don Myrah ( former honchy MTB pro and ex-Olympian racer) was coming and coming fast. At 2 to go, I buried myself trying to stay ahead of Myrah so he couldn't deny me of my last lap. It was close, way close but I made it and was so stoked rolling out for my proper last lap. I was able to make some last few position gains and rolled through in 48th position (120? starters I think ).

This years course, while not a radically different layout than last year, couldn't have ridden any different, I kind of missed last years glacial qualities of the course. This years infield fly-over looked easy enough but with the power sapping grass before and after it seemed more like an annoyance. All in all, a solid race to finish off the season, no complaints at all, no (major)crashes, flats, illness, loss of motivation..all season.

Now, my bike, gear, hotel room,and rental car are completely destroyed, there is mud EVERYWHERE and it's so tempting just to cram it in a box, bag and leave it for another day but I've got my worked cut out for me tomorrow to clean up the bike,pack it up and ship it back to CO. First though, I'm putting on my pitting outfit and helping out the Boulder boys tomorrow morning in the 35+ race.

Hopefully I'll find some images to post here soon, stay tuned for more and thanks for coming by.


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Bend Day One

All went super smooth today, flights were on time, if not a little early despite some weather in SFO. Picked up my car, derbied direct to the hotel, staff was kind enough to check me in early so I had a place to assemble my bike and pick out my costume for the day.

The TT course for seeding tomorrows start line position was very easy to find and I arrived with about 45 minutes to spare. 15 of those were used up by pinning on the piles of numbers required to race ( hint: use transponders ). The course must have been a bit higher elevation than town because there is still a decent coating of snow on the ground. I managed to warm up for about 20 minutes until it was time to blindly dive into the track. Holy sketch-fest, super deep icy frozen downhill ruts, monster deep puddles that you just have to trust that there is not some ginormous rock lurking beneath the surface. I felt kinda fast on the straights but was probably a bit too conservative everywhere else. I kept it upright but the long steep run-up took the wind out of sails to say the least. All this happened in less than 8 minutes ! As I write this, results have yet to be posted.

After a cool down and putting on warm dry clothes, I made out to the track and loved what I saw. The track is very muddy, but the black liquidy variety, not the gooey, clay stuff we have in CO. It looks far more rideable than last years treacherous packed ice sheets with a bit of grassy sections. They've also lengthened it considerably which will help with the field sizes. While I was there I watched Methusela(Ned Overend) win his umpteenth National Title. sweet.

I've got to go dry out my gear and find some newspaper to stuff in my shoes...More tomorrow

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


A few more pics I found from States

Bags are packed, plane leaves Oh-Dark-Thirty...Stoked! and with TT on my mind, I found this jewel from the 2005 Tour

Stay tuned for Natz updates


Monday, December 6, 2010

Colorado Finale

My frenzied weekend started Friday when prepping early for Bend, I was gluing on a fresh new Dugast Rhino to handle the mixed bag of terrain and weather conditions ahead. I've never been a huge fan of gluing tubys because I've had so much limited experience that I'd gladly hand off the task to someone far more competent than myself (that's you T-town!). So after completing a the job Friday evening with a very satisfactory job of gluing and not getting any glue spooge on the sidewalls or braking surface, I threw on a quick coat of sealant and took Jen out on date night for a nice dinner. Upon returning I wanted to check the sealant and make sure it had dried uniformly and noticed that I had glued the rear tire on the tread pattern reversed. I had glued the friggin tire on backwards!!! Instantly, rapid fire thoughts are running through my head like "well, Michelin Jet's on my commuter are front and rear specific and well, the backwards Rhino almost matches the Jets,'s fine" . Well after a very restless night of waking up with State Championships anxiety and the tire debacle I decided that since the glue wasn't completely set up and I haven't ridden it yet, I'll try to peel it off and repair it in the morning.

I quickly rushed through Saturday morning's breakfast and went downstairs to start the process all over again, with a lot of pulling, tugging, wheezing, and sweating I was able to get the tire without any damage to the base tape. Re-glue, lay down tape, another layer or glue and put the tire on in the proper direction. Funny thing is, I won't know if the job is done completely right until I race at Nationals. I had no plans to race this tire at States because of the dry conditions forecast all weekend. The remainder of the day was fighting for parking spots at the mall as we are wrapping up ( pun intended ) our seasonal shopping extravaganza.

On Sunday, Jim and I loaded up the Element chock full of spare bikes, wheels, trainers and embrocations for what would be our last trip up North this season. Arrived in plenty of time so throw on heaps of clothes and make an attempt to warm up. It may have been dry but some humidity in the air was making the temps feel pretty brisk, hovering just above freezing when we arrived. I was able to witness a portion of my fellow ex-Mainer Matt Klick from the Frites en Mayo team sticking it to all the Cat 3 guys. He was looking buttery smooth and composed up front but looked to be the victim of some coordinated attacks from behind and finished up 3rd. for the day but a great race and ride.
64 of us lined up for the 45+ race, I rarely get a bad case of the jitters but I was super nervous about this race primarily based on the terrain. flat and FAST, I think the fastest course I've seen in some time. It was an elastic band course featuring short turny tech sections punctuated by these long, drawn out straightaways requiring megawatts of power. Whistle blows and I get a decent start, not exactly moving forward but not sliding back either. We bottleneck slightly in the first few run-ups and turns but I can see the front end of the race disappear off into the horizon on the power sections. " these guys are SO fast" . I put my head down and tried hanging with groups, moving forward when the group started to lag or bobble and hanging on for dear life when attacks started. I was consistently gaining places on the short stair run-up but would blow to the sky on the sandy runs through the volleyball court. I had a bit of a 2 to go meltdown and lost a few spots and started picking bad lines making small mistakes. On 1 to go I pulled it together with an internal memo that this was the State Championships, you're having a good race so keep it together. I rolled through in 29th place, the 2nd Cat 4 guy in our field and was absolutely thrilled (It obviously doesn't take much to get me thrilled) , but I couldn't have been happier with such a clean race. Thanks so much to all vocalizing their support from the other side of the tape (Lortie, Dave-O, Matt, Brian, and Rich from the Frites crew, Bob P, Matty O, Dan from BSV) it was seriously motivating and meant a lot when it's just too easy to ignore those dangling in the middle of no-mans land.

So there you have it. 2010 Colorado Cross Season in the books and it's been a great one, perhaps a little too dry would be the single complaint. I'll post some more wrap-up items on this past season in Colorado but now I'm looking to Bend. Typically goals for Nationals: don't get lapped, don't get pulled.

Thanks for reading


Saturday, December 4, 2010

Ramping Up

I fully realize that our season pushes into January this year but there still is an elevated sense of excitement/frenzy surrounding the two main events coming up. Two days of the Colorado State Championships begins today up in Louisville. Best of luck to all who are racing today, personally I was hoping for some weather but like much of our season here, dry and chilly seems to be the order of the day. I am amped to pin on what most likely will be my last Colorado race of the season. Between the travelling to Nationals,holidays, the desire to go make turns on snow, and travel plans to Taiwan, I realistically don't see fitting many more races in my schedule. There's never enough time to fit it all in.

On the other end of the spectrum,Bend's weather looks downright wintery. Check out the video of the time trial course. Initially I thought I read that this was a 8-9 minute course, well add a heap of wet snow and cold temps and that gets bumped out to 20-25 minutes ! Finally, USA cycling has posted our individual start times for this event and it looks like I'll have a time trial to the time trial. My plane lands in Redmond at 11am Thursday, my time trial start is 1:30PM !! So quick, gather luggage, pick up the rental car, go to the hotel, assembly my bike, go to registration packet pick up, find my way out to the TT course venue, get dressed and warmed up...all in 2.5 hours? Should be interesting. I'll pretend not be be crushed if things go pear shaped and I miss my start. I had a horrible starting position last year ( 3rd or 4th row from the back in 125 something riders ) and managed 50th.

I'll post after tommorrows event, in the meantime, keep the shiny side up

Thanks for reading

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Giving Thanks

After 10 solid weekends of racing, this weekend was an appropriate time as ever to hang up the spikes for the weekend. Jen and loaded up the Subaru and headed East out to Kansas where my two older sisters have put down roots with their families. My Mom and her husband came West from Missouri so we could share a nice meal and fill in the gaps between haphazard e-mails and phone calls spread out over the past 12 months.

Thanksgiving rates highest on my list of favorite holidays, there are limited opportunities for excessive consumerism and it's worth gathering among family and friends to share a meal together. Thursday morning broke clear and cold in Salina and I wanted to pull off another "tour de turkey", 56 miles span the distance between my sisters homes with Salina in the North and Newton down South, Wichita way. Not surprisingly, it's flat with a few rollers in the middle but deceivingly difficult as there are no opportunities to just coast, perhaps carve a few turns, etc. It just turning over the pedals constantly.

It was 22 degrees out when I threw a leg over the Jamis with a heap of cold weather gear on. Jen purposefully left late and met me about halfway down where I quickly pulled over for a wardrobe exchange as the day was heating up. Exactly 3 hours later, I arrived in Newton where it was a balmy 35 by the time I arrived. By then, I was ready to put some food away ! The next day, as our family tradition dictates we avoid Black Friday and someone generates a "work list" . Both live on farms ( small by Kansas standards) so inevitably there are projects to be completed. We spent most of the afternoon, hauling and burning brush and checking off a few indoor items as well.

We arrived back to the Front Range late Saturday afternoon, I had a few thoughts about running up to Westminster for Boulder series #4 but couldn't muster up the motivation to drive. As I mentioned above after 10 solid weeks of racing and driving from the Springs, by this time of the season, the interest in racing is peaking yet the desire to sit in the car for at least 2-3 hours per day or weekend is waning.

Looking forward to States, see you there

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Grand Illusion

Saturday at Alpha cross in Centennial. Jim and I arrived with time to spare and set up trainers (the new ACA warm-up rules must be a boon to the makers of trainers and rollers !) while watching a huge fog bank lie to the North and feeling the cold winds blow off it. I was digging deep into the gear bag looking for any spares of hats, gloves, arm leg warmers etc. I misjudged my attire based on the forecast. Thankfully by the time we lined up, that great big ball of fire that rotates around our flat earth warmed things up nicely; the Mad Alchemy on the legs was doing it's trick as well. I got in a good 2 laps of reconnaissance and loved the course. A lot of creativity for somewhat of a blank canvas. Super fast, 90% cropped grass with more than a few brutal grinders of climbs to make things interesting. Many of these had some longish false flats on top so even through your were past the steep part, you weren't done. There were even some soggy spots just to pull any residual leftover power from the legs.

Typically in the past, this is not the type of course I excel on. However, the lack of moisture on here on the Front Range has turned most races into ferociously fast crits on grass/sand/wood chips requiring heaps of wattage and perhaps that's what my bodies adapted to. I was feeling
really good, able to move up through the field, trying to limit losing places. I was slightly ahead of those that I'm typically mingling with on the course and I figured I am headed for a stellar day. Not making any (huge)mistakes with lines, I was going cross eyed on the last 2 laps as I could see Leonard Zinn from VeloNews and a Great Divide rider exchanging attacks behind me and making forward progress. Lee from Green Mtn Sports came by me through the Start Finish, I hung on his wheel until the run ups and make a valiant effort to pass, we were side by side on the remount and straightaway heading to an uphill, off camber left hand turn where I tried to sneak in inside and pimp him in the turn but it was not to be and ended up pushing the limits of traction on the slick grass, sliding out. I rolled through in 30th out of 46 something starters. Dang, I am so stoked on my effort but frustrated in that I like to get a mid pack finish. This 45+ group is tough and mighty humbling, but I'm enjoying it more than ever and I know it's making me a better racer. I'll take solace in the fact that I was the 2nd Cat 4 guy to finish and the first one won State Championships last year in the 35+4 group.

Thanks to all for vocalizing their support out there, especially the Frites clan. This poor group was resembling an infirmary outing with all the injuries sustained as of late. I hope you guys are on the mend. Great job to all who volunteered and put on a fine event. I hope next year for a few more food/beer vendors. By the time we finished our race, the parking lot had completely emptied and we found that most everyone had migrated down to the Chipotle down the road. It'd be nice to be able to linger at the site and pick up a brat and/or a waffle and yell at the pro field or least watch how it's really done.

The plan is to take next week off, we're traveling for Thanksgiving and I'll do my best to not load on all things tasty in order to be somewhat prepared for our state championships on the 5th. Then a quick bike and gear wash before everything gets packed up for Bend. I'm booked and looking forward to trying not to embarrass myself too badly.

Thanks for reading


Monday, November 15, 2010

New Belgium USGP

Timing couldn't have been better. Finally some decent snowfall just in time for the USGP circus to arrive on the Front Range. A super challeging course carved out what looked to be a vacant farm field with a decent amount of elevation gain and loss, slippery off camber turns, and mud...and that was just the parking lot. The actual race course was all that and more with a super fun stair climb flyover.
I decided to drive up Saturday morning, waking super early with my bride as she was prepping for her first half marathon in South Denver. The drive up was uneventful, but a low hanging light mist settling over the fields transformed our eastern plains into something resembling the Flemmish region. ( OK, I was daydreaming while driving ).I arrived plenty early for a little course recon and warm up prep. I quickly suited up and jumped on the course prior to the Cat2/3 race and found the course to be mostly treacherous but found if I had just loosened up a bit and gave the bike a little freedom to wander in the frozen deep ruts that it was do-able. Then the sun came out.

By our race time, the course had turned into a quagmire with the classic mix of clay and prairie grass that sicks to anything in sight and makes for great frontier style adobe homes. I was privy to a 4th row starting position and had one of the best starts I've had this season. A huge hole opened up before we even hit dirt and I was able to make some serious forward progress. First left corner into the mud, I see a number of guys go down on my left and now I'm well in the top third of the field. Bike is feeling good, loving the conditions, I'm getting great traction with the Rhino's and then a push super hard into a right hander only to feel the front end push..and push..and push. and finally I go down in a heap. My heart rate is pegged and I make a feeble attempt to mount the bike from the right (something I've never even tried to do in the best of conditions). I completely shank the remount, then run around the bike to the proper side and get back on with a stutter start. For whatever reason, that was it, I was completely redlined, head down, watching heaps of riders pass without any power to make chase. The course had beat me down and I muddled through in 41st position out of some 60 starters.
I spent my evening time prior to dinner cleaning junk out of my drivetrain after a thorough washing at the venue. I was having serious doubts about my decision to travel to Bend this year after turning in a performance like Saturday. Granted most of you know that I don't obsess about podium placements but I do very much care about trying to put out a decent effort on the course and I felt that I've been denied of that during the past 2 races. I just had one speed and that one was slow. Had I been racing too much ? Is there some virus lurking in my system that hasn't morphed into something larger yet ? Part of me wanted pack it in and head South just to not have to deal with a repeat of Saturday.
I spent a good long time sitting on my trainer Sunday morning patiently looking for some energy, I woke up pretty stiff and sore and wanted to take my own sweet time to stoke the engine. I didn't do any openers during the warmup, no test of the system to make sure I had a green light mostly because I figured I'd see a yellow or red light show up. Start time arrived with sunny skies and warming temps. I didn't pre-ride the course but heard about a couple of re-routes and a little less mud than yesterday. The gun went off and again, I had decent start and steered clear of trouble as again riders were hitting the deck left and right. My compadre, Matt Klick who typically sits in the top 5 in the Cat 3's was continually yelling at me on Saturday to just be smooth, stay upright, don't be a spaz. I kept these words in my head all day Sunday and it paid off in spades. I had dumped a bit more pressure out of the tires and the course was definitely faster, but Sunday was pure cross heaven. Railing turns, tons of power, feeling spry, avoiding pileups and having an absolute blast racing my bike. On a double weekend of racing, I typically benefit from Saturdays effort on Sunday and this weekend was no exception. Best I've felt in a long time and rolled through in 29th. Go figure.

For the most part, a fantastic weekend with old and new friends, can't wait until next weekend for the next opportunity test ourselves, against ourselves. Thanks for reading, thanks for a great USGP event, and thanks for everyone showing up to either yell from the tape or pin on a number in support of US cyclocross


Monday, November 8, 2010

Parallel Universe

OK, so no one had goatees but what a bizarro day at Castle Cross; which may go down as one my worst performances of the year ( I said "may"..stay tuned, there could be more !). Another 70 degree day and dry as a bone with some fierce winds from the South. In fact, here's a dad running to sign up his kids for the junior races.Anyway, I'm not sure what led to what would be a challenging day on the bike but I was barely able to maintain my position in the race, I just felt pooped and unable to respond to any kind of chase. I was sticking my lines just fine and pulling a few aggressive maneuvers here and there but mostly watching everyone ride away from me. Yet (and here's bizarre part) I've been in this 45+ group long enough to recognize where riders sit typically and yesterday was the complete reversal of that pecking order. I've seen the guys who've been handing it to me a regular basis behind me and pack fodder like myself way out in front.

Perhaps I was feeling nostalgic about last years conditions which were pure Colorado cross. A decent snowfall had graced our presence and race day was bright and sunny and quickly turned the entire course into a fast soupy mess. Yesterday was just hot. dry, dusty and fast. Ended up 30th in a starting field of 45 or so. So what now, I'm self prescribing a week off the bike because I feel as though I might have just raced myself into a hole. I'd like to go into this weekends USGP with some fresh legs, especially with (gasp!!) real weather forecasted ! Thanks to Mountain Moon Photography for the free uploads and Green Mtn Sports for putting on a fine race.
Thanks for reading,

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Morale Boost ! After digging into results from this past weekends crosscapades. I realized that I'm fairing better than I thought as there are very few Cat 4 guys in front of me. If fact, I'd been duking it out with a Cat 2 all day Sunday....poor guy..must have been suffering from some ailment, virus, muscle strain, flat tire, missed call-up,and a skipping chain.

As I've only allotted myself one trip to the Boulder Reservoir per year, I will be skipping Schoolyard Cross on Saturday (a real shame as last years course at the schoolyard was super fun with it's self-imposed mud pit). So, I'll see you at Green Mountains Sports race in Castle Rock on Sunday.

Also scheming to hatch a plan for Nationals again...I hear Bend calling me