Wednesday, December 31, 2008


2008 is just about behind us and I wanted to put down some thoughts before we pin up a new calender. Everything I've seen and read seems to chalk up 2008 as a bad memory. I think otherwise, for the most part I had great year, it wasn't without it's heartaches and loss but the the most part, I'm calling it good. So pull up a chair, grab a mug and enjoy.

In rememberence of family passed on, we lost an Aunt and Uncle this year. They were an extremely dynamic couple and a huge inspiration to me at a formidable age. Ernest Saxton was a Kodak lifer and one of the funniest persons I've ever had the privilege to know let alone call family. He owned the room when it came time for a story. His wife, Stevie was of Greek dissent and was a true matriarch of the family, She introduced me to that piece of dessert heaven, Baklava so for that I will always be thankful! They will be missed.

Purely monetarily speaking, we and our possessions are worth less than a year ago, Is this a problem ? Of course it is, however I'd like see this as a fault line that has been building pressure for sometime, the plates were going to shift at some point and as much as it hurts, I think it may be healthy for the long term. I'll admit that my viewpoint is a gross oversimplification of a very convulted issue but it makes me feel better so.... check back with me by this time next year and see if I'm singing the same tune.

My bride and I celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary by bobbing about the Pacific ocean watching brightly colored fishes while Humpback whales breached on the horizon. That trip in February mentally ruined me by causing instantaneous loss of focus or attention when those memories are present.

Friends - New and Old. This year was marked by a inordinately large number of friends, most of whom I hadn't heard from for years getting back in touch. Perhaps it's our ever-shrinking global scale and our instant communication at our fingertips ? I'm not sure but I like it, so if I heard from you this year, thanks for getting in touch and keeping in touch!!

The Cyclocross Season. Sure, the results were a tad better than past seasons, but I thoroughly enjoyed this season for so many more reasons. There were few frustrating moments when my body wasn't up to the task (Boulder Cup) and I wasn't catching any luck at all (Boulder #3-puncture, Pikes Peak Supercross #2-puncture, Blue Sky Velo-Xilinx- mechanical from being rear-ended). But here are the positives that far outweighed the negatives:

Courses: Kudos to DBC events for the States course, I couldn't have asked for a better core cross course and if the Chatfield Rez course didn't put a perma-grin on your face then you've got problems

Riders: The cross scene is where it's at, you can't fake this sport and that fact makes for tight group of fanatics who enjoy getting dirty and picking up a hacking, phlegmy cough for the remainder of the day. Thanks to Jim Mathis and Chris Wilkerson, a couple of other Srammies who saw the light this year. Mike Dancel, a Springs rider from Blue Sky Velo, Rich from Frites en Mayo, Greg from Mud and Cowbells, Matty O. Pete Webber, another Maine escapee. Many of you are part of the reason I keep chucking my crap in the car every weekend to take part in the insanity.

Nats: an obvious confirmation that this sport is where I belong. See you in Bend,Oregon next year or over the pond in the homeland.

Looking forward, here's to new leadership at the helm and Phish getting back together with a rumored 5 night run at Redrocks. There's so much more I could list here but time's a wastin' . Here's wishing you and your family the best for 2009 !! Thanks so much for reading and sending your comments.

other misc. photo's from the year:

Tall biking at Fruita Fat Tire fest
Birthday on top of Kenosha Pass

Monarch Crest - a surprisingly super fun solo ride this year

Jen, on her little big wheel bike in Fruita

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Withdrawl Symptoms

We just returned from another quick drive to Kansas and back to visit with the family for the holidays. For sure my body in still consuming calories as if:
A) there are still races every weekend
B) there's a hibernation looming on the horizon
A little self control would go a long way right now (as I look down at the keyboard here, all the crevasses between the keys are filled with cookie crumbs). After a weekend of mass consumption and a total of 12+ hours in the car. I stuffed myself into some cold weather ride gear and spun over to the Bear Creek cross course for a couple of laps with the new shoes. The trails in Palmer are still a bit icy in the shaded areas so I decided to pass on the fat tires, besides I really wanted to get back out of the skinny knobbies. Felt super good to get out for some fresh air, but I am already feeling like I've lost some fitness...oh well..tis' the season. I think I'll go cook up some Spam in bacon grease and serve it between 2 chocolate chip cookies.

snowball fight to warm up before our hike

Karen, Jen, Mom and Don

Nieces on the prairie

Jersey's Christmas gift... a Maine lobstah

Here's looking forward to 2009! Thanks for reading


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Truth be told, I never get that fired up about the Grand Tours come summertime, I have an infinite amount of respect for the (clean) riders who pour their heart and soul into these events but what gets me going are the Spring Classics, especially Paris-Roubaix. I was extremely fortunate to attend this race in 1997 while Rockshox was developing their road fork. If I can manage to adequately translate that experience into words, I will do so here at a later time.

Paris-Roubaix is a thing of beauty, the specialists of this event are so beyond pro. They've ascended to an entirely new level in order to deal with so much pain, suffering, and toil. Masterlink Films has just released The Road To Roubaix and is without a doubt, hands down, the BEST cycling film I've ever seen. If you have any interest in Paris-Roubaix please, I beg you, do yourself a favor and see this film, It is time well spent.

Thanks to my honey for recognizing that I wasn't going be able to sit on my hands and wait until Christmas to watch this film. She let me unwrap this one early!!

Thanks for reading

Monday, December 22, 2008

and another....

Katie Compton take another World Cup!! details here. ( Photo by her hubby, Mark ) Also, in other news the UCI seeks to undermine the very sport that it oversees by calling the World Cup bad for the sport. Huh ?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winter Solstice

It was a very chilly 3° when I let Jersey outside this morning, winter has officially arrived. The Solstice takes on so much more meaning the farther you live from the equator. When living in Maine, there was a significant and real sense that some of the weight was being lifted off when this day arrived on the calender. It had already been months of shortened dark days and although there were more than a few cold, snowy days ahead, a least they came with some additional light on both sides (even if was a just few minutes a week ). The corner had been turned.

My commutes this week were a true mixed bag of the elements. Monday morning was below zero with some fresh snow on the ground. By Thursday evening we were getting massive, balmy gusts of wind, a few that literally blew me off the bike path into the grass and brought me to a dead stop. I had to actually consider getting off and walking it was blowing so hard ! The Panaracer 45c tires on my Surly have been great on the snow, ice and dirt but they are so painfully slow on the pavement, I need to find something with a smaller block tread. I really like the look of the Kenda Small Block 8's, seems like a decent balance between low rolling resistance and traction, but the widest they offer is a 35c. I'd like to find something wider to keep the flotation factor as high as possible. Since there's a mixture of pavement and dirt on my commute with the added winter elements thrown in, it's always a matter of weighing the pro's and con's.

After the past 9 solid weekends of racing it's a little strange not to be running around the house gathering up bit and pieces of clothing, water bottles, GU packs to toss into the gear bag. ( those activities have been substituted by preparing for the 25th. ). My Jamis arrived back from KC via brown Santa (UPS) on Tuesday with a bent rear derailleur hanger. I replaced that with a fresh one on hand and gave the bike a pro wash before one last tune and then it goes on the hook until perhaps a dirt ride up to the Academy and back.

I also made the very difficult decision to put my old Sidi's out to pasture. I'm pretty sure they're at least 10 years old and they are getting seriously soft in the sole. I pulled the spikes off and will continue to use them for commuting. They've been replaced by a new pair of Specialized kicks in ,yes......white ! These will be stored in a cool, dark, dry area until next fall.

We've just submitted artwork to Champion Systems clothing for a new Colorado Springs specific Srammie kit ( long and short-sleeved skinsuits!!...sweet!! ) so I'll post pics of those when they arrive sometime in Feb. or March. Although we're heading into cyclocross hibernation, here's to looking forward to the next season.

Thanks for reading, enjoy the Solstice

Monday, December 15, 2008

Last Shots from Nationals

Trebon is too tall.......Page behind

Land Sharks
Future Hypothermia Victim

Colorado Springs' own Katie Compton on her way to a 4th National Championship

Stu Thorne and crew being anal

Saturday, December 13, 2008


It's over, and it comes with a combination of elation and sadness. Sadness because this is the sport that keeps on giving, our scene is so tight and such an awesome spectacle.... we're many months before the circus starts up again. Elation for putting in a solid effort today, although I was lapped by the top three, I managed another 65th placing today. ( at least I'm consistentantly slow this weekend? ).My goal of not being asked to pull off the course was met.

If you couldn't tell by my earlier posting today, I was seriously wadded up this morning just sitting around. I was doubting my reasons for being here,. For the vast majority of riders here this is their summit push, the culmination of the season and their training program is dialed towards peaking this weekend. I didn't want to get out there just to get in the way of these guys and their goals but that all changed as soon as I arrived.

I was spinning easy on a nice paved roller just a few miles away from the venue and who pulls up next to me is Tim Johnson, the first American ever to podium at a World Championships, subject of an excellent new DVD release, The Nine Ball Diaries and current National Champion with his teammate Jeremy Powers. They pull up and then sit up when coming alongside. We're rolling along for a few miles just chattin it up about this and that. We all have similar motivations for racing, Mine are simple, race the best race I can but more so, immerse myself in the cyclocross racing experience which encompasses so many things but mainly hanging out and riding with those who share this passion whether that be stars of our sport or pack fodder like myself. It's an addiction.

What a scene today, a huge raucous crowd, a group of 5 dressed in shark costumes, someone with a marching band tuba,lots of bells and screaming. I'm pretty sure my sister and brother in law enjoyed themselves. You can't deny the appeal of spectating a cross is NEVER boring! We'll that is it, an even dozen races in the bag this year. I'll make sure I follow the same "training" program next year....downhilling at Keystone, epic mountain bikes rides on Kenosha, Monarch Pass, a Fruita trip, taking the cruisers downtown with Jen to get some grub.

Until then I think it's time to go slide on snow, Thanks for reading!!!


I am not so keen on racing so late in the day. I'm sitting in my hotel room...waiting, just sitting here with heaps of pent up energy. I think a large part of finding success here as a lot to with with being comfortable being out of your comfort zone, the normal pre-race routine, food, sleep, travel, etc. are thrown into a bit of chaos. I managed a great nights sleep and woke to mostly overcast skies and extremely blustery winds. There's a very slight chance of some light rain by late day.

According to the NRS guys the track was drying up very quickly yesterday, the masters women categories had the afternoon to wrap up their events and by late day there was no need for bike swaps in the pits whereas a spare bike and a mechanic/bike wash slave was necessary yesterday morning, pretty epic conditions. Scott M pre-rode yesterday and managed to completely mangle his rear derailleur after the pulleys filled up with mud and ceased to rotate.

Unless it starts to rain, I don't think the mud is going to play a factor today. My legs are feeling Thursdays efforts still but I'm feeling ready to go. My sister Laura and brother-in-law Don will be coming out from Kansas today so this will be fun for them. The hotel is finally filling to the brim with antsy riders. I ran into the "twin towers" from Kona this morning, it's looks like they have just arrived into town. Tim Johnson and Jeremy Powers have been here for a couple of days already.

Thanks for reading and all the encouraging words of support, Today's goal is simple, try not to get pulled.


Friday, December 12, 2008

Todays Pics and a New Forecast

Nuetral Race Support..the unsung pros
hard core cross fans

Jose's Brats

Still Muddy

Here the NOAA forecast for tomorrow:..( sweeeeeet! )

Saturday: A 20 percent chance of rain after noon. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 54. Breezy, with a south wind between 22 and 28 mph, with gusts as high as 37 mph

Rest Day

So the folks putting on this little goofball event in the heartland posted a video on their event website previewing the course this year. What was posted doesn't represent the course in the least bit. I'm not sure what the story is behind the change but what has been laid out is outstanding!! The course preview video looked like a grass crit, no elevation gain, no technical challenges, few dismounts.....had me seriously worried. The layout has heaps of elevation gain and loss, lots of twists and turns and 3 dismount sections ( one which forces riders to actually run downhill into another sweeping 180 with another uphill....sick,sick people ), So all in all, very fun and super challenging.

It rained a bit last night and when I woke up there was a very heavy frost on all the cars in the hotel parking lot. So much for the course drying out, those poor Juniors this morning, it's going to slick as a smelt.

No plans today, clean the bike up a bit, head back to the airport to pick up Scott ( another Crossphile Srammie from Chicago ) perhaps go for a short spin and take a look at the course later. Forecast call for temps in the 50's and gusty winds tomorrow.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

One down, one to go

I had to come all the way to KC to get my fix of mud, (be careful what you wish for!) The recent snow here melted off today and left a couple inches of some incredibly greasy, sloppy sticky mud. The Red Rocks race that was held a few weeks ago on snow held WAY more traction than todays run. You had to be super careful on how the power was applied, there were more than a few long grinding climbs where the rear wheel would spin on every pedal stroke and then it was hang-on for the descents. I had a pretty poor starting position and managed to avoid a huge pile up right out of the gate. My goals of A. not crashing, B. not getting lapped and C. not being pulled were met. I think we had about a 100+ person field and I managed 64th I think.
Saturday will be a different story, the course may be drier but I will be a small fish in a big pond, we'll see how it goes, right now I need a warm shower, some Advil and an early bedtime
Aside from racing, it's feels like a bit of a reunion here, I ran into Stu Thorne from Cyclocross World and super honchy wrench for Tim Johnson, frame builder extraordinaire Richard Sachs from my old stomping grounds of Connecticut and Matty O, pro mechanic for Gary Fisher and all around nice guy who races fro Pro-Peloton in Boulder. There is lots of Colorado talent here this weekend.

Thanks for reading


After some delays in COS, I arrived in KC on time this morning. A bit of a rough start, a 4AM wake up call, deicing delay because of a heavy overnight frost and then to top it all off, a flight attendant doing a Mae West impersonation with the safety talk over the intercom, it didn't work for me at that hour of the morning.

There's a bit of snow on the ground and temps are chilly, slightly overcast skies. I'm going to try to work the kinks out my legs and lungs at 3pm today with the 40+ B group. Should be interesting after I just powered down a semi-yucky sandwich in the hotel lobby.....Stay tuned.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

couple of pics from last Sundays race

A little "hup hup" through the barriers

wondering why I got a call up

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Two To Go

Today marked the finale of the Colorado season, a little bittersweet, I'm definitely going to miss mixing it up every weekend with the "old guys who don't train and work 40+ hours a week"group. What won't be missed ? The cold, dark early morning drive up from the Springs and goatheads mostly.

Jen came up with me and we packed the weasel along for good measure. Sheila joined Jim so we had our own personal cheerleading crew out on the loop. The course was a superb mix of techy sections strung together with areas that demanded flat out power, seemed as though the ground was still holding some moisture from the snow we had Thursday so it compacted really nicely in spots and was crazy-fast. Two sections of barrier work and a "fun"sand pit with a 180° turn in the middle. There were heaps of very sharp turns that required concentration, all in all it felt a lot like back East. We had cool overcast conditions and a really large field, I don't think I'm terribly superstitious but I felt like circumstances were falling into place today. I do like even numbers, especially two's and eights. My number today was 228, hmmm..nice. Also thanks so much to Doug in Santa Cruz for the skinsuit. I've been denying the power of the one piece for the past two seasons and it came to head in the snow last weekend when my baggy jersey was becoming very droopy and flapping all over the place from all the moisture ( inside and outside ). I couldn't deal any longer. There is power in the skinsuit, it is faster, it's a fact.

I was dumbfounded to get a call up (I think because most of the really fast guys must have upgraded to 35+ Opens), I picked a spot way left in the third row. The folks at DBC like the long, slightly uphill dragstrips on pavement. Staging was done in seconds and the whistle went off. I slid back slightly to somewhere in the middle of the field probably erasing any advantage of the callup but no need to panic. The laps were long and we were expecting 5 to 6 loops within our 45 minutes. I was feeling really, really good on the bike today. I was running the Griffo's a bit on the firm side but there were a few hard shots with roots and and few curbs so I didn't want to risk a pinch flat. A serpentine short uphill section was proving pretty difficult for a few riders and I was caught behind a couple of them failing on lap 2. I was sitting at the back of a group of 5 during lap 3 and decided to punch it around these guys so I'd have a clear shot in these turns, it worked very well, I had a bit of open road in front of me but nearly blew to the sky and was seeing stars after the effort.

At 2 to go, our group was coming into lapped traffic so our line was immediately strung out and became difficult to tell what positions were being held. At 1 to go I was in a bit of no-mans land, there were 2 about 100 meters ahead and 3 guys just about 4 or 5 bike lengths behind me. On the last section of the bombed out-super rough decent, one of the guys behind me passes me like I'm going backwards. I bridge up to him on the 180 turn before the start finish and I watch as he pushes the chain into the big ring and stands up, "great." I stand up and am able to grab his wheel, I sit in and let him tow me to the line until it's time to come around. I get by him about 2 bike lengths before the line and come through in 16th place. I am super pleased with today's race, no major mistakes and just working the race the best I can. I'm completely aware that even this top 20 finish today isn't going to net me anything worthy to write home about in KC next week but who cares ? I had heaps of fun today although as the girls said after the race "It didn't really look like you were having such a good time out there". But I reassured them that it's a very unlikely pairing of pleasure and pain and that's the beauty of cross.

To all the 35+4's, I really hope to see some of you next week but I know for most of you, today was the conclusion of the season, so hope you have a relaxing "off-season", I can't wait to see you all next September when the circus starts up again. Stay in touch

Thanks for reading

Friday, December 5, 2008

SeaTac Nationals 1996

Couple of retro pics from Nationals in Seattle in '96, story to follow....can you tell which one was taken immediately after finishing and which was taken about 20 minutes later after the cold set in?

Ramping Up while Winding Down

Lot's of cycling-centric things going on, the Colorado State Championships this Sunday which unfortunately looks like they will be held under nice conditions. I'm actually OK with this as I missed out last year due to some brutal highway conditions . I was on-line at daylight looking at CDOT cameras placed along I-25 and decided I'd be the wiser for staying home instead of possibly spending a few hours hanging upside down in my seat belt somewhere on Monument Pass waiting for help.

We just went through a couple of days of some very wintery weather, It snowed lightly all day yesterday accumulating about 3 inches, by today, sunny and temps in the mid-40's. There's still some snow on all the North facing yards, streets and slopes but all will probably be gone by the middle of the weekend. I did throw my Panaracer Fire Cross 700 x45c tires on and they do work super well in the white stuff but dang...they are sooooo slow. Eleven degrees when I rode from the house this morning and the roads were a sheet of ice.. I do really enjoy the baffled looks on drivers faces. The path to work had already been plowed most of the way providing a far safer alternative method of transport.

Looks as though the crew at Boulder Racing has added one last (?) low key event for the season, for details, go here. Think I'll pass on this, States will be my 10th race for the season, a new high for me for the 12+ years that I've been racing cross ( I think I'm becoming more obsessive about this sport the older I get )

Next Thursday I leave for the Nationals in KC, my goals are simple, try super hard to not get lapped and not be asked to leave the race. I'll do a non-championship race on Thursday afternoon if travel goes well. I'll update here as frequently as possible so stay tuned.

Thanks so much for all readers sending lots of positive feedback and continued encouragement about the blog, It has been a very fulfilling couple of months since starting this, so thanks again


Monday, December 1, 2008

End of the Drought

Pay-Dirt!!! I woke early Sunday morning to at least a couple of inches of fresh snow, and yes it did feel exactly like coming downstairs on Christmas morning to find _______( fill in the blank of your most treasured gift ever )under the tree. Nothing was going to stop me today. Jim craftily slid his pristine vintage Honda through the intersection at the base of the Fillmore hill (remember the days before ABS ) and pulled into our driveway at 7am. We both acknowledged that we we were about to do was not the smartest idea but it was game-on. I-25 headed North was a bit of a mess but few cars on the road and being cautious was the order of the day.

The driving conditions erased any opportunity to pre-ride or warm all; race time was at 9:25, we arrived at 8:50. We were headed to registration and bumped into Matt O and Greg K. Matt seemed slightly stunned that a couple of knuckleheads who stand zero chance of standing on the podium that day would risk the drive up to race...too late, we've arrived. A quick sign up in a deluxe camper trailer, run back to the car with the motor running and heat on full blast and pin on the number. I jumped onto the course and rode for about 200 meters before quickly realizing that it had turned into an ice skating rink. There was approximately a 10" wide track that had been packed down pretty well by riders and because the temps were hovering just above the freezing mark had turned rock hard and slick as....well, ice.

Dubbing around on the track caused me to pull up to the line late so I picked a spot at the very back ( where I should be ) and the whistle went off about 30 seconds later. Within a matter of a minute and barely onto the track our race resembled a strung out line of bowling pins at the end of the lane. Riders were everywhere, I've never seen so many guys loose traction and stack it so quickly. I ventured way off track and into the deep stuff on the sides a few times just to get by the chaos, some sections were so difficult to regain momentum that I just shouldered my bike and ran a good portion of the course. By laps 2 and 3, I had settled in and figured out my lines, I was motoring well and picking off riders.

I also couldn't wipe the smile off my face. I relish conditions where fitness and power must take a back seat to handling skills and I felt super good on the bike. Seemed as though a large group of spectators had arrived en-mass equipped with bells, horns and lungs which added to the hilarity and absurdity of the conditions. I had absolute confidence in the bikes ability to stay put as long as I committed to my lines. I never stacked and rolled through in 12 position. I could have gone for at least a few more laps, perhaps conditions were improving but I knew I was picking up speed on every lap. Thanks to the great crew that put on the Red Rocks series. I was a little bummed that the old Morrison elementary school venue was left off the schedule but Bear Creek park is a beautiful spot and makes for a great race venue.

State Finals on Sun. see you there
Thanks for reading