Monday, November 30, 2009


Apparently I have a disconnect between brain and stomach. I mean..I love Thanksgiving..."gravy? why, yes please", "gee, I don't think I've tried all 32 dessert options!" "are there larger plates available or just overflow ones available ?" "race bikes ?me ?...I think you are mistaken"

As in past years, Jen and I made the trip East to Kansas to visit with my side of the family for the long weekend. Thankfully, the consumption is slightly balanced by the fact that everyone leads an active life, so we all went on a few walks/hikes and stick with tradition when we turn our backs on the approaching rampant consumerism that is Black Friday. Instead ,we spend a day doing a few odd jobs around my sisters farm . Last year, I balanced the meal with a nice 56 mile road ride between their homes, that ride didn't quite pan out this year so while I wasn't keen on jumping in the car again after a 7 hour drive the day before, I felt as though it was in my best interest to go race my bike at Sunday's RRV #2. Besides, I had a bone to pick with this course.
loading up for a hike ( or swim, for the dog )

Jen's new ride...a hayburner to replace the 29er

eliminating emergency exits for goats

a break...supplemented with more cookies

Last weeks Pike Peak race netted me a second row slot on the start line. A couple of pre-lap warm up laps showed that the course had been modified slightly, still stupid hard and techy in spots. There were a few sections that would send out mental suggestions, saying "go ahead, sit up here and take a breather...this is a hard sport and you deserve a break" best to avoid those voices and keep your head down and keep the power on, otherwise you'd get dropped like a rock. I got off to a decent enough of a start but was immediately flustered by traffic and not being able to approach barriers, sand pits, run-ups etc, at the speed I wanted. Subsequently, I found myself trying to play catch up without much of a top end. ( and carrying an extra bunch of pounds around ) With 2 laps to go, the afterburners finally kicked in ( late!) and I started moving forward and finished through in 16th position. Thankfully, the course didn't get the best of me this time and was super pleased just to have finished without any drama. Modest goal of keeping just enough points to earn me a semi-decent callup at States was met.

Huge congrats go out to the Boob , who took a win in the 4's on what would be his last race for the season. I'm not sure where the time has gone and we are already looking at the end of our season...or are we ? I booked a flight to Bend and I also keep reading rumors of a few January races for the front range.

Looking forward to seeing you all at States this weekend, best of luck to all out there who are wrapping up their seasons. Thanks for reading


Monday, November 23, 2009


Many, many thanks go out to Shawn Lortie for the images added to yesterdays post below

more images can be found at UltraRobs site and more links in 303Cycling

I failed to mention one other great side story yesterday. It was Danny Summerhill, super honch, pro for Garmin Slipstream sitting on the trainer in the pit area after his win...cheering on his Mom who was racing in the Masters Women's a family sport!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Pikes Peak Supercross #2

Local racing is the finest kind of racing, Saturday was a nice change of pace, no packing the car the night before, no alpine start to Boulder County and then having to deal with football traffic on the drive south, not having to sit alone in a darkened kitchen with my bowl of oats. Our dog won't even hang out with me on these early cold mornings. But Saturday was nice, a good leisure start to the day.

Course conditions were once again, primo. By our start, the frozen ruts had just become to transform themselves into a slippery skim layer of mud on top of frozen ground. I walked the course on Friday and immediately decided then that the Michelin Muds were going to replace the Griffo's again and I wasn't disappointed, tires were hooking up like velcro and if I didn't have any control over a line choice, it didn't matter, these tires are just amazing in slippery conditions. Thanks to a smaller field size ( 41 starters ) and a overly-caffeinated cheering section, I pulled off one of the best races I've had in ages, a 7th place which will hopefully enable me a semi-decent start spot at States in 2 weeks. Bob Prieto from BSV and I shared leads for a about 4 laps where I would pass in the barriers and running sections and then he would crush me on the paved climb. Fellow finishers from our little Avid family was Jim Mathis in the 18th spot and Matt Hunt in 36th. Obviously super pleased with my top ten, but even more so by how the remainder of the day unfolded. I wanted to stick around for the rest of the afternoon to cheer on some co-workers and friends who would be racing in the Cat 4's and 3's.

Chris Wilkerson was one of the guys. He's made 2 prior attempts at racing cross. The first being the Pikes Peak race 2 years prior. That race ended within the first half lap with an exploded rear derailleur and no spare bike. The second attempt was at Chatfield Res last year, I won't go into the ugly....ugly details(again) but it's worth taking a look here. Well, with perhaps a little cajoling and some trepidation, C-Dub decided to throw his hat in the ring again and nailed it finally. It was a ride inspired ! He sat at the back for the start ( to smartly avoid any calamities )and steadily wound his way up to 18th spot with a massive grin most of the way.

Also racing in this group was longtime friend/co-worker Jeremiah Boobar, fresh off back surgery from about 8 months ago followed by more months of rehab and a super focused effort to whip himself back into shape. He's dropped a heap of beer gut and was also on the tail end of some kind of sinus infection. Perhaps it was the antibiotics, but he sat near the finish line at his start time wondering where the rest of the field was until realizing that the whistle had just blown on the other side of the river and he was placed on the exact opposite side of the start line and just missed his start. Thus began a massive TT/chase. He was well over a minute back on the last guy after the last lap. In chase mode, he was going way...way faster than the leaders of this field. By the time the 45 minutes were up, he had moved into 11th place ! With a proper start. it would have been a podium day.

Next up, the 3's. Matt Klick had driven down with his sweetie to do his best to lay waste to his speedy compadres. I haven't stuck around a race for the entire day in a long time and let me tell you these guys have it tough. By their start time, the sun is already sinking below the mountains and the temperatures are dropping quickly. Volunteer officials and race organizers are literally breaking down the course as the races progresses. I think I counted 5 spectators, all significant others helping with encouragement and hand-ups.... "go babe!!!'re doing great !" The venue is mostly quiet, no bells, horns, kids running around...nothing. Matt had a phenomenal couple of laps but was victim to some coordinated attacks that came from behind and wound up 6th.

I'm not ready for the end of the season that's rapidly approaching. I'll be extending by a week and heading up to Bend for Nationals where my primary responsibility will be work related in regard to the Shorty Ultimates but will try to grab a spot for a "B" race prior to the championships races.

Till RRV, here's wishing everyone a Happy Thankgiving, I hope you're all able to share the day with those you cherish. Cheers !
Digging for photo's from Saturday, if you find some please post a comment with links, Thanks


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Not so pro-file

Head on over to The Road Diaries to get the skinny on where were at with Shorty Ultimates, if you see me or my fellow Srammie, Jim Mathis at any of the remaining front range races and want to take a squeeze, give us a yell, (be forewarned though, I run mine moto style )

Thanks to Zellman who got it mostly right, except for the fact that I race in the slow Masters category. if anything it's worth taking a look at the New England Cyclocross Mafia Mob Boss, Stu Thorne cleaning my filthy bike

Saturday!!!.....Saturday!!! Pikes Peak Velo Cross....see you there

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Woke up feeling pretty darn good after flying in from Taiwan the day before. I look outside, it's spitting rain and snow, low grey clouds and temps hovering around freezing. Perfect. Might as well race off the lag and besides, getting to Sundays race in Boulder sounds like a dodgy affair with a bunch of snow on the menu. I was running around the house in super panic spaz mode trying to gather all bits and pieces of bike stuff that I needed for the day. The bike wasn't really prepped. I was pulling clothing off the line that had been left there from the last race. Everything is chucked into the car and off I go, almost an hour late.

I arrive at the venue with about 50 minutes to spare. Jim rolls over looking for a pump, " you look like hell " he states, since I hadn't yet looked at myself in the mirror yet, I can't disagree and no , I managed to forget my pump at home, along with chamois lube and embrocation. After paying for my number, I huddle in the back of the Element and change as quickly as possible, apparently too quick as I zip up the skinsuit and realize that I forgot to attach the number. Off comes the suit again, pin on the number, suit up again and then I think I've lost a glove. By the time I dial in tire pressure and use the facilities one last time, any opportunity for a warm-up or course re-con has evaporated. I just pull up to the line, pass on a call-up and think I'll figure out the course as we go.

Oh to be 18 seriously, This is the 3rd time this year that I've slotted into this position. I am pretty darned pleased with this race despite my body not really knowing what time zone it's in. The course had a nice mix of wide open power sections, a Return of the Jedi type singletrack and of course some sand.

Thanks for the folks at the ICCC and the FMVC who put an emphasis on a family/community day of cross racing. There was a newbie race which I think is badly needed in our area. Starting out, even in a Cat 4 race could be WAY more intimidating for a first foray into cross racing. Nestled into the newbie race was also a tandem category with some pretty impressive coordinated dismounts and remounts. Hot Dogs on the grill, huge pots of hot cocoa, a nice fire pit to keep spectators happy and also a very well attended memorial service for a club member who was tragically struck by a motorist a week prior.

It was a nice low key day at the races, and the atmosphere was quite unlike any other event that we've had this season. well done.


Friday, November 13, 2009

Life on the ROC

the Republic of China, Taiwan or "backwards land" as I like to call it because as I'm turning in for the night, everyone back in my original time zone is just beginning to start their day. I haven't done a tally as of late totalling the number of trips here but believe it's somewhere in the high teens. Their culture never ceases to disappoint though, they are the most outgoing persons who will make sure that every single one of these visits is enjoyable.

Their work ethic is bordering on obsessive and it shows with the recent success' in building up and modernizing their infrastructure, and the ability to build things like very cool, lightweight carbon fiber bicycle bits, although at a severe cost to the environment. Thankfully there have been many improvements in that arena as well. Perhaps it's their independent nature, while technically they are under the thumb of the nearby behemoth of China, there's a very visible streak of individuality, the language is slightly off from traditional Mandarin, the politics are polar opposite of China and the food is wayyyy better. When China requires that they they fly a "Chinese Taipei" flag at the Olympics instead of their national flag, I think that just adds fuel to their motivation.

Go to Taichung and hurl a rock in any direction and you'll hit a supplier making some widget for a bicycle, it's all here. If it's not here than a Taiwanese based company has opened a plant in China to supply factories building and shipping bikes from the mainland. There's some quality road biking once you leave the urban areas but mountain biking is just about non-existent. That's slowly changing as there are many DH specific gravity trails popping up in the steep,
densely forested hills above Taipei city. Shuttling is accomplished by attaching a tow-rope behind a scooter.....they are resourceful and you can fault them for that.
Cross "racing" plans will be dictated by quality of sleep tonight and road conditions. Hope to see you out there.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Power Trip

It's currently 1:15 am in Colorado, I'm sitting in the United lounge in Tokyo/Narita airport, filled to the brim with Sushi and missing my girls already!

Also still feeling the effects of Saturday's Schoolyard Cross which despite the warm , dry conditions might go down as one of the most enjoyable races I've had this season. I didn't experience my typical "2 to go fade" in fact it felt as though I ran out of real estate and time. The course was predominately flat and FAST, stupid fast and requiring a massive wattage output. This is typically not my style of course or conditions ( warm, sunny ). Despite having a pathetic points standing, I still received a call up and slotted into the 2nd row. Whistle blows and the rider in front of me slips a pedal and does a couple of swaps/tripod moves in before regaining control. By now, a good third of the field was up the road, I got pimped in a couple of turns as the course narrowed and I was immediately relegated to the middle of a 80 rider field. Time to chase and pick off as many spots as possible.

Super thankful for a few things that worked to my favor: 1 ) the double rings up front as I spent a considerable amount of time in the 46T. 2) a mud pit, while we had a hefty dose of summer on the front range this past week, the race organizers took it upon themselves to break out the hose and water down a long straightaway, I was able to pick off a few spots every lap through here. By 2 to go, a Crossniacs rider and I were sharing an epic battle for who knows what placing but you'd think it was the last chance for the green points jersey at the TDF. A few gentlemanly passes on both our parts. With 1 to go he was clinging to my wheel as we headed up what was easily the toughest long uphill bumpy grinder of a climb with 2 barriers at the top. We both exited the section cleanly, jumped back on the pavement for the finishing straight. I've never possessed any type of sprinting skills whatsoever but I was fired up for this one and besides, Dave Towle was announcing and whipping the 5 spectators into a frenzy, I barely kept my spot on the line, good enough for 19th spot. Past the line,we both congratulated each other on a job well done and then Mr Crossniacs went over to a nice shady, patch of grass to puke.

Love this sport.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Flight Plan

One more derby for me this weekend at Schoolyard Cross in Louisville on Saturday and then on Sunday, it's off to Taiwan for the next iteration-pilot build of our cross brake. 13 times zones away, 3 flights for a total amount of flying time of 15-17 hours, which makes a door to door excursion of about 26 hours ( give or take a few minutes ). To get an idea, don't sleep for about 3 days and then spend a full day inside a carnival fun house. That's the closest analogy to describing how I feel when I get home again. The Cross Crusade race is out, and the Boulder series wrap-up is a definite maybe. I'm going to do my best to race off jet lag...for sure, steer clear of me if you pass mid-race and my eyes are's just a quick nap.

Here's to an early arrival of the cold front on Saturday as this weeks weather on the front range has been positively un-crossy....can't really complain, we've had a really nice balance of perfect ( snow, cold , mud ) and not so-perfect ( sunny, warm )

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Line Choice

Although I haven't found it yet, I'm pretty sure I'm labeled with the following statement " For best results, best to operate in temperatures between 25° -55° F" .

Saturdays race was a blur and seemed to end mere moments after it started, which was a shame. Pure joy, playing in the mud, the filthier the better. It feels as though the body is pulling energy from each new glob that flicks off the tire tread into your teeth. For many of us, the individual reasons that we gather every weekend are as varied as the lines we choose across a mess of goop, although I think that at the core, all our reasons are exactly the same. Camaraderie. If I raced with you or encouraged you from the other side of the tape it's because we can all relate to the ability to push ourselves to the best our abilities and leave nothing on the table. To suffer like hell for 45 minutes and hope to come out of it smiling, to share our battles on the field.

Shawn Lortie, super fast dad, who shared his secret to speed, don't ride during the week and partake in Margs at the Rio whenever possible

At the end of my day, I filled up the 18th position on what is consistently, one of the best courses and well run event on the calender ( there was even a high school marching band in attendance )The fact that it was an NACT race, made it that much sweeter. It was great to spend some face time with some long time New England Cyclocross Mafia members, and witness Tim Johnson putting on a clinic on how to race cross by besting his teammates by a solid minute and a half !
Jesse Anthony, consummate pro and gracious enough to lend his hand to the product development process

A few factors figured into my decision to pass on Sundays race. First was that my start time was 8am ( too early ), The venue was changed to the Res ( once a year is enough ), a Halloween party the night before ( cheeks sore from laughing at absurdly creative costumes) and it was just a perfect Fall day to spend with my honey. I did get out on a dusk ride on the Indy Fab down the Sante Fe trail as the moon rose over downtown....perfect weekend
Check out Rob O Dea's pictures from Saturday on Kellers site....amazing.
Thanks for reading