Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Saturdays Pics

Thanks to Lortie for the photo's

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Perfect Storm ?

Here's what the weather service has to say about the next couple of days:



Sweeeeeeeet. I'm hearing a total accumulation of at least 8 inches or so which will turn most of Saturdays course at Xylinx into a cold, frozen, quagmire of muck. Michelin Mud 2's are mounted and clean, all I need to do now is avoid my workplace which resembles an infirmary right now. There might be 3 of us that haven't yet caught the crud sweeping through our building.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Tale of Two Venues

Let me first say that the planets aligned in perfect formation to bring the Front Range the best cyclocross conditions we've seen in awhile. Temps were cool and sunny on Saturday and Sunday brought a blanket of low grey menacing ceiling of clouds, and rounds of light snow showers all day.

Saturday: Castle Cross
On the drive up from PPTP (Pikes Peak Trailer Park) I started spotting big remnants of a snowstorm that blew through mid-week. While we didn't receive any accumulation of snow in the Springs, by Monument pass and all the way to Castle Rock there was still a decent coating of the white stuff left on the ground. Me thinks there could be mud today !!! By the time I pulled in the lot, my hopes were confirmed, super dirty riders pulling off the track onto pavement and leaving long strips of mud down the road as their tires cleared. A warm-up lap confirmed that 1. This was going to be HARD, lots of elevation gain and loss, super muddy, 3 run-ups, and lots of off-camber jogs. 2) I had the wrong tires on, the Griffo's were not cutting it (pun intended) so it was back to the ever-reliable Michelin Mud 2's which were absolutely perfect for the greasy conditions.

Not sure if everybody was scoping bargains on a Coors Light Team Jersey from 1989 at Velo-Swap or saving their legs and lungs for the sand trap that is Boulder Reservoir but the field size was low, perhaps 50 guys in our group. Because of this I actually managed a front row slot and managed to pull off a very decent start. I was sitting top five for most of the first lap. Then everyone got serious and realized they had numbers pinned on so this must be a race and should get down to business. There was a particular mud hole that I was wary off, since the least goopy line felt as though there was a rock hidden underneath the soup. I felt a rim strike and made a mental note not to hit it again for fear of pinch flatting. So I return to said mud hole on lap 2 and decide to pick a line to the left, I drop in and literally "drop in", over the bars (again) and I land on the backside and now completely covered in mud. I grab my bike and there is so much viscous fluid trapped between my gloves and bar tape, I can barely control my bike, the chain is off so I just slam the chain into the big ring just to get the chain onto the rings again. Despite the lack of control and a few choice words, I'm back on the program and actually having a seriously good time trying to maintain control and not slip too far backwards.

Clydesdale extraordinaire Brian Graves from FMVC caught me after my swim, gave me a very polite "on your right" then promptly rode away from me. I put my head down and started to slowly bridge back when I saw him duck around some bushes on an off-camber sharp left then I hear a string of very vocal expletives and I round the corner to see an impressive bike toss (mind you, not quite as impressive as this guy, but pretty good). Turns out, his sidewall was sliced open on a rock and that was the end, too bad too, because he was really on a tear (pun intended) yesterday.

The remainder of the race is just taking care of damage control as the soggy ground is sapping any kind of power clean out of my legs. Riders a strung out in huge gaps and I seem to be in no-mans land. No one close to bridge a gap and no one behind for a ways. I roll through in 12th happy as a clam, deep in...mud.

Thanks to the crew at Green Mtn Sports, the course, organization, and volunteers were phenomenal.

Sunday Boulder # 3
After spending a good part of Saturday afternoon cleaning mud out of socks, ear canals, shoes, nostrils, gloves, etc. ( I am certain that cleanup lasted longer than the race ). I prepped for sand-fest 2009. I have serious love-hate relationship with the course at the Boulder Reservoir. I think there's something fundamentally wrong with riding/running/struggling through an inordinate amount of waist deep sand. I know that there are specific World Cup courses held in Belgium on courses similar but much, much harder than this, but that's why the punters sit by the sidelines, drink copious amounts of alcohol and hurl verbal abuse at their favorite riders. The pro's should race courses like this, that is why they are pro's and they get paid good money to ride thier bikes in ridiculous conditions. For the rest of us, it's just not that pretty to watch the fumbling, stumbling, tri-poding and wallowing in the sand. (the exception was Matt Pachocha from Velo-News who while warming up, was making everyone look like idiots as he easily rode through a slight uphill, long section of sand that every other mortal was shuffling through)

So why race this ? When I put together a solid race, I have OK results here and actually have decent time ( but I still detest so much sand )The past 2 years, I've been plagued with flats, first time with no spare wheels or a bike, the second year, I was sitting easily in the top 20 and flatted in the front and shanked my wheel change, losing heaps of spots. Today, I ran a super durable fast, fat tire, the Michelin Jet. I have been a huge fan of this tire for a long time. It provides decent flotation, good traction in most conditions and has some hefty casings. I can run these at very low pressures without worrying about finding some sharp object lurking underneath the sand waiting. With some light snow showers overnight, the sand pulled in a nice amount of moisture so some sections were fairly fast and starting to pack down. Despite one of my worst starts in a long time, I was able to put together a pretty solid race with no issues (except for pimping another rider in one of the sandy switchback turns and causing him to topple over--sorry! but I was stuck on a line). I finished up in 20th and got my single BCR point....whooo hooo !

For Halloween, the NACT circus arrives in the Peoples Republic and we are in for a treat(pun intended) as we get to watch how cyclocross is done by this countries best.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Movie Fans

This Thursday the 22nd, Race Across the Sky is playing at theaters all over the country. a documentary about the 2009 Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Race and the epic battle between all-around super nice guy,mountain bike honch, Dave Weins ( 6 time winner ) and some roadie named Lance Armstrong. Check out the details and the move trailer here

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Race # 5 today at the Tony Grampsas Park in lovely Golden, CO. ( basically across the street from the Coors brewery, based on the smell that was a cross between burning tires and hops, I'm going to guess it's not brewed from the fresh, clean waters of the Colorado rockies ). A beautiful Indian Summer day here on the front range with temps pushing 80. I should have taken this as an omen and stayed home. I pre-rode the course which presented more than it's fair share of challenges, but also a super sweet piece of very fast, shady singletrack, a nice place to gather your thoughts and recover. A clever use of a sand volleyball court and which we went through twice, one short route, one long. There was also a very short, but steep set of stairs that dumped us out onto a bumpy flat before a sharp left, steep drop-in back to the track. While I was watching the 35 opens tackle this section, the treads on the wooden stairs were coming loose and there were a few riders botching the remount and having to run down the drop-in.

After missing Valmont, my call-up was on the bottom of list but still enabled a pretty good spot on the 3rd row. Attendance was down but still a sizable field ( 80 maybe ?). Start was ridiculously hard, a gravely loose, uphill onto freshly mowed dead dried out grass ( so dry, it's slippery!). Brian from FMVC was shouting out encouragements behind as I swept across his line about three times almost sending him into the weeds. The first lap was producing carnage everywhere, it's been a long time since I've seen this many riders hit the deck. One endoed right in front of me heading into the sand pit which sent me off course and over the tape to avoid running him over. By laps 2 and 3, the mayhem seemed to be settling down, I was picking off a few riders and saw my rabbits in front of me to start chasing down. And that's when everything came unglued in one lap. I came up to the stairs and had a clean dismount and run-up, as I went to remount, the back wheel hit a rut and bounced high and to the outside, I had to quickly abort the remount and when I came down, I lost my footing and fell down the drop-in, leaving the bike at the top. I scrambled back up and pulled my bike out of the way and got back to making forward progress. This little episode has spiked my heart rate so high, it was all I could do to spin nice easy circles and any bike handling skills previously available were absent now. I was shanking all the good lines in a desperate attempt to move up again. That's when I came up with the brilliant idea to come warping into the sand pit at full speed and keep my momentum as high as possible. I went in and misjudged the depth of the sand in my line and promptly buried my front wheel and did a super high speed superman over the bars.

Thankfully the sand was soft and loose, I was up quickly and unharmed but I was completely spun and slogged through the remainder of the sand pit. I rolled back into the grass and started up through the start-finish area and noticed that my right shifter had suffered some sort of life changing event and wouldn't release cable. I was stuck in my 27, and there are much worse gears to be stuck in but after everything that had already happened, I wasn't in the mood to "2-speed" it through the remainder of the race. I was finished getting in the way of competent riders and pulled off course.

That's when I ran into honchy racer/photog/artist friend Lortie, who offered up his sweet full carbon Scott so I could jump back in, but at that point, I was finished. Pretty frustrating but it's been awhile since a course has gotten one over on me so I offer my congratulations to the designers/builders/hard working volunteers of the course today. I thought one lap through was sufficient and they proved me wrong. Lesson learned. I nice little shaded "picnic" with the FMVC boys post-race brightened my mood considerably. I now have 6 days to re-focus and try to get my game back. Let's hope for better weather.

Thanks for reading

Friday, October 16, 2009


Sundays forecast, that's a bummer. I can't rally for an 8am start up at Valmont on Saturday so RRV # 1 in Golden will be my pick for the weekend. Whomever has been responsible for laying out the Red Rocks courses over the years, they deserve heaps of credit in my humble view. The races at the Morrison Elementary School were phenomenal, for not that large an area, they used every foot with a purpose in mind, it was super fun, especially when when nasty weather was involved. The track at Bear Creek flowed like water and a single race up in Evergreen was pretty epic, so I looking forward to yet another new venue in Golden. Best of luck to everyone pining on a number this weekend.


Monday, October 12, 2009

The Real Deal

That's me (#567) scoping out my competitor from Blue Sky Velo and their nifty knee warmers, one is white ( left ) the other, maroon (right ). OK, now that's smart because it never, ever fails. I arrive at a race confident that I have not overlooked any details as far as what I need for the day. So, is it a cruel joke, some sort of sick collaboration between those who make gear bags and those whom manufacture cold weather cycling accessories that they all must come in the "color" black ? I mean really, I open up the cavernous black fabric-lined hole of a gear bag peering at more black headbands, black gloves, black knee warmers, black arm warmers, base layers, caps and I'm completely spazzing out because for sure I can't find the one piece I need. It's inevitable that I end up hauling everything out, it's strewn randomly around the interior of the car until I sort out my mini-crisis. It's like a kid losing their favorite blankey, all is well again once favorite and treasured Sugoi headband is found, like the day would be ruined without it! We all know that black is slimming on our svelte figures and as far as an accessory goes, it matches everything but I'm thinking it's time I start a color-coded accessory plan and put an end to the madness.

Sunday was # 2 in the 4 part Boulder Series Races. This was my 5th year in a row attending one of my all-time favorite venues. Nothing but deep green, lush grass, a sandpit to contend with and lots and lots of turns, thankfully off camber ones. I was extremely tentative about how the day would play out and if we would even be able to reach Boulder, thanks to a very foggy, raw, cold,very un-Colorado-like weekend. Everything was coated with a layer of heavy frost and the side streets resembled an ice skating rink. I reached Jims place without incident and he greeted me with a " Good Morning ! This is stupid!" By the time we rolled up on I-25 headed North the roads were clear and actually dry as soon as we departed the Springs. This eased my mood considerably and I started looking forward to some REAL cyclocross conditions and that was exactly what was delivered.

Thanks to a couple semi-decent finishes at Frisco I was treated to a call up ( albeit a 3rd row callup but I'll take it, especially with our group filling out at close to 100 riders, so much for weather conditions hampering field sizes ) I had a great start after a very short warmup and not even checking out the course. By lap 2 I couldn't feel anything past my wrists, complete solid blocks of ice, so shifting and braking was interesting. I was seeing riders ahead of me that I had passed the previous weekend but the course and cold were working slightly against me as I couldn't manage to bridge the gap. I would catch them through the barriers and sand pits, they would ride away from me on the switchback climbs back through the trees. I did a fairly decent job of damage control and managed to never really slide back during the race but never gained any ground either. I finished in 23 place and am very pleased with that. It was pure joy riding across a blanket of downed leaves and frozen wet, icy grass in such cold conditions, it felt very much like New England conditions in the heart of the season.

Due to an 8am start time, I think I will pass at the Valmont event next weekend, although I'd love to see the progress on this park. For sure I will be attending the RRV race at a new venue in Golden, has anyone ridden this yet ? Any feedback would be welcome

Thanks to Six Degrees to Slush for the pics


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Happy 1st Blogday

Veldrijden Colorado turned one this week ! A massive thanks goes out to those who have tuned in a regular basis, offered up words of encouragement, left a comment, sent readers my way. I had no expectations or even a direction to take when I started throwing down my drivel onto the inter-web a year ago but I've thoroughly enjoyed sharing my cycling-centric life with all of you.

Today is a rest day before heading up to Broomfield tomorrow for Boulder Series #2. This is under the assumption that I'll actually be able to get there, currently there are heaps of traffic accident reports all over the front range due to the fact that's it's below freezing and drizzling here in the Pikes Peak Trailer Park. Looks like a decent amount of snow in Boulder but the forecast calls for temps in the 50's and some sun. If travel goes smoothly this race will be EPIC

Thanks for reading

Thursday, October 8, 2009

East Coast Bloggah

Wheel over to Jesse Anthony's new site...It's pure coincidence that we run the same bikes, I swear I'm not a stalker !! Makin' me proud as he rocks the Shorty Ultimates at New England Worlds

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Weekend Plans

I'm going bonkers watching the weather scenario unfold for this weekend !!! Mid 40's , good chance of snow flurries Sat and grey and raw on Sunday. Could it be any better!! Because of my all encompassing general resistance to change ( my wife will attest to my "stick in the mud" nature ) I think I'm going to pass on Saturdays Cross Crusade race. I like the new format and get that they are trying to emulate the UK's 3 Peaks race, but I'm a traditionalist and like the short laps of 45 minutes and racing in the fall. So when I see everyone on Sunday and they blah, blah, blah, about how awesome Saturdays race was and how epic and rad, etc , etc I'll just have to stand there and take it and live with my decision, so be it. I've got a domestic day planned and need to pay attention to buttoning up the house a bit before things really get nice. So I'll see you Sunday on the grass at Interlocken which hopefully will be super wet and slippery as a smelt.

Welcome to another crossblogger: Crossin Colorado, he's posted some vids from last weekends event up in Frisco

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Frisco Double

Here are my tips for ensuring a "successful" weekend of back to back racing:

1) Despite the fact that it's your anniversary weekend, convince your significant other that what you really have in mind for her is standing outside on 2 very brisk Autumn days while said husband drags his carcass around in circles whilst simultaneously drooling on himself ( from nose and mouth! )

2) Bring hyper-vigilant dog with to ensure that you lack a proper amount of sleep both nights prior to racing. I recommend a terrier mix with bat-like hearing that will alert you to the fact that someone is walking past your room at who know what hour of the night.

3) Make sure you have some minor-crisis during the race to raise the excitement level, because we all know how boring cyclocross can be at times.

4) Drain the battery on the camera and leave the charger at home so no photographic documentation will ever exist

By following the above tips to the letter we had, for sure had an excellent weekend in the high country. Huge props to the fine folks who put on Frisco Cross. The courses were AMAZING and it was nice to participate in an extremely well run event. Registration people were super friendly and thankful to to take my money (vs. some others who view us racers and our cash as a major inconvenience on their weekend names ) Results were posted immediately following the race. Brats and beers were readily available.

Saturdays course was techy, favoring bike handling skills slightly over fitness. The start was a long straight dragstrip paved incline that dumped us onto a very fast, very loose, woodchippy descent. Without sufficient points status from a late start this season I tried to get up as close as I could to those with a call-up. I had a decent start and was immediately and pleasantly surprised by how good I felt for so little racing and the fact that we were at about 10,000 feet of elevation. The course came off the woodchips and segued into some very sharp, very loose turns, some in dusty loose, dirt, some on pea gravel. I witnessed heaps of crashes and front-end washouts due to the conditions. This race was super fun for me due to some battles with fellow riders, I would gap a group in the technical sections, they would come back strong on the road climb, we were going back and forth like this for about 3 laps, at the 3 to go marker my rear derailleur ingested a stick, I heard that sickening sound of the rear derailleur about to wind itself into the cogset so I immediately back-pedaled which thankfully spat out the stick however my hanger and derailleur were twisted enough to make me think twice about putting out large amounts of power. The cogs were sitting at 15-20 degrees off center, I still could shift but had to be super careful about not sending the cage into the spokes of the wheel. I managed to roll through in 18th place out of about 60 riders. Thanks to the guys at Mafia racing who loaned me a stand and tools to fix my bike post race.

Although Day 2 had a chance of precip, it was not to be for us morning racers. The day was bright and sunny although clouds were moving in fast and the wind had picked up something wicked. Sundays course favored the fit. There was a long, steep,very loose run-up on the backside and still maintained a few of the woodchip descents from Saturday. I had a horrible start. We charged up the pavement again but this time, dove off to the right into a huge pile of woodchips with one or two good lines. Immediately a massive plume of fine dust went up and all lines were obliterated. As soon as we were strung out I felt way too spent to start picking off riders. I was just sitting in trying to compose myself. A few laps in, I started feeling better and would pick my spots to start passing fellow riders. On lap 3 I came around a corner and witnessed what looked to be a handful of riders gathering themselves and leaving the scene of what I assumed was a crash. There was a long piece of tape across the course and I managed to ride myself right into it, It wrapped itself into my front brake, but I was able to easily reach down and give it a good yank. I freed most of it and continued on until I looked down to see the majority of the tape wrapped around my front hub and fork blade. Didn't seem to be impeding progress and I didn't feel like losing time and places so I left it. At one to go, I bridged a gap up to 2 other riders with the clever intention of having them pull me through the long flat section directly into a fierce headwind. I was so smitten with myself and my plan and as soon as we hit the section they both just rode me off their wheel...bummer. I did manage to improve upon the previous day and finished in the 15th spot. Turned out that the piece of course tape that I pulled from my wheel was about 5 feet long!

Great weekend, spectacular scenery, a nice night out with my lovely wife (if you're looking for a fine dining experience in Summit County, go here), good times hanging with my cross family, always good to see to see Matty O, Keller, Pete Webber ( caught up on Maine getaways ), Rich and Brian from Frites and Mayo who said they would return for Sundays race but a no show (Roller Derby get the best of you guys ?)

Thanks for reading, next on the horizon is Boulder #2 at Interlocken