Sunday, December 19, 2010

Recovering

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
shotty

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/Cyclocrossworld.com 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/Trailwatch.net, more can be found here at Cyclingnews.com

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

Shotty

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.

Shotty

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
Shotty

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Closer....

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

Shotty

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, so....it'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

Shotty


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
Shotty

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
Shotty

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

Shotty

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

Shotty



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,
Shotty

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Plans

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

Monday, November 1, 2010

Yo-Yo

Spoiler Alert ! at no time in the near future will you read enthusiastically about my new fitness/training regimen that has me climbing to the top step of the podium every weekend !!

Whew ! now that we have that out of the way, if you'd like to read more about the view from the back row, then please kick back and enjoy !

This simple exchange before the start of Sundays race summed up the weekend for me. At about the 30 secs to go announcement, someone in our crusty old coots class spoke up and wished everyone good luck and a clean race in which another replied " I love you all, individually and as a group!" It was brilliant timing and definitely broke any start line jitters. As funny as that was, it was perfectly suited to describing a weekend spent immersed with my cyclocross family at large. We are already at the teetering point in our season and hopefully looking at the looming darker and wetter half from here on out.

Saturday at the Boulder Reservoir nearly didn't happen after (another) wildfire broke out on the edge of town. Thankfully the organizers were granted a last minute green light from officials and it was game on. While I've never been a huge fan of the course at the Reservoir, Pete Webber and crew put together what I would characterize as the best yet, not too much sand where I usually resemble an extra from Lawrence of Arabia stumbling across a searing expanse of desert after weeks spent astray and lost without water. The course also featured turns galore, and with the lack of moisture that we're experiencing this fall, the grass is wicked dry and becoming very slippery after pairs and pairs of skinny knobs continually run across it at 28psi. With the new warm-up rules being enforced I brought along a trainer and manged to get a so-so spin in and then checked out about two-thirds of a lap before realizing that I was out of time and made a sprint for the line so I wouldn't miss my start. Arrived in time to pitch my jacket to Jen and literally the whistle blew and off we went into a blind start that I had no preview of. I spent the next 45 minutes trying hard not to suck too bad and rolled across in a mid pack 32nd place, besting the previous weekend by one place. And as my friend Matt reminded me ( tongue in cheek) that success in cross is linear, so at this rate all I need is 32 more races before I get the big W.

Jen also decided to race the one-lap fun run and how better to do that on Halloween weekend then to bust out your Sunday best.....OK, well this isn't exactly her Sunday best and I offered a suggestion that she go as a zombie school girl, She wanted nothing of it and opted for cute. I had to give a Rico handup as our dog was going nuts as a spectator.

During Saturday race, when I wasn't trying to keep my bike upright, I was thinking about Sundays course preview that had been posted on the interweb drawing all kinds of criticism and concern ( myself included )about the inordinate amount of pavement, whether is was cruising through the mall parking lot of jumping onto concrete sidewalks and how it looked as though it didn't really feature anything technical. Saturdays requirements were taking their toll on me and I serious reservations about what I'd have left for Sunday.

Well major kudos go out to Chris Grealish and his crew because Sundays course in my mind was superb. The course was the perfect example of an equalizer, the perfect mix of power and finesse. During the entire 45 minutes I shared an amazing duel with Charles Brown who would power away from me every single lap on the long grassy straightway grinder of a climb out of the lowest section of the course. He would easily put 10 to 15 seconds on me and I would be able to bridge back up and pass on the off camber downhill turns and runups back to the start finish area. We'd roll though the start/finish area along side one another each perhaps trying not to reveal too much even though all the shut down alarm bells were going off in my head. Charles punched it past me on the last lap and I couldn't close the gap on the last climb out, In fact 2 more guys came by me on either side as soon as we hit the concrete, I'm thinking there's no way I'm losing this many places on the last lap but as the 2 came past they manged to tangle bars and crashed themselves out of contention nearly taking me with them. I finished the day in 35th..so much for the linear success theory. I magically migrated my way directly into the Frites guys during cool down and they immediately offered up an adult recovery beverage from the Czech Republic which was very refreshing and followed by a brat and waffle. Another fitting end to a perfect weekend.

As far as passing judgement on video previews, I've learned my lesson, although perhaps not because I did the same thing for Bend Nationals last year, sitting at my computer and wondering why at had spent so much money and planned to go ride through sage weeds in the back of some some office park. I actually wished we take an alpine ski racing approach to these weekends. Go in "blind" in come prepared. I'd vote for text descriptions only.

See you next weekend, and as always thanks for reading

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Moving on....over

After the International Tour De Fromage last week and a solid 8 days off the bike, I had zero expectations for Saturday other than have some fun turning some laps. Friday was filled with some heavy thunderstorms and hail which had me frantically switching tires and putting fresh spikes in the shoes and as expected, these activities jinxed any chance of a muddy track. The course had dried out super quick but received just enough rain to make it ridiculously tacky and FAST !

Because travel had me missing key points races, there has been little to no opportunity to pick up any decent start spots in the 35+4 group. Because any race in the vicinity of Boulder draws such huge numbers in this "catch all" field, I've been stressing way to much about lacking the freedom to race my own race. It really had started to become un-fun routinely getting balled up in traffic. Therefore, I am implementing PLAN B: finish the season in the 45+ group for the following reasons.
1) when I'm driving at least an hour and half every weekend from the Springs, it sure is nice to wake at a reasonable hour to race
2) smaller field sizes =way less stressful starts
3) it's super motivating when my elders are handing it to me with ease

So, Saturday, with no hope of a call up, I find a nice open spot at the back which is only about 4 rows back. Whistle blows are we're tearing up the hill, there is no screwing around with these guys, they are here to tear your legs off, this isn't a social race. The pace is freakishly fast and I'm barely hanging on at about 8 -10 spots from the back. Thankfully I find my rhythm a bit and start moving forward relying more on other riders mistakes than fitness. A short grouping of mini barriers begs to be bunny hopped so I oblige even though the little voice of reason in my head is screaming " you best not shank this". Thankfully I cleanly execute them and pick up about 2 spots on every lap as the section following the barriers is a very rough patch of ground making remounting challenging. I can see a group of 5 in front and bridge up to them just as we hit the pavement climb and the group blows apart. I'm so cross-eyed going through the start finish that I'm looking for the lap counter and realize later that the huge digital board over my head is clearly displaying time and laps. I even hear the announcer give me a call out and I'm delirious wondering how this person knows I go by "Shotty". For the last few laps I'm trading positions with 3 other guys only to move forward and then immediately get dropped. By the end I roll through in 33rd out of 55 starters. Not bummed at all, in fact massively inspired and thoroughly enjoyed the race. So I've got some work to do but I feel super good with my decision to join this field. It's far more motivating and I'm already thinking about what I need to do to earn a top 15 or top 20 placing by the time state champs come around.

A massive thanks go out to Blue Sky Velo for putting on a great event! Yes, you are making everyone else look silly out there. A great course, pre-reg and number pickup was a breeze, I was e-mailed results by 4PM that day ! Jen participates in triathlons and I'm always impressed by the level of organization at these events and bummed in how cyclocross pales in comparison,but Saturday proved me wrong. Great work !

Congratulations to Sram/Avid riders who all climbed to top spot on the podium this weekend: Zdeneck Stybar, Tim Johnson and Jeremy Powers, way to kill it out there !

hope to find some images from Saturday, until then , thanks for reading
Shotty

Friday, October 22, 2010

Forward

Perhaps I'm getting ahead of myself, but I've put on the Rhino's and installed spikes into my shoes. It's dumping rain out there right now and there are no guarantees that means mud tomorrow. Here on the front range, if the sun makes any appearance at all, the ground will dry up like Social Security.

This is prime time for racing in Colorado in my book; cold nights and cool breezy days, leaves are still on the trees and we've got a heap of quality races on the schedule. Saturdays Blue Sky Xilinx course remains in my top five of favorites ( especially in the wet ). I'm skipping Sunday as I loathe the course at the Louisville Wreck Center which is exactly how my back feels at the end of that race. Halloween weekend are back to back NACT events in Boulder and then the USGP pays a visit to the hallowed grounds of New Belgium Brewery in Mid November. Love It !

Best of luck to everyone pinning on a number this weekend
Shotty

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Witness

I returned back to the Pikes Peak Trailer Park on Monday evening after a few very long flights, it's now Wednesday evening and I'm still at a loss of how to capture the past weekend in words. I've had plenty of time to think about this, what with being sequestered in the flying aluminum tube for hours on end,but I'm coming up with nothing. So I'll just lay it out and see what unfolds.

Our Germanic dealer tour wrapped up late Thursday afternoon and my fellow Srammie traveling companions kicked me to the curb in Aarou, Switzerland. They were on their way back to Germany with a rental car to be returned and flights to catch. I grabbed a train ticket to Geneva and enjoyed a very punctual 2.5 hour journey through some potentially beautiful countryside but was well hidden behind clouds and fog. Thursday evening was spent solo and I was bit spun what with starting the day in the German speaking area of the country, moving into the Western French speaking section and deciding on an Italian restaurant with a full Italian staff that spoke Italian and a menu written in Italian (and French ).

Jen arrived in Geneva midday Friday and we grabbed our rental car and struck out bound for Leysin, a small ski resort on the Eastern side of Lake Geneva. It's situated about 18K Northwest of Aigle up some super fun twisty, narrow roads that start low among wine vineyards and wind their way up into an alpine environment. No sooner had we pulled into town, found our hotel and dropped our bags, I heard "Hey!, can you work on some brakes ?" Turned around to find Mark Legg-Compton and Katie who were directly across from us through a small courtyard at the same hotel. The global cyclocross community remains a small one,when you travel to another continent and coincidentally, those from your hometown are sharing the same hotel.

Saturday was spent dodging rain drops and snow and Jen and I explored town, hid from the weather in a cafe enjoying some amazing coffee and pastries. Both of us, desperate for exercise finally committed and suited up for a 3 hour hike up to an alpine hut through some very heavy snowfall ( the first of the season for this area ). There was a cog train that ran from Leysin to Aigle so in the evening we jumped on for the steep descent down to Aigle and went full native, enjoying some escargot, fondue and sampling the wine from grapes grown in the region. While working off the meal before catching our train back, we strolled around Aigle and started spotted riders campers pulling into town, just returning from a 2 hour aftrenoon time slot to do reconnaissance on the race course.

Sunday arrived looking a little less bleak, the clouds had lifted just enough to show off all the new snow that had arrived. There was a pretty stiff breeze but temps were rising nicely. One quick stop at the bakery to load up on all things tasty and made with real butter from happy Swiss cows and then we came down into town prior to the women's start. I'll say it now, my wife is a saint for having the patience to deal with me and the cyclocross OCD. I was barely functioning on Sunday with all thoughts on witnessing what about to go down. The race was held on the grounds of the UCI. It's a pretty impressive building with the Alps as a backdrop and a portion of the building jutting out to a sharp corner mimicking the bow of a huge ship. Cross in Switzerland is not a huge draw and crowds were pretty sparse. This was actually a benefit as it was very easy to move around the course and visit riders. We parked and immediately found Zdenek Stybars camper. I had pre-arranged a meeting through his Belgie mechanic, Gilbert so as not to disturb the pre-race routine(too much). Both Zdenek and Gilbert were extremely accommodating and we stuck around long enough to grab some photographs, have some rider cards signed and talk product for a bit. I'm super thankful that even as long as I've been around bikes and bike racing I'm still not jaded by being in the presence of, or meeting those who have risen to the pinnacle of the sport. This was a huge opportunity and I couldn't have been happier to partake. After letting Stybar get back to prepping, we wandered down through the rows of riders campers from Page, Wellens, Pauwels, Nys, Albert. Also on hand were the Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld.com contingent of Stu Thorne,Tim Johnson, James Driscoll and Jeremy Powers who were looking to get some international competition under their belts after becoming bored and tired by climbing podium steps relentlessly in the States.

I won't go into a blow by blow of the race as anyone who reads this has most likely already absorbed all the digital media published from the weekend. But it was pure joy watching Katie get the season off to a sucessful start by completely dominating the womens event followed by Stybie crushing the field in the mens race. After watching countless hours of streaming video from my computer at home early in the morning, it's still hasn't sunk in that I was standing along the tape witnessing these riders race by me. At the end of the day and final podium appreance in which the announcer mistakingly though that they would be playing the French national anthem for the Czech born Stybar, we derbied our way back up to Leysin just as the sun was breaking through and got off some great shots of the area. To top off an already great weekend, we were invited to join the Cannondale crew of Tim, J-Pow, Stu and his wife Emily for a Feldschlosschen lubricated dinner out before packing up for the next days flights.

So there you have it, no this summary from the weekend still doesn't read the way I envisioned
it when this trip came together.What I can say is if you care about this sport enough,you owe it to yourself to witness these events. I'm going to commit to return at some point ( hopefully Belgium, just for the crowd factor ). You're more than welcome to join along.



Thanks for reading
Shotty

Here's just a few of the pics I came back with:



The curent World Champion and some dork on the right
Stu Thorne , enjoying some fine Italian leather
Tim, tweaking that the course was drying out

James and J-Pow, Peanut Butter Jelly Time

walk in the park for KFC

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Interlocken


Greetings from Frankfurt Germany. I'm here for a weeklong tour visiting key dealers in Germany and Austria followed by a side trip to the first UCI World Cup cross race of the season in Aigle, Switzerland. The plan is to take in a little sightseeing and then meet up with Stu Thorne and the rest of the New England Cyclocross Mafia at the end of this week. And if all works out, a little face time with Stybar.

But first, let me back up to Saturday morning. Bags are packed for my Euro trip and what better way to prepare for my late afternoon flight then to head up to Interlocken for the 2nd race of the Boulder cross series. This course is pure cross-heaven, and definetely the exception, not the rule of courses here on the front range. Interlocken is cruelly configured to demand maximum power output with some elevation gain and deep, thick , wet grass this year. It hadn't even dawned on me that the potential for mud would even exist. I hadn't installed spikes, neglected to throw my mud wheels in the car, it's been so dry here lately that I had planned on a fast grass crit. I couldn't have been more wrong.

Not sure if the grounds keeping staff had purposfully left the sprinklers running all night, but the track was completely saturated and SLOW. My warm-up had my heart rate pegged and I had serious thoughts about making a $25 donation to the organizers and going home. Again a huge 35+4 field ( I would have chose the 45+ group if I didn't have a flight to get to in the afternoon ) 125 guys strong and no call-up ( again ) since I had missed the Xylinx opener. I had a deep forth or fifth row start position and was witness to one very ugly first lap. Our hoard was sprinting to the first corner only to come to a screeching halt into our first bottleneck traffic jam. Thankfully the field strung out pretty quickly and then it was time to get busy passing. My goal was to get myself up to those riders who had earned a front row starting position.

It's always surprising to me how a course feels at warm-up vs. race pace. Perhaps I had hit my stride a 2 laps in but the course felt really fast, really fun ( techincal and muddy ) and I was moving through the field as best I could. A few of the techical bits through the sand pit got the best of me on the last lap as I was coming unglued a bit and manged to work my way up to 20th position by the end. A respectable Boulder series position however I was sill having some "what if" moments thinking about my placing with a better starting position or less errors on the course. But regardless, I'm super pleased with the effort I put in and that always puts me in the right state of mind to set off on another excursion. Be satisfied with the effort.

Couple of other things:
Because Greg Kellers enthusiasm for all the cross cannot be tempered, he was kind enough to serve as a megaphone for my work at Avid. Read it here

Also a Matt Pacocha review in Bike Radar here

Thanks for reading
shotty

Monday, October 4, 2010

Doubled Up or Doubled Over

My Annual Cyclocross Secret Training plan: Revealed:
1: get a bike,aim for a light one if possible
2. as soon as you've reached any signs of fitness, stop riding immediately
3. travel to a foreign country - preferably one that is at least 10 time zones away, offers food that you cannot recognize and language to go with it
4. arrive home in a stupor and throw race gear bag in the car
5. pay $25.oo , pin on a number and sit back to partake in the mayhem that is your own body trying to adapt to it's new surroundings (again )
6. repeat as necessary

And there you have it, I wouldn't recommend this for everyone but it kinda works for me in some strange way. My M.O. after returning from Taiwan is try to get back into sync as quickly as possible and that means racing cross if the travel coincides with Fall. ( which it does...often ).
Jen and I made a weekend of it, travelling up to Frisco for a double weekend of racing. I dipped my toes in the 45+ open category for the first time and didn't find the water to be that chilly. I was happy, battling it out with Bob Prieto( Blue Sky Velo )who I've swapped many places with in the 35+4 group last year, including Bend Nationals. I ended up in 22nd spot out of 44 starters. Sunday was back in the familiar 35+4 group where I managed a 15th place...again. Same finishing position as the Sunday race the prior year. I guess I'm consistent ?

All in all, I am pretty pleased with these finishes. Frisco is an absurdly difficult course that requires more than 2 lungs and bike handling skills to boot. Lots of elevation gain and piles of wood chips are just aching to wedge themselves into your rear derailleur cage.

Next Saturday, I'm thinking about the deep grass at Interlocken, then followed by another trip to the airport as I'm off to Europe for the week. However there is a side benefit to this....I'll just happen to be near Geneva Switzerland at the tail end of this trip which coincidentally is near Aigle, host city to the first UCI Cyclocross World Cup of the season !! Yes, I plan on attending so stay tuned geeks.

see you Saturday
Shotty

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Start Delay

As I write this it's 1:25 AM in the Springs and I'm sitting in Tokyo/Narita airport lounge waiting for my last of 4 flights for the day that will take me into Taiwan for the week. By the time I'm grounded again, it'll add up to a 26 hour door to door journey.

As much as I would like to see if I could capitalize on last weekends decent start to the season, duty calls but after taking at look at some preliminary ride reports from the first race of the Boulder series today, it looked like another hot, dry and dusty affair. I don't mind forgoing this weekend in hopes that Frisco will bring some colder temps with the possibility of some precip, which is badly needed.

Before leaving for Taiwan, I prepped my bikes and packed my race bag. When I return and have been successful at avoiding some kind of viral malady I plan on getting in the way of the 45+ guys next Saturday and will most likely jump back in with the 35+4 gang on Sunday. I swear, there is nothing better than getting over jet lag than some openers with a number pinned on.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sven's Pick

Thanks to Pete Webber for cluing me into Sven's new choice for brakes ..hmmm..interesting
photo credit is ISPA

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Anomaly

Saturdays Pikes Peak race was just enough of an appetizer to whet the palette and with a bunch of travel looming on the horizon, I made the decision to drive up to Golden for the Green Mtn cross event on Sunday. The not-so-little voice inside my head was telling me "don't go, ease into the season, it's going to be 120° today, you wilt in conditions like this". Never mind, I threw everything in the car and made my way North to a course I'd never raced on before. Upon arrival it was a full on reunion of sorts, all the familiar faces were back, a bunch of new ones as well. Our 35+Cat4 group filled up 6 registration sheets and that's when they capped our bunch at close to 125 riders ! I ran into both Dale and Bob Prieto who might have made the wise decision to bypass the mass and opted for the 45+ group. Too late for me, besides I wanted to race early and get back down to the Springs at a reasonable time. I took a warm up spin around the course with the Rich from the Frites group and we caught up on all things crossy.

An amazing fun course that I felt suited to someone else's talents, like perhaps a roadie that had been racing all summer. The course lacked any real technical difficulty, it was a flat-ish power course that required some decent cornering skills and speed across a soccer field covered in deep grass. Just 3 dismount sections, one additional if possibly the rider in front shanked a steep short climb that immediately followed a wickedly loose steep descent.

By now I'm thinking it's crazy hot (no likey)this course doesn't suit me at all (no techy) and no decent start position(no points). I weaseled my way as much to the front of the line as possible and was about 4 rows back when the whistle blew. Without much effort I had pushed my way into a decent spot ( top 25?) by the time we looped the field and headed out to the proper course. Because the course wound along close enough to sections behind, I could immediately see massive ball-ups and crashes behind, thankful to have missed the carnage. Races were averaging 7-8 minutes so picking out the line choices was key as we weren't going to be doing that many laps.

Then the strangest thing happened...I seem to be moving along pretty well...and I feel good ?! It was one of those "planets in alignment" days on a bike. Steadily moving forward, hitting all my lines. I passed Dale while he was filming and heard "top twenty" on lap 2. On lap 4 or 5 I head big B- Graves yell out "top fifteen" and thought to myself, well he's obviously started drinking early today and is suffering a mild case of heat stroke, and probably mixed in a few to many pain killers from yesterdays crash at Pikes Peak....poor fella. I manged to roll through in 8th place. This would be a new high water mark for me for any race in the vicinity of Denver with a field size this limit. Blown away would be an understatement. I hope I don't lose whatever mojo fell upon me on Sunday because it was working !

Now to the complaining: Call-ups, man I cannot let this one go. I really can't understand why the ACA will not keep track of finishes to determine call-ups at all races this season. It frosts me that the official stands in front of our group and runs through the top 20 from last season and that nets a total of 3 riders to the line.(seriously.) Do your homework and figure out who has either moved on to Cat 3 or 45+ because the current system is not working. Call-ups serve many purposes, one being safety. I think most races have a pretty honest view of their abilities and line up where they think they should be but no all do and when we continue with field sizes as large as they are, please reward the riders that are putting in decent, consistent top placings and award them a place at the front of the line for so many obvious reasons. This policy must change. Done

And now to something completely different, some pictures from the Pikes Peak race !


Thanks to Ultrarob for the pic

shotty

Saturday, September 18, 2010

In the beginning....

Wow, I am super stoked to have the first race under my belt. It wasn't a super impressive effort ( 12th out of 38-40 something riders ) but it was buttery smooth which was challenging on what is typically a ridiculously loose course covered in dried out grass, decomposed granite and hidden rocks everywhere. The course was the standard layout that it's always been used with one new section of very tight. compressed 180 degree turns. We haven't seen rain in quite some time here on the Front Range and the terrain has been baked into a very hardpacked slippery surface.

Call-ups seem to be determined by last years season long ACA standings and results to date, needless to say, no call-up for me but thanks to the thin field size, I had a nice outside second row start.

Whistle blows and I'm thinking to myself that it really doesn't seem like we were doing this that long ago. First turn, no calamities, most riders are being respectful and adjusting their speed and line accordingly. As we feed into a very sketchy off camber high speed right into a short straightaway left I see the Frites' own Brian Graves piled up on the left side of the course in a huge cloud of dust as he's screaming obsentities as another rider going down the road. Ah....reminders of Castle Cross last year when it was a poorly placed rock that was bearing the brunt of Brian's fury. The rest of the race was spent trying to move forward through the field and keeping the bike upright. This will be my first year ( ever ) racing on tuby's and I honestly don't know why I've waited this long. ( oh wait, I remember now,..... because they are ungodly expensive ) It feels a bit like cheating, running such low pressure, no risk of pinching and they hook up like mad. ( Dugast Typhoons btw ). I'm sold...until I slice a sidewall and have to take out a second mortgage for a replacement.

Being the first of year, I'm definitely feeling the 2-to-go fade, I thankfully held off riders from behind but was feeling the effort. I'm seriously thinking off making the trek up to GMVC tomorrow when I assess my condition in the morning. This is it for racing for me for awhile as I have travel plans to Taiwan again next weekend and then potentially Europe after that. My season may not start in earnest until the 3rd weekend of October. Great to see the cross family again. Lortie, Brian Graves, the angry Asian, Mr. Compton, Bob Prieto, Ms. Emmit and the Boob who planned on racing until he realized when heading out the door ready to ride to the race that he had left his cross bike at work.

That is all, thanks for reading, I'll try to dig for some pics as they are posted
Shotty

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Back To School

Where to begin ? I suppose where I left off, which was back in the Spring and not feeling terribly motivated to write through the Summer. So first off, thanks to the Frites guys, Keller, Lortie and Dale for picking up the slack and keeping the crossy vibe going though our Colorado summer. I trust that everyone enjoyed theirs ? I certainly did and as always, the season passed by far too quickly with most every weekend packed with something. Jen and I were able to carve out time for the must-do list. Steamboat on the 4th, a couple of shows at Red Rocks, hike a 14er, a few Colorado high country epics on the fat tires, a trip back East to our old stomping ground on the coast of Maine to partake in Lobsters, Whoopie Pies, Moxie and the deepest, darkest, root and rock infested terrain that you will ever roll a knobbie through. All on all, a fine summer, but I digress, because the fairest season of all is upon us, cyclocross season, otherwise known to some as just,Fall. Trust that even with a summer filled with extracurricular activities, I was still devoting some spare time prepping for our season.


Twins: yep I did it, after racing cross since '95, I finally put together a proper pair of bikes, Does it scream "poser" ?! Perhaps a little, but whatever, I harbor no illusions of grandeur, making my wife/friend/abducted stranger stand in the pit with my spare waiting with baited breath on my every gesture that I might come in for a swap. I'm relying on my puritan, Luddite New England roots that "by-jeezum, it's just common sense!" After last years mucky mud fest every weekend, I wanted an option so now it's done. Yes I will feel shamed when I finish in 46th place and sulk off back to the pits to pick up my "B" bike

Rule changes with Disc Brakes and 32c tires: the UCI and it's infinite wisdom decide that it's wise to massively increase braking power while reducing the size of the contact patch on the ground. Brilliant, this should make for some good racing

Call-ups: There aren't any. Granted I get that the ACA is trying to bring up the quality of the race experience with the Colorado Cup and just applying points on those specific races. However, this is troubling for the 100+ riders frothing at the mouth in the beer drinking dads league. I used to bank on cherry picking certain races ( Pikes Peak, Frisco, etc ) that I know would have smaller field sizes in order to earn a decent call up spot when it came time to race the larger events ( anything in or around Boulder ). So, I'm thinking about jumping in with the 45+ guys just to avoid the rush for the start line which may prove to far uglier than the fight for the hole shot.

I'm finished ranting, I can't wait to see everyone soon. As of today, I'm not even sure I'm racing this weekend as I seemed to have sprained my groin with an over enthusiastic remount with cold muscles. Riding a bike right now isn't feeling too comfy but I'm trying to be good about staying off the bike. As usual, my plan is to race myself into some type of shape. We've been granted an extended season this year so I'm in no hurry, especially when the weather doesn't scream "cross"

Thanks for reading

shotty


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Summer Break

It's come as no shocker to those who have visited this site that my interest in writing has been waning as of late. My apologies, the well hasn't run dry but the motivation to sit at the computer and send out drivel is not there. Besides, the weather is too nice, get off the computer, whip yourself some reasonable fitness and I'll see you back here on Sep 15. ( if you race 35+4 in Colorado, please continue to sit at the computer and enjoy a refreshing pint or two of Ben and Jerry's finest ) Trust me, I'm already putting my ducks in a row for the 2010 cyclocross season. Have a great summer, I hope I see you on the trail!

Shotty

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

2 Degrees

Whew..! Can't believe I found my way back to this site, it's been that long. Returned from vacation tanned, relaxed and in a deep funk. Downtime this time was far to short, while the outing was exceptional, I was just beginning to get into the daily groove when reality had me sitting on a plane a mere 6 days later wondering what had just happened and how do I go back and stay back there.

Life is far too short to not indulge yourself with taking in the scenery. I think the perspective of a radically different environment sets a ground swell shift in what I believe to be important in life, namely family, friends and making the earth a better place while you were here (albeit that most infinitesimal spec of time in the big scheme of things).

I truly love the life I share with my wife, our home, my job, I count myself as one of the lucky ones who truly set a course early on and has been extremely fortunate with that path taken. However I'm still restless, for every trip taken I mentally take a piece away and try to apply that to everyday life, perhaps the more I travel the more my life takes on a shape of what I'd like it to become or what it will be in the future. We'll never know what the future holds for us, what may sideline us down a different path, what may slingshot us into the stratosphere.

What I do know is that I'm planning a lifestyle change at some undetermined time in the future, probably when the balance between life's responsibilities and life's desires swing firmly towards desires. It's going to be absurdly fun, perhaps risky and hopefully pay off in huge dividends.

A long time ago , I either read a piece or heard it through someone about charting a direction in your life, pick a compass heading. If you stray off that heading even by 2 degrees, the longer you stay on that course the more difficult it is to get back to your original heading. Prior to moving to Colorado many years ago, Jen and I were grappling with some life changes, we were comfortable in Maine but that was the problem, comfortable gets old and I equate it to drifting off course. When we were visiting Colorado and trying to decide if the right opportunity's existed and whether or not to make the move, we went on a hike to talk it out, clear our heads. On that hike we stopped for a snack and drink of water. I looked down at my feet and there was someones compass on the ground, The signs could not have been clearer.

Thanks for reading my philosophical ramblings, now onto the immediate future: Namely the 4th Annual Paris Roubaix Day. We are hosting our annual road/cross bike ride up the Santa Fe Trail to the Air Force Academy North Gate, ride back and join together for Brats, Waffles and Chocolate,Belgium Ales, Frites en Mayo followed by a viewing of the Road to Roubaix and then coverage on Versus.

The rest of April is filled with a trip out to the Sea Otter classic near my old stomping grounds of Santa Cruz and the Monterey Bay area and a trip out to Fruita at the end of the month for the Fat Tire Festival, hope to see you out there.

Shotty

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Our Daily Schedule:
1)wake up..hang out in hammocks enjoying coffee while watching howler monkeys
2)stumble down to the beach and go snorkeling until noon-ish
3)enjoy Frutas Mixto-typically fresh pineapple and mango
4)retire to the pool and read/nap/swim when hot/watch iguanas
5)back to the beach for sunset, body surfing-boogie boards-surfboards or just floating on back watching pelicans
6)dinner-past out at 9PM
7)repeat

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I'm Out

Time to hit the mental reset button, the wife and I are headed to Costa Rica tomorrow for some much needed downtime. We do our best to make an annual pilgrimage to a warm and sunny climate this time of year and meet up with longtime friends from Maine. We can only stay landlocked here in Colorado so long before we start seriously pining for the smell of salt air and to be immersed in the ocean, baptised if you will.

Hasta

Shotty

Monday, February 15, 2010

Goings On

Buried completely and only occasionally coming up for gasps of air. This is why there are few words as of late. Tis the season....lots of projects wrapping up and beginning to look ahead to 2012. Life has been filled with work, play, flu, home projects, bike projects, dogs and of course still rabidly following the remainder of the cross season. Yesterday morning, Jen walked into our spare bedroom/office while I'm transfixed to the monitor watching Stybar take yet another win for the Superprestige overall.

Her patience might be wearing thin after 20 something continuous weeks of speaking cyclocross. Oh ! and speaking of cross go here for a killer video compilation from Nationals in Bend, I spotted myself ( actually staying upright on film this time ) at the 2:34 mark in this vid. it's the shortest snippet and I had to spend a considerable amount convincing Jen that it was actually me, but watching this has me seriously jonesin for next year.

Or will there be some changes amuk at USA cycling requiring qualifying for Nationals because the field sizes are becoming too large ? Lot's of discussion on this topic. For a punter/pack filler like myself I can see the reasoning behind this, while I would hate to be blocked from participating here are 2 immediate thoughts: 1) Please keep the B race and make sure that Cat 1 riders are not allowed to participate and 2) This is motivation, if there is some sort of qualification criteria to participate you can be be sure that I actually start training

I think I share an affliction for the "cross-over" season. You see, I'm not much of a roadie these days and when the cyclocross season is over, it's straight to the fat tires. However, here's the rub, when I've spent the previous solid 4 months on a 700c wheel bike that is hovering around 17lbs, I have some issues with throwing a leg over a 28lb, 5 inch travel bike with small wheels. It's KILLING me!! so gawd-awful SLOW. Solution: get some big wheels with one gear: So here it is, a new ( to me ) Fisher Rig


I am digging this bike! most of the trails down low that are still rideable during the winter are especially suited towards singlespeeding, especially when taking treks down to Pueblo Rez which is wagon wheel heaven. What else is new ? Well, while in Taiwan last month, I get a call from Jen....who's at the Animal Shelter....you can probably guess what's coming:

His name is Rico, a 3 year old male Chihuahua mix who , in a word is awesome. Seems as though some famous actress type in California has popularized this breed of dog to the point of over saturation and now the LA area is shipping out the overflow of these dogs since the owners seem to think that the "fad" has passed. Absolutely pathetic behavior and people need to wake up and realize that dogs are not a fashion accessory. Their loss is our gain and we're giving this little guy the home he deserves.

Thanks for reading,

Shotty

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Congratulations to Srammie sponsored Zdenek Stybar for earning the stripes today !!! To be able to control the pressure of being labeled the favorite,riding on home turf, a super techy course covered in ice and snow....todays performance was the definition of PRO

Photo Credit:Riccardo Scanferla

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Finish Lines

The bright strobes and flashing signs all around Taichung city create this extra-sensory experience that cannot be created elsewhere. Vegas has tried but it's no match for the seizure inducing overload that is Taiwan at night. I'm back in the ROC for what should be the second finish line for this past cyclocross season. We should be wrapping up the last pilot run of the Shorty Ultimates cross-canti brake in the following week, but as always to finish first, you must first finish so not by any means will there be any pre-celebratory raising of the arms, finger banging, pointing to sponsors and the sky shenanigans. This will be a heads down all the way to the line finish.

Taiwan and all it's OSHA-free restrictions take some getting used to and it's never,ever dull ( especially dining ), nevertheless I always take something away from each stay here. Today, three other co-workers and myself included, took off to the foothills for a hike. A good way to spend some time when staying through a weekend here. The hike turned into something a little closer to an amusement ride in a theme park. The "trail" consisted of a tight, twisty sometime near vertical, and off camber gang plank of logs pieced together and at time precariously perched on the side of a cliff. Let's be clear, the use of this trail would NEVER be allowed in the US. While all of us had our packs with water and various nutritional supplements in the form of gels, blocks or bar form, by the time we reached the top of our loop after a solid hour or more of trying not to trip and take a potentially life threatening fall from the trail, we came upon this scene.
A nice leisure day in the mountains with friends/family.This group had packed in all kinds of stainless cookware and stoves for a proper lunch, brought a newspaper, they made up some tea and coffee and few other adult beverages. It couldn't have been more obvious that at times we must leave the conveniences at home and set aside the time to ensure the best quality downtime possible.

On the cross front, too much news, Our man Stybar takes the big W at Roubaix and thereby the World Cup lead with only the Finals left in Hoogerheide this weekend. The possibility of the Cyclocross World Championships coming to American shores in 2013(never thought this would happen in my lifetime!!!! ) The Neils Albert drama that for sure opens the door for Stybar to take the stripes in his backyard. I literally cannot sit still watching these races lately, just an amazing string of racing.

As always, thanks for reading and apologies for the lack of posts as of late, been busy building up some big wheels- sans gears...details to follow
Shotty

PS: photo credit of Stybar goes to ispaphoto.com

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A Nice Start to 2010

After a few days of rest, yesterday was spent down at Pueblo res, soaking up some sun,singletrack and warmish temps chasing the Boob around on his wagon-wheeled singlespeed. This was immediately followed by digging into a fine chile relleno burrito washed down with a Jarritos at a fine Taqueria in downtown Pueblo.

Then today, Styby and Pauwels making me super pleased ( as well as the folks who sign the checks at Fidea ) with a 1st and a 3rd on the Ultimates. full story here

Worlds is going to be a barn burner, Stybar has fine form but has been eclipsed lately by Nys who's had a phenomenal week but encountering heaps of issues staying on his bike or keeping his bike together. Albert just needs to keep his mechanics from plotting to sabotage his chances at another championship after today's little episode. Props to Jamie Driscoll for a 16th place today. It's great to continue to see the results come through for those commited to moving over to the Motherland.

credit photo goes to ipsaphoto.com