30 April, 2007

Rice crispy bars and skin suits

Yesterday was the conference crit down in Manhattan, no "death cramps" but I was not feeling 100% either. It was also a rude awakening to how bad my cornering has gotten. I still managed a 6th overall as Brandon nearly took out Sean and I on the final corner. Sprinted half ass with Sean and I am the D II NCCCCCCCCCCCC crit champ. haha. Worthless title...

Today the first part (the racers) of the new gear came. A bit late, but at least we have it for nationals. I also got some new rice crispy bars last night. I could not be happier.
Blogger is dumb and photos go side ways these days I guess...

29 April, 2007

Death cramps 1, Me 1

Greetings from sunny Manhattan, KS. A nice 8 hour drive from Olaf.
As I mentioned last week I thought the "death cramps" were due to dehydration, but I discovered today that they are definitely not all hydration issues. Today I was actually able to warm up for a while, I felt pretty good. After about 15 minutes I felt the awful pain inching into my legs. Soon enough I was on the side of the road stretching. Not fun at all, however they were not quite as bad as last week. Despite the cramps I lined up, and off we went into the KS country side. The first section of the course was with an ever increasing tail wind. It had a few bumps in the road, but nothing that big enough to shift for. The entire time on this road I was in great pain. I was very very close to dropping out again. However, the pace was not to high and through these awful experiences I have found that riding usually helps to clear the cramps up. I just went through the pain, and unlike last week it actually started to subside after 5 or 10 miles. Although definitely not fully. The guys in the pack noticed my pain and asked about it and everything, nice to know somebody cares a little. After the turn from the tail wind section we turned enough that the wind was at about 2 o'clock. We cruised down this road for quite some time, I went to the front a time or two to see if going harder would help my legs, it did. Strange? After a while there was a unanimous decision to have everyone stop and take a pee break. One of the greatest moments in my bike racing career to this point. A good half the pack (20 something in the pack total) pulled up to the ditch while the rest waited. Good times...
It was then back to the race at hand. Eventually we came to the next turn (the course was a bit like a triangle). This road was the hard part. There were some decent hills, both up and down. It was also really pretty just grassy bluff type things that all had flat tops about the same height, really cool. Anyways on the uphills the cramps went away totally. So friggin weird. After 4 or 5 bluffs it flattened just a bit and we came to the start/finish area. On the flatter part I tried an attack I got away, but after a little while my legs just would not have it and I sat up. I am sure even had I felt great the pack would have caught me. The next lap was fairly uneventful and the cramps came and went, never to terrible, but still there. Near the end of the second lap Sean put in a good attack and went solo for a bit, he got a decent gap. But there was no way anyone was getting away today and everyone chased him down. We caught him right after coming into the 2 o'clock wind section. The pace was pretty slow from this point on. After the final corner it was decided that another pee break was needed. So all the guys who were left in the group at this point pulled over. Again a great moment, from there until just a few miles left the pace was hard only on one hill. I think a few guys dropped back there, which was nice for the finish. There were a few attacks near the end, I cramped up real bad on one of them and would have been dropped but the pace slowed again. Eventually it was time to sprint, I just did not have it so I sat on Finn's wheel and finished 6th I think. Finn was 5th and Brandon 3rd. Again an Olaf dominated finish. We had all three in before any other school had two. The race was advertised as 60 miles, but everyones speedometer said 75ish and our time was around 3.5, and we had more than a 20mph average. Cool with me to do more!

After the race I was pretty stiff, I cruised around a bit which helped a lot. After a little while it was time to go off to the TTT which was the other side of the city. I stretched out a lot and my legs felt really loose for the start. Off we (Kyle, Finn, Brandon, I) went with a strong tail wind. I was feeling pretty crappy after a little while, my legs just did not want to go hard again, but I made them. 7.5 miles later we made the turn to come straight back into the wind. I was hurting a lot until a small rise which after I got energy for some reason. 32 min after starting we came across the line to place 4th.
We were all going hard and yet still got beat by more than a minute for the overall win. Brandon was the only one who had aero stuff on, and he did more pulling than us others. The other teams all had aero, I really think the aero stuff makes a big difference, I thought we had a good time, but not good enough. We have the best team in the RR by far, so I don't see how we can get beat by so much by all the people that we drop. Just doesn't add up.

Overall the day was pretty good, except of course the death cramps at the start. But I made it through. With the 75 mile race, and 15 mile TTT. That is a good 90 miles of racing, add warm up and cool down for both races, I estimate I rode at least 100 miles today. Good stuff.

As a note on the death cramps, I think I may just be taking to many electrolytes before the race. But I really have no idea. For example last weekend in Nebraska I nearly died, but on Monday's ride I did not cramp up. Same drive, but no cramps? The only difference is that I don't or didn't take quite as many electrolytes on Monday. Or maybe it is something totally different?

24 April, 2007

Back with avengence

This weekend we rolled on down to Lincoln, NE for the collegiate race which is part of the Lincoln Plating stage race. The race is really well put together and brings in riders from all over. Sometime I want to do it as a cat. race. We stayed at Troy Krause's house, one of the guys I pulled around in Iowa. He and Holly where great, we were really well taken care of so a big thanks to him. Also to their dog who provided some good entertainment.
Anyways Saturday morning came about bright and sunny and windy as all heck. The forecasted winds were for gusts of 36, which I am sure happened and were probably exceeded. Our race started at 12:30 due to the time trail for the cat. race in the morning. So not much hurry for us, it was really nice. We got there and I started my warm up, and instantly like a bad habit the fabled cramps crept back in. They hurt pretty bad during the warm up, I stopped to stretch a few times to no avail, tried drinking a decent amount of water, electrolyte pills. Nothing would stop them, despite this I lined up thinking they might just go away. For the first 100 meters I was fine. Then back they came, my whole legs just being crushed by themselves. The first lap of the (13 mile???) course was ok, It started really slow because of the massive wind. At one point I even tried to go attack which was ridiculously weak. After a little bit the pace picked up and I went immediately into the red zone. I was working as hard as I possibly could to hang on, I remember making noises and everything too. My body was maxed out just to go slow, it was real bad. I could not get in the drops because it hurt to much. So wind really sucked. Every time I stopped pedaling it would take all of my strength just to get my legs going again, in the short 40 minutes of the lap and a half I did I drank a water bottle.5. Then as we hit the head wind my legs just simply would not go. I said to Finn and Moritz I'm done and went off to the ditch where I had to fall off my bike in order to get off my legs were so tight. I then proceeded to lay in agony in the ditch for 10 minutes before an official pulled over. He had to basically pick me up and lift me into the car. I simply just could not move my legs were so cramped up, I was 85% paralyzed. Not fun at all. Simply awful in fact. I was transfered cars at one point so the officials could follow the race. The photographer brought me back to the staging area, thanks to him I survived. Troy and his crew then helped me out, and in the next few hours I drank more water and other fluids then I have ever in one sitting before. I took about 45 minutes, but I was able to start walking again. The cramps were finally fading, but still there. Eventually the races finished up. Sean in the A break getting 3rd and Finn in the chasers getting 8th or so. Kyle was in the B break and got second. Mark was a bit back. Good job to all them in the heat and the wind. After a few more bottles of water I decided to try and ride. My legs moved, still hurt, but moved, but my stomach was pissed. No idea why, it remained pissed until Sunday afternoon. But I was able to ride for just over an hour.

Sunday the race started at 8 A.M. so we were up at 5:30 to get ready. I hobbled around Troy's house with my unhappy stomach and somehow managed to get ready to race. We got to the course a bit later than I wanted for that particular day (fine on any other), but it was my fault. I could not go any faster. I got about 25 minutes of warm up in the Thunderstorm (with rain) before start time. Not long enough. My legs were still pretty tight, but they moved. Big improvement. I was able to be with the group, I even put in some attacks because that is what I like to do. They were not strong like I wanted, but nevertheless the strung out the pack. A very short 30 minutes in the pouring rain later it was over, I somehow still managed 7th...
Sean, Mark Smelzer, and Moritz then went on the A-Team ride. It was good, my legs were happier after that, but still not good. We then went to Chipotle and used our free burrito coupons (2 each) for a total of $13 in free food. Nice...With the T-shirts from the race and all the fluids I drank, I came out well ahead, or rather St. Olaf came out ahead. HA!

Early on
A field in the down pour

In someways I am glad that I cramped up, I believe I have figure out why it happens only after traveling. It simply must be that when traveling I don't drink anything, don't eat well, and don't move much. 3 things my body is not used to and does not like. Hopefully it is that simple and it won't happen again.

19 April, 2007

It's not all about the bike

I've been wanting to do a post that deals with other issues besides training, I have a few minutes of time to procrastinate with today so...

I am going to start with the most blatant problems here on the hill. A few days ago a political speaker (Michelle Malkin) came and spoke. She is quite conservative and her speech was titled "Invasion: How America Still Welcomes Terrorists, Criminals and Other Foreign Menaces to Our Shores." I did not end up going, but that is not what I am writing about. I am told that Mark Dayton was asked to come and speak as well, he even said he would. In the end however, somebody high up in the chain said no. I am told it was because having him come would produce too strong of a liberal view point to campus. With Malkin and a few years ago now Ann Colture a few years ago, isn't that bringing a far to conservative feel to the campus? You would think both parties would be invited. I guess not.
Next, as it turns out Olaf wants to sell some of the natural land (the area right across from the hospital, or right along 19) to development. The developers have said for light commercial or industrial purposes. Being that the city of Northfield banned Wal-Mart and the area in question just happens to be right out to city limits. I have few doubts about what would be built there. Just think of that beautiful sight as you come down 19 take the final corner, and instead of seeing Olaf perched over a sea of corn, you get a nice view of Wal-Mart.
Other than that Olaf has a few other raging problems. One being that somehow this campus has one of the higher percent of eating disorders among students in the country. Instead of enjoying the 4th best food in the nation, people either don't eat it or don't digest it. Something I will never understand...
Yet another problem that has developed is the building of the Science Center, yes it will be great when it is done. But right now Olaf is (I hear) a bit low on funds for it. It is actually pretty entertaining to see, every few weeks a gathering will be held to try and raise more money. The best part (about which I benefit) is that there is always cake and other small treats set out. Somehow by spending money they are going to make more. You would think that they would get all the money they need before they start building. Nope.
Next is the work study program here. Yes, it is good to give those who need a little more financial help the opportunity, but it should not hurt other students. I am talking of T.A.s there is a few German TAs who are grossly unqualified. To the point at which they cannot properly conjugate verbs. How is someone like that supposed to help people who are starting the language?
The other problems I probably should not write about, as I don't want to get in trouble. But I will sure tell you about them if you ask me!
Then there are a few small things that anger me. First there are squirrels that I room with, and they are very inconsiderate in the mornings. Second, tuition is over $38,000 now, and yet we have to pay for laundry. Come on now, give me a break.
Now I am just going to really complain! I have 8 papers/projects for 4 classes. And I have already done one. Thus it was 9 for 4 classes. For one class I have written 2,500 words on the word flatulent. I was bored writing it. I can't imagine what it would be like to read it. And then again 32 times. In that same class my professor LOST my midterm, but yet there were parts of it with the rest of the tests. How does that happen?

Enough about me, time for a National/World issue that just came up.
I am sure you all know about the Virginia Tech incident. Yes, it is terrible very terrible, but I have a few problems with how it is being treated. The news was on that evening in my house. The reporter was interviewing someone from the school, and basically saying that they were incompetent for not stopping it before of while it was happening. All the guy could do was get part of a sentence out before being told how poorly he handled the situation. Yes, people knew the kid had problems, but no one can predict him going to the extent he did. On that as well, the campus is around 26,000 people. That is basically a city, tell me the last time a city was able to go on lock down in a short time. What I am trying to say is the school should not be blamed for anything, they handled it as best they could.
Moving on to the world. I would just like to ask how many people know about what happened in Iraq yesterday. I found the article deep in the newspaper, but I had heard about it yesterday. It was pushed way back because of the extensive coverage about the school shooting. If you don't know 198 people were killed and around 240 were wounded. Most by the same bombing. I don't understand how something that big can not be front page news. 198 deaths are way more than 32, but apparently Iraqis don't matter. In my opinion Americans are way to self centered. If something happens abroad, who cares. But if something happens here, oh we have to change everything!
I know I may sound cold, I am not trying to be. I just think people need to not always think about problems here, but think about everyone else too.

Enough of that for today. I am going to go enjoy the nice weather and avoid the angry drivers (who I don't understand either)!

18 April, 2007


I decided to go race the Opus season opener today. It is at the same course as the race was a Sunday. So pretty easy. But, the racing make going hard lots of fun. Especially because it was a 1/2/3 race. A good chance to mix it up with the faster guys. However, I knew I would not get that much ride time in up there, so I did a hour 15 ride in the early afternoon with a couple of sprints.

As I was getting ready my bike shoes were sitting off to the side. I thought to myself, you know, I should put those right next to my bag so I don't forget them. When we (Krueger, and Kyle) got up there I remembered what I forgot. Yup, my shoes! Well done Jake...
Luckily Kyle did the first race, and his feet are close to my size. So after his race he let me take his shoes and pedals. Thanks! It was a bit weird to use different pedals, not so comfortable. But I had no choice. I did a nice hour warm up just cruisin around the one way maze of streets at the Opus park. Soon enough 7:30 rolled around and it was time to go. The previous races had been only 9 laps. So short, Sunday we did 20 something I think, maybe more.
Anyways the 1/2/3 race was 18 laps, and the field was 68 people. Massive!
Some of the guys looked a bit sketchy, so my plan was to get near the front and avoid all the danger in the middle and at the back. Off the start I had a bit of trouble clipping in. And was about half way back. I got a few chances to move up, and I did so. Slowly but surely, I made it up. The whole time worrying about being taken out. A few times off to the side I heard some guys who were really pissed at some guy.
On one of the prime laps in the middle of the race I saw a chance to attack. So I made my debut of the day and took off. It was actually mildly successful, I brought two Grandstay guys with and one GP. We got a nice gap off the pack, but since I had initiated the others were able to go around to get the points. I had thought for some reason 4th got points as well. So I did not push it to get third which I could have easily done. Oops! (not the only time that happened)...
But after the prime one of the guys who came with said well done to me, sweet. In the next prime I followed and attack, and again got fourth.
After that I was in the front 10 for most of the rest of the race. At one point I lost a contact, so I had to drop back while that figured itself out. My sight was a bit off after that. Makes things challenging. After that I got right back in the front. I wanted to do some hard as it was a training race. So I took some pulls to keep the pace high. As the last lap started a grandstay guy (Swanson) and a GP guy got away. I thought for sure they would be caught (partly because I could not see who it was). So I did not chase, bad choice. Some guy was also trying to bridge up, but did not make it by the end. I was then right in the field for the sprint. I decided to have a whirl on the sprint, so took off when I felt it was right. And what do you know, I managed a third in the field sprint. Crazy...
After the race I got a couple of comments on my riding, everyone who was up front liked it. One guy even said he just sat on my wheel because it was safe and a good spot to be. I like getting complemented by 1s. I am happy with this race.

Sitting in
The sprint

16 April, 2007

I'll get a chance...

This morning begun at the early hour of 6 A.M. It was off to the U of M crit up in Minnetonka. We got there a bit late, but so did everyone else and the race started 30 minutes late. The B race had only one Olaf rider today, which was Kyle. He did well for not having any team at and pulled in a nice 3rd place to get his first podium ever. All with a swollen hand from a crash yesterday.

I decided to get a nice long warm up in today, for a few reasons. First it was a short 45 minute race, and second Sean and I had plans for a cyclo-cross start, which means floor it from the get go. So 10 rolled around and not much after that it was time to go. Just as planned Sean and I and a few select others hammered it of the line, unfortunately people were ready, and the pack never split up at all. Oh well, I would make more chances. Opus, the course where the race was, is apparently known for not letting breaks go. I was feelin good again, so just like yesterday. I tried and tried. But first the others on my team. Both Brandon and Finn were riding well today. Brandon had a couple of good attacks, and Finn had a great solo lap, in which he got caught at the line for 1st place in the prime. He still pulled a second in it though. Finns attack was great. He had been pretty quiet yesterday, just sitting in, and was quiet until his move today. Everyone was watching for Brandon or I (from Olaf) to go, so when he went no one really started chasing right away. It was really nice, and gave me some good rest while others chased.
But back to my attacks. I don't really know exactly when I went for the first time (besides of the line), but it could not have been long after. I had a few weaker attacks that did not get anywhere. But also a handful that did something. Two of the three of those possibly could have worked, but a KS guy really screwed things up. In both cases I went and a few others came with (most notably Brian Mortiz and Pat Lemeiux, who seemed to be following my every attack). It was good to have some partners in crime. However, the guy from KS made it as well. Each time we started to get organized (i.e. circling), and every time as we came in for a lap (which always happened to be primes) he would sprint, throwing of the rhythm of the group and breaking it up. The second time he did this I simply just sat on his wheel and bitched him out for doing it (rightly so, because I got comments after the race about him breaking everything up each time and how had we worked together the break would have made it).
In the middle of lap 6.5 to go I was on the front, and people were not pulling through, so taking my chances as usual. I attacked hard. It is not usual to have an attack off the very front work, but it sure did. A big thanks to Brandon, who near the front at this time did a bit of blocking. For the next 3 laps I soloed gaining time the entire time. Finally freedom! With 3 and a qauter laps to go I got caught by Brian Crosby from the U with Brad from K-State sitting behind him. We worked together for a bit, with Crosby and I doing most of the work. With just over half a lap to go I attacked hoping to drop the others. Crosby could not hold and had to drop off. But the K-State guy was able to hang on. He went, and I was able to get on his wheel. Then about 250 meters to go I tired to go again. I did not get much on him, but a little gap. Not enough though. 50 meters or so before the line he got around me. I tired to make it up, but needed another few meters. He beat me out at the line by a few inches. Crap.
I really need to work on my sprint. I had plenty of energy, just not enough jump to get the disheartening gap. I know I've got the power, I showed it the last few days. The endurance too. Now I just need the sprint.
I guess it is just not my turn to win a race yet. I definitely have been trying, I really want a win soon. I think if I improve on the form of this weekend, things will work out really well. I am still feeling great now. After recovery tomorrow, who knows what will happen.

Brandon and Finn again finished well. Brandon won the group sprint for 4th place, and Finn came in 8th. Sean on the other hand did not finish so well, because he thought the finish was a prime. Oops.
After the race Finn said he though Brandon had won, he did not see me or the other two, I guess we were pretty far out ahead.
Again today we won overall as a team. Good bragging rights is all we get.
Hopefully there will be some pictures up soon from today.

Next weekend Nebraska. Should be fun.

15 April, 2007

A few pictures

Thanks to Jim Wellbrock

Pullin/attacking up the hill
Pulling the TTT

Again and again.

We the weather sure took a turn for the better. Finally. This morning was cool, but no wind for the first time in weeks. It was off to the course to set everything up at 8 A.M. After a bit people started showing up. By 9:15 registration was running as smoothly as possible, all I had to do was find course marshals, since the 15 the U had promised mysteriously turned into just 2...Shortchanged once again.
Anyway, we scrambled enough people and things started running smoothly again. Before I knew it is was 10:30 and after a few minutes of getting everything with the course marshals worked out I got a chance to warm up.
By now it was fairly warm, and still no wind.
At 11ish the race was off. Soon followed by the other 2 waves. Nothing much happened in the first few miles, just as I expected. It was then time for the hill that I thought things would go down on. And guess what, they did. A U guy attacked at the bottom, which was not a good idea since the hill is deceptively large. I had no trouble getting right on his wheel and holding. The attacks had begun. Soon the hill was done, and it was time for the gravel. The pack (23 I think), did not slow down like I had expected. Despite this there was a flurry of attacks, either from Sean, Pat Lemeuix, or myself. This continued for a bit and then it was the big descent on the gravel. We flew down it, good times. The a sketchy right turn back onto pavement and up the long climb of the day. At a decent clip, but not to bad. It was soon time for the lap to end after a decent then steep climb. One down 5 to go. For various reason I won't go through every lap, mainly because I have no idea what lap things happened on. All I know is that on the steep hill before the gravel road, I attacked every time but the last lap going through the rumble strips. And every time I got pulled back. Then on the first rise of the gravel I usually attacked again, and pulled back, then on the second rise on the gravel again. And then a whole bunch of times just in random spots I felt the need. I also attacked a handful of times whenever I saw an opportunity, or thought the pace was just too slow. Which was to often. All I know is that I attacked a whole lot, and loved every moment of it, except for the fact that I could not get away. In fact no one could get away. Sean tried a few times, Pat a few, Brandon a few, and just a few others too. However, no one was willing to let anything go. But even with that, the attacking took its toll on some, and by the last hill there were only 11 or 12 left. The best part about these 11 or 12 people was that 3 or them were from St. Olaf. No other school had more than 2 riders up front. Most schools had only 1. It was great. So naturally we had the advantage for the sprint. As we came down the final descent and started up the next Brandon and I were either on the front, or right near it. He started to go, and he had a small gap, instead of sitting on someones wheel I did the team game and slowed way down for some good blocking, a yelled at Brandon to get his ass going. He got an ok gap, but then the rest saw what was happening and started to go around me. 7 people in fact got around, including Finn. Which was good. Two guys passed Brandon a ways before the line, the guy who won did not do anything up front the whole race, so I see how he did that. The guy who placed second had some strong pulls. In the end Brandon came across 3rd with Finn a close 4th. The a few more guys including Sean, then myself. After blocking I just could not accelerate enough to be in the hunt. Which is just fine in this case, because we pulled off a 3,4 with the move. All in all I came in 9th, not great sounding, but when I look at how much I attacked I am pleased. Not only that, but I got multiple comments after the racing about my attacking, and how whenever I went people started to really hurt, or something along the lines of simply how did you go so much. It seemed like it was every 30 seconds. Or man you were strong today.
Today was not a race for officially doing well, but I got a lot of street cred. Works for me!
We finished the RR a whole 30 minutes before I thought we were going to, so we got some nice recovery time for the TTT.
We were going to have Brandon, Finn, Peter, and I do it. But right at the last minute Brandon pulled out due to knee problems. So It was down to three. Meaning we could not drop anyone. So off we went, the first mile we circled well. But after that, nope. I got to the front and stayed there. drafted on the downhills a bit, but other than that I pulled the whole thing. It was nearly a individually TT, but I had to sit up and wait a few times. It was a good opportunity to practice my TT skills! But that is what being on a team is about, you can only go as fast as the slowest guy. Even with the trouble we had, we still made 4th place. Just like we did in KS. Next time we will get them. Eventually we made it back, and the day of racing was over. We went over a few things with the officials and then it was time to go eat.

Today was the largest turn out of Olaf racers ever, to my knowledge. 15 of us overall. 3 in the A, 7 in the B, and 5 women. Good deal. I hope they all had fun. The best result from the B came from kyle who got in a break, but the crashed on the last corner. Despite that he was able to come in 5th. He was bleeding all over I hear, and he is sucking it up and racing tomorrow. Props to him. Bria was our top women, pulling in a nice 7th.
Well done today everyone.

Pictures to come, maybe?

13 April, 2007


12, April 2007. 8:07 A.M.
12, April 2007. 5:42 P.M.

Finally the weather is getting better!

It's a bit late (I forgot my camera at the shop for the weekend).
But if the Easter Bunny did not make it to your house, this is why....

11 April, 2007

A rare second post,

but I feel the ride this afternoon deserves a write up.
It all started with the usual 3:30 meeting at das Haus. While waiting for Finn to pump up his tires, I said to Brandon "I hope it does not snow, at least not wet snow." A good foreshadow of things to come. We then rolled over to Carleton and picked up a few of them. It was then off to the course for some hard hills. Sean and I both stopped for a nature break, and the rest of the group picked it up I believe, but no worries, we caught back up after a few miles of riding into the ever increasing ESE wind. Soon after we got to the course and start going hard up the one of the longer hills. It was good, Finn put in a pull, then Sean got to the front and guttered us all, why exactly I am not entirely sure, but no point in complaining. From there the pace held, but as the wind got stronger as we came out of the trees it got harder. By the top I was tired and slowed, for I thought we were going to rest on the downhills. Nope...As we came down the hill before the uphill before the gravel, Sean got a flat. Some things happened that I won't bother mentioning, but my CO2 pump did not work, luckily there were some U guys who had decided to come ride the course, and while they were on their way back they came across us and Sean pumped his tire up a bit. At that point the weather was starting to get a bit crappy, the snow and wind were picking up. Sean went back in, and Brandon and I did another lap (Finn and the rest had already gone in). Right about then the snow started really picking up, not dry snow, but wet wet snow. However, we kept the pace fairly high going up the hills, on the hill again before the gravel I was pulling near the top, Brandon decided to attack. I was definitely not ready for that, so I had to do some chasing. I caught back soon enough and we traded pulls for a bit. By now I could hardly see through my glasses, and my legs were totally soaked. Near the Stop ahead sign I was pulling, and Brandon again attacked. Bad for me, mostly because I had just been pulling hard into a fierce cross wind, and secondly a long downhill with the wind was coming up. Being on my cross bike I spin out real easy. After cutting it close getting across the intersection I of course soon spun out. I was holding the same 20 meter gap the whole time though, as soon as the road started to level out I was able to pull right back up to him. We then kept the pace fairly high coming into town. I was planning on sprinting, but by the time we got to the townline I could not move my hands because my gloves were soaked and pretty much frozen. Sean was just coming out after switching bikes, "to see if we were still alive." Just barley! haha. So we just cruised back in getting ever colder.
All I have to say is thanks to Jan for his rain vest. Without wearing that today I would have been close to hypothermia I should think. It kept my core dry enough to keep producing heat.
Finally we got back to Olaf, I waited 10 minutes before showering, partly because I had to get multiple layers of soaked clothes off with numb/frozen hands...Hard stuff.
Then in the shower my skin was cold enough to make the water cold by the time it got to my feet (which stayed warm thank to neoprene)!
But that was the ride, pretty close to epic.

10 April, 2007

The weather

has been quite strange these last few weeks. Ever since the first day of spring break, where there were record highs set all over the state, the temp was dropping. by last Wednesday the high was 26 and it was 30 mph NW winds, which means it was really cold. By Easter it had gotten all the way back up to 40 degrees. It seems it is again taking a turn for the worse, as I look outside and see snow falling at 41 degrees?

Anyway, because of the cold last week I cut back a bit from my original training plan. One day I simply rode to the shop because the wind blew me there, I stayed there all day and worked on bikes so I did not have to go back into the wind. The next day I rode my cross bike in the woods once in the morning and once at night. Both for 90 minutes. During the evening ride I was out on a gravel road and came across a house with 3 fast dogs, I managed not to get eaten, only to end up at another house with 2 more fast dogs. Somehow I got away from them too. On the way back (I decided to run the gauntlet again) I was all ready to put the hammer down, but the dogs never came out. The next day Sean and I rode the same road, the dogs were missing. Kinda disappointing, it would make for a good sprint workout, just going back and forth in front of those houses.
Other news:
Easter was good, 15 people and two dogs came to my house, and we all ate good food. Thanks mom and dad.
The race organization is pretty much done, now it just has to happen. Hopefully everything will run smoothly.
See the race flyer here, come and watch if you can.
Finally on that last post, could anyone tell me if "The Professor" is real or just a computer?

04 April, 2007

It got cold out,

but first. My comments about my race on Sunday may have sounded harsh. Yes I was disappointed in not winning, but like I said that is bike racing, Atlas mans (Tracy) strategy worked better than mine. That is how it goes. What I said was not meant to be taken that seriously, it was mostly just giving Tracy crap. I am sorry if you were so upset by it, the whole calling him an asshole was probably a bit much. Please take this as an apology. And for everyones future reference, when it seems like I am bitching about something during a race or the likes. It usually just means I am giving who ever crap, making fun of them, but not in a way intended to piss anyone off. And hey, I know my race strategy sucks. Just trying to drop everyone does not work anymore.
Congrats to Tracy for being able to hold on the whole race and go around in the end for the win.
That's all I am going to say on that.

That brings me on to this week. Yesterday was I think the largest group ride between Olaf and Carleton ever. There were a total of 15 or 16 people there. Wow, nearly as big as a collegiate field! Sean and I just hung out and went easy, but many of the other went hard on multiple occasions. It was a good ride.
Today the weather took a turn for the worse, but I stuck to my plan of riding the full course. The wind was a steady 22 mph. (I think is what NOAA said) with gusts of what felt like hurricane force. All from the NW which means it was cold, so cold...Luckily it stopped precipitating when I went out. But it was still cold, never above 37. And once in a while I was pelted by ice from the sky. Luckily it was small stuff, but it still stung. I rode out to the course and started my laps. I was surprised that the first took me just over 32 minutes (for 8.77 miles). Then on the second lap I realized it was the wind that was killing me. Going up one of the long hills directly into the hurricane was very taxing, and very very slow. On my 3rd lap Sean finally joined me, Finn and Kyle said they were going to. But I am told by Finn that they made it out to the course and started looking for me, but the wind was to strong for them and they went home. But round and round Sean and I kept going. On the last lap Andrew joined us. Good thing too he helped a lot on the way home.
For the 6 laps of the course it took me 3 hours and 27 minutes. That is a very very slow 52 or so miles. But I did it and feel fine now. With the 3/4 of a lap I needed to get started and finished, and all the hills getting to and from the course, I reckon I climbed about a mile in vertical feet today. Not bad.
After 5 hours of freezing I finally made it home. My hands and feet were quite numb, and even now are still chilled. But my legs still feel good, which is what matters!
I got some pictures from Nate Ryan from the KS weekend. Here are the best.

Warm up.
Making Sean hurt.

02 April, 2007

A free weekend.

In terms of racing at least, heres how it played out.
At least it was not cold out, but it was sure rainy and windy. After a few bagels it was off to a bit east of Des Moines to do the Altoona Road Race. We (Sean, Andrew, and I) got there a bit early and managed to avoid the lines for registration. At 11 Sean went off with the 1/2 cat. 5 minutes after that I too rolled out of the start area. It was my first categorized road race besides collegiate in the US since being in Germany. I did not really know what to expect of the pace. It was not to high at the start, a bit of attacking occurred, but nothing got away. One guy grumbled that the guy who was attacking currently, always did so and he did not like it. A minute or two after that I attacked. Ha! On one of the hills early on in the race, I'd guess 10 minutes in, an break formed and I happen to be in it. There one or two guys bridged up making the number 7 I think. We were cruisin, we ended up catching the 1/2 who started 5 minutes ahead. It was great. After the 13 mile lap was over we had a massive gap. On the second lap it began to pour and a bit of hail to I think. Needless to say it got very wet. Then on the hill that the break formed on I started to bounce, uh oh. A flat...Luckily I had a pair of wheels in the wheel truck which was following the break. I changed as fast as I could, which was too slow. I spent the next 3/4 lap chasing back to the break, at one point another guy from the break flatted too, except he dropped out. Lucky for me I guess. Anyway, right as the third lap started I caught the break. Needless to say I needed some recovery time which I took. I had no trouble holding the breaks pace, and even put in some attacks to see if I could get people to work harder (because they were not working). I guess I did that too much, with the combo of energy spent chasing back on, and attacking, I did not have the gas when the deciding attack came...I and 2 others were dropped, and then the third with me was dropped. My new partner and I tried to chase back on, but the others were to strong as a tripod. Eventually the 1/2 group caught back up and we hung out with them for a bit, but then since I did not want to get DQed I dropped off the back and spent the next lap.5 soloing for 5th place.
I was and still am just pissed about that flat. I know if that would not have happened I would have easily made the deciding attack and been in there for the finish, but the fifth place got me $25 which paid for my race.
Sean dropped out of his race, and Andrew got 3rd in the 4/5 race.

Chasing back after the flat.

Another wet windy morning, but this time cold. Despite that it was off to a day at the Iowa State Fair Grounds. By the time my race started it had dried out, but was still chilly and windy. The course was great. The start and finish at the top of a nice hill. One went down, then right back up. Good time. Anyways, the race started a bit slow, on the hill the first time things remained low key, everyone just testing to see how they would do. I am not sure if it was the 2nd or 3rd lap, but not long into the race a hard attack came on the hill (from the guy who initiated the attack that dropped me yesterday). I knew I had to go, and wanted to as well. I had no trouble at all bridging up, I felt great. Two more guys were able to follow, the rest were not. After one lap 10 seconds, 2 laps 19 seconds, 3 laps 30 seconds, a few laps later a minutes, another few laps 2.5 minutes...Through all of this every one in the break was doing an equal amount of work, however, I always ended pulling up the hill, which was ok since the tail wind was so strong there was no draft. Once we heard 2 minutes as our gap, 2 of the guys stopped working (the guy who started it kept at it). Not cool. I don't believe in free rides...I put in an attack on the hill, but everyone was able to follow. I yelled at them all to keep pulling through, which they did to an extent. Despite the slackers we caught the main field, and lapped them. That was great. And soon after that it was nearly time to finish, at the very start of the last lap 2 guys from the main field tried (I think) to pick it up as to not get lapped. Which was handy because they pulled us down the hill through the hard wind. At the bottom of the hill I put the hammer down. Absolutely blew the main fielders out of the water, and dropped one of the breakers, and got a small gap on another, unfortunately one guy was able to follow (because he did nothing the last 20 minutes of the race) and got around me right at the top of the hill. I just could not get back up to him and he beat me out by a second or two. Asshole, I side with Jens Voigt, and that if you don't do any work in the break you should not win. But that is bike racing for you, gotta kick your own ass until the line, I managed second anyhow, and $50. Which paid for the race today and an extra $25, to cover food for the weekend I guess. Oh, I forgot to mention, the guy who one did not race yesterday either, so he was nice and rested...
So there was my free weekend. I am not too disappointed, I just know now that the racing in Germany was so much faster than here. And I raced most often in the lowest cat. Once I get my legs strong again, I'll have no troubles at all...
Sean did really well in his race and got 5th, and Andrew had a leg problem and had to drop.
Must have been early in the race, since I (and the guy right in front of me) were taking a turn at the back...
Needs no explanation...