30 September, 2007

Some days you got, some days you don't

This weekend was the first of the dual cyclo-cross racing for the season. From here on out it is pretty much that way.
Yesterday (Sat.) was the Hudson race. After just making it to the starting line on time (unlike Sean who missed the start). It was off on a course that was nearly half single track. I was able to hold my ground though the mud and roots and due to an early end because of lightning I finished 7th. Being that my technical riding is not where I need it to be right now I was fairly pleased. A top 10 most days is nothing to bad.
Then it was out to lunch with the parents (no dogs as they were not allowed in the restraint), Herr Langely and Adam and his wife from Zumbrota.

Today it was raining again (but unlike yesterday no wind) as we lined up in Orono. For some odd reason the A race was first today a very early 10 A.M. which meant I had to get up fairly early. Anyways, it was off on the long muddy course. I was not feeling so hot at the start, in part due to lack of warm up, I figured the sluggishness would eventually go away. I just tried to keep going, but simply could not go fast. With 4 or so laps left, I began to feel a large hop in my rear wheel. Turns out my tubular started to come unglued, that was pretty annoying. However, I was not quite as unlucky as Casper, who I saw running his bike with his rear wheel halfway off. Anyhow, I have been trying to come up with reasons for my poor performance today, but I think that I just did not have it today, and thats bike racing I guess.

Before I lost it
But at least I got a cool picture out of it.

27 September, 2007

Hittin it hard

After being completely shot in class today I decided to take a short nap. nearly 2 hours later I woke up and it was time to go ride bikes. I cruised on over to Carleton to get Sean. From there we cruised on out to Big Woods State park going pretty hard up some of the hills. My legs were still asleep at the start, but soon enough they were ready to go. We then did 2 of the big laps (somewhere around 20 min each), the second was race pace. It felt pretty good to kick it in again. After that we cruised around on a shorter lap then headed back out on to the road heading into Nerstrand. That means a town line, which in turn means a sprint. So off we went I was leading it out and as Sean was throwing it down I stood up and went full bore 1165 watts to be more exact, a blink of an eye later my chain skipped and then things got interesting. My feet both unclipped, and I did some pavement skiing, then that stopped and I proceeded to smash my elbow, ass, and head on my left side into the blacktop, while my front tire ripped skin of my right leg twice. Shortly after that I was sitting in the shoulder wondering what the hell just happened. After a few minutes of recovery, it was up an at em again. As I recently have had no desire to ride on pavement lightly, (and crashing did not change that) and the fact that I had a large whole in my shorts, I said we should take gravel back. So we had a nice easy cruise back to town. For the Northfield town line I lead Sean out, while in top gear my chain was skipping, I am pretty sure that is what caused the crash.
We then met up with some of Seans friends and cruised for another 30 min. All in all it was a 3 hr 10 min ride, and I hit it hard in multiple ways...

Tire burns
Did not quite make the line
Back on the road again

24 September, 2007

Well then

Cross has started, it has been a few weeks since the last race, so it was good to start hammering it again.
This morning Sean and I cruised on up to St. Cloud. It is really nice doing the top level races, as they are always late. I did not have to wake up very early at all. Anyway, I was exhausted the whole way up, I think it was because of lack of sleep Friday night. But hey, thats college!
Even while I was warming up I thought I was going to fall asleep, I envisioned getting to the start line and just tipping over fast asleep. But luckily that did not happen and it was off for the first 60 minutes of cross of the year.
St. Cloud has a nice course set up. This year they even added a hill and barriers to make it even more fun. The course starts on top of a hill, weaves around for a bit then drops down to the Mississippi back up, right back down. A bit of flat then up and down and up again. It is not very technical and does not have a whole lot of recovery.
My start sucked, I felt well not good at all. I was just not able to push it super hard. After a bit over 2 laps I guess I got warmed up, and brought the pace up high to try and catch Herr Casper who had just blown by the small group I was in. I just went and kept going (never catching the ghost), but thanks to him I actually started racing. At the start I was a good 15 places back or so, and I had no idea how many people were in front of me. I just assumed it was 10 or so since that is where I finished up last year. About halfway in the Duluth guys started yelling that I was 6th. I was quite surprised at that, and noticed that 4 and 5 were not far. So I did the only thing that makes sense and chased hard. With about 4 laps left I caught them (Micha and Matt of Grandstay), Matt got on my wheel and we rode together for the rest of the race. He sat on, and said that I could have the sprint, but I think he coulda kicked my ass if he had wanted. ha! But anyway, the race ended up going surprisingly well. I had no idea that I was going that fast, I was not feeling all that great, or so I thought, but I guess I was. I wonder what will happen if I feel good for a race?
But it was a good time. I am off to a much better start than last year. Where I finished 30 out of 37 or so in this race compared to this year which was 5 out of 33. I'll take it! Now lets just hope I keep getting faster and not stay the same or get slow while everyone else flies by me.

Lets get the party started.
Sean leading me out for the barriers. ha!

Casper the ghost about to eat me up and spit me out.
Starting to hurt
First time one has ever been able to read Milltown of the back of the shorts.

21 September, 2007

Colds, cramps, cross and homework...

The title pretty much somes up what has been happening lightly. Last Friday morning I woke with a light tickle in the throat, thought nothing of it and thus went hard on the bike. Not a good idea, Saturday I woke up with a sore throat and stuff nose. Sunday was worse. Monday was better, so I did a few hard hills, thus giving the cold another chance. Damn, that was dumb. Tuesday hurt a bit, then it started tapering off more. Today was insanely easy so hopefully tomorrow I will finally feel good again.
A large population of Oles are sick, so I know where I got it from. But usually my immune system can kick the common campus colds. I guess training was to hard?

Along with this cold I have had some death cramps. The first was just randomly (not that the other dont) started on a recent ride. It was concentrated and contained to the numb spot on my right leg from surgery. Just as random as it started it went away. Yesterday, I was riding out of Faribault and got on my seat a bit weird. This somehow caused a cramp that lasted for a good hour. Then today riding in the Arb, again for no reason my left leg started doing the classic death cramp. Not cool, I dont know why they are happening now. Ive been riding everyday, and except for Monday all easy.
In other news, I finally got an appt. at the Mayo.

Cross riding is all Sean and I have been doing. Lots of trail and gravel. Yesterday I went out early, thus by solo. I was only planning on going to the shop and back, but due to there being no wind I just kept going and ended up with 3.5. I rode some new gravel, always exciting. Anyways, this weekend is supposed to be the first cross race of the year. I really want to do it, but if I feel like I do now, there is not much point....

Other then riding bikes, all I have time for is homework. The professors are really piling it on these days. I don't really get it, I am in the same level classes (if not easier) as last year, but am doing much more work. Not fun. But at least some of it is interesting.

16 September, 2007

Cross time.

Time for cross riding, got the bike all set up, even with Powertap. Sean and I have been riping up the trails and gravel. Today we went up to Lebanan Hills and I had a nice face plant.
Time to go "recover."

09 September, 2007

Class, Power, and Jesse James

Last week classes started. Unlike most other semesters most of my classes should be really good.
I have: the ethics of war, Chinese, German, and it's about sex. I think they all have the potential of being very good.

Last week Powertap came as well. It is really quite fun to look at all the information I get out of it. While riding today I was just watching the watt reading. The reading is always changing, very hard to keep it consistent. I am wondering if I am putting more power in with my right leg then left, the reading kept varying 5-10 watts and seemed to be in unison with the push of each different leg. I'll have to look into that.
Now that I have the information, I just need to figure out how to use it to get faster...

Yesterday was the annual Jesse James bike tour. There is a 10, 30, 60, and 100 mile ride. On Friday night, while out and about, I had convinced two others to come with me. However, that was at 1 a.m., thus when 7:30 came around both were not to be seen. So off I went by myself. I rode with a doctor from the Mayo for just over 50 miles, then he said he was to tired to carry on at my pace so I took off for the rest solo. I only started getting tired in the last 30 minutes of the ride, which was after the 100 mile mark. On the way through the outskirts of Northfield I came across and art show, and they were selling kettle corn, I love that stuff, so I bought some and had to carry a giant bag of popcorn a good 5 miles. Ha.
All in all the ride was 181 km (108 miles) and 6 hrs 4 min long. I hit the 100 mile mark at 5 hrs 15. I had an ok avg. of 205 watts for the century. After that I just cruised back.

Today I woke with tired legs, but after breakfast I felt great. I went out for 2 hours, just me Powertap and iPod. During the ride I came to the realization that I really do enjoy riding solo. The iPod talks to me, and Powertap tells me how my form is, even better than other riders can. Group rides with the Olaf "team" a few times a week will be good this year, but not everyday like in the past. I need to do my own thing, train right, and now train really smart.

04 September, 2007

It's 101, lets go race.

Apparently it gets hot in Missouri. And yesterdays race started at 2, while 3 is usually the hottest part of the day. Good timing, eh?
Anyway, despite it being hot (the hottest I've ever raced in) I was pretty much ready to rock for the final day of the Gateway Cup. I did what I thought was a good enough warm up, and soon the race was on. The first 15 minutes sucked, I was no where near warmed up enough so I was suffering on the hot gradual uphill that was half the course. Eventually I started feeling better and started moving up. Up and up I went, it was great. After some time I was exactly where I had wanted to be the entire weekend (with the exception of a break), I was sitting comfortably in the position 1 to 20 of the peloton. Nice and safe and yet plenty of wind block, I sat on Dan Schamtz's (the local BMC pro that won the weekend) wheel for quite some time. I went with some break attempts, but nothing got away after the first break of the day.
As the race went on it got hotter and hotter. Most of the hill was in the shade, but the top was not, every time we went over it felt like stepping into a sauna.
Unfortunately my good positioning was suddenly lost with about 20 minutes to go. The peloton simply engulfed the front and it changed. I spent the rest of the race trying to get back up. I did not make it to the front, but came in with the main sprint group. so around 30 or so back I think. But it was a good day in all.

I wore the Olaf kit because white is cooler...

The weekend was a great time. For sure the fastest crits I've done. the 130 man peloton and the fast teams are really great. I need to do more big races. I am pleased with my form at this point, on most occasions I was able to make my body do what my mind wanted. Unlike Sean who had some trouble. It is always fun to see my training working right. Also this was my first real test of multiple days of racing. My body handled it great. My legs are not fried at all right now, but recovery ride is still in order. The only thing I wish I would have done was to go out and attack more. I was to afraid in the first few days because I did not know if I would have the energy to make it through. And the last day I had some chances, I just did not take them for some dumb reason. Oh well, I've still got a long time to race bikes. There will be more chances.

Next up Cross!

03 September, 2007

Days 3 and 4

Yesterday was the "Tour of Washington Ave." The course was right on the edge of downtown St. Louis in an area where they are remodeling a bunch of old buildings into new apartments. The loop started at the top of a longish low gradient hill, went down for two corners then up the backside which was also a long not steep hill, back down for 2 corners and back up to this finish. The hills were not hard enough to split things up, but hard enough to make it hurt.
I had decent position most of the race. A few time I made it right up near the front. With about 10 laps left I was right where I wanted to be, then all of a sudden I was 50 back and could not move up. Oh well, at least I finished unlike Sean. Ha!

The course

The fans are always a good time
Fun on the corners

This evening was the "Giro Della Montagna." It was in the Italian section of town called The Hill. The course was not really hilly, but it did have a nice long hill, one side of the course was up, the other down.
The race was going well until about 20 minutes to go. I was in good position and all, I took a shot of Hammer Gel from one of the refillable containers since that is all I have left. My throat really did not like it and for the last bit of the race I had the coughs. It sucked. I finished again in the 40s or so. Nothing special. Hopefully I'll find some pictures.

Tomorrow is the last stage, and my legs feel great right now. Hopefully that will carry through the night, and I'll be strong tomorrow.

01 September, 2007

Nighttime fun

Thursday I arrived in Des Moines, and Sean and I cruised on over the the local "race like a girl" training race. It was alright, short races, the longest being 20 minutes, the shortest being 2.
Nothing special happened, but it was a good warm up for this weekend.

Friday morning we cruised on down the road to St. Louis, MO to take part in the Gateway Cup. Four crits over the four day weekend.
The first of which started last night at 9:30. It was really quite strange to be warming up for a race when I am usually getting ready for bed. The course was pretty much flat, a little bit of elevation change, but nothing significant. It was nice and wide with mostly good roads, and only decently lit.
So at 9:30 all 121 racers took off for 75 minutes (plus 5 laps) of fun. I was about mid pack at the start and stayed there for 20 minutes or so while I adjusted to bike racing again. Eventually I found my lines and got the courage and the legs to start moving up. It took quite some time to get anywhere. On a few occasions throughout the race (after halfway) I managed to get to the front and I tried bridging up to random breaks. Of course all I managed to do was drag the field with me, but it was still fun to be up on the front of over 100 people. Just over halfway through my right contact got tired of the wind and decided to jump ship. That made the corners a bit harder, but luckily I had my lines all figured out so I just stuck to those. I was able to stay in the top 30-40 for pretty much the rest of the race. As the race wound down (and sped up) I was about 20th wheel or so for awhile. With 5 laps or so to go there was a crash on the outside going into a corner. On the 4th lap to go I lost my left contact, thus was nearly blind...With 2 laps to go some guy did not hold his line and cut the corner to much, bounced of me and the proceeded to cause a really loud crash.
The last lap all I did was try not to run into anything and hold my place. I estimate between a 30 and 40 finish place. It was a fun race, nighttime made it fun.

There were lots of house parties going on during the races...
I managed to sneak into a photo (Olaf skinsuit) on the inside
The line

After a short spin this morning its off to downtown for race 2.