29 May, 2009

Where are they going?

What do you think is on the other side?

25 May, 2009


If the Duluth Classic were a bike race with TV motorcycles, I would be one of those poor suckers who goes out in front all day just to get caught. But you know what, that is just fine with me, I am getting some really good efforts in, and hey, one of these times it should work.

Day one: TT
I have not been doing so well at TTs the past few weeks. Friday evening was better then they had been, limiting my losses to 3:30ish rather then 8 minutes. But still not even close to putting me near GC contention. I was hoping this would set me up to go off un-chased in a break the following days.

Day two: Wisconsin RR
Another beautiful day up north, with little wind and open roads the 42 riders in the open field were off. 4 laps totaling 72 miles on a relatively flat course, although there was a long not so steep uphill that did make me hurt. On each lap there were points for either KOM or Sprints on the line, after coming through on the first lap and the field being broken up I took the chance and struck out into the open. After about 1/4 lap of blasting away solo I was joined by two companions and we hammered along for the rest of the lap, the field never letting us get to far away. Coming through the line again the field broke up a whole bunch and a group of 8 or 9 of us ended up up the road, a group that size was deemed to much a threat and halfway through the lap we were caught. Break attempt one over. I spent the rest of the race just chillin in the pack enjoying how easy it was. The final 2km were pretty dang fast with a good size crash included. Rolled across with the field.

Day three: Home turf (Lakeview RR)
I finally got to ride my bike to a bike race. The course was on my usual training roads, only about 20 minutes bike ride for me. A perfect warmup. Up the large hill known as Strand Rd. 6 laps of racing, but 7 times with the "neutral" roll-out. I know these roads well, and knew when the best place to attack was. 15 minutes into the race right about where I wanted to go a group went off and I got on. 6 of us total, and for the next 2 hours 20 minutes we worked well together over the challenging course. It hurt a lot. Our lead yo-yoed quite a bit, going from 1:15 down to 10 sec. then back up to 1:55 before the field caught us on the top of the hill with one to go. To make things interesting we even had some redneck shooting at us with a high powered pellet gun. Luckily he only hit aluminum, but still, that makes me nervous to ride out there. Crazy people with guns are bad...
Anyhow after being caught I just sat in and recovered so I would not get shot out the back on the final climb. I by no means stayed up front, but managed to keep it together and not loose any more time.
All in all it was a good day, I tried my best to make it happen at home, but it just was not going to be.

Early onLater in the day. Things starting to hurt...

Day four: Cloquet Crit
New course this year. A short lap, with a punchy little hill and a nice fast downhill corner, besides the corner not technical at all. It was just windy enough for that to be a factor.
Last night I had talked with Lance Bruening and Mr. Casper and figured that Lance and I may as well try a sprint from the gun to try and get away. However, that was not to be as everyone had the same idea. I was right at the front and tried a few times to make something happen. Nothing was going that soon. For a good 15 laps things were fast and together, a few small attacks for primes, but nothing that was going to stay away. shortly after the halfway point Hollywood launched off on the hill and brough Rod Raymond (teammate for the weekend) with. They got a good gap very quickly. The next lap saw another 4 or 5 guys get a gap. Timmer deemed the chase group to dangerous and I went back up and put in a bit of work. We caught them shortly and the lap after that Casper, Brian Crosby and I just kinda rolled off the front. I just sat on and let them pull up to the break. The 5 of us had a pretty good gap, but with Crosby threating and Casper right in front of Timmerin GC there was not any point in Rod or I working too hard. Kinda disappointing, but racing is not all about you when your on a team. We stayed away until one lap to go. Easily rejoining the group. Timmer was set up perfect coming into the final hill and he just blasted off and in for the win.
Round and round we goHollywood goesCasper pulls at a nice clip. It looks like I am trying to flap my wings and fly away...ha!Hopefully I don't always look like that.

By my best estimates I spent slightly over 4 hours in breaks during the weekend. With 7 hours of racing being pelotonable and 35 for a TT. Kind of entertaining to know that most of my time was spent away.

After four days of racing, and being out front a whole bunch I feel great. I am ready for more. With my low standing on the GC I was able to race super aggressively and not really worry about my overall time. Had I been dropped after getting caught so what. But I never was which is encouraging. Next weekend is another qualifier for NVGP and I need to race smart there, big change in tactics...
Hopefully this weekend will set me up fitness wise for Nature Valley. That is the plan at least...

17 May, 2009

Well that needs work.

First off bike racing is hard. Even harder when you forget...
Luckily Daniel Casper was there to save the day. His feet are relatively close to the same size and shape of my feet, so things at least functioned for the most part.
I do in fact know how I left the shoes at home, well actually work. Due to sleet last night I got a ride, and never crossed my mind that I forgot to change back into my bike shoes before leaving work, until I got to the race today, oops!

Anyhow, the wind greeted us all with a big gust at the TT was off.
As this was my first 40 K I really did not know what to expect. I just took off and settled in. Kept my heart rate at uncomfortably hard but not overdoing it. My legs just did not want to turn though. I am not really sure whether it is due to lack of TT bike practice or fatigue. But I am going with both right now. Either way, not any excuse for being slow, but fixable. I just kept plugging away and after way to long I finished. About 4-5 minutes back from where I believe I should be finishing, and am pretty sure I can finish.

After getting home I tinkered around with my position for a good hour, ranging from seat height to tires. Already much more comfortable.
However, my bike still does not look like this...

Zoom zoom.

Hopefully I can learn how to TT by Wednesday evening...

Also, buy my mountain bike.

14 May, 2009

May snow brings June flowers?

Yesterday for the Wednesday night ride in Duluth nearly 20 people showed up. It was amazing, biggest group of bike riders I've ever seen up here, there were people taking pictures of us all over for some reason.
Anyhow, part of the reason there were so many people was due to the fact that it was 75 with bright sun. Although really windy, it was really nice out. I rode in shorts and short sleeves until about 8:30, then added arm warmers.
I started my ride this morning at 8. It was snowing.
Less then 12 hours difference and nearly 40 degrees, it is to entertaining to be angered by!

07 May, 2009

Torn between two worlds

But first, weekend recap.
A bright sunny, not that windy day for Marty. The first of four NVGP qualifiers. Right from the start the 48 of us were haulin. The first two laps averaging 27 mph is what I heard. Due to copious numbers of center line violations the official, for good reason, stopped the race and made it known that that was not ok. Despite destructing the momentum we had going, it worked out because I got to pee, which was a good alternative to exploding. And it also was needed to keep the center line in check.
The next lap slowed down a bit, then slowly picked up. A few breaks tried to go, but nothing was going to get far. As we came whistling down the final straight (with a tail wind) I was sitting right on Doug's wheel ready to at least sit in the draft, but alas I did not drink enough or something and started to cramp up. Balls... I struggled in and held onto 6th. Not by any means bad, but I know I have some sprint in there somewhere.

La Crosse. Drove down being entertained by the antics of Dan Swanson, unable to get comfortable and sleep for some reason. After the race on Sat. I had a 12 hour clinical, and I got the call that we needed to leave earlier an hour into my nap... Anyhow, the course was for the most part flat, a small rise, but nothing to make a difference in the race. Right from the start it was go go go. 67 people makes things a bit more interesting. The speed never really let off, I did a little work at the front after a split in the group making sure Timmer would have at least somewhat of a chance in the end. I was in great position coming into 1 lap to go, but the field decided to sprint that time and I got moved back way to far, way out of any kind of contention. Ended up at the front end of the pack. Nothing special, but a good first crit with corners to get the jitters out. Nice and fast too, word on the street the average was 29 mph.

Two worlds:
Bike racing and wilderness. The two do not go together at all. I truly love both. The thrill and exhilaration of bike race, whipping around corners at 30 mph with 60 guys within 100 feet of you. And of course the good feeling when you finish a race and have nothing left. At the same time there is the peace and freedom of the woods. The rocks, trees and water, a place where life is simple and simply good.
Sadly they do not go together very well. If I wanna be at all competitive taking a 4 days to a week off of training at this time would not bode well for any aspirations I have of making NVGP and making it through. And of course, carrying a bike at least 20 miles into the woods is not going to happen. I love both worlds so much, no way I can give one up. I've got to figure out how I can make this work!


Choices choices