Thursday, May 29, 2008

So Pro It Hurts

(notice the numbers)


My new roof rack comes in tomorrow. Maybe now people will quit hating on me for not driving to enough races.

Winfield Crits are on tap for the weekend. I think I'm starting to get my brain in full on crit mode.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Memorial Day Crits

These Memorial Day weekend races are some of my favorite races, mostly because they were my first real races 2 years ago when I was getting my feet wet as a cat 4. Mike and I battled it out all weekend long for cat 4 dominance (he won), and then would watch the big boys battle it out in the afternoon.

I remember watching the Pro, 1,2 races and wondering how people could ever even ride up The Snake 20 times in 1 day. 2006 was when Toyota United brought a full squad and had the US Pro RR champ Chris Wherry tearing up the weekend... Good times.

Since I already updated you on the happenings at Snake Alley, I guess I should give you the low down on the other two crits from the weekend.

Melon City was fast from the gun and I very easily could have had the worst legs I've had all season. I tried to pull an early solo bridge to move that had gotten a bit of a gap... in the process of going across, I realized that I wouldn't be able to put my nose in the wind much, if I wanted to have anything left for the end. So for the next hour, I tried conserve and hope no breaks got away. The long fast downhill ensured that there would be a field sprint. I put down a hard effort on the hill and tried to pick the right line through the chaos. I came into the last corner in 9th place and thats where I stayed. Mike represented well with a 6th place on the day as well.

After a night of recovery acting my own personal soigner, I woke the next day for the Quad Cities Cage Match. I was just hoping for some better legs and to keep it upright until the chaos of the last 5 laps. I started near the back of the field and was readying myself for a fight to get to the front, but it ended up being an easy ride to the front in just a few corners. I few moves came and went and nothing was really materializing, I tried to stay up front to keep an eye on anything that looked too dangerous. About half way through the race I ended up in off the front in a good move with some nice representation, Rob and Ryan White, Chad Hartley from Jittery Joes, The Burdman from RoadHouse, some guy from Successful Living, Bianchi GP, and Alex Boyd. We rolled it for a bit, but the hot spot sprints weren't helping us stay organized. Some were more motivated that others and we came back after a bit of time off the front. I was still feeling pretty good, but I decided to find the big boys and watch them for the sprint. ABD, Roadhouse, and GP all acted like they were going to lead out the race from about 10 to go on down to 5 to go. I just tried to avoid the swarms until someone took control. Once we saw 5 to go, ABD and Roadhouse took control and kept the pace high, this made it a lot easier on me, and I just followed wheels and tried to hold my spot. The important corner was the 2nd to last corner. There wasn't much moving up going on after that corner. On the last lap, I was sitting 5th wheel with 3 corners to go and went to make my jump towards the front, just as I was jumping, John Grant pulled off the Texas Roadhouse leadout and we got tangled a bit. I'm glad no one went down, because he's an IU guy and a good friend, it just sucks we had to have that little run in. Anyway, as a result I lost a couple spots and finished exactly how I went into the 2nd to last corner, another 9th place. As nice as it was to scrape out a 9th place the day before with such bad legs, it was equally disappointing to come up with another 9th place when I felt so good coming down the stretch. Overall it was a good trip to Iowa and I can't wait for next years return trip.

Looking at the calendar for the month of May and I calculated that I have done 14 races in 28 days, so what I'm saying is that I'll be having another light week, as the legs were still stinging from my 2 week stint in Arkansas. This weekend I'll be heading up to Chicago to some crits in Winfield, including the ABR Criterium Championships of the Universe. It's about time to win something...

Saturday, May 24, 2008

End of Arkansas/ Snake Alley

So It's been a bit since I threw down a blog post, so I'll update my readers on what has been going on in my bike racing life. I haven't posted since the end of the Tour of Arkansas. Stage 3 of Arkansas was a doozie. It finished on top of Mt. Magazine, the highest point in Arkansas. The climb was something like 11 miles long and came after 87 miles of racing. I tried to hang on to the leaders, and did so for a while. We had been climbing for a bit and I saw a sign coming up that was going to tell us how far we had to the finish. So far the race organizers had used 1K to go and 5K to go signs. I was hoping for the 1K sign, and saying that if it was 5K I was going to be pissed... It was 10K!!!! Talk about deflated... I hung on to the back of the group for another few miles, but I was trashed. I limped it in for a finish around 40th, a couple minutes down. Seriously hard stage though. The last day was a crit.. I was riding ok, near the front actually, but I was fighting hard to keep my spot up there. After a few hard jumps and going across a few gaps, the lights just went out completely. I was cracked. The hard 2 weeks had gotten to me and I could hardly turn a pedal. Mike and I loaded up and came home, tail between our legs. I think I'll be better off for my suffering though.

Mike Hurting

Now I'm out here in the lovely state of Iowa. Today was The Snake. 20 trips to the top of The Snake. I got a mediocre start, probably somewhere in the 40's, out of about 90 guys. The front derailleur wasn't workin' so well, so I got stuck in the big ring for the first 3 laps, while I played mechanic on the descents. I finally got it out of the big ring, but then it would hardly go back into the big boy. I finially got it sorted out and got with a nice group and proceeded to pick off some groups. With a few laps to go we caught a few more guys and they stuck with us making it a group of 7, making up places 10-17. I really wanted to get away to avoid the sprint, but that didn't happen. I figured my best chance was to try to go early, but that didn't work either. I hit the wind out of the last corner and almost fell over sideways. The whole damn group came around me... not what I was looking for. The race was awesome none the less, hopefully I can have a couple decent rides this weekend.

Me Deep in the Hurt Locker

Isaac Hurting

Mike Pulling Me Around- Pre-Vomit

The vibe on The Snake was awesome. I've got to give a few shout outs to those of you who were helping me make it over the top every lap. The whole Bloomington Crew, The Team Revolution Girls, Neal Forbes and Family, and this last guy was right at the top in the hardest spot of The Snake, getting in my face every lap. Big thanks to Wes Luzadder for the motivation to keep the pedals turning over the top. That race would be twice as hard without all of the fans screaming in your face every lap!

Tomorrow is the Mellon City Crit, one my personal favorites. It's supposed to be 90 degrees and might rain, crittin' in the rain is always aweosme.

My Bike W/ Mike's Boss' Cosmic Carbone Ultimates

Friday, May 16, 2008

Tour of Arkansas- Stage 2

Today Mike and I moved hotels from Russellville, Arkansas, to Fort Smith, the site of the last two stages of the race. We had pretty plush digs in Russellville, but moved on to our complimentary hotel room courtesy of the Tour of Arkansas director, not bad when all we had to do was ask.

We have been spending some serious time in the hotel room post-race, doing a whole lot of nothing. Yesterday we took a nap (in separate beds thanks), and walked a cross the street for dinner. That is literally all that we did after the race. I think it's the most drained I've ever been after a bike race. Today we've been a bit more active and scrapped the nap time, but we're still hurting pretty good.

So about that bike race.

That's a picture of the profile from the race bible, not terribly hard overall, but you can see the tough spots for sure.

There was a lot more racing and attacking on the flats today than I expected, but Team Type 1 didn't really kill it on the front on the climbs, so we didn't really drop too many people before the last climb. Nick Reistad gave me a heads up on how the last climb would play out and he wasn't lying. Whole teams were going to the front and killing it for the last 5 miles before the climb, and leading out their climbers to the base of the hill, it was pretty chaotic once we hit the bottom. The best climbers smashed it from the first up-slope, but I tried to gauge my effort so I wouldn't blow up and have to walk the bike. I kept the leaders in sight for a good 2/3rds of the climb, but hit the wall pretty hard and it was all I could do to keep the pedals going over for the last part of the climb. I'm not really sure where this put me placing wise, but I'm guessing somewhere in the 30's, a couple minutes behind the super climbers. There were no real groups on the road, just shrapnel of what used to be the peleton. Someone even said the cars were having a tough time making the tight switchbacks near the top. Once I got to the top, I was able to feast of hundreds of Snickers and Milky Way Mini's. That was about the best thing I could think of to have waiting for me after a climb like that and 100 miles of racing.

Now as I sit here in my free hotel room, attempting to recover, I feel pretty decent. I don't think my body is a wrecked as it was after yesterday's stage, and tomorrow's profile doesn't look terrible. Tomorrow does have another mountain top finish, atop Mt. Magazine, Arkansas highest point. Hopefully I can put together one good effort to hang on with a good bunch and eek out a good result. Either way, after these last two weeks of racing I think I'll be rollin' once I get some solid recovery in my legs.

Alright, off to put the legs up for a bit.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Tour of Arkansas- Stage 1

Today was another 110 mile death march with some serious climbing. 10,000 feet to be exact. There was a series of tough climbs in the first half of the stage, and the second half was pretty rolling. The field kept splitting and coming back together on the hard ones, and I was making the front group, but it was wearing on me. The last one was the big one on the day. I was hanging on for dear life and got popped off with about a half mile or so left in the climb. A group of us chased and kept the caravan in sight, but could ever get back to it. We rolled it tempo style for a bit, then a massive chase group, containing Mike, came rolling up and swept us up, that was our home for the rest of the day. The lead group ended up being about 30, and our group was about 50. Pretty disappointed in losing so much time today, but I rode hard, and just couldn't make the final split. Tomorrow is another beast, but I think the legs are recovering nicely, so maybe I can have a little better ride.

My decision to run an 11-28 cassette was one of the best I've made in my entire life, I needed every tooth of that 28 when I was dying on the selective climb. For the record, today's stage was about 60 watts harder than the hardest climbing day at Joe Martin, and the KJ's were quite a bit higher too.

Thanks for reading

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Oh Snap!

So awesome! That was a pretty good save just to keep it upright too.

110 Miles with 10,000 feet of climbing tomorrow. Tour of Arkansas reports coming soon.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Joe Martin Stage 3

Looking at the course profile in the race bible does this crit course absolutley no justice. The Joe Martin Crit has a WALL in it. It was hard, really hard. Only 45 or so people finished, I was one of the last finishers, coming in at 40th place. I made it about 87 minutes of the 90 minute race before a Rite Aid guy pulled out and left me a nice big gap to close. He did pull a very nice and professional move and gave me a Madison Sling to try to get me back up to the wheel he had just let go, no luck though. I think I probably would have popped in a few more corners anyway. So a nice group of us rode the last couple laps together and put the 2008 Joe Martin Stage Race to bed for good. Once the results came up last night, I found out that I ended up 40th on GC, the last spot of the payout, solid. It could have been better, could have been worse. I think it was probably a pretty good learning experience though. I also forgot to mention that I took a spill about 20 mintutes into the crit when I stood up to jump out of a corner and my chain came off, that immeadiately deposited my arse onto the pavement. 2 Zipp Neutral wheels later, I was back in the game though. Only minor roadrash, and a couple out of true Reynolds wheels to show for it.

Now I'm back home resting up for a few days and meeting up with Mike so that we can head back down to Arkansas again for the Tour of Arkansas. I Just finished throwing an 11-28 cassette on my Reynolds KOM's, this is probably the only race where those wheels will actually get to shine.

By the way, Mapquest said it should take me 9:50 to get back from Fayetteville to Bloomington... Did it in 7:45. Arent you impressed?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Giro d'Italia 2008

Live Giro Coverage

Be careful though, watching something so sweet and Euro could cause the hair on the back of your head to grow at a disproportionate rate the the rest of you hair... if you're lucky.

(click the " live feed" link)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Joe Martin Stage 2

I like neutral feeds. Neutral feeds give me an opportunity to exchange my crappy, moldy bidons for fresh new ones. Normally you can get some nice ones, preferably of the Specialized variety, maybe even the green gatorade ones. Well The bottles they're giving out here aren't much of a catch.

Who wan'ts a pink bottle with someone else's baby on it. Babies are weird looking. If water bottles were trading cards, I sure wouldn't trade you my Michael Jordan rookie card of a Gatorade bottle, for your Dog-ear'd Kurt Rambis neutral baby bottles... Well maybe I would, because I've done it about ten times this week.

Anyway... there was a bike race today, and an early one at that. I had to get up way early so I could eat and try to digest a bit before the race. Come to think of it, this is the one year anniversary of my "issue" in last years Collegiate Nats RR. Luckily I avoided all such problems today. So yeah the race rolled out, and HN rode the front for the majority of the day, giving the early break a bit too long of a leash. That long leash lead to a pretty wide open chase effort late in the race, unfortunately that was really the only time that the race got tough. I was hoping it would get a little harder a little earlier so maybe we could get some splits and help me crawl a few more spots up the GC. We did hit some serious speeds on some of the descents today, a little bit too fast for me to try my very first mid-race urination. I've been practicing my peeing off the bike recently on my solo training rides, but I'm not quite confident in my 60mph, 1 handed urination skills, maybe next week. So the race pretty much stayed together for a nice long drag race field sprint. It was pretty chaotic, and I attempted to act like a sprinter and get towards the front, but I didn't really get too involved. I just followed some wheels to finish safely near the front of the field. Tomorrow is a the crit in downtown Fayetteville. It looks like a pretty good course with a decent rise every lap, should be fun. Alright, I think I'm going to go explore for a good coffee shop and some decent reading.

Well it looks like some tornado's are coming for Fayetteville as I type this, so maybe I'll just go sit in the bathtub instead.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Joe Martin Stage 1

Today started with a neutral roll out for a little while, and then some people attacking for a while longer, and then a group got up the road, and Health Net rode the front the whole day. It was pretty comfortable hanging out in the pack for the first few hours, nothing more than a few surges on the climbs. I even made one of those little pieces of paper that fast guys put on their stems to know when important parts of the race are coming up. It was the Turin guys idea, but it was surprisingly nice to have that info around.

The race didn't get too hard until that climb from mile 73-84. I was able to make it over the top of that little bump with the front group, which was pretty decent size, but there were also quite a few guys getting dropped on the climb, so I was pleased to be on the good side of the splits. From there I just tried to recover for the end. It was pretty hectic at the end because no team really had too many guys left to control the front. I tried to move around and get towards the front for the sprint (since I'm such a sprinter and all), but the little rollers once we hit the downtown area finished me off and I wasn't able to throw down much up the final little rise. I ended up somewhere right in the middle of the front group as we came across the line.
I was thinking today as we hit the century mark, that this is only something like my 3rd or 4th century ever, that's not very pro.

Health Net was seriously impressive the way they rode the front all day, and then still put 2 dudes on the podium (John Murphy and Rory Sutherland). Sebastian Haedo won the bunch kick, but he didn't see the front until the last 5 miles or so. Tomorrow is another pretty long one, and I think I'll probably use the same tactics as today and just try to make the splits I need to. OK, we have an 8 AM start time tomorrow, so I'm off to bed.

Also, Props to Bri Kovac for a sweet podium placing in todays stage. Rep'n the midwest well!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Joe Martin TT

The TT today was probably one of the better TT courses for someone like me, but I didn't really have a great ride. I would have liked to gotten in a spin for the legs yesterday, but the traveling and weather didn't allow it. Not sure of the actual time I did, but it didn't feel awesome. It's ok, 3 more super sweet stages to come.

The course today was in Devil's Den State Park, and the area is really cool. Not exactly what I was expecting of Arkansas, but pretty rad none the less. Just to get to the TT course you have to descend into this valley down a pretty steep hill with tons of switchbacks. Almost like a real mountain only miniature.

Here's a shot of me following the Turin boys out to the TT, traversing down the switchbacks.

Another shot of the type of hills they have out here. Kind of like Bloomington on steroids.

Tomorrow is a 110 mile road race, but it doesn't start until like 1 or 1:30, so I will continue have massive amounts of free time on my hands. If anyone knows of any can't miss attractions in the lovely Fayetteville, let me know.

OK more tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Trending Towards Ghetto

My recent race housing arrangements that is... I just checked into my extended stay "Value Place" in Fayetteville, AR. It isn't the most plush race pad that I've stayed in, and unfortunately neither was last weeks home base. We were in Warsaw, IN at our sponsors races, and we were staying at Isaac's rental house for the summer. He didn't have any furniture what-so-ever, and we didn't really bring the necessary supplies for sleeping on the floor, so here is a picture my "bedding."

Yes, those are all of my clothes strategically piled to make a super comfortable sleeping bag pad.

This place I'm staying in here is more weird than actually "ghetto." Because it is an extended stay type of place, lots of the people here are like nomads. This girl I met in the lobby had been here a week already and had just packed up all her stuff and moved to Fayetteville from Texas. She said she came here because she heard it was nice. Fair enough. She was actually really nice and talkative, but you get the idea of the interesting people you might meet at a "Value Place." At least it's cheap!

Tomorrow is the prologue, another uphill 2.5 mile course. I didn't get to ride today, but I think I'm going to go for a spin tomorrow morning to help get the legs ready for the TT. I'm pretty excited to get another crack at an NRC stage race, considering how Redland's went down in flames after a few short miles. The rest of the roommates are out in Colorado throwing down at collegiate nats. It really sucks, because I'm going to need help defending my leaders jersey after this TT tomorrow... Obviously I'm joking, considering my recent time trial displays I would just like to throw down something respectable.

I forgot I have a few races to report on.

Last weekends RR- SUPER WINDY! I don't know how hard it was blowing, but probably like 35-40 mph. It made it stupid hard. The field was blown apart almost from the gun. We put Mike in the break and then just tried to cover attacks. The break stuck and Mike ended up 2nd on the day and I ended up in 6th. I was just happy to finish with the wind like that.

Crit- 4 corners with less wind and a bigger field. We took turns covering some moves, I ended up in one that I though was going to stick for sure. It was Me, David Caughlin, Chris Uberti, and Will Nowak. Those 3 guys had been pretty strong the day before, and the important teams were represented. After about 10 minutes, Curtis Tolson brought Mike up to the break and then I though for sure we were going to take a lap. I was wrong, we came back not too tong after that. Oh well I guess thats how it goes. The field wouldn't let anything go, so it came to a field sprint. Mike got 4th, I came in 5th, and we put Issac and Tom in the money in 11th and 12th. Harry Clark won what seemed like his 19th straight field sprint for the win. Seriously, that dude knows how to play a bunch kick. He has won the last 6 field sprints that I've seen him contest.

OK that is enough for now. Maybe I'll have some more tomorrow. Good luck to all of those men from the midwest out in CO.

Thursday, May 1, 2008


First, I wanted to check and see if anyone from anywhere around the midwest is heading down to Arkansas next week for Joe Martin and/or Tour of Arkansas, and would be interested in driving together, or have an extra spot in their car. The majority of my team will be in Colorado at collegiate nats, and I really don't feel like rockin' it solo. Sooo shoot me an email or leave a comment if you have any leads.

So, I've never reviewed a movie on here before, but why not start now. If you have been around me in the last few days I have probably pushed "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" on you at some point. So now I guess I'll push it over the interwebs. If you are a fan of "40 Year Old Virgin", "SuperBad", or "Knocked Up", I think this will probably make you laugh. I had heard mixed reviews before I went to see it, but I thought it was hilarious. Go see it, or don't. I don't care, but I thought I'd spread the word.

Anyway, I did a little motorpacing of my brother this week, to try to get him a few race-like miles

He was suffering pretty hard, but it'll be good for him down the road.

This weekend is our sponsors big race weekend in northern Indiana, it will also be the first time to get the whole squad together at the same race, so it should be pretty good time. Hopefully we can get some fat pockets to help cover all of this upcoming travel we're going to be doing.

This last picture is one that has been on my phone since St. Louis, but just wanted to throw it up on here because it outlines the type of manly man my brother is.

Now he can't make fun of my carmel latte's with white chocolate anymore.

Alight errbody keep the rubber on the road (unless you're ramping stuff) where ever you may be racing this weekend.