Sunday, August 30, 2009

I'm ALIVE...

...and I have the INTERNET!

Coming back down Mt. Elbert

My Colorado trip has come and gone and I didn't perish. I'm back in Bloomington, trying to settle back into the real world and catch up on the things I neglected for the last week.

The trip was awesome. The hiking and climbing was harder than expected and the views were crazy, the pictures just can't relay the size and vastness of the mountains and valleys out there. Distances that look like they are a few hundred meters turn out to be closer to a few miles than meters. We didn't get to bag as many summits as we had hoped because of bad weather on some of the days, but it was still an awesome experience, we even went whitewater rafting one day to give our legs a recovery day.

Me coming down the side of Mt. Belford

Mt. Belford summit in the middle, from just above the treeline, still a few hours away.

My Dad and I on the summit of Belford

My Shower/Laundry Room

That's a small sample of the pictures from the week. I'm waiting on my brother to put the rest up on Flickr.

It was an awesome experience with lots of amazing views, but I also missed my bike by the end of the week. Now I'm back at it, trying to get my body in cyclocross mode. I'm still waiting on my frames to get here, so I can't really do much yet. All my friends are out doing cx worlds and all that bull, while I'm stuck on the skinny tires. Soon.

Since I headed straight from the Marion NRC race last Saturday, out to Colorado, I didn't get a chance to do my race write up. So here goes... It was a new, way more technical course this year with something like 10 corners. It was quite possibly the most critty crit of the year. I had pretty good legs and was able to hang out at the front most of the race. The whiplash effect was in full-on if you drifted too far back. A Colavita guy was solo from a long way out and he stuck it and soloed to the win. Once we hit 10 laps to go, the field got pretty antsy. With only 4 or 5 guys from the pro squads, the finale wasn't very organized. Lots of fighting and chopping in the corners. The was a crash almost every other corner for each of the last 5 laps. I was just wincing and trying to thread the needle through the carnage. With 3 to go a crash at the front made a nice gap for 5 more guys to get off the front. They also stayed away and so now we were stuck sprinting for 6th. I took some risks and fought for decent position going into the last lap. I dodged a crash with 2 corners to go and kept it upright through the last corner, which is apparently an achievement. I ended up 6th in the sprint which put me in 11th on the day. A decent result, but it would have been a lot better if all those guys hadn't been up the road.

I'm off to a friends wedding this weekend and hopefully I can find a bike race to do or something. I've still got the itch.

Hopefully my next post will be showing you guys my fully built cross bikes.

Thanks for reading

Friday, August 21, 2009

Yo, yo! I'm still alive and kickin, I've just had some other bull going on that has been keeping me away from the internets. I have done a few races, moved to a new home (just across Bloomington) and discovery the best way to clean a kit.

Races... hmm. Well I didn't update after this race, but it was in Glencoe, IL a few weeks ago and it didn't actually rain on us, but it rained right before our race, so the end result was the same. I felt like trash. I hid. I sprinted. I got 8th. Whooopeee...

Next up we had the Mass Ave Crit in Indy. A cool location on a less cool course. Panther showed up, but we we forgot our balls, legs and brains and rode around making fools out of ourselves for an hour and got nothing in the way of results. We all made just enough money to cover trip to Subway (with 3 cookies). Afterwards we headed up to Lafayette to stay at Derek, Greg and Chris' house at Purdue. We prepped for Crit Nats by taking a 100 mile trek around Purdue's campus at the demand of Derek. I spent the whole time thinking how superior IU is to Purdue.

We woke early, pounded a few chocolate doughnuts and hit the road for Downers. Most of us decided on our white shorts since it was crit nats and all. I had a pretty good pre-race race and ended up in the 2nd row at the start line. No wasted effort to get to the front and it was a good thing I was there. About 10 minutes into the proceedings it started monsooning on us. I was at the front when it started and it was great. All the crazies were pinned in the back and too scared to take the risks to move up and I was able to ride pretty easily without much jumping or sprinting out of the corners or fighting to hold my position. After sufficiently soiling my pearly white trousers, it started clearing up and I knew we were going to have a sketchy finale. With less water on the roads people were more daring with their maneuvers and it got tough to stay in good position. A break slipped off with less than 10 to go and Paul bridged to it with Kirk Ablers. I don't know if Paul has gone off the front in one race this year without Kirk following him. Anyway, the break stuck and we were fighting for 5th in the field sprint. I risked my life and avoided the carnage to end up in 16th place, my best result at Downers, but certainly nothing to write home about. The real story was up the road where Justin England attacked and Paul went after him, but came up just a little short. With Paul on the podium, it was a nice result for our team. You always want to win, but that ain't bad.

This weekend I'm heading to the Marion Classic NRC race on Saturday and then leaving for my hiking trip in Colorado on Sunday. Marion could be my final road race of the year, kinda depressing. Hopefully I can go out with a bang and pop off a nice result. If I become bear food and never update this thing again... You stay classy San Diego.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Grand Rapids Crit

Right now I'm sitting in the back of Greg's car on the way to Chicago from Grand Rapids. This is the 3rd weekend in a row where we have been forced to navigate the permanantly congested highways of Chicago and surrounding 'burbs in search of prize money and results.

Last night was the Meijer Grand Cycling Classic in Grand Rapids, MI. It's put on by Bissel, so there was a nice chunk of their pro and elite teams in attendance, as well as a handful of Kelly Benifit guys, Kenda guys and Subway guys. We brought 8 guys, so we had enough man power to be as agressive as any team. We tried to put someone in every move, but missed out on one with Tom Zirbel and Jake Rytlewski. Those two got a nice gap and were holding it steady. We got 2 guys in a chase of 5 that looked like it was going to get away and catch those two, but it wasn't to be. The chase came back and Jake and Zirble stuck it. With the us in the field sprinting for 3rd.

Now you may recall, we've had some problems getting the team organized at the front to get a full on leadout going. Well with 5 to go, it was Panther on the front all lined up just like we've been trying to do the last few times we've had the full squad together. We had 4 guys on the front, with Chris on them and me sweeping his wheel. I kept looking out of the corner of my eye expecting to see a Ben Jaques-Mayne led Bissel train coming over the top of us, but it never came. All was well with Panther as we did our best team Columbia impression, until just over a lap to go when Vince broke his rear derallieur cable and that caused some chaos at the front, but we still had it together somewhat. Hayden Godfrey hit it with 1 to go and jumped around us, but Derek got back in front and lead it to the back side of the course. With 3 corners to go, Chris ripped his rear derailleur off with me still on his wheel. More mayhem and lost positions. I tried to jump back up to the front for the last corner, but just couldn't get there. I ended up 11th, with Paul in 12th, Derek in 14th and Moskal in 19th. Not really what we were looking for, but it was just tough to keep a handle on the end of the race, especially with the mechanicals thrown in. It's a step in the right direction, hopefully we can make another big step next week at Downers Grove.

If I feel like it I may check back in with a Glencoe repot on the ride home.

Until then, I'll be looking up facts about bear attacks in Colorado and suggestions on how to best beat up a Grizzley bear.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Chartier's and Chicago's

Alright, I know I'm a few weeks behind on my race reports now, but I've been busy (for me). Since I last wrote, I raced the Chicago Crit and Elk Grove, as well as cut a rug or two at the Chartier wedding in Bloomington the Saturday before the Chicago Crit. If I asked you which of those 3 events was most likely to result in injury, you might guess right, but I bet not.

So we all know I touched down at the Bloomington Crit and had a bit of road rash and some back soreness. I went about my daily activity for the next week and felt fine, like I said, just a bit sore. Last Saturday rolled around and after Kim and Chris tied the knot the dancing began and didn't stop for a half a day or so. I took a cab home and woke up the next morning early to drive to Chicago. I got out of bed and could barely walk. I guess all that dancing had seriously upset my already unhappy lower back. I guess that's what happens when you use such extreme and innovative moves.

Oddly enough, my back was feeling better on the bike where the saddle was taking some of the load off. Standing and sprinting was hard on it, but I decided to try to work through it. I actually felt pretty good in the race and was in good position on the last lap when I got taken out by yet another crash. Annoying to say the least. My back was definitely in worse shape after the race than before, so I went home and iced it and took a few days off to see if it made any improvements. Wednesday rolled around and it wasn't getting better so I took a trip to the Chiro for my first ever "adjustment". They took some X-Rays and could see that my pelvis was shifted thanks to my wreck in Bloomington and my SI joint in my lower back was also out of alignment. Now, I'm not much for bone popping, but it really wasn't that bad. He worked on me every day and even twice on Friday to try to get me ready to race at Elk Grove.

With a whole week off between Chi-town and Elk Grove I didn't have much in the way of expectations. I used some topical numbing gel and about 47 "Pain Skittles" to get me through the races in an extremely mediocre and lackluster manner. Made a few bucks for the team on Saturday and Sunday was pretty average as well. Surprisingly enough, I felt miraculously better on Monday after another "adjustment" and also a bit better today. I've got another appointment tomorrow and a nice routine of stretches and strengthening exercises that will hopefully have me functioning fully by Downers Grove in a week and a half. What I'm really worried about is my big hiking/backpacking trip to Colorado at the end of August with my bro and dad.

I'm kind of bummed about the way this road season has gone health wise, but I've still got a few more weeks left to pull off a nice season saving result.