Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Easy does it.

That is something I have been really struggling with...going easy. I think that has probably burned me this year. I started out feeling really strong and instead of maintaining the same program I followed through the winter I just went out and pounded nails every day. Cory has been working with me to get a program set up for Chequamegon. I am really hoping to pull off a solid peak for that race and turn a solid finish.
Monday I rode with Cathy for about 30 minutes, went home ate a bunch of food and then Cory stopped by and we rode another 2 hours with 40 minutes of tempo. I really felt good and had to keep telling my self to hold back and stay in the program. Last night I did a recovery ride. I have been doing a lot of late night riding. In this heat it seems like it is the best time to ride. Plus you pretty much have the trails and roads to yourself.
Anyway, today we are doing a time trial to get some base numbers and then will go from there.
There has been a lot of chat going on about the 24-9 race this weekend. I was thinking about doing that as a team or solo but I think at this point I need to get into my program, my days are numbered so I have to make everyone count. Maybe Cathy and I will do a team next year, that might be kinda fun!

Monday, July 25, 2005

SDG review

I think the most important part of getting a bike to fit a rider is the seat. Some people spend a lot of time trying to find a seat that fits and then they stick with that. I have been experimenting with several styles this year and have been having some rather painful rides. As I mentioned I just got my SDG setup. They sent me an I-Fly seat as well as a Bel-Air. As you can see in the pics these seats use the new I-Beam seat post system. This is a much lighter and stronger set up than the conventional seat with metal rails. I have noticed that it hold the seat a lot better, with out it sliding around.
Ok, cut to the chase...I first tried the I-Fly seat at 120 grams and still maintaining full padding is an incredibly comfortable seat.

Like all the I-beam seats it is very easy to adjust. One bolt does everything, tilt and lateral movement. The tilt locking teeth are very fine allowing for small fine tuning adjustments. Moving the seat forward or backward is the only thing that is awkward. The seat has rough edges for the seat post clamp to lock against but when trying to adjust the seat seams to bind on these. I actually like it because I know the seat is being held solid. I suggest marking the tilt because when you move the seat you WILL loose the tilt position.
The second seat I tried was their most popular seat and for a good reason.

The Bel-Air ST could be the most comfortable seat I have ever sat on. I haven't had a chance to put too many miles on it but the time I have spent on it have been in non-padded shorts and the seat felt great!! It is a little bigger than the I-Fly and at 186 grams is a little heavier. I would highly recommend this or any of the Bel-Air seats for any type of endurance ride/race.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Back in the Saddle

After having an easy week before going to Alaska and then being gone for another week I was afraid I was going to have to put the training wheels back on in case I forgot how to ride. I did some easy rides this week just to get my legs back in the groove. Yesterday we got some much needed rain and that took care of any hopes of getting off-road. Cathy took the road bike and I put some slicks on the NRS and we headed out to the Tuesday "B" road ride. Because of the rain most of the guys were there. What was supposed to be a casual 15-18 mph pace turned into a hammer-fest all night. Cathy couldn't hang on as it was her first group ride, so we kept our own pace going. We turned around at Indianford and had a nice tail wind to blow us home.
In all it was a good ride. I had to push pretty good on the turned road, and Cathy had a comfortable pace on the road bike. We ended up with 30 miles for the day so that was good. This weekend I think we are going to put some miles in at Kettle and then get a nice long road ride in on Sunday. There is a WORS race up in Phillips but with the lack of training and the fact that it is about 5 hours away I think we are going to skip this one.
I got my SDG seat and seat post this week. I have put several hours on it and so far it really feels good. I will try to get a full review of it posted sometime this weekend.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Alaska Trip

I am going to try to keep this short but don't know if that is going to really happen. So after getting pretty banged up at the bike race we took off for Alaska. The flight up there was a pretty boring 'till we hit the Canadian Rockies. I about fell out of my seat, I have never seen anything like this, the picture doesn't do it any justice, it was just amazing the size of these mountains!!

When we got into Anchorage we got a rental car and had to blow some time before we could check into the hotel. We got there on the warmest day of the trip it was beautiful, clear, and mid 70's. We went to a park to do some hiking and stretch out the legs a little. We weren't event there for 30 minutes when we seen this guy eating lunch.

I guess moose up there are like deer down here, I supposed we looked kinda funny taking pictures of it!
I just couldn't get over how incredible everything was there, mountains everywhere you looked and we only had to drive for 10 minutes and we would be in the middle of no-where! The next day we met with Dave (Jenny's dad) and he took us up in his plane.

This is just one of the tons of glaciers that we seen.

We were flying around and could see otters, fish, and eagles everywhere. We stopped at one bay and the fish were so thick they were constantly jumping, I don't even know how to explain it, at any one time you could see at least 4-5 fish out of the water!!
That was all alot of fun, but the real reason we went up there was for Chris and Jenny's wedding!

They had done a lot of work and the place looked really nice! They had a perfect day for it too. The wedding was very simple but incredible! They went all out on everything but it didn't look over done.
Getting home was somewhat of an adventure as well. Chris had given all the grooms men 3ft. machetes. I could fit my in the bag so I packed it separate. We checked in and checked my bags. Then when I walked through the metal scanner they must of flagged my ticket, as soon as they scanned it they told me to come with them for a "random" check. They did a pat down check, and detector check, made me fold down my pants and checked under my shirt, EVERYTHING!! When I got through I talked to another guy that had the same knife and they made him do the same thing. I guess that is good though. After that we were waiting for our plane and the alarms went off and we had to evacuate the airport, we stood out on the runway for about 10-15 minutes before they let us back in.
We finally got home and it felt good just to kick back and relax for a second.
Looks like we have a race this weekend, I am not sure if we are going to hit it or not, we haven't got much training in the past couple weeks so we might take just stay around here and get some much needed miles in.

Super Week...Super Late

Yeah, ok sorry for this late post on the superweek race. I was on vacation and thought I would get a chance to post there, no luck. So last Tuesday before heading to Alaska Cory G. and I headed over to Burlington for a superweek road race. I drove through rain most of the way there and while waiting to register got wet a couple times. I like the cooler wet days so I was looking forward to the race. Of course the race started late and as we were riding around the parking lot to stay loose Cory flatted. We got that fixed just in time to line up.

The first 2 miles were a controlled lead out. About 1 mile into that I flatted. The sag car pulled up and I threw on a back up wheel. When I crested the hill I seen the entire pack just sitting there looking around, apparently the pace car got lost. I started to wonder if this was a sign of things to come.
We had a really big pack so I wanted to stay up front till people got used to riding together, good thing too. Half way through the first of four laps somebody came into the side of my rear tire. They were laying on my tire hard trying to get there balance and I was hanging on trying not to touch Cory's wheel in front of me. Next thing I heard was scraping and crashing I looked back and seen the biggest pile-up I have ever seen!! One guys bike was flying through the air, over people, and into the ditch! We sat up for a second to realize what happened, the crash took out about half the field. The rest of the race was somewhat uneventful. I think people were a little gun shy to try anything too crazy after seen the crash. As we were finishing the last lap and turning back the finishing area the skis opened up. One guy got pushed off the road and went down, I got myself positioned so I would have a shot in the sprint. There was a gradual climb cresting about 200 meters from the finish. We sprinted up the hill and when I seen how much further we had my legs began to burn. I kept the power on as hard as I could and threw the bike across the line...this is when things got bad! When I looked up I seen that they had moved the barriers onto the finish and wanted us to sprint then turn instead of finishing straight. The guy next to me tried to turn but hit the guy next to him, they went down hard. I had no were to go and hit the barrier HARD. Two other guys also crashed trying to avoid bike and people. When I got up I was happy to see that I could walk ok, no broken bones, but I was missing quite a bit of skin. The bike also took it kinda hard, bars tape ripped, shifters scratched, down tube scratched and dented, and small ring bent!
I guess it was kinda a high price to pay for a 4th place finish. Oh-well that's racing!!

Monday, July 11, 2005

To race or Not to race....Is it a question!?!

So Superweek is offically underway. Tomarrow is a ciruit race by Lake Geneva. Sounds like it is a cool course, lots of rolling hills and enough turns to let a well timed break get away. I am not sure if I am going to make it yet or not. I am going to see how things go today at work and determine if I can take tomarrow off. I don't think it would be worth coming down for a half day just to turn around and drive 5 hours to the twin cities later that night.
If you can actually follow what I am trying to say you are doing better than me. I will keep you posted if I end up racing. I don't know what kind of connections we will have up in Alaska but I will try to throw a post on here when I can.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Country Boy Meets the Big City

So this weekend my bro was flying up to Alaska for his wedding this Saturday. We are heading up on Wednesday and will be returning on Monday. So anyway he had a connecting flight in Chicago with a 13 hour layover. Cathy and I met him at the airport and the three of us went out for some Chicago pizza, which could be some of the best pizza I have ever eaten!! When we finished eating it was around 9:30 and we decided that we wanted to hit the Navy Pier. We discovered that the train system would take us within 6 blocks. As we were walking into the station some people were leaving and handed us these tickets, we didn't know what they were but took them. Turns out they are day pass tickets to ride anything, anywere in the city!! We got on the train and headed to the Navy Pier it was about a 30 minute commute to down town. When we got off and on the street we were totally lost fortunately our keen since of direction kicked in and we decided to go thhhhhat way. On the subway a guy told us that when we get off we should only have about a 10 minute walk. Well after walking for 45 minutes we began to think that our since of direction was a little off. The streets quickly faded and I think what set off that we were going to wrong way was when the sidewalk turned to gravel and there were no more street lights. We talked to a guy on a street corner who informed us that we had gone exactly the wrong way! When we got back to the subway station, 1.5 hours after we got off it was almost midnight and we were beat tired from walking. We got back on the train and heaed back to the car. Let me tell you what, the Chicago subway system is interesting at 12:30am!
Back at the car we said good bye to Chris, he jumped back on the train and took it to the airport and we headed up. It would have been fun to see the navy pier but getting lost in downtown was cool too.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Your barn door is open

I guess someone should have told the farmer that last night. We were on our Tuesday night group ride hammering away at 33-35mph when I looked up and saw a bull standing in the middle of the road. Apparently I was day dreaming about our trip to Alaska next week because the first thing I said to warn the group was MOOSE!! It took me a second or two to realize what I had said, fortunately because of all the wind I don't think too many people heard me either. It was kinda weird, we rode past it as it was trotting at us on the other side of the road, I don't know what I would have done if it actually turned at us, with dogs you can out run or kick them. What do you do with a cow, spray ketchup at it?!
Besides that the ride was uneventful, just pounded nails all night, at least I was just to keep up. Everyone is peaking for Superweek that is starting this weekend so they are all feeling great, as I am hitting a valley and starting my second part of the summer training for the early fall races.
I found some pics of this weekend, thanks to rusty for doing a great job and posting them for no charge!!

I think this picture added about 10mph, I sure didn't feel like I was going fast when he snapped that shot.

This was coming out of the second water crossing. There were some really tight switch backs to get up the hill, add water from all the racers and it got a little slippery but still rideable.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Eau Claire Fire Cracker

I was pretty skeptical going into the race this weekend, I had only be out riding once in the past week and the entire time my chain was skipping around like crazy. I worked on the bike as much as I could on Friday and thought I had it fixed. We drove up to Eau Claire and set up camp, there was a forecast for rain but there weren't any clouds and it was a perfect day.
During the preride I determined that this was going to be by far the coolest race I have ever been to. The course was so fun, it had everything! Fast double track, flowing single track, river crossing, quick valleys, nice climbs, can a biker ask for anything else!?
The next morning we woke up to cloudy and threatening sky's. We quickly packed the tent to avoid packing in the rain. About the time we got everything put in the truck the rain started. Cathy was pretty nervous about the course getting wet and sloppy. But as she was lining up the rain quit and it turned out to be a really nice day. Cathy took off and sat in the top 5 until they neared the single track, then she made her move and was glad she did. She surprised herself on how smooth she was going through the woods and in less then half a lap was already catching some of the clidesdale riders. When I seen her about 3/4 into her first lap she had opened a 1.5 minute gap over second place. Her second lap was even smoother and more fun then the first. She crossed the line 4 minutes before the next women!
As soon as Cathy's awards were done I jumped on the bike for a warmup ride. I tried to open things up but was feeling really flat. I decided to just ride with a good cadence and see what happened when the race started. Because the Minnesota combined with Wisconsin the call up was 3 rows deep. I got lined up as close to the front as I could and we were off. I felt really good starting, we were cruising pretty fast and I kept in the mid-teens so I wouldn't kill myself right away. As we started to twist and bounce through the woods my chain started skipping really bad again. The only way I could keep it on was to run the big ring. This wasn't really a problem except on some big hills and on the last lap. I kept everything in check, and made sure I wasn't pushing too hard too early. As we were nearing the finish I was trying to hold off Ray Nelson and one other rider. I was coming up on a Comp racer and told him I needed to get by. I think I made him nervous and because of that he crashed hard! I got tangled in that for a second and that allowed the other guys to caught me, we battled on last run to the finish and then they got around me on the sprint. The race was a lot of fun, I need to figure out what is going on with my bike though.
The next few weeks are going to be getting back into base miles. I am going to start my drive to peak for Chequamagon in Sept.
That's about it for now, I will get some pics up here as soon as I get a chance. Until then, keep the rubber side down and thanks for reading.