Friday, September 30, 2005

Nothing much

Yeah that is what my week has consisted of. Did the Tuesday ride on the Jamis again. For the most part it was pretty calm. Nobody really feels like going hard this time of year. Wednesday it rained all day and night. Thursday, we took the dog to the park to run around. We seen Janet S. out going really easy. She said that she seen a turkey up the trail and it wouldn't get off the trail, it just ran in front of her. When we got to that section I heard all this commotion then this turkey slowly flying off. The dog apparently found the turkey and most have been posing a bigger threat to it than Janet was. Funny thing is that the turkey still out ran her, that dog has yet to catch something!
Tonight I need to finish putting the NRS back together. I ended up stripping it completely down and replaced more things than I was hoping for. Brakes, rotors, crank bearings, and wires all needed to get tossed. I ended up tearing the X.0 derailuer apart to get every part of it clean, after lubing it and getting it together, it feels oh-so-good.
Fall color is this weekend, looks like I am going to have to throw down in the 30 miler, Cory is feeling pretty good wanting a shot at me. I think he just wants to know how he stacks up, so he can up his training over the winter. **shhhh** Maybe I will just suck it up, and give him a false sense of training, then just woop on him next year!!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Maxxis Tire Review

It is really hard to find good tires. There are so many choices out there it would take forever to try all of them. Plus the higher end race tires aren't cheap, I think the tires I put on my car were cheaper than some tires I have for my bike! So what most people do is just run the tires that the bike comes with and gets used to them. I have been lucky enough to get the help from MAXXIS this year and have fallen in love with their tires. The winter months for me and most of the biking community consist of hours on the trainer, pouring over product reviews, and looking at what the pro's were winning on last year. I have been seeing a lot about Maxxis, and after researching their tires I understood why.

Because of the muddy conditions last year I was looking for a tire that would roll fast but still be able to hook up if the trails were wet. The Larson MiMo eXCeption tire does all that and so much more. If you have been reading this blog for any time I am sure you have heard me talk about all the trail conditions this tire works for. This is by far the best all around mountain tire I have ever rode. It is a great high volume tire, I typically run it at about 30 psi on my Mavic CrossMax rims. Something that is typically overlooked when looking for a lightweight racing tire are the sidewalls. I feel Maxxis did their homework in this area. The tire soft enough to take the edge off the bumps, but is hard enough to keep from folding over when the trails get tight . The eXCeption compound is softer and was developed for XC racing. If you plan on riding to and from the trails on pavement you might see faster wear, in that case I would recommend using the standard, harder tire.

Again because of all the mud last year I figured I better have a mud tire. Turns out this has been one of the driest summers on record so I have not been able to try it out until this past weekend. The Medusa is one mud eating monster! You don't have to scroll down too far to see how muddy the course got this weekend. It was a mix of wet grass, slime over hardpack, and thick deep mud. The narrow (1.8) Medusa's cut through the mess and found traction when everyone else was slipping all over. The wide spacing of the knobs cleaned out so well. There were a couple hike-a-bike sections that my tires would pack up, as soon as I got back on the bike and rolling it would through the mud off, mostly onto me, and was ready for more. This is a mud specific tire, it is narrow and has really hard knobs to cut through the mud. Because of this it would not do well trying stick to dry trails and could easily pinch flat through rock garden, but in the mud they are incredible!

I hope this helps out in your decision making process. I would say if you are looking for a good all around tire to give the Larson MiMo a try. The cool thing about Maxxis is that they offer all their tires in a standard more cost efficient version, as well as an eXCeption version built specific for racing. Any type of riding you are into they will keep you on track, after all it is more fun to watch the other guys slide off the trail trying to keep up!

Monday, September 26, 2005

The rain was my fault

Yeah, and I am proud of it!! So all week the forecast has been for rain, I was getting cocky and would leave ever window open in the car just because I knew they were wrong. On the way to the race we were talking about this and Cory was said that if the rain gods took out their revenge this weekend that was why. Guess I must have must have said the wrong thing to the right person, because it RAINED!!!
I really like this course they have a nice mix of climbing, single track, open fields, and downhill. This year they switched things up a little and during the preride I totally fell in love. Saturday night it rained on and off, hard for a while then nothing. We got up and the rain had only settled the dust and was going to make for FAST racing. At registration I found out they were having a hill climb for $5. Turns out they were giving out $200 for male and female!! I planned on doing that during Cathy's race.
So Cathy took off in the same form as the other races this year. Off the gun she got the jump and checked out. She was riding really smooth through the single track, I think the night riding has helped with that. While she was out on a near perfect condition course I tried my hand at the hillclimb. I posted the high mark on my first try, after getting stuck in a rut just off the course. I cheered for Cathy has she was coming through on her second lap, and wanted to beat her up the hill. On my second try up the hill, I found a better line and despite only having a 2x9 set up I was the first person to get over the top of the hill! There were several other racers that tried the hill but MacIej Nowak was the only other one to make it. I waited for Cathy at the top then headed down to watch her finish. She held off the competition and wrapped up the points race! That is going to make the awards ceremony a lot of fun!! After she had cooled off a little I talked her into trying the hill climb. She really wanted to, just didn't know it. When we got there and there it had started raining and there was only one other girl giving it a try. On Cathy's second try, in torrential rain and lightening she posted the high mark beating expert rider Holly Liske! When your hot your hot!
Cory and I decided that the rain wasn't going to stop and that we needed to switch to the mud tires. This was my first time on these tires and they worked so good, I am going to do a product review in the next couple days. I got a good position on the line, we started downhill into a left hand mud hole. My tires just hooked up and I shot to the inside passing about 15 people. I was running in the top 10 and feeling really comfortable. I got settled in with TJ and Carlos Haeckel, they were faster on the big climb but I was able to catch and pass them on the single track and down hills. Right from the start the bike was solid mud. It was handling everything pretty good, considering. But by the 4th lap the mud was starting to run it's course. I was getting bad chain suck, my shifters had locked from mud in the cables, my brakes were shot, the mud was weighting the bike down and the suspension was bottomed most of the time...but the tires worked incredible!!! Half way through the final lap I fell apart, my legs were shot I was getting sloppy and just wanted to be done. I can't thank Cathy enough for all her work. She seen me struggling and told me that I was almost done, I didn't realize how close I was and kept pushing. If it wasn't for her to have been in the right place I wouldn't have finished.
When the race finally ended the next task was to clean the bikes. There was a 10 mile line waiting for 1 hose, but why use a hose when you have a LAKE!! Everyone was having fun cleaning the bikes and playing in the water.

This might be our last WORS race of the year so it was really good that we finished on a good note. We walked away with money from the hillclimb and Cathy is already excited about moving up next year. What class is she going to run? I guess we will have to wait and see, lets just say sport might not be enough of a challenge!

Friday, September 23, 2005

Someone kick me I'm ranting

Sorry if I sound like a broken record but I just can't get over how much fun I am having this year night riding! Last night we met for the group ride, so did some intense looking clouds. We decided to head to Rockport so if the weather got bad we could get home quick. I didn't listen to the weather report but they must have been predicting rain because it ended up being a beautiful night.

Cory was getting anxious to go so we upped the pace and went off the front. We had a good clip going, I was feeling just awesome, hopefully I can carry that through this weekend! We darted through the single track and then back to the double track. Cory was showing his wheel at the bottom of Onion hill, I will have none of that, so I upped the pace on the roller coaster trail. As we crossed the bridge heading out of the park I thought I heard him right on me so I attacked the hill on the bike trail, assuming that what his plan as well. When I crested the top I looked back and no Cory. I rode around looking for him but couldn't find him, so I finished my lap and met up with the group again. Turns out he wasn't as close as I thought and turned back into the double track.

From what I hear it sounds like this weekend could be muddy. I think I am going to bring my mud tires just in case things get sloppy. Otherwise I will stick with Ol' faithful those should hook up real good in the grass descents and gavel climbs.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

I've seen it all

On the way to work I passed a semi-truck sportn' a pair of these mad dogs. If you don't know what they are I will give you a couple hints.

1) I was driving through Beloit when I seen them.
2) On the back of the truck was a how's my driving sticker with the phone number painted over it then written in dirt, show your boobs!
3) The only thing lacking was a plywood spoiler, or in this case a plywood wind deflector.
If you didn't guess by now you have never been through Beloit, these are a pair of spinner hubcaps for your semi! WHAT!?! The ones that I actually seen were not nearly as nice as this picture, I thought I would try to give the driver some dignity. I have officially seen it all!

In other news, Cory got a blog site go check it out and tell him that his site isn't as cool as mine! Trek posted their 2006 bike line so go pick yours out. Even though I love my giant, I do like graphics on the bikes this year. Looks like they have a million bikes to pick from again.
We got some much needed rain last night, it was short lived though and hopefully things will dry out enough to be able to ride tonight. If we can ride we will be bringing the lights, it has been so nice out I haven't needed the jacket at all. Unfortunately I have this feeling that things are going to be changing fast.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Not recovered yet

I was feeling pretty good the past couple days since the fastest race ever and was looking forward to a good and hard ride tonight. Cathy took the road bike again so I through a pair of pedals on the Jamis and we were off.
For some unknown reason all the ride times switched so Cathy went with the "C" group and I went with the "A" group. She went easier than she wanted and I went harder than my legs let me. I felt ok spinning but the hills were really painful, and closing the gap hurt more than normal.
I really think riding the Mt.bikes on the road helps though. The more I have been doing that the more comfortable I am during races, either tight in a group or pushing some big gears on a flat stretch. I wish I had a second set of disk wheels so I don't have to change tires on the NRS though. Maybe I will just stick with the Jamis or build up the 9.8 road style!
Plans are changing every day for next weekend there are so many races in one weekend it is rediculous:
I could do a 12 hour race
or I could do this race
I tried this race once and it hurt ALOT!!
I guess you will have to stay tuned to find out what happens.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Easy Spinning

Last night Cory, Cathy, and I headed out to Rockport for some late summer night riding. Because of the recent storms there are a few more trees down on the trails. I was doing alright making it over most of them, until I didn't get my rear wheel high enough on one and it sent my into the slowest endo I have ever done. It was really sweet, I actually seen Cory behind me as I was going over my handle bars!
Other than that the ride was mostly recovery from the race this weekend, I feel really good and ready to throw it down tonight at the "A" ride. I don't want to mess with changing the NRS tires again so I am going to take the Jamis tonight, that should be interesting to see how tucked I can get with my riser bars.

I found a few more pics of the race this weekend. Really I had more fun than it looks in the pictures.
This was the first year I have made it up the Fire Tower hill with out walking. There is no two way about it, that hill hurts!

Thanks to Skinny Ski for posting these, they're always in the best spots.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Chequamegon Re-cap

After having a bum season I have been focusing on this race hoping to pull something together. I took all last week easy making the legs happy and ready for 40 miles of hills and sand. We broke tradition and stayed with the team at one of their cabins. On Saturday morning went to get registered, I put Cathy's bike on the front line, knowing I didn't belong there but thought I could get some cool team exposure. I guess I lost track of time warming up and got to the start as they were saying all non-race bikes would be removed. As I was handing Cathy her bike over the fence everyone moved up to the start line. WHAT!?! Now my front row start was in the back, bummer! I thought no problem I can pick my way to the front on Main St. for some good pics. I was getting my mind focused when I looked down and realized that I forgot my timing chip! I only had 3.5 minutes to start time, I threw my bike over the fence and busted down the street to the car. I ripped open the bag and threw on the chip. I was sprinted back to the start line during the national anthem, threw my bike over the fence and just as I was jumping over, BOOM the cannon goes off! I quickly moved to the far left in the front.
I didn't want to have a million people around me as I was trying to get my mind back into the race. We made it out of town and that is when things got ugly. I have never seen as much tire rubbing as this weekend! I was off to the right side of the road on the white line. A rider came around me, almost on the gravel and when he tried to cut in hit a 'cross bike in front of me. Both of them got loose, the held on to it but the 'cross bike slid and high-sided. I had nowhere to go, I could here tires already sliding so I knew slowing or swerving would take me out. I leaned back and just rode through it, I tagged the 'crosses rear wheel as he was spinning into the ditch. Ok, that is all before the race started!!
Once we hit Rosies field everyone attacked. I tried but just fell on my face, AGAIN. I was really mad that this happened every race. I tried to just keep things in check. I was bummed because we could see the lead pack only about 15 seconds up on us but nobody, included me could get up enough to bridge to them. I was doing everything I could to hang on up the "OO" after that there were two big climbs. When we got to the first one something inside told me to attack. I did and never saw the pack again. I sprinted up the hill like it was the finish. When I crested I hit a gavel road, got two new bottles of water and gatorade, then the race was on. After that I felt great, I was pushing the big ring like nothing. Finally I could actually race instead of just riding. When I crossed "OO" I heard I was in the mid 50's. I knew that a top 20 was out of the question but I had to make some ground just to get in next year. I was just flying on the roads, I would come up on groups that were working together, and just blow past them. The hills felt great, I have to thank Cory for the torturous seated climbs he made me do, they paid off and I found my self seated in the big ring.
With about 2 miles to go someone yelled I was in 30th place. I could see 29th in front of me but he had at least 100 yrds. I through in a last attach on the hill into the ski area, but couldn't close the gap enough.

This is the stats from the race. Not my best finish but it was my fastest time. Overall I was really happy just to feel good and be able to race again. Hopefully the legs will stick around for a couple more races this year.
Thanks to everyone for helping out. My MiMo's were again the perfect choice tire. They rolled fast and hooked up like crazy on the fast rocky/sandy downhill sections. I have been running my I-fly seat. I found that I can wear little to no padding in my shorts to get the best feel of the seat, without getting any soars! WOW!! Of course the White Lightning lube gave me perfect shifting though out the entire race.
Thanks again to everyone.

Friday, September 16, 2005

All ready

Cathy and I headed out to Rockport last night, despite a constant rain all afternoon, the trails were surprisingly dry. Cathy is feeling a lot better after probably her hardest effort this season. I think my legs were coming around too. I felt good spinning and although I didn't open things up much felt like they were there on the hills. We got home and I washed up the bikes. It would be funny to hear what the neighbors say about us, everytime we have talked to them at least one of us had been in full lycra! Then they drove by last night really slow as I was out in the rain washing my bike. Funny stuff.
Just got a trail report this morning from Jim Peterson. He said it's been about 65 degrees and sunny the past couple days. Forecast for tomorrow is cloudy with 30% chance of rain = FAST!! Sounds like they might be closing double "O" this year, not sure what that is about but I think we are going to throw Cathy's bike on just in case she needs to park and ride into the trails. On the way in to work today I seen 4 cars loaded with MT.bikes headed north, I wonder where they're going?
Well that is all for now, hopefully my legs show up with me at the start line. I will let everyone know how things went when we get home.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Rest and Recovery

I have been taking things really easy the past few days. Lots of easy spinning, trying to get as much sleep as possible, and non-stop eating. Everyone is getting pretty excited around here for the big one this weekend. We are going to load the truck up tonight, then get out of work at noon tomarrow (I still need to talk to my boss) and hit the road. Should be about a 5-5.5 hour drive, sooooo long! The weather might be a little chilly but I think we are going to camp in the church yard, that is were I have slept every year and it is working for me.
Lots of people are listing off the predictions for this year, if he shows up then they will do however good. Funny thing is; I haven't made it on anyone's "A-list", hopefully I can put together a good race and turn a few heads.
We are meeting early for the group ride tonight, more easy spinning maybe through in a hill or two to see what the legs feel like. Then clean up the bike and get everything loaded.
Good luck to everyone this weekend, hope to see a bunch of you up there!!!

Monday, September 12, 2005

Kewaunee Re-cap

I don't know what the deal is this year, know matter what I am doing I just can't put together a good race. I didn't want to get too crazy this weekend and over do it for Chequamegon next weekend. The race started with an uphill road lead out. I was running mid-pack and getting pulled along nicely. About 1/2 way up the hill the pack started to separate so I wanted to make a move into the lead group before the single track, I tried to up the pace and just fell flat on my face! I knew it was going to be a long race at this point. We made it through the 28 minute lead out and started the main course. I didn't really feel good at any point of this, but just kept a steady pace and tried to keep everything in check. When we came around for our first lap I could see a group in front but just thought it was a chase group, turns out they were the leaders, WHAT!?! I slipped a little on the pace for the second lap, not knowing that I was running in the top 10, as I was about to finish someone yelled, your easly in the top 20! I thought oh great now I have to push, again I tried to find something but it just wasn't there. I figured I had two choices, dig deap and burn all the resources I have ever put in my body, or soft pedal the final lap and let my body just tell me how hard to ride, I chose the latter. I finished the final lap, and stopped for a second where Cathy was handing off bottles, I shot down a full bottle of water and took a bottle of Gatorade for the 25 minute lead in to the finish.
I finally made it to the long down hill tucked in and had a 39 mph speed check at the radar. So I turned my lowest finish yet. I am hopping to get all these bad finishes out of my system and next year I can turn on the heat.
Speaking of putting on the pressure, Cathy had a GREAT race!! She took off and sat mid pack just as planned. About 1/2 way up a girl was going off the front Cathy made her move up to her wheel when she realized the girl wasn't going to challenge, Cathy moved around and soloed for a $20 top of the hill preem. When we seen her she only had a couple second lead over the rest of the field. I guess she traded some spots on the first lap. When she lapped through again she was only about 10 seconds up on the second place lady. On her final lap she was able to pick it up a little and gain some ground. She got on the road and headed home clocking 38 mph on the down hill and crossed the line 2 minutes ahead of the next challenger.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Cool Website

Check out this website:
Bike Blogs
They have a bunch of lists of different areas of blogs; racing, wrenching, buying, and selling. I scrolled down on the MTB Racing Blogs and looks like they found me before I found them!
Anyway check it out, should be some good reading.

Night riding

Fortunately the weather forecasters were wrong again with their forecast of rain, thunderstorms, wind, and hail. I think we were actually under a severe thunderstorm warning! It turned out to be a great night. We were only on the trails for about 45 minutes before we had to turn on the lights. I have mixed feelings about this time of year. On one hand I love seeing a line of lights snaking its way through the trees, and on the other hand it is a sign of cooler nights leading to snow and indoor trainers.
I really like riding at night, the trails that we have been riding all summer seem to be totally different under the white beam of our Night Rider HID lights. Cathy picked up a used pair from Jim P. and she was riding awesome! The trails are really dry and in need of some TLC (Tree removaL serviCe). Sounds like that is going to happen the week after Chequamegon.
Well this weekend we are headed up to Kewaunee. I guess it is like a 3.5 hour drive so we are going to get going early on Sat. to get up and try to get some riding in. Sounds like it should be nice weather, but really nobody knows.
I finally opened the sample bottle of FRS Plus I received a while back. I wanted to save it for the next few big races so we will see how it works. Too soon to tell right now but I should know something by mid next week. Will keep you posted.
Out for now.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

MTB at a road ride?!?

Ok so last night the women's groupride started for a short fall season. Cathy wanted to ok so I set up the road bike for her. Right now we only have one road bike, it doesn't fit either of us properly, but if we take it to both extremes we can fit on it. It ends up being a lot of adjusting every time one of us wants to ride, hence the reason we are looking at both getting road rides. ANYWAY - so I wanted to do the road ride with the "A" group so I though some slicks on the NRS. We took off at a nice warmup pace, I don't have a computer on that bike so I don't know speeds. But I only had 2 gears left, ON THE WARM-UP! I thought this could be a long night. We got out of town and upped the pace, I think Mark was mad that I showed up/could hang on with my It was fun but hard, I was able to pull through and take the pulls but I think I was working a little harder than the others. We got to Shopiere and Ken, Mike, and another guy went off the front. Joe was chasing but not getting much closer, just hanging out in no-mans land. They had about 75 yards on us when I went to the front. I put the hammer down and was able to close the gap to Joe. I got on his wheel for about 5-10 seconds just enough to shove my lungs back into my chest. Then I went around him and closed the gap on the leaders. It was a perfect workout for Chequamegon coming in a couple weeks. I think I might be out on the road more often, plus is it awesome to blast around town with slicks, they hook up like nothing else!

Monday, September 05, 2005

More miles than I thought

Yeah that is what happened this weekend. I took off on Saturday for a nice long up to 5 hour ride. There was a north wind blowing so I headed up to Cambridge. Made my usual stop at the BP and got a refill of Gatorade and a snickers. I headed home thinking I would have a tail wind, and I did...kinda. Sometimes it was at my back sometimes I was pushing it, not really sure what that was all about. Anyway, it felt really good I was pushing 25-30 mph and keep my heartrate in check the entire time. Things are really coming along nice for the little race up north. When I got home I let the dog for a bit, ate some ham, jelly-beans, cheese, gatorade, pickles and some peanut butter, then back on the bike. I decided I should go pick up the truck Cathy left in Rockford when she caught her plane on Friday. Now I think who ever said Illinois was flat is full of #%$@, either that or I just hit ever hill in the state. I left that part to last thinking it would be a nice flat ride with hopefully some tail wind. Well the wind died and I was left crawling up some huge hills, I wanted to get off and walk a couple times. Finally I made it to Rockford and to the truck. I ended up with just over 110 miles with a 19.3mph Average, WOW!! I guess I was hurting for a reason.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

The feel of a new bike

Last night we stopped in at the shop and sized up Cathy for a road bike. She has been riding mine from time to time is getting the feel for it. Looks like Giants are going to fit both of us best. I am going to get one size bigger and Cathy is going to get one size smaller than the Medium that we are currently sharing. Not sure yet what type or how soon. Bob is checking that for us. Also I got to get mine sold to afford the new wheels.
The group is heading to Rockcut tonight for a night ride. I might do that or put some more pavement behing the ol' road rig.