Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Rider Interview

It is always cool hearing what other equipment other riders are running and why. So I thought I would shed some light on what Cathy is running on her mt.bike and why.

She will be running the same bike as last year with a few necessary upgrades. The bike is a Size medium Trek 9.8 She talked about getting a full suspension but really like the way the hardtail responds and climbs. Last year she was running with a non-functional fork, due to fork rebuilding ignorance from her personal mechanic...me! The new SID World cup makes a huge difference and has really helped her handling skills. As is the bike tips the scales at a light 24lbs.

-Click on the picture for a larger image-

This weekend will be our first mt.bike race when we head down to Rockcut State Park. It is going to be a pretty long race but so hopefully the weather will be nice.

Whitewater Road Race

There are two things you should bring to the WISPORT Whitewater race, your sprinter legs and your health insurance card. Every year there seems to be a relatively substantial crash at the beginning of the race. Part of the problem is that it is an early race and not too many people are used to riding in large packs yet. The other reason is that WISPORT is a mass start so you have Cat.5 riders with Cat.1-2 riders. Either way it is best to stay in the front, even push some wind at the beginning of the race to let everyone figure things out behind you. Well this year I think about half the pack had that same plan. We turned out of town and before I could even shift up the pack ramped up to 35mph! Sure enough a few riders weren't used to going that fast got tangled up. The guy did a phenominal job of keeping his bike up as he shot across the road and in the opposing ditch. Then a few miles later one of our former teammates went down when someone swerved into him. He ended up with a broken arm, a concussion, and major road rash. I didn't see that one happen as it was ways back in the field. Cathy seen him though and said he didn't look good. After that things settled down a little, at least for crashes. The pack was still strong and pulling in attacks one after another. There is only one hill on the course and it happened to be right before turning into a tailwind. This is where I attached two years ago and broke away from the pack. The plan was same this for the race, attack then have tail wind to make it stick. I figured Josh Barret would have the same plan and we timed it perfect. We both attached opposite sides of the pack and quickly got a gap on the hill. We were only able to get a couple rotations before we got pulling in though. I sat in and planned the next try. Cory was itching to go so a few miles before turning into another tail wind section we went for it. Both of us just sprinted as hard as we could and quickly gapped the pack around curve. We were working perfect and stayed out for about a mile. Then I looked back and seen one of our teammates come off the front of the pack and tried to bridge up to us. He made it but brought the entire pack with him!! I don't think we could have lasted though, but we still gave him a hard time about it after the race.
So that is how the entire race went, someone would attack, then we would chase. The finish got sketchy also, people started jockeying for position and there were two sizable wrecks just 3 miles from the finish. I managed to avoid them and stay in position. On the last stretch I was pretty wiped out. We turned and sprinted up the small hill to the finish. I managed to get around about 4 people at the line so that felt good.
Meanwhile Cathy was having a good race also. She hooked up with Denny after the first crash and they got into a good group. I was surprised to see her as soon as I did, she finished in just over 1 hour with over a 20mph average!! She is starting her season really good and even brought home a 2nd place metal to prove it.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Scenic but Abusive!

That is a pretty good summary of the Oxbow Classic this weekend. Saturday was just perfect for a bike race. I lined up with a huge field of around 80 riders. It didn’t take long for the bumping to start, I was just as much to blame as anyone else, but it was SOOO hard to keep a straight line on the loose gravel. Just a couple miles in a couple guys got loose and bumped me onto the shoulder. I kept the bike up but was pretty far back when I got back into the pack. I pushed to get back to the front group before the hill. As soon as we started the climb another guy just fell over and took me out again. I got up and had to run a little to get going. At the top of the hill a lead group had formed and was about 100 yards up the road. I was feeling good and had a tail wind. I knew that if I pushed to get back to the group that would save me once we turned into the wind. Once I got back on things were pretty tame. I was feeling really good and wanted to stir up some action. There was a long 3 tier climb about 10 miles in on the 17.5 mile loop. I upped the pace and put a good gap on the group. I was hopping a rider or two would come with me and we could get a break going. When I crested the hill I looked back and the group was a long ways back just sitting there. I decided to give it a go and try to stay off. I rode out from for about 5 miles or so. I could tell I was burning quite a few matches and knew that I needed some left for the next lap, so I sat up and got back in with the pack.
We hit the climb again going onto the second and final lap. The hill itself hurt but once I was over the top I ramped up the pace again and really felt good. There were a few shot fired on that lap, each time cutting a few riders from the lead group. I was feeling ok, but was running low on water and could tell I was running out of matches. With 2 miles to go a few riders attached HARD out of a corner I just wasn’t ready for it as a swung wide. I stood up to get back on but just couldn’t close the gap. We had a tail wind so I tried to just push a hard pace and close it over time, but this time the group didn’t let up.
Before the race dad was talking trash and said if I could lap him he would buy dinner. I seen him about ¼ way up the final hill, he was walking but I wasn’t riding much faster. I got around him about 100 yards from the finish.
I was really happy with the race. I felt like I rode smart and could really seen the benefit of doing so. Hopefully we can take this and start building for a solid start to the mt.bike season.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Great Dane Crit #1

What a perfect weekend for a race!! We got up on Sunday morning and it was a little cool but the sun was doing everything it could to warm things up. Cathy was a little nervous being as this was her first road race, but kinda excited at the same time. We got out for a couple laps and practiced in the parking lot for a while, then it was show time.

Her and Christina got a good line position and moved right to the front around the first couple turns, I told them to do this and then move into the pack as they felt more comfortable riding in the group. They stayed with the pack for about 4-5 laps, then started to slip off the back, once they were on there own the pack was gone. It was a bummer too because about 1-2 laps after they dropped off the pack slowed way down. They were going solo about as fast as the pack was drafting, oh well a good lesson learned. Anyway they had a good race, and a good hard workout. Cathy finished around 16th out of almost 30 women so that was really good for her first race.

My race got going a little late but that was fine, it was getting nicer every minute! We took off and the first couple laps were pretty tame, everyone just getting a feel for group riding. Then a few riders tried stirring things up. A break of two was off about 25 yrds. I attached like crazy and bridged to them, hoping that we could get a good break going, but they just sat up and the pack pulled us in. After that the pack really started pushing the pace. I was doing everything I could to hang on and recover. With about 5 laps to go I felt really good but nobody was doing anything so I just worked on getting a good position for the field sprint. Coming into the final corner I was 5th wheel, the perfect position, we sprinted out of the corner but the three guys in front of me died and ended up boxing me in! I tried to work my way out but ran out of time. I finished somewhere 10-15. It was a good race and another lesson learned about field sprinting.
This week is much needed recovery, I was really hurting after this last 4 weeks of HARD training. It is nice out and will feel good to take things easy and get off road.

Friday, April 07, 2006

First race of the year

Looks like we are going to have some great weather for the race this weekend. Right now it is raining like nothing else! If we had an ocean next to us this would be classified a hurricane and we would be complaining about getting financial aid, but since we live in the midwest, we just go to work instead.
We were hoping to get over to Kettle Moraine after working the Wheel and Sprocket sale this weekend, but I don't think that is going to happen due to all the rain. I got most of my parts for the NRS this week. Our team Maxxis order came in, all 40 lbs. of tires!! I have never seen a box so packed with tires before. I also got my wheels, they are SOOOO light, I can't wait to get off road get them dirty.
Sunday we are heading up to Madison to get see what all this winter training has done for us. Cathy is thinking about trying the Women's 4 race and is a little nervous but will do just fine. I am excited to pin a number on my jersey again, it seems like forever since the last cyclo-cross race last fall.
Sorry for the lack of pictures. I will try to get some up here this weekend.

Monday, April 03, 2006

That was close!!

This weekend was a mix of decent riding, and typical spring weather. Friday it rained so I was on the trainer, vowing it would be my last time...again. Saturday was a little nicer, kinda windy but at least not raining. We were hoping to get some mt.biking in but because of the rain the trails are still closed. I headed over to New Glaris for a good hill workout. I met up with Jim and Bill who already had 25 miles behind them. We hit the hills and I felt surprisingly well, considering how much I was hurting on the trainer the night before. The route was a little longer than I thought but good for a 64 mile ride.
Meanwhile Cathy wanted to go for a ride but didn't want to get all dressed up to face the cold so she hit the trainer for about an hour. Then just as she was finishing up Christina called wanting to ride. Cathy couldn't say no so piled on some clothes and they were off. When I got home I was pretty proud of myself for getting a good 3.5 hour ride in, only to be almost matched with Cathy's 3 hour ride!! She was pretty tired so we just crashed.
Sunday was more rain. We watched some TV and just lounged around for most of the day. I needed to get some hours in so I jumped on the trainer for some more Steady State excitement. The storm was really picking up at this point with T-storm warning flashing up all the time. We seen some lightning but nothing too bad until WHAMMMM! A flash of lightning was about as close as ever, all the windows were just white with light! Then the weird part, my Polar HR monitor went crazy, it switched to a totally different setting and starting beeping. We also have a picture with a metal frame next to the TV apparently the lightning caused a magnetic field around that because that corner of the TV was all messed up. I don't know where it struck but it had to have been close to create those kind of magnetic fields around our electrical. I am just gald I wasn't wearing my HR strap!
It is supposed to warm up this week so that will be nice. All the rides will be starting this week as well, hopefully it will dry out enough to get off road.