Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Meeting a Champion

This past weekend was the Wisconsin Bike federation fund raising party at Saris. I was working the max power/Margarita blenders which were a way bigger hit than I was expecting! We had some pretty ambitious people mixing the margarita to say the least. But really the highlight of the party was getting to meet Floyd Landis! He is a super cool guy. He talked a bit just to the employees at lunch on friday and was just hanging out around the plant. I got to talk to him a bit and it was a lot of fun.

The party was pretty crazy for him but he took time to get pictures with everyone.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

2006 Wrap Up

I once heard a quote that I have kept close to my training: “Don’t buy upgrades, ride up grades”. That being said all the training in the world won’t do anything for you if you can’t get to the finish line. Thanks to my wonderful sponsors I had a mechanical free season. Here’s who helped make it happen this summer:

Bob does a wonderful job running our team. He gets us the hook up on bikes, and if we need any repairs puts aside the paying customers to get us in and out as fast as possible. Mike really bends over backwards helping out the team in anyway possible. Next time you are in Janesville stop in and thank these guys for putting together the best local team in the state!

This was my first product sponsor. 3 years ago I was trying out the NORBA circuit and after my final of 3 stages in Texas I was in the parking lot loading my bike and Josh came up and started talking to me. I was pretty wiped out and when he asked what kind of chain lube I used I just went crazy telling him that whitelightning lube was the best thing ever!! Well turns out he worked for them and asked if he could help me out. This past year our entire team got on board with whitelightning and has had a wonderful year as a team.

I have been using eggbeater pedals ever since I hung up the tennis shoes and started wearing cycling shoes. This was our second year with them helping us out with some light ti pedals. Over the years I have had problems with the pedals digging into my shoes, this has been fixed with a tough plastic spacer. I have actually been using the same spacer over the course of two sets of cleats!

This is another parking lot sponsor. I had just finished a few loops out at the kettles and seen Mark’s truck in the parking lot. I went over and introduced myself. We got to talking and they were really interested in my brakes and rotors. I told them that I was running Kool Stop pads that worked ok but were a little low on power with the aluminum rotors. It didn’t take long for Mark to respond and sell me on the advantages of Vesrah pads. About a week later I put some in and was instantly impressed, all the power was back with control what would rival an Egyptian Pharaoh! Look for some sweet lightweight rotor options coming soon…hopefully I will have the opportunity to do a review on them.

This is also my second year with Maxxis and this year they extended the sponsorship to the entire team. With the introduction of some more XC specific tires they are becoming a more common name at WORS. The new tire this year is the CrossMark. I did a review on it earlier this summer and can only expand on that saying this is by far my favorite tire I have rode, and believe me I have tried a lot of them!

I have read a lot of lightweight wheels and the general consensus is that it is not how light the wheel is but how well it is built. Well take that mentality and apply it to one of the lightest wheelsets possible and you have a dangerously fast combo. I was a little leery about how the wheels would handle my aggressive riding style – was I ever wrong. The only time my wheel came out of true was when I hit a fence post cornering to the finish, high sided, and blew my tire clean off the wheel when I landed! Any less wheel would have folded over like a wet paper towel, but the ZRT Olympic rims only needed a little tweak on the spokes and we were back to new.

Again thanks to everyone!! The 2007 schedule is out so now it is time to start training and preparing for an even more successful season!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Sheboygan WORS Finale

I have said this before but WOW that was a fast summer!! It literally seems like just yesterday that we were all lining up at Iola wondering what each other had been doing over the winter, or wondering if I had done enough!
This season turned out to be my best ever thanks to TJ for coaching and pushing me all summer. Usually coming into this race I am so burned out and ready for winter that I can't wait for the race to be over. This year was different, I took a little break after Chequamegon and that was enough to get re-charged to end the season strong. Cathy has been keeping good form this summer, but was ready for it to be over. We got lined up and with a bang were off sprinting for the hole-shot prime. I wasn't going for the money as much as trying to get a decent spot into the single track. I was sitting right about where I was hoping and feeling good about it. The first time up the equalizer was cake, I kept it in my big ring (42-32) and made some good ground on Tim at the top. I kept a pretty solid pace keeping Jerry Long in site. As we started the 4th lap I started to run out of juice, I hit a few clif bloks but they didn't kick in soon enough - BANG - I was done! I only had 1/2 lap left but it felt like it took all afternoon to get through it, people were flying by me like it was my first day on the bike, even a few comp guys I had lapped caught up and passed me - it was BAD! I was afraid at the pace I was holding that would happen, but the points were already locked up so I really didn't have anything to loose by doing it.
Cathy always struggles on fast starts, and this was no exception. The women took off just behind us and she was going over the top to stick with them. Even though the course is pretty tame there are just enough roots to make a full suspension nice. The ol' hardtail was taking her for a ride! First time up the equalizer she had a good line and no traffic, she climbed all the way to the top but spun on the final root and had to dab. BUMMER! That was her main goal to try and make it, after that she cruised around the course, enjoying the views and fun trails...except for the bumps!
With it all said and done this has been a wonderful season. Thanks to everyone that helped make it possible, and we look forward to doing it all again in a few months!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Non-biking entry

Yep it is getting to that time of year, when the focus shifts from biking to cross training / not training / just having fun. Since Cathy was knee high to a grasshopper she has been playing volleyball. She kinda got out of it when she first moved down here but last year and again this year has gotten back into a weekly league. For me volleyball should be played from the sidelines, I have don't have the cordination to run, jump, and hit a ball without totally rebounding out of the net! Cathy on the other hand is fun to watch!! Last night she was just killing it. She got paired up on the front row with the other teams better player and in some cases players. She was drilling the ball through 2 blockers at times other hits they would get a hand on but couldn't control it. By the 3rd game she had schooled one of their guys so many times he about took the net down in frustration...dude that's got to suck to have your world rocked by a chick!!

In cycling news...the weather doesn't look good for this weekend. We have been lucky all summer and I was thinking we might be able to squeeze in one more race to the fair weather streak but unless we get those NASCAR dryers out on the course I think it is going to be pretty sloppy. Oh well this will be the excuse I have been looking for to upgrade my drive train.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

I should be getting paid for this....

...well I guess I kinda am. Last night I had to do some extended product testing for work. The sky looked pretty crazy so I threw on a back pack and desided to keep the ride in town and on the way home stop by the grocery story and pick up a few things. I headed down to Rockport, jumped on the trail and almost litterally ran into Bill and Ragena. They were rocking out on the tandem getting ready for next year's short and fat. After they got home I made my way up town to grab a few things. As soon as I got out and was unlocking my bike things got really crazy. The wind started blowing HARD and it was raining in every direction. I figured I wasn't going to get home dry at this point so I just took off. Talk about flash flood! I was hitting the side streets cutting through town and was pushing 3-4 inch puddles at almost every intersection. About 5 minutes into the soaking the hail started. I have never rode my bike through a hail storm, and I don't think I will again - THAT HURT!! The news was saying there was quarter size hail, but all I seen was marbles and that was big enough. My arms and legs looked like I had chicken pox from getting pelted.
This is what it looked like when I finally got home.

On the plus side, the PowerTap worked perfect. If you ever need to know your power output while battling your next tropical depression this is the product for you.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Last minute decision

The forcast was for unseasonably warm weather, and with winter just around the corner you have to take advantage of every day you get. I wasn't planning on racing this weekend but with forcasted sun I knew I would be kicking myself if I didn't. So Saturday night I got the 9.8 running and ready. I took a gamble on light-weight and set up the tires tubeless with Stan's...big mistake!! About 3/4 way through the first lap I was going through a corner when BANG the tire was off the rim. Light-weight tires + high pressure - tubes = walking back to the car. I walked off the course, cheared on all the other guys and then walked back to the car. About half way there I though, what I am doing? I should be racing!! So I ran the rest of the way, threw in a tube and jumped back on the course about 2 minutes behind the last place women. The first lap was perfect to warm the legs up so I just put it to the floor and started making up ground. I got around all the women and could start seeing guys on different parts of the course. As I started caughting guys I was getting a new motivation to push harder. I didn't know how much time was left so I tossed my bottle to Cathy and she somehow got it filled by the time I looped around to the feed area. I took a full bottle and then heard the bell, 1 lap to go. I got around a few more guys but in the end just ran out of time. I know I could have made more ground if I had more time, every lap my legs just felt better and better. I ended up rolling in 23 of 32 guys. I guess I learned my lesson that 120grams I saved by not running a tube cost me about 6-7 minutes.