Monday, December 26, 2011

Post Christmas Cross

Christmas is over and it time for the cross world to move on to Nationals and Worlds. Here in KC we have a week of cross in preparation for those races. This week it's races Monday, Wednesday, and Sunday. Perfect for the crew that is heading off for Madison WI the following week. JoBro and I headed out to the races today with Carly just to get a little fresh air in the warm (for KC) weather. We hung out for a while and then headed for home to begin the process of packing up for a trip. I originally thought I would be going south for some warm weather training but now it's going to be a bike free trip. That's ok, it's been a while since I saw my Dad and brother so I'll just make my time off the bike a little longer. So the dog/house sitter is set so I'll leave you with a few pictures from todays events.

Zach McDonald kicking butt in Belgium today for his first podium!

Starting them early, way to go Ty!

Shadd rolling along to a win today(I think, I left before the end)

JP continued his string of strong rides.

Bill was out doing some work.

Most of these guys are heading off to Madison for Nationals so the prep work has begun. For me, I'll start prepping for something else when I get back.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Schools out, Christmas Break

Yep, it's that time of the year, Christmas Break. The kids are out of school for a few weeks so it's time for some quality time with the boys. Break comes at a good time as the shop is slow and this year I'm injured so I've got nothing but time on my hands. It's probably a good thing that I've got the boys to keep me busy, a injured bike racer gets pretty grumpy with out time on the bike. There is some pretty good videos out there this week from last Sundays World Cup Cross race. The one of the Woman's race is really good with a little more artsy angle to it. The men's race is good and I'd love to watch the whole race over again. Maybe I will, just to figure out how Sven Nys managed to win after 2 flats!

That's my kind of course!

Here's the video of the women's race.

Just in case you missed this on Facebook or Twitter, this is a x-ray of my knees. I've been complaining about my knee forever so I figured I'd let people see what's going on. The left knee is what a relatively healthy 50yr old knee looks like. The right knee shows the scars of 5 arthroscopic surgeries to remove damaged cartilage and bone, and 1 Andrews Procedure (major Surgery) to tighten it back up. So now, 25+ years later I have what you see above, bones grinding away with no cartilage and a few strands of ligaments holding it all together. The pin you see is actually from the last surgery where they used a chunk of my IT band to tie it all together. Bottom line is that I'll be getting a new knee sometime in the near future. It just depends on when I want to slow down enough to do it. I'm thinking 2 yrs but it all depends on how things feel. When I asked the doctors how long my knee would last like this they just said that I would know when it's time to get it fixed. I guess that means whenever I can't deal with it anymore. On the positive side they also told me that they have never seen someone wear down the bones so bad that they could not replace the knee. Then again, they also said that they have never had a patient make it this far with the severe arthritis that I have.  So that's my story. It is what it is and I'm going bike racing!

So now I'm off to make cookies with the boys. I can't wait for tomorrow when they have a Euro cross race at night. Yea!!!! I love night races!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Concerts and cross

Mathgeek and JoBro are off camping with the Boy Scouts this weekend so it's just Curly and I hanging out this weekend. Got up early and watched the Euro cross race. Super muddy today so tomorrows World Cup race should be much the same. First race for Ryan Knapp, Tim Johnson, the Euro cross camp crew, and a host of other Americans. Should be fun to watch.

Cal Giant Cody threw something up about this concert/festival that happens every summer in Belgium. Pretty amazing how many people are there and everything that goes with the music is pretty over the top. The boys checked it out and Jobro thought it was really cool. What was I thinking, planting that music festival/concert seed in his head!

Tomorrowland 2011
That's a lot of sand to ride!

Another weekend off the bike but the end is in sight. Last treatment to the knee Monday and a few days after that I can get back on the bike. Time to get ready for the Road/MTB season.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Cross Weekend

This past weekend was was all about cyclocross but the weird part was that I didn't race. Really it was a trifecta of cyclocross events, 2 events in Europe, the USGP series in Bend OR, and 2 local races one of witch was the Kansas State Championships. At this point I've come to the realization that my cross season is done so it was a weekend of watching racing for me. Mathgeek warned me that too much race watching was going to make me grumpy. She knows me so well, it's tough when you want to get out there and race but it's just not in the cards. The cross races in Europe were great. The courses looked like they were fast and fun. Pretty easy to excited about racing once you see the action across the pond. Then later in the day the USGP races came on. In both cases I watched the races on the computer through live streaming. The coverage of the races in europe is really good and the USGP, well, not so much. I really can't complain, without Velonews/cycligdirt there would be no video coverage at all so spotty coverage is better than none at all. The USGP coverage was killing me. I probably could of got my spot back for the podium for the overall in the 45+ but I didn't go so I'll never know. Then there's the Kansas races, from what I hear there were fun courses and everybody had a good time, sounds like a good time.

                                             So here are some pictures from the weekend.

This was my place during the last 3 years at the USGP races. Even though it was on the computer it was pretty enjoyable watching the Elite race from somewhere other than the pits.

Little bit of history here from the shop today, it's a Dura-Ace, Mavic MA40 rear wheel with 7sp cassette straight block. I've got a toe strap full of cogs if this guy ever needs them.

Saw this while I was out on the MTB Saturday. Funny how an old engine block is out in the middle of the woods.  Looks like the hikers are having fun with it.
The freeze thaw cycle is playing havoc with the trails lately. You have to get out early before it gets slimey.

Euro cross fun!

Sven is the man right now.

More USGP action, the Cannondale guys have a nice setup and you know its cold when the riders are dressed like this inside the tent. No snow in Bend but it was cold both days.

Here's my race at the USGP, the 45+. Points leader Mike McShane leading Tim Butler who was 2nd in points going into the last weekend. Both guys rode hard all weekend and traded wins. Mike kept the leaders jersey and won the series.

So overall it was a pretty good weekend for cross racing no matter where you were. There are still a few more races locally that lead up to Nationals and then Masters worlds. I wasn't be making the trip to Nationals but maybe I'll get down to Louisville to check out Masters Worlds. I won't be racing but  I should be fun to watch the Kansas/Missouri crew give it a go.

Photo credit to Wil Matthews, Lyne @ PodiumInsight, and a few others I just don't know.....

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Are you a Introvert, read on....

I saw this article posted on the inteweb by a friend. It's written by Carl Kingdom and you can find the whole thing here. Mathgeek and I were talking about it at dinner last night and we decided it definitely discribes Curly. Like most things, Curly and I share the same tendencies and it kind of explains why I am the way I am.

10 Myths About Introverts

In late-2008, I was lucky enough to discover a book called, The Introvert Advantage (How To Thrive in an Extrovert World), by Marti Laney, Psy.D. It felt like someone had written an encyclopedia entry on a rare race of people to which I belong. Not only had it explained many of my eccentricities, it helped me to redefine my entire life in a new and productive context.

Sure, anyone who knows me would say, “Duh! Why did it take you so long to realize you’re an Introvert?” It’s not that simple. The problem is that labeling someone as an Introvert is a very shallow assessment, full of common misconceptions. It’s more complex than that.

A section of Laney’s book maps out the human brain and explains how neuro-transmitters follow different dominant paths in the nervous systems of Introverts and Extroverts. If the science behind the book is correct, it turns out that Introverts are people who are over-sensitive to Dopamine, so too much external stimulation overdoses and exhausts them. Conversely, Extroverts can’t get enough Dopamine, and they require Adrenaline for their brains to create it. Extroverts also have a shorter pathway and less blood-flow to the brain. The messages of an Extrovert’s nervous system mostly bypass the Broca’s area in the frontal lobe, which is where a large portion of contemplation takes place.

Unfortunately, according to the book, only about 25% of people are Introverts. There are even fewer that are as extreme as I am. This leads to a lot of misunderstandings, since society doesn’t have very much experience with my people. (I love being able to say that.)

So here are a few common misconceptions about Introverts (not taken directly from the book, but based on my own life experience):

Myth #1 – Introverts don’t like to talk.
This is not true. Introverts just don’t talk unless they have something to say. They hate small talk. Get an introvert talking about something they are interested in, and they won’t shut up for days.

Myth #2 – Introverts are shy.
Shyness has nothing to do with being an Introvert. Introverts are not necessarily afraid of people. What they need is a reason to interact. They don’t interact for the sake of interacting. If you want to talk to an Introvert, just start talking. Don’t worry about being polite.

Myth #3 – Introverts are rude.
Introverts often don’t see a reason for beating around the bush with social pleasantries. They want everyone to just be real and honest. Unfortunately, this is not acceptable in most settings, so Introverts can feel a lot of pressure to fit in, which they find exhausting.

Myth #4 – Introverts don’t like people.
On the contrary, Introverts intensely value the few friends they have. They can count their close friends on one hand. If you are lucky enough for an introvert to consider you a friend, you probably have a loyal ally for life. Once you have earned their respect as being a person of substance, you’re in.

Myth #5 – Introverts don’t like to go out in public.
Nonsense. Introverts just don’t like to go out in public FOR AS LONG. They also like to avoid the complications that are involved in public activities. They take in data and experiences very quickly, and as a result, don’t need to be there for long to “get it.” They’re ready to go home, recharge, and process it all. In fact, recharging is absolutely crucial for Introverts.

Myth #6 – Introverts always want to be alone.
Introverts are perfectly comfortable with their own thoughts. They think a lot. They daydream. They like to have problems to work on, puzzles to solve. But they can also get incredibly lonely if they don’t have anyone to share their discoveries with. They crave an authentic and sincere connection with ONE PERSON at a time.

Myth #7 – Introverts are weird.
Introverts are often individualists. They don’t follow the crowd. They’d prefer to be valued for their novel ways of living. They think for themselves and because of that, they often challenge the norm. They don’t make most decisions based on what is popular or trendy.

Myth #8 – Introverts are aloof nerds.
Introverts are people who primarily look inward, paying close attention to their thoughts and emotions. It’s not that they are incapable of paying attention to what is going on around them, it’s just that their inner world is much more stimulating and rewarding to them.

Myth #9 – Introverts don’t know how to relax and have fun.
Introverts typically relax at home or in nature, not in busy public places. Introverts are not thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies. If there is too much talking and noise going on, they shut down. Their brains are too sensitive to the neurotransmitter called Dopamine. Introverts and Extroverts have different dominant neuro-pathways. Just look it up.

Myth #10 – Introverts can fix themselves and become Extroverts.
A world without Introverts would be a world with few scientists, musicians, artists, poets, filmmakers, doctors, mathematicians, writers, and philosophers. That being said, there are still plenty of techniques an Extrovert can learn in order to interact with Introverts. (Yes, I reversed these two terms on purpose to show you how biased our society is.) Introverts cannot “fix themselves” and deserve respect for their natural temperament and contributions to the human race. In fact, one study (Silverman, 1986) showed that the percentage of Introverts increases with IQ.

“You cannot escape us, and to change us would lead to your demise.” <-- I made that up. I'm a screenwriter. It can be terribly destructive for an Introvert to deny themselves in order to get along in an Extrovert-Dominant World. Like other minorities, Introverts can end up hating themselves and others because of the differences. If you think you are an Introvert, I recommend you research the topic and seek out other Introverts to compare notes. The burden is not entirely on Introverts to try and become "normal." Extroverts need to recognize and respect us, and we also need to respect ourselves. Let me know your thoughts. -Carl.

I usually don't post articles like this but it seems kind of important to me. Anyway, on to some fun stuff. I found a few more pictures out there of Jingle Cross to post. It really is a great race to attend, if you are looking to hit a bigger regional race next year put this one on your schedule, you won't be disappointed.

The run up at Jingle cross is epic, really, that sucker is long and steep. Once you reach the top you have to get on your bike and ride the rest of the way to the top of Mt. Krumpet
Bill on the decent of Mt. Krumpet. Sunday the switchbacks were ride able, Saturday, not so much....

Here's a better way to see what Jingle Cross is all about in a video shot by Keith Walberg.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Jingle Cross

Another edition of Jingle Cross has come and gone and here I sit not sure just what to do next. I guess that's something for later in the post so I'll start with the races. It's kind of funny that I was checking the weather a few days before the race and I started whining to Mathgeek about the predicted cold, wet, windy conditions. She just looked at me and said, "I guess you will have REAL cross conditions this weekend". Ouch, that must mean just shut up and race. That statement actually isn't true, the KCCX crew has seen our share of muddy races this year when we have been on the road, it's just the local races that have not seen mud this year. In any case the weather on Friday was actually pleasant, 50 degrees with a little wind had me taking my number off my thermal skinsuit and putting it on a normal one after warming up. Conditions were really good and the course to my liking so I was ready to race. The only part of the course that I didn't like was the run-up but it was so steep that nobody was going fast up it. That's a good thing for this gimp. I races the Masters 45+ race that starts 1 minute after the 35+ race. Once we started it didn't take long to mix in with the 35+ race and I  managed work through some of the 35+ race and get into the lead of my race. The problem with mixing of the two races is that you never really have an idea of who is in your race and who isn't. I pretty much set a pace and stuck with it to the end for the win. Kind of nice since my fitness is pretty questionable right now.
Saturday dawned and it was a whole different ball game. The weather had changed and it had rained all night. On top of that the temps had dropped a bit. Even with the steady rain it wasn't too bad out, that is until just before my race when the wind changed to the north. Soon the temps dropped even more and a gusty cold wind popped up. As you can see in the picture above the course soon turned to sloppy mud and many of the climbs/descent's turned into runs. I'm no fan of the cold but the muddy conditions favor my style of riding so I was ready to race. After another good start I got into the lead and started stretching it out a bit. I was running the downhill switchbacks until the last pitch then jumping back on the bike. It worked great until the 3rd lap when I didn't get clipped back into my pedals. As I was trying to get clipped back in I hit a bump and went cartwheeling over the bars. There's a video below of Steve crashing at the bottom of the same hill. Anyway, I did a complete yardsale to the roar of the crowd and then jumped back on my bike only to find the front brake messed up. I got it fixed enough to get back to the pit and change bikes and that's when I found out my knee and ankle were tweaked pretty bad. It was bad when I went to change bikes and even worse when I hit the barriers. Game over, time to quit. It was just about then that I noticed I wasn't wearing my glasses anymore. Hmmmmm, I guess it's a good crash when you have to go back and look for your glasses!

Crop circles in Iowa! Actually It's the death spiral part of the course that was worn into the grass during the races.
Sunday came and it was cold but the rain had stopped, yea!!!! That didn't mean that the mud would be better, actually it was worse. It went from a soupy consistency to sticky peanut butter. Here is where having a good crew in the pits really makes a difference. Our teammate Logan and his dad worked the pits to perfection for Bill and I in the 35+/45+ race. We were changing bikes every lap and it makes a huge difference. I would dump off a muddy 30 pound bike that wouldn't shift well and pick a perfect bike. They would scramble to wash it, dry it, and make it work, all before I came around again in 9 minutes. Lap after lap they were ready and it worked, I won and Bill was 6th.

I don't know where I was for this! Actually there is a speedo/swimsuit/singlespeed charity race for a race sponsor. It's really fun to watch for a number of reasons and I'm kind of sad I missed it.

Below is something that you see quite a bit during the weekend. Mud mixing with pea gravel is not a good thing for bikes. Just one pebble in the der and jam it up and in a second you end up with what you see below. The bummer for this guy is that he has a destroyed electronic Dura Ace der and those are big $$$$$$$.
Here's the video of steve crashing. I crashed with a bit more speed about half way down the hill and ended up rolling through the tape. Found my glasses in the weeds near the bottom and now I have a black and blue ankle for my efforts.

The Specialized mechanics showing classic form in the pits. One ready to catch and one holding the clean bike. Once the exchange is made one guy washes the bikes while the other keeps track of the riders. You can see the other mechanics in the background looking for their riders. Lyne at PodiumInsight has a good article that she wrote on the subject here.

One of the best parts of the weekend is that both Joe and Kevin got UCI points. People with UCI points start in the front rows at UCI races like the USGP series. It's the difference between starting in the 3rd row of 8 riders vs the 10 row.

Now for that what next question I was referring to at the beginning of the post. Today is the day that I went in for a 2nd opinion on my knee. Last year there were 3 choices, cortisone, arthroscopic surgery, or joint replacement. Last year I chose to shoot it full of cortisone and muddle through the rest of the cross season. During the summer I really didn't have many problems with the knee during road season but as soon as cross started I had issues. So since the season has become such a disaster I decided to see what could be done and not worry about Nationals or Masters Worlds. Today I was told that my knee rates a 8/9 on a scale of 1-10 for knee replacement. In fact, if I were 60 or older he would schedule it for next week. If I decided today that I was done bike racing he said that it was a strong possibility he would just go ahead a do the surgery now regardless of my age. But mentally I'm just not done yet, I have been thinking about scaling back a bit so maybe the process has begun. Anyway, after much discussion with the surgeon today cortisone and arthroscopic surgery has been ruled out as they would be ineffective. There are really only two options, knee replacement or injections with some stuff called Orthovisc. So injections it is starting next week. For the next 3-4 weeks I'll be going in every Monday to get my knee shot full of goop. 

So that pretty much kills any hopes for Cross Nationals and most likely Masters Worlds. It all depends on how my knee reacts to the first injection. If you can't train you can't race so I'll just have to see what happens.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Lincoln Cross Weekend

Last weekend I made the drive up to Lincoln with the family for the cross races and more importantly, to catch up with some folks we have not seen for a while. After making all most monthly trips to Lincoln for years we somehow found ourselves not making a trip for over a year. The cross races are all ways well run and fun but more than anything Mathgeek and I really wanted to get away for a little mini vacation. So off we went with a somewhat late start Saturday morning and headed to Lincoln. the grand plan was to get to the venue in time for me to do the Open race. We did make it in time but my head just wasn't in it, a little too rushed and just out of sync. Did a few laps of the course and found it quite a bit different that what we are used to at Pioneers park. At first call for line up I rolled over to the start to find that I was going to be in the back at the start. That was a bummer but I thought I could work my way up. Little did I know it would be all most impossible to pass in the first few laps and after jamming my front wheel into unmarked holes tyring to make passes my motivation was flagging. In fact, after a few laps I just quit at rode around for a few more laps taking a buck on one lap and a beer on the next. That's right, a beer, and I don't drink, it was that kind of day. But later in the evening things got much better good company and pizza at Yia Yia's.

Since I can't ride the cross bike I've been trying to ride the MTB for training. The trails at Swope  are in great shape this fall.

We had to run to the Nebraska Bookstore to pick up a few items of Husker Wear  and check out downtown and campus. Pretty amazing the changes from year to year not to mention the changes since I lived there. JoBro was unimpressed with campus, still a KU fan.

On to Sundays race. I did the Masters race since it was early and we wanted to get back to KC as early as possible. I didn't figure on the low temps and 17 degrees when I got up was a stunner. At least the sun  was out and the wind had died down. This time I got a better start position and got into the lead near the end of the first lap. Overall I had a pretty good race but I can tell my fitness is pretty suspect. Maybe it was the cold but it really took a while to get comfortable in the race and by that time my fingers were frozen. During the race it was hard to shift and after the race it was pretty pain full as they warmed up. Might have to get better gloves before next weekend. I was busy chatting and hanging out with some old friends and before I knew it I had to get going. Mathgeek and the kids decided to hang out at the hotel and go swimming while I was racing. Pretty smart considering the temperatures.

The drive to Lincoln was on I-29 and HWY 2, both were under water for most of the summer and it was pretty interesting to see what's left when the water goes away. Kind of a lesson for the kids.

So now it's time for Thanksgiving and then my annual trek to Iowa City and JINGLE CROSS! 3 days of racing in the cold, rain/snow, and sloppy mud. I'm just guessing it's going to be messy, I don't think I've ever been there and had dry conditions. As a bonus Nebraska plays Iowa on Friday and I should start my race Friday night just as the game ends. Should be an interesting weekend.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A little catching up to do

Once again it's been a while since I've posted anything. What can I say, not too much positive stuff going on from the racing side. On top of that I managed to crush both my phone and my camera since my last post so I've been a little short on the equipment side. Cross season has been a disaster and the cross bikes didn't even leave the hook between the Ft.Collins USGP and the week before the GP in Louisville. I did a local race to see if my knee was going to function well enough to race and it held up pretty well. Louisville was a bust for a multitude of reasons so that leaves us with the Lincoln weekend this week and Jingle Cross the following week. It will be nice to get back to Lincoln and see some people we have not seen in a while.
Birdy at the Cinci C3 races

Kelly at the top of the Green Monster in Louisville. Yes, those steps really are that big!

cross and beer in Louisville

A barely ridden Trek/Volkswagen MTB came through the shop with an original Rocket Boy seat on it, brought back some memories.

Mark on a tear at eh BLVD Cup race here in KC

Tonight was pie night at the Cub Scout meeting. JoBro got pied a number of times. As a Boy Scout den leader he was a bit of a target.
BLVD Cup shot of me.

Maybe I'll have a few pictures after this weekend. There should be plenty to see on Hooligan hill, weather it will be suitable for the blog remains to be seen.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Picking on Ryan again

I finally decided to join the bandwagon and get a twitter account and see what everybody is up to. It's been pretty amusing and every once in a while you see something that's pretty good. Last post I had a picture of Ryan Knapp crashing in the sand and through twitter I came across this web site. Mathgeek thought it was pretty amusing but beware, it's a little bit beyond PG.


Listen. We need to talk. We’ve been having some second thoughts. Surely you, too, are familiar with that feeling. It occurs immediately after receiving confirmation that someone’s read something you’ve written about them. You see, we generally write under the assumption that the Dudes we write about will never read it, and we never gave even half a thought to the idea that we’d ever meet the Dudes. But then we wrote the CX season kickoff post and every Dude we wrote about read it, which was fine. But then we found out that we were traveling to the USGP CX Planet Bike Cup in Madison, and it felt exactly like the second you’re forced to inhale ocean water because you know you won’t make it to the surface to breathe in time.

But as we all know, there’s no way to say “I want to un-fuck you,” so after we’d arrived and stopped hiding behind our friends, we faked a bit of bravado. Jeremy Powers bashfully called “Hello!” to us before we recognized him. Ryan Trebon looked up to see us perched on a picnic table behind the actual press during the post-podium presser, broke into a grin, waved, and afterwards gave us a hug that lasted just a bit too long. And much to our surprise, the world kept right on spinning as the first day of racing ended. Relieved, we returned to BDIPC’s Madison HQ to find a message from one Ryan Knapp. It read: “I tried to shoot a wink to [BDIPC] as I took a dollar handup from her today. Hope she got it.” Hands clapped over mouths. Giggle. Who is this Dude and how does he know who we are? Google. Ladies and gentlemen, this is Ryan Knapp:

We fucking know, right?!

So on day two, we told him where we’d be. We sloshed through the mud, glancing sidelong into other Dudes’ faces in the hope that it would be him. Nothing. Just as we were about to give up hope, our most trusted advisor approached, pointed, and said, “There.” And there he was. He looked up, saw us, smiled, and called out, “I looked for you! I couldn’t find you.” Cheek kiss, small talk. Good luck! We walked away to shiver and cowbell our way through the race, and when it was over we ambled toward the line and looked for familiar faces. And there he was again, laughing as he was being sprayed down. He came to us and we walked together as he told us how the mechanic said “Don’t forget ze veenar!” which incidentally appeared to be the only area on his body that wasn’t covered in mud. We successfully suppressed the urge to shout, “Do you have any idea who you’re talking to right now? Ve vould nevar forget ze veenar!”

Then there were goodbyes to be said and hands to be shaken, hugs to give and photos to pose for. And when it was all said and done, the only thing there was time for was goodbye. So, Ryan, listen. The next time we’re farewelling in the middle of a parking lot and you hold onto us for so long that there’s time enough to open our eyes and peek over your shoulder to see your teammates gaping open-mouthed at us, know that you have two choices. We can either go somewhere we can be alone or we’re going to give those poor, jealous teammates of yours something worthwhile to stare at. Because forget about forgetting about it, ve can’t stop thinking about it.

What a stud........

Copied from,

Sunday, October 16, 2011

I got nothin.........

It's been a while since my last post but really I don't have too much to say. Not much racing to talk about except the Ft. Collins USGP round. Illness and injury at this round pretty much blew my title hopes out of the water so I've been laying low and trying to figure it all out. It is a good time to get some stuff done around the house so I'm feeling pretty good about that.
I'll just have to amuse myself by looking at some of Lyne's pictures. She was at Spooky Cross in California and has some great shots of some crashes on the beach. Here's Ryan Knapp getting ready to eat some sand. Bummer that he's going down but hey, it's more fun when you know the guy!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Weekend that Wasn't

The weekend the wasn’t……….Ok, I should say the race weekend that wasn’t. Let me explain. So far the cross season has started off with a bang, a real big bang. CrossVegas, Cross after dark in St. Louis, and then off to Madison WI for the first round of the USGP series. It’s been a little bit crazy for a variety of reasons on top of the team duties and we only have one weekend off before we head to Ft. Collins, CO for second round of the USGP. That's not much time to get caught up around home and with the team as well. As you might guess priority number one was to get caught up with what’s going on with the family and school and maybe even get a little work done around the house.  Second on the hit list was figuring out what needs to be fixed after last weeks mud race. Mud is the great destroyer of cross bikes so the list was long. Of course we are still gluing up tires and figuring out our wheel situation. Such is life when the road team uses the wheels up until a week before Vegas.
I had really hoped  that it would be a little slow around the shop last week so I would have some time to get caught up with other things but it was not to be. I had forgotten that the Tour de Bar-b-que was happening on our off weekend. We had tune-ups, overhauls, you name it , all week. Bad timing for me for sure but I’ll never complain about the work, especially going into the slow season. So I had little or no time to get anything done on the team bikes during the week  and then another issue creeped into the mix. Out of the blue on Tuesday my knee started swelling, I was at work and by the middle of the day my knee woundn’t  bend enough to test ride bikes. To say that I was a little freaked out would be an understatement.

So we roll into the weekend and I was scheduled to race day one of the Boss Cross  series  here in KC. I was a little nervous  about racing for a number of reasons. One being the fact that Mathgeek had quarter end at work so I was running solo with the boys. Another was that I only had one bike due to the fact that other one was still shelled from Madison. Of course the biggest issue was the balky knee. 
Now I’ve been to the venue where the race was happening and I know it’s not a family friendly course.  There is no parking at the course so you have to park at a school a quarter mile away and use a walkway to get to the course. So we arrive at the course to find a huge line at registration and nowhere to park. I decide to park at  school and ride over to the course while the kids stay at the car. It’s an hour and a half before race time, I figured I had plenty of time to register and pre-ride the course. But after 30 min of waiting in line with little movement I had to get back to the car and check on the boys. Since the boys were ok I went back to give registration another try. Once again the line was long so I set my bike back down in the same place I had left it before. So now it’s less than an hour to race time and the line is just as long and it’s not moving so I decide to pre-ride a lap of the course and come back. The sand runs were going to be long and that’s just not what the doctor ordered for a bad knee. So I come back to registration and the line is just as long. Again, I’ve been gone a long time and need to check on the boys so I ride back to the car. So three times I’ve come and gone from the registration line leaving my bike in the same place every time, remember that fact.
So as I’m leaving I spot a place in the ditch next to the venue that I can squease the van into. Off I go to the van, throw my bike in the back, strap in the boys and move out. We get the coveted parking spot and now its 30 minutes until race time. I jump out of the van and walk over to registration to find the person I was standing behind earlier now 10-15 people from the front of the line, still moving slow.  In my mind the great debate was raging. Not warming up was going to be an issue and running in the sand was going to be an even bigger problem. So I waited, and debated, and waited some more, and got even more stressed out. All of the time wondering what my boys are up to.

So I finally get my number about 10 minutes before race time. With my mind reeling I walked over to where my left my bike and it wasn’t there. I was sure where I left it............. but it was gone. Maybe Bill thought it was my back up bike and took it to the pit or maybe someone just picked it up by mistake. I was sure it wasn’t stolen but where was it? Perplexed, I stood there looking for it before walking back to the van............................ and finding my bike in the back. Duh………..

Emotional meltdown, you bet. I loaded everything up and headed for home. No race today. But in the end it was all for the best. The boys and I went home and had a great day together. We got some things done around the house that needed to be done and had time to play and jump on the trampoline and generally goof off. In the end I guess I just needed to get away from the race scene for a weekend and be a dad. Glad I did.

So am I bummed about not racing, sure, I love to race. Was it for the best that I didn’t race, yep, no doubt about it. At this point I’m three days away from heading out to Ft.Collins and round 3/4 of the USGP series and I'm pretty relaxed. My knee is slowly getting better and I'll just do what I can.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

And so it begins........

Cross season has finally started for me and it really came in a rush. After a short blast out to Interbike and Cross Vegas we had a few days to prepare for St.Louis and the beginning of a long road trip to the first USGP in Madison, WI. We were still scrambling to get our bikes and wheels prepared for the season so Bill and I got a early start to St. Louis while the rest of the team headed out later. It was a smart move, we were at the venue in plenty of time to set up our tents, ect... and then get ready to race the masters race. I figured it was going to be a pretty interesting race, riding a bike that had never been ridden before with no pre-race warm up. Lining up in the back made the start a little crazy but I managed to work my way up to the front pretty quick. It was about then that I really began to feel that lack of a warm up and really started to fade. Lucky for me we had a group of 8 off the front and the pace backed off for a bit. Not long after that the pace picked back up and by the end of the race it was down to 4. Going into the final sprint I had figured out where I needed to be in the sprint and it worked out and I won the sprint. The first race of the year ended with a win and then it was time to get to work setting up bikes for Ashley and the women's elite race. We had Kelly and Ashley in the Woman's race and Matt and Kevin in the Mens race. All of the riders had good races and we were off to a good season.

Ashley rocking the new KCCX colors!

The Telnet-Fedia riders hanging out in the KCCX/FUJI team tents. Wish I had more time to hang out and check out what they were up to but it was not to be.

Ashley got the Miss photogenic award for the weekend. Pictures of her popped up in photo galleries all over.

You know we are in St.Louis when you see a Fritz's Root Beer Sign. Since I don't drink the real deal I really could of used some Root Beer late in the night.

Day 1 at the USGP, so clean at this point.

Collecting dollar bills on the run up.

Joe and Kevin working the mud Sunday.

Yea, it was that sloppy for the women and even worse for the men.

We arrived in Madison early Friday to get the trailer set and start to prepare our area. Bill and I wrapped up prepping our area just about the time the course opened up to pre ride. The rest of the team arrived and we rode for a bit before wrapping it up for the day.

Saturday, Day 1 of the USGP and from the beginning we were just a bit off. I have no idea why but if it could go wrong, it did. I guess it had me a little off balance and just not mentally prepared to race. After a so-so start I was riding in the lead group and occasionally leading when my bike started shifting funny. I wasn't happening all of the time so I didn't take a bike but before I could get back to the pit the rear skewer came loose and the rear wheel started locking up. I hopped off and ran to the pit but lost a ton of time getting a new bike. In the end I made up a few places but ended up 6th.

Sunday we were entering the venue and noticed that I had rained overnight but at the moment I was dry. That was about the only dry time during the day. Most of the day it rained and at one point the races were delayed by lightning and hail. For me, the rain was a good thing as I'm a little better in the mud than others and it helped even more that they had changed the course and added in a few more technical features.  The rain stopped just in time for my race to start and off we went into the slop. I got into the lead soon after the start and was able to ride a few areas of the course that others were running and that allowed me to get a bit of a lead. It was a good thing, I'm way behind in fitness and the lead was getting smaller in the end. I'll take a win any way I can get it and it moved me up to 3rd in the overall standings.

Everybody on the team had good rides during the weekend and as a team we are off to a good start. Hats off to the whole crew for pitching in all weekend. We have more riders, a bigger rig, and way more equipment than ever before and it took the whole team to keep it all up and running. Time to get a little training in before Ft.Collins in 2 weeks.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Where do I start

Where has the time gone.........I keep wondering over and over. I've been meaning to post just about every day but life keeps getting in the way. Before I knew it a month or two have passed and I haven't posted anything. I guess the whirlwind really began with a trip to Steamboat Co for a little family vacation and to catch the Colorado Cycling Challenge bicycle race. It was a quick trip but we had a great time. We had a chance to catch up with family, ride bikes in the mountains, and even catch the Pro's race. It was great fun but soon we had to get back so the kids could get back for school the following Monday. The next Friday it was off top St.Louis, Mo with The Mercy Road team for the last series of races of the year on the road. I made the leap and rode the Pro 1-2 races all 4 days and I was pleasantly surprised to be riding fairly well even with my lack of training.

I came home excited to make the switch to the cross season but incredibly stressed about the lack of time and the work load before the first race. I guess the stress and fatigue brought on another illness that could of been shingles or another nerve disorder issue. From the high of riding well to the low of going on anti-seizure medicine and painkillers, it was just about enough to make me walk away for cycling. Just too many illnesses and injuries this season to make training and racing very attractive but after I started to recover the urge to ride and race returned.

So after 10 days or so off the bike I headed off to LasVegas with the crew from the KCCX/FUJI Cyclocross team for the Cross Vegas Cyclocross race. I wasn't racing but I went along to help Bill at the Challenge Tire Booth at the show and then wrench for the team at the race. I can tell you right now that Vegas and it's casinos are really not my style but Interbike and all the bike bling is right up my alley. Cross Vegas was great but a bit stress full, we were totally under equiped, as in no spare bikes, wheels, or even my tools. Our riders were out of luck if they had a flat or mechanical and sure enough it happened to one of our guys in the Elite race. If we had a spare bike it would of not been an issue but as it was a finish well inside the top 20 went down the tubes for Joe. Huge bummer for Joe and me as well, talk about feeling helpless!

Just one week after returning from Vegas we were off again for another race in the Cross After Dark Series, this time in St. Louis. Last night we has a little more than half the team present and I think everybody walked away with a little prize money. It was a good race with a number of Pro's mixed in with the local/regional riders looking for UCI points. Good crowds made the event pretty electric which was great for a 1st year event. I decide to do the Masters race since I still had a ton of bike building to do before the Elite races later in the day. After a last row start for both Bill and I we both managed to move through the field pretty quick to get near the front by the end of the first lap. During the rest of the race I went through periods of feeling bad then feeling good but it was mostly bad. At one point I was getting gapped off but got back on. In the end it came down to a 4 man sprint and I had a plan in my mind of what I wanted to do and it actually worked out. Coming out with a win was a huge surprise after only being on the bike once in the past 14 days but I'll take it. Quite a few guys from KC were in the race so it made the race even more fun.

So today we hung out at our host house and worked on bikes and wheels. Even after a massive gluing session we still have quite a few wheels left to do but with blisters on my thumbs and really sore wrists I had to stop. Tomorrow we are up early to head to Madison, WI for the first 2 rounds of the USGP Series. I'm going to leave it at that and promise more updates from the road. Time to get some sleep before a 4:30am wake up call. I'll just leave you with a few pictures......

Bill and Ashley (Birdy) after her first race for the team. First ride on the new bike and she was battling it out for the lead for the first part of the race and eventually finishing 8th.

Kelly's 3rd outing in the KCCX kit resulted in a 9th place finish. Kelly got our first 2 wins of the season last weekend at Hermann Cross.

Friday night at Gateway Cup, I love racing at night!

Shadd picking up a win for Mercy Cycling at Gateway Cup.

Kevin Fish is another addition to the squad and at 19 yrs old he's fast! 11th last night in the UCI Pro race shows he has huge potential and this is only his 2nd year racing cross.

Had to throw this picture of Curly defeating his fears and ripping the Alpine Slide in Steamboat!

This one is hard for me to put into words. This is Jobro on the same size bike that I ride. It's a little big for him at the moment but it won't be for long. He did great on the trails for his first time in the mountains.

So that's my update, short and sweet and really incomplete but it will have to do. More posts to come and hopefully I can shoot some video with all of my new cool equipment.