Thursday, May 26, 2011

Back to the Blog

It's been a while since I've been on the blog. It's not that I've been too busy to post, I guess I just didn't have much to say. Finally went to the doctor to try and figure out why I've been sick so often and ended up on antibiotics and with a appointment with a ENT specialist. Oh Yea......

Today was the end of school for the boys and the end of elementary school for JoBro. Mathgeek and I both went to see the kids get their awards. Both Curly and JoBro got awards for academics which made Mathgeek proud. They sure didn't get those skills from me!

JoBro strolling back to his classmates with his one of his certificates.
I have been out for a few rides now and again.

Let's see, what else......Spent a fair amount of time watching the Tour of California. I'm a bit of a Chris Horner fan so it was fun to see him win the race. The domestic Pro's did a pretty good job of mixing it up with the Euro-pro's but when it came time to drop the hammer nobody could match Radio Shack. Props to Garmin-Cervelo, they managed to win the Team prize with a mix of young/old guys. That was one of the other cool things about the race, the number of young U-25 riders making their mark on the race.

The Tour of Italy is currently going on and it's been fun to watch as well. Pretty amazing to be able to watch it live on your computer in the mornings. The course looks crazy hard every day!

So here it is, Memorial Day weekend and I'll be sitting at home while my Mercy Cycling teamates are off in Texas for 5 days of racing. Sounds like if you didn't go to Texas you are heading off to the Quadcities  for the Memorial Day weekend races. I can't remember the last time that I didn't race on Memorial day weekend but I'm sure I'll find something to do. Good luck to those racing where ever you go 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Toour de Grove, Dutchtown Classic

The Dutchtown Classic was the last race in the 3 race weekend and it was definitely a crazy one. We started off with 107 on the line according to the officials and in the end we finished with 29. The way it played out to end with 29 was the crazy part. At the start the weather was overcast, cold, and threatening rain. My teammates and I chose to go on the conservative side and plan for rain some time during the race. We started with about 70psi in our tires instead of the normal 110 for added traction if it rained. Hoping for a good start I rolled up to the line from the front only to find it full and nobody was going to move. Some times the officials will let it go and start with a few guys in front of the line but this time nobody was going to be in front of the line. So off I went to the back of the group to start DFL.

So off we go and I quickly worked my way up to the front of the field where I found by teammates were all ready there. It was all going pretty well but I could feel some mist or light rain falling. Soon the real rain began to fall and soon after that a 1/3 of the field went down in a corner. It was a huge bummer to find the race being stopped because of the crash with both Jason and I on the front. With shuffling due to the restart I was once again in the back of the field. It was still raining so I headed for the front as soon as possible and it didn't take long for all the crashing to begin again. I guess it began splitting up and I ended up in the lead group at the end of the race. 16th was the end result witch is ok but not great. With both races this weekend I could of played the finishes a little differently for better placing but maybe next time. Really can't complain too much about the weekend, stayed on 2 wheels and never had a flat. That's way better than most.

So tonight is Tuesday Worlds, not too sure if I'm going at this point as I've been feeling like crap, we shall see.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Tour de Grove, Day 2

Today's race was held in the part of town called the "Grove". I'm not sure what the history is here but but the area is what you would call transitional. There are all kinds of start up businesses on the main street and some really cool refurbished row houses.......and a number of homes and businesses with boarded up doors and windows. Overall it's a cool area that needs some work. For this event it would be nice if they would consider fixing the roads. There are potholes, broken pavement, and even a big metal plate to contend with if the rain didn't keep you busy enough. In the Pro-1 race the wet conditions along with the broken glass and potholes saw the neutral support staff run out of wheels in the wheel pits. Pretty crazy time!
Here's the Pro field heading for the metal plate.

The plate was marked well but as you could see in the picture above, when the group is curb to curb sometimes you can't miss it.

Nemo and the plate, he said that he had to jump it a few times in our race.

The Pro's heading into a turn....

and coming out of the turn. That was one long line and you don't want to be on the back.

My artsy picture for the day, Nick in the rain.

In the 2-3 race Nemo, Jason, Scott, and I rode well and it was just a matter of keeping 2 wheels on the ground and hoping for a decent finish. It was raining and cold the whole race but I had my tire pressure just right and my bike was working really well. In the end it came down to the field sprint and both Jason and I had a chance for a good finish but our efforts got derailed with a 1/2 a lap to go and we both finished somewhere in the mid 20's or so.

So tomorrow is the final day of racing and we are hoping for better weather. With any luck it will be dry but it's going to be cold for sure!

Tour de Grove,

This weekend the Mercy crew is St.Louis MO for the Tour de Grove. A series of 3 races with the Saturday race being a NRC race. There are a quite a few Pro teams here and the fields for all of the races are pretty big. We drove through heavy rain for a long time and we figured it would rain during the races but it never did. I decided to sit out the race since I was still feeling sick and just hung out. I did get some pictures and played around with a camcorder during the races. Today we are going to put a GoPro camera on a bike so I'll try to put that footage up tonight.
Here's some footage of the Pro-1 race. I think you can see Joe near the front.

Here's Joe just before he got off with 2 other riders. He would ride in the 3 man break until they got caught with 3 laps to go. What a bummer, they were flying!

Jason looks so happy! Probably because it's not raining.

Jason on the attack in the 2-3 race. We have a split squad this weekend with half of us in the Pro-1 race and the rest in the 2-3 race. With any luck we can get Nemo some upgrade points in the next 2 races.

Shadd getting ready for the Pro-1 race. 180 guys on the line, good thing it was a long course.

This is the start of the 2-3 race. It's kind of hard to pick out Jason, Scott, or the St.Johns guys but they are all in there.

Today's race is on a longer more technical course so it should be pretty interesting since it's raining.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I hate being sick!!!!!

When I left for Arkansas last week for the race I felt horrible, my head hurt so bad I was taking pain pills and sleeping non-stop just to get through the day. The first day sucked but after that the pain faded and the snot started to flow. Better to slimy than to be in pain and by the end of the race I actually was feeling OK. The race ended Sunday and after the 4 hr drive home the bottom had fallen out again. All night I had gunk running down my throat and I didn't sleep much.

Monday was much of the same but by time we Tuesday afternoon rolled around it was time to head out to the Tue Crit. The KC portion of the Mercy Team rolled west toward Lawrence to meet up with a Adam and Colton before turning back and heading for the crit. All systems go, or so I thought......... 

The Tue crit started and right away the attacks started. I jumped with the first break and I soon found out that I couldn't breath. I tried sitting in, I even dropped off the break and tried resting in the group, nothing worked. I'm too old to be going full gas in a bike race with a tight chest and unable to breath, so I quit. I hate quitting any bike race but I do believe in the law of negative returns. For me to continue the race would not of gained me any fitness and probably made me sicker. Time to quit. 

So that was it for Tue night. I really can't say much about the rest of the race because I bailed out. 

Oh yeah, Stage 4 of the Joe Martin Stage Race. As a team we rode this crit pretty well. Most of the team rode at the front, I, on the other hand, did not. The final stage is a hilly crit that is reasonably technical. I was warned that I needed to start at the front of this race and stay there. So when they called us to the line I was in the 2nd row.........until they let 30 or so guys roll up to the front of the group and line up in front of us. Now I'm in the 2nd to last to the back of the group. That was the beginning of the end. As hard as i tried I could not get to the front of the group and every time I got close I got shuffled back on the climb. Bummer.

Overall I'm happy with how I rode in the Joe Martin Stage Race. I can see now that I was not at the top of my game but I guess that gives me hope for this weekend. That is if I can get this cold cleared up by then. What's up this weekend? 3 days of racing in St.Louis at the Tour de Grove.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Stage 3 Road Race JMSR

Yesterday was the 3rd stage of the race and and at 89 miles it was going to be a tough one. The course was a lollipop shaped course with a 23 mile loop on the end that we did 3 times. As I said in the last post there are no flat roads here and the main feature on the course was a long rolling climb with a steep pitch in the middle. The saying goes, what goes up must come down, and that hold true here. On stage 2 we hit 56 mph on a downhill and I have no doubt we went as fast of faster yesterday. All I can say is that the brake pads were smoking yesterday going into a tight turn at the bottom a one downhill. The plan for the Mercy Team was to get Brad and Nick in the break since they were our highest placed GC guys. The race started off blazing fast and our guys were working hard all the way to the first climb to keep the field intact. As we hit the climb the field blew apart and a 15 rider break went up the road and both Nick and Brad were there. At this point Austin and the rest of the team did a stellar job riding at the front covering moves to make sure the break stayed away. After 2 laps of chasing the pack finally relented and the time gap ballooned up to 4 minutes. Job done and we could relax and focus on getting our remaining guys to the line. In the break Brad worked hard to protect Nick and ensure the they stayed away only to pay for the effort with about 20 miles to go. Once he came off the break he worked hard to beat the field to the finish but got caught with about a kilometer to go. the group was flying but Austin was at the back and managed to give him a push to keep him in the group and not loose any time to the field.In the end Nick ended up 10 out of the break and is setting 10th overall.
The Pro women climbing up the big pitch.

So today is the final stage, a 50 minute crit on a hilly technical course. Should be fun!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Resting up before Stage 3 JMSR

I'm finally finding time to post something on the blog. The Mercy Team is currently in Fayettville, AR for the Joe Martin Stage Race and right now I'm just hanging out in the hotel. We have a late start today so we have a little time to just hang out and regroup. But first a little bit about my lack of posts. Talking to my dad the other day he wondered why the posts have dried up lately and it made me think, what have I been doing? The usual family and work duties but I think I've really been focusing on cycling a little more than in the past. Two years ago I was doing Masters races and getting pretty frustrated when Mathgeek told me I should "challenge Myself" and do some harder races. Not long after that Steve Tilford told me I should start doing the Pro 1-2 races. So here we are 2 years later and I'm doing the longest, hardest stage race in the area. The last time I did a stage race like this was 10 years ago at the Green Mountain Stage Race in the New York state. I've got to thank my coach Adam from Source Endurance for getting me to a level where I can actually ride in these races. I'm still working on making a few more jumps in fitness but a 50 yrs old how far can you take it? I guess we'll find out.

So back to Joe Martin. Stage 1 was a uphill Time Trial that was perfect for some of our riders. For me I was going into the great unknown, all I saw of the course was the first 200ft from the start line so I had no idea how hard I could go in the beginning. Turns out that I could of gone much harder and rode to a better time but I knew that it didn't matter as I'd be working for our General Classification guys during the rest of the race. In the end we had 5 guys in the top 20 in the GC.
Beautiful area in AR for the race and I don't think there is flat road anywhere. Lyne took this shot of the women's race rolling up one of the hills.

This has got to be the hill before the feed zone. This was the first hill that really hurt. It kept going up like in the picture and every time we went around a corner it just kept going up. Ouch!

Colton and I got our picture in after yesterdays stage. That was pretty much my spot in the middle of the field most of the day. I got to the front to cover some moves a few times in the first part of the race but after that it turned into more of a race of survival. With the last major climb coming up and cramps setting in I decided to ride the climb at my own pace and roll in to the finish. Luckily I came over the of the climb with another rider and on the way in we picked up some riders to make a group of 6. We worked pretty well as a group and ended up only losing 8 minutes to the main group.

That leads me into today's stage 3. Another day of climbing totaling 90 miles. We do a loop that includes a pretty big climb so it's going to be another pretty interesting day.