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.