Monday, October 30, 2006

energy overload

i had so much damn energy this morning the coffee about threw me over the top. the photo sites started to get updated, the calls started coming in and all the other blogs i follow were starting to read the weekends racing adventures. when i saw the 2 north american cross results on cyclingnews i got excited to see if might recognize any names. i opened the Beacon New Jersey UCI race link on cyclingnews and saw Tristan's name at the top of the results. a full report detailed the race with some awesome photos. i was pretty pumped that he had won. he has been traveling a lot and hitting some pretty big races. after i took about 14 more phone calls i was really flying on the coffee and really thinking about riding. the weekend was full of some great racing and some great results so i was looking to show that i could still turn the pedals after yesterday. it was frick'n 68 degrees! i grabbed the lights and was spinning by 5:30. i got in about 7:45. it felt great. now that i got that out of my system i'm not doing a damn thing until saturday. i'll listen to you punjab!

i'm not sure how others felt going into the hurdles yesteray at vets but rachel mentioned she felt like they were spaced a little weird. like maybe for that speed the steps wern't quite right. i know i felt like i really had to stretch my stride to get through them with 2 steps. it was certainly fast.

i liked the run up but i heard that rachel steele and tim sari as well as a few others rode it every lap. that is pretty impressive. they did a good job making it very off camber just prior to turing it up. it was very challenging. big thanks to andrea tucker for some awesome pics. thanks andrea.

i wish i was able to capture the finish as well as hans. this is a great photo of the finish with wiz and jeff.

one of the my favorite things after a weekend of racing is waiting for the pictures to get posted so we can all re-live our experiences. its really fun to see what photos had been captured during the race. thanks andrea, hans, balogh, and gatto for doing a great job. (and anyone else who takes photos that i failed to mention)

Sunday, October 29, 2006

"Devils Soup Bowl"

well it wasn't raining. the sun was actually out and so was the competition. a great day to be put into the hurt box. the ann arbor vets park cyclo-cross course also known as "the devils soup bowl" served up some healthy portions of pain to todays racers. my serving of the sauce was particularly effective and i went flying out the back of the group with 4 laps completed. on lap 5 i was so shelacked and my back was so exploded i had no choice but to DNF. the course was really hard today and i knew others were hurting as bad as me. its not my style to dwell on the bad day so i'm already looking forward to monroe. i would rather pride myself with attitude and being able to accept what courses and conditions are put in front of me. so monroe is the new target. i had a little fire burning on my way home but i think that was motivation to ride again. at the front of the race other things were happening. card was blowing the race apart and was off the front. wizz and weinert were fighting for the 2nd spot and i believe tucker olander was riding to a great 4th. he was behind me at one point. he obviously found his legs and recovered. nice race tuck.

my road teammate ron gratop was riding a great race and found himself on the tim sari train today for a good portion of the race. it was hard today and he managed to stay in a good group. nice race ron.

he looked pretty blown at the finish but at least he completed the 60 min. ron you had better race in monroe i need your wheel!

even the best racers in the world have off days. cyclo-cross god Sven Nys was off his game yesterday in the world cup race in Tabor Czech Republic but bounced back nicely in todays superprestige race in Sint-Michielsgetel Netherlands. watch out for him in the Belgium national race and of course at the worlds where he will be looking for revenge.

- patiently waiting for monroe

Saturday, October 28, 2006

peer pressure

i'm not sure how i get talked into doing these rides but before i was even out of bed i was getting the calls and text messages to ride this morning. of course my motivation was zero when i looked out the window but for some reason ron and dan were going no matter what. they have been bugging me all week about riding today. sure enough 20 min later they were knocking at the door pushing me to get ready. they were not going to let me get out of this one. i whined a bit but in the end i was forced to pack my bags and hit panera for some coffee and a quick lunch. i guess if i'm going to be dedicated to riding i had better suck it up. the coffee helped for sure.

as we drove i stilled questioned why i was going and how i got talked into it. i mean it was coming down in sheets and i new it was going to be a grey sock day. damn! this is going to be cold!

so we pulled into the lot - totally empty. i looked down at the temp and began cursing my riding partners. riding in the cold is one thing but throw in some nice wet clothes and it gets really nice. i wonder if vets park will like that tomorrow! if so i'll have had a little preperation i guess.

needless to say it was going to be a mud fest. and of course i ended up really enjoying the ride as i knew i would. you just need friends to drag your ass out even if you have no motivation. once out its great. half way through our feet were numb but everything else was fine.

thanks to my best buds dan and ron for always wanting to ride even when conditions don't seem inviting. hopfully we'll get a cross ride that looks like this!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

the pre ride - again

i was pretty excited to pre ride the course today. i really wanted some fast hurdle practice. o'day and i got there a bit early hoping to beat the crowd. normally the thursday night hurdles are stowed away under some bleachers near the baseball diamond. only problem is the entire section of bleachers were gone! and of course no hurdles. damn. the rest of the normal crew arrived and we began to ride around the course. local hero mark lovejoy had the course all marked out so we did about 4 or 5 laps. just a quick word about sunday, totaly hurt box. there is absolutely no flow to this course at all. 2 sections of grass have some roll but everything else is like riding over a mine field. it is really hard. i have a feeling things will seperate very quickly on sunday. i really hope i can hang on. it doesn't matter if i can go over barriers quick or not, the run up will kill me as well as the famous off camber section behind the ice rink. oh my. very bumpy. throw in some apples and you may go down. be aware. this is the only memory i have from last year, total hurt box.

local A2 riders Brian and Andy. 2 guys you don't want to mess with on a tuesday night dirt road ride. any rihno that wants to come down and see the pain...barton park 6pm sharp.

national stud brandon dwight looks ready if he is in need of a bike change. this guy graced us with his appearance at the davisburg UCI event earlier this season. i'll be reading about him on velonews and his experiences in europe. i'll also see him run people down at nationals.

rain saturday night?

super cold early A.M. ride

i'm not sure how i got talked into doing this ride but i ventured out before sunlight to make the ride time. i was told the train leaves at 8am so i had to leave the house by 7:30. i woke up to a still dark morning. a flat tire greeted me in the garage. i had no gas and morning rush hour was in full effect. i finally got on the road but had forgotten my front wheel. so far things are not going well. i finally reached the destination and we cloaked up for the a.m. freeze. i didn't even know it but our destination for the day was the local orchard.

upon are arrival we needed immediate warmth. we headed directly to the fireplace to thaw out.

gaizing around our new accomidations i found that the local orchard people use an advanced piece of insect extermination. it was a beautiful touch to the small room. i'm thinking of putting a few of these in my kitchen.

once we became partially de thawed it was time for some cider. i had my mind on coffee but the cider added to the experience.

it was no problem with me that the orchard people made fresh doghnuts and fed them to passing cyclists as they walked in like aliens still in their shoes and half sain from the cold. the sugar was good.

i mean if you didn't eat one of these you were missing out on your daily intake of 4000 calories.

rachel had different ideas and found herself in the candy room and going right for the cooling rack of sugar. we had to eventually pull her off the fudge trays.

all in all it was a great training ride even though i got dropped coming back in. a 2 1/2 hour ride is perfect for the weekend preperation. i'm looking forward to spinning around at vets park.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

cold and rainy in the fall

all though it was just totally depressing all day i kept thinking about yesterday and whats ahead this coming weekend at vets park. i have a busy week but i know i'll make time for a ride wed or thurs. i would like to ride vets on thurs and get some barrier practice. it will be important. i hope some people show up so i'm not alone. i'm really thinking long term too, i am excited to race in north carolina and especially nationals. registration opens monday so i'm not going to waste any time.

yesterday i tried out my new single chainring rather than the double i had been using. i have to give a huge thanks to my personal tech and cyclo-cross motivator rachel steele . i wasn't sure if i should use the 42 or the 39. well, the elite level female convinced me to use the 39 since just about everyone else on the planet is using the 39. since i'm the slowest out of everyone i'm racing with i figured it must be plenty of gear for me. it was perfect. thanks rachel.

Don Galligher (team Chiropower) was the rider i spent the entire race with. great guy and a great cyclo-cross racer.

i think i obsess about bike racing more than the average person. if i'm not racing i'm reading about it in my favorite book store or making sure my equipment is working properly. i think thats why its so important that i have other interests and hobbies to keep my mind occupied in between riding and racing. i know i'll never be what i want but having other things around helps me to stay motivated to ride.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

back in the "A" game

today was my first race back as an "A". i wasn't sure how i would fare but things worked out really great. since stoney creek and the other races everyone told me i should go back to the A's since i had a strong 3rd at the davisburg UCI race in B and a win at stoney in B. dave m really wanted me to stay in the B class to make it more competetive. he also said before todays race "your gonna get lapped" sorry dave, i love you but i wasn't about to let that happen.

i woke up to damp roads. it was cold too. i got to the race after my morning starbucks stop and headed to the registration. i did a practice lap just before the masters race and found a few new lines since last nights pre ride. on the line i was really cold but i new i would warm up quick. i took down an inervite cheer pack and waited for the whistle. it was a really fast start but i found myself 4th off the line and on wissinks wheel. a good place to start. things spread quickly and i didn't want to go super red line that early just to try and stay with the lead group. i locked on to tim sari and was really happy to be riding with him. i had confidence but after 2 laps he gapped me and i found myself with a chiropower rider. sari was in no mans land trying to bridge and myself and the chiropower rider were starting to eat into him. surprisingly we got tim. i was really happy when we brought him back. my confidence was way up and i was starting to get really comfortable. i had a few sections that i new i was faster than both of them. i rode smart and kept both riders in check. i could tell that the 4 riders off the front - weinert, wizz, card, and simonson were gaining time on us. i started to get really worried with 3 laps to go that the rich stark & herriman group chasing my trio was going to catch. i went to the front and rode just a bit harder. on the last lap near the sand pit tim sari said "jay come around i have a flat" i was bummed for him. the chiropower rider was setting the tempo and heard tim so he drilled it and got a gap on me. i thought i could catch him on the run up or at the log but he kept me at bay and ended 5th for the final podium spot. i finished a great 6th place in my first A race back. i feel great. vets park is going to be really hard. i think its the hardest of them all. no flow.

i'm super happy for wizz. great race man! an awesome day for racing and i think everybody enjoyed themselves.

Friday, October 20, 2006

the pre ride

so i just got back from pre riding the course. its pretty cool but it certainly has some tricky sections. going into the double hurdle is a very difficult off camber switch back that will forsure test the most technical riders. we analyzed it for a good 15min riding it over and over talking about the best line. we'll see.

look at these 2 tool boxes standing around like they are important. we love ya!

it looks like the special ed crew got themselves a new groupo kit to try out tomorrow. both wiz and don were flashing the new force and rival groupo from sram. i'm into it. looking good guys.

could wiz win tomorrow since weinert is not racing? it could prove interesting. we'll see how the day pans out.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

old skool

i just got back from a really hard dirt road ride. yesterdays ride was posponed due to weather so everyone met tonight. it was really warm all day so i wanted to ride bad. the road was really tacky tonight and more like a trail than a road. we did the normal route in reverse and it seemed a little harder. it was also a much smaller group and since the pace was really high i didn't have anywhere to hide. either way i didn't get dropped and rich stark got a flat so we had a break half way.

i heard that this weekends course as of today is entirely under water. sounds like they have some serious re designing to do. this bridge will not be in the race. talk about old skool, check out the hot pink!

according to a very reliable source this run up as of today will also not be used. i'm really bummed about that, however DM assured me that he will make sure there is a run up in the course.

this bridge is just a crash waiting to happen. i'm loving the 80's team kit. that would be the becks mustard team from traverse city back in the early 90's!!!!

i'm really hoping that this log is still in the course. this is the perfect area to get a gap on your competition. an easy low bunny hop. you had better start praticing in your local park now.

i think i like Richard Groenendaal better when he was wearing his dutch national championship kit rather than the lame ass rabo kit he has to wear now. Gerben De Knegt is the proud owner of the dutch kit. perhaps Richard can regain it again this year. nice pic from the pinacker.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


sven nys is winning more races than ever. this past weekend he chalked up another win at this years first Superprestige race in Ruddervoorde Belgium. i believe he will win the worlds this year. Erwin Vervecken, Bart Wellens, Richard Groenendaal and the new Belgium National Champ Gerben de Knegt are all riding well fighting for the podium under Nys. My favorite rider Sven Vanthourenhout has started out the season great with 2 wins and 3 second place finishes. this saturday will be another great race in Lebbeke Belgium.

3 of the most feared Belgiuns - Nys, Vanthourenhout and Vervecken. 2 rabo 1 fidea.

watch out for the pile ups! looks like the first lap at cinci!

Monday, October 16, 2006

UCI Cincinati OH

the start....

mid race....

the end.

this race was totally kick ass. i had a great time. i started like 4th row and new before we even started i had a lot of work to do if i wanted to be in front. sure enough they went out pretty hard and there were pile ups on all the corners i suspected during warm up. after about 2 laps i was sitting great in about 5th or so and feeling good. i felt really comfortable and new i could get to the leaders. we came sweeping into the switch back section going pretty fast. some course ribbons had been torn away and were flailing into the middle of the course. (probably something from an earlier pile up) well sure enough the stake holding them in place was also in the middle of the course. i ran it over and it proceeded to wrap into my cassette. after throwing some loud F bombs i got it out and jumped back on my bike. it felt like the entire field went passed. i clawed back to 14th place out of around 38 guys or so. i felt really good the entire race and even after. i'm excited for lower huron this weekend. should be fun. i hope its muddy.

the begining

in the begining there were no blogs, now we have millions. i guess there really isn't a better way to relive the race or the experience. telling the story through your eyes and showing pics trying to get others to see what the hell just happend. the best quote i've ever heard :

"cycling is such a brutal sport for so little reward"

that is so how it is i can't believe it.
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