Wednesday, November 29, 2006
the calm before the storm. over a dozen races had gone through here before the elite mens race last year in providence. the elements were certainly a factor and from the sounds of it possibly this weekend in waterford too. today was the last shred of warmth for a while.
this weekend the worlds best will be traveling a bit. world cup race # 7 in Igorre Spain. Very cool. the following world cup will be in Italy. i'm hoping Vantourenhout can have a good run and move up a bit in the points. after jan 1 Sven will be leaving rabo and moving to a new team, sunweb-pro job. we'll see how things go for him over there. go Vantourenhout!
so i've been thinking about sundays race the last few days. wishing i was able to use the fuel i still had lingering in the system. wondering if tim and i could have stayed away from the powerful duo to hang on and podium. we'll never know. with summer time ending later tonight it looks like i'll have to brave the elements friday and saturday to prep for sunday. i'm really looking forward to it. more than that though i'm looking forward to traveling out east for nationals. i think its really going to be cool with the thousands of crossers joining in one place for the countrys biggest cross day. and of course to see who will be the new national champ. very exciting.
for some reason i think the course will be a bit less like this for the 2006 race. but you never know. from the sounds of the weather reports its more like the states will look like this!
jesse anthony tearing up the U 23 race last year after a flat on the first lap. (i know about flats). he was strong enough to claw back to 2nd place. he has been national camp 6 times. 4 times as a junior and twice as a espoir (U23). that is freak'n awesome. unfortunately the flat cost him the title for the first time in 6 years. im sure he'll be back fighting again this year. a couple more years before he goes all out elite men. he is the future for US mens cycling at the age of 21. and who is that on his wheel, brent bookwalter? uh yea he got 3rd in espoir and won the collegete the same weekend! we'll be hearing these names a lot in the future i'm sure. it will also be fun watching them do battle at nationals.
Sunday, November 26, 2006
1. Sven Nys
2. Gerben De Knegt
3. Klaas Vantornout
I'm really starting to like this Gerben De Knegt. he is a classy rider that has been riding like a world champion. last year he won the dutch national jersey and stole it away from old man groenendaal. they both ride for rabo so i'm sure the sponsor is happy.
Vanthourenhout was 3rd yesterday and got 5th today. he rules. i'm anxious to see how he does at the worlds this year. maybe i'll even be able to watch it first hand! i sure hope so.
on to more of a local realistic race that happened here in michigan. could we have asked for better weather? i mean it seems like last week we were freezing our asses off at the iceman and today it was like spring. it was a great showing too. the blue wave was out in full including the 2005 state champ, jer walker. tuck, saari and the normal crew. the course was just totally kick ass. i'm glad we didn't have the normal zig zag on the grass. 3 sets of hurdles and some good technical and plenty of pavement. very nice job on course desgin. i got some really good warm up laps in and was feeling comfortable. this morning i wasn't sure what i was feeling like. as i drove up i didn't have that same huge racing spark i had felt earlier. i knew once i got there i would be back to normal. some of the guys have told me they are getting tired and are ready for the hibernation of the winter. i told saari after the race the only thing keeping me riding decent is the excitment of the sport. i know i'm ready to shut down too but i have 2 more races. i'm sure i'll find some cool video to watch to keep me on the bike and ready to line up on race day. thanks jeff!
the B race was totally awesome today. right away Brake was off the front. hard. he did a good job setting the tempo but it looked a little much after the 2nd or 3rd lap. then the small groups started to form and sure enough the 3 guys i knew would be there were. joel, andy B and andy K. i thought maybe brake would be there too but i think he was still in the red zone trying to recover. from what i could see these guys finally got there shit straightend out and rode away. it was cool because we all had different ideas on who was going to take it. andy K because he road rides with the wheelmen? joel because he packs a sprint? or the MTB downerhiller turned cyclo-cross stud. well andy brown rode smart and won a great sprint. andy K in for second and joel rounded out the top 3. damn that was awesome.
so i'm on the line sitting near the front and robert blows the whistle. we started fast and i felt pretty good finding a nice little gap to settle into. tucker was on the front setting his signature move and the blue wave was right there keeping everything in check. the "sink" sat in on a good wheel and then me. so i knew barely into the first corner that it was either saari or maybe a sunrise guy on my wheel. i don't remember. i was starting to settle into my grove behind the wave, tucker and wiz. as the gap opened i thought saari was right behind me but apparantly he wasn't. so just like normal i'm alone with nothing to focus on. tucker started to come through and i thought we were going to ride together for a bit. i think his check engine light came on because i never saw him again. that is certainly nothing to be ashamed of. if you race your bike in any category i guarantee it will happen sooner or later. finally saari gets me. just up a bit i can see jer falling off the freight train. a ways into the lap when saari caught me we flew by jeff. ok thats not right. he was holding his side so i think he had a cramp. so if he isn't up there and jer is losing contact can we catch them and stay in it for 4th and 5th? i'm feeling really good with tim and we begain to establish a working order. so just when i think we are closing in good on jer saari and i head into a little off camber section behind the velodrome. there are some rocks and things in there. we were going pretty fast but unfortunately as we accelerated going up the dirt trail i felt my rear end slide out. damn! i knew right away i had a flat. i limped around to the pavement but knew i couldn't complete the entire section back to the pit. i rode over to where a group was standing. the very generous and thoughtful rachel didn't even hesitate to try and get me back in the race. she pulled off her superlight weight carbon wheel and tried to get it into my bike. well that didn't work so well and it didn't matter because if it had i would be DQ ed anyways for not getting the wheel from the pit. damn! i watched the race go by and saw that jer and jeff had made contact with each other. saari was in front but once the two were reunited they made huge ground and passed tim back for the final 2 podium spots. great racings guys. i'm not going to lie and say i'm ok with the day but i have to accept it and move on to states. its just part of the gig. i felt pretty good and the weather was just awesome. DC rode really well and layed down a nice patch in the parking lot with his man mobile. that car is bad ass!
so i feel like i still have plenty in the tank. i wish there was a race tomorrow. just like last weekend. i know if there was racing tomorrow i would feel good. i'll just have to save it up for next weekend and try to time myself for a good day. i could still feel the inervite cheer pack trying to work after i stopped racing. i didn't get to burn off all the racing fuel. i hope i can sleep tonight. no pics yet.
1. John Card
2. Rob Foshag
3. Rev Wiz the "sink"
Saturday, November 25, 2006
Thursday, November 23, 2006
thanksgiving day redemption
World Cup in Koksijde Belgium Saturday and a Superprestige race in Gieten Netherlands on Sunday. now that is back to back racing. go Vanthourenhout!
yesterday i was asked to ride at island lake with the famous DC and rev wiz. we ripped a lap in the afternoon to get ready for turkey day. the last time i was on a geared MTB was like april. i felt like shit. i rode the iceman on the single speed and that was ok but i could tell i was a little off my game. i was kind of bummed i felt so shitty on the ride that i started to get worried i was maybe losing it with 3 big races left this year. should i rest until sunday or ride once more then rest?
lucky for me ken called me up and said he wasn't passing up the weather today on thanksgiving. there was probably a 100 rides going on everywhere but this one seemed the most practical. i was really hoping to attend the anual robert ride at pontiac but damn i hate that drive. especially on a day when i don't have to drive. so ken offered to drive and instead of the funny fat tire bikes we took to the 700c cross bikes that i've become so familiar with lately. yesterday i could barely complete one lap. today i bounced back nicely. it was muddy and when we got done i was ready for more. the sun was out and the lions were losing. a perfect thanksgiving day. time to retreat into a coma.
Monday, November 20, 2006
day 2 UCI NC
Vervecken had a great race and was 2nd on the day. Vanthrouenhout was 5th. a mud covered day of racing in the superprestige series.
the elite mens race was dominated both days by the Fiordifrutta boys matt white and michael cody. day 1 mat and michael rode away with michael taking the win. day 2 saw matt solo away and win with the battle for 2nd more entertaining. tristan got'em for 2nd and michael 3rd on sunday.
sunday we woke again but temps were a bit cooler. we made our way to breakfast in the hotel again. the cane creek boys were chillin in the lobby waiting to depart to the race. it was cool hanging with the local michigan boys for a bit. rob and jeff were digesting breakfast killing time still when we got done so we kicked it for a few. it was cool. we got to the park again and i knew i was wearing long sleeves this day. the sun was still out but it was much cooler. i did a practice lap and felt decent. i wasn't sure how i would do after yesterdays throw down. i mean normally when i think of back to back racing the second day is tough. when i got to the line i was pretty close to the front at the far right. the whistle blew and i took off pretty hard. we crested the hill and i was right on the front. i made sure to be the first one into the corner. well when we turned into the grass i was still first and feeling really good. i mean really good. i just stayed there and kept pedaling. about the half way point of the first lap i was so comfortable and still at the front i decided to go just a little harder. i could hear people behind me but wasn't looking back just yet. i was still first. we completed one lap and i finally looked back. i had 2 riders with me. one of them was the same guy i was with the day before. we started lap 2 and we were rockin really good. i felt super fast in the barriers and on the dirt climb afterwards i was dancing up it. i could hear the one guy breathing pretty hard behind me. it gave me confidence. so now we've got this huge gap and we are riding away. just us. we started to work but with 2 laps to go entering the finish chute i bumped elbows with the one rider and he apologized. i said no worries. when i looked up the other guy got a gap. damn! just 3 small words between us and hes got a frick'n gap. so now we have to work. a bit later maybe about half way into the lap or so we hit a tricky section and i had to hurt to stay on. at that very moment the one guy i was with attacked me and jumped accross to the solo guy. damn! now i'm alone with a lot of work to do. with about 1/4 lap left i conceded knowing i wasn't getting them back. i was bummed i didn't stay with them and pay more attention but i'm happy with 3rd. i acheived my goal of top 5 one day. the race was just awesome the 2nd day. i felt great and was really looking forward to watching the mens elite. watching cyclo-cross is just as fun as racing it for me. the one thing about this UCI race that was a bit cheesy was the race comintary. i think we are a bit spoiled with dave out there giving us the play by play in detail rather than this dude yacking about some nonsense.
so i survied the weekend. rachel and jamie had great races and the cane creek boys were out representing in the home town for cane creek. nice race rob and jeff! its good to be back home and recovering. i can listen to my metal and euro trash in peace and eat the foods i need to be healthy and feel good. FYI - never let your traveling companions talk you into eating taco bell after a race. especially if you have been on a 4 year stretch with out it.
Saturday, November 18, 2006
day 1 UCI NC
Stad Hasselt Belgium - Gerben De Knegt wins. Wellens 2nd and Nys 3rd. because of wellens 2nd place finish, that puts him ahead of Nys in the GVA Troffee. is Nys holding back for tomorrows Superprestige? Vanthourenhout was 4th.
so yeah we had beers last night and they were sooo good. these saturn chicks are hardcore and i'm having trouble keeping up. i made it through the evening and we woke up to a semi tasty breakfast with some hotel vouchers from the front desk. a lot of racers in there eating breakfast. afterwards we headed over to the park to get ready. its about 5 min away. pretty convenient with where we are staying. it couldn't have been a better day for cyclo-cross. sunny and about 55 or so.
kind of eary with no racers. the calm before the storm.
i watched the masters race finish up then made my way out for a test ride. the laps were long! i was checking were the fast parts were and of course where i might be strong. there was a lot of grass sections with a good section of pavement. some up hill steps and a wicked up hill. so i didn't have the best start. but i was sitting like top 10 on the first lap. on a straight section i looked up and saw a group of 3 and then saw myself with 2 others. so it was already in 2 groups and i was in the second. we came around and made our way into the pit section where the soft grass was. i could see the muddy lines and tried to take the least traveled area. i was behind the 2 others and they both crashed right in front of me. we all went down. i tried to jump up and just get going but quickly found out that the one rider had his crank arm caught in my front wheel. we both calmed ourselves and removed it to avoid further damage. back on the bike we had some work to do. i don't think very many people passed us if any but i'm certain gaps were closed. about 3/4 of a lap later while trying to get back to where i was i crashed again alone around a corner and cut my knee a little. blood flowed. it was a very mild fall but again i had to peg my heart rate to remain where i was. finally i settled in to a group with 3 others. we were all riding good together. we dropped 1 rider and the 3 of us lost organization for speed as the race progressed. they were thinking cat and mouse. i just rode smart and made sure to stay with them in case somebody made some stupid ass attack. on the last lap i thought about the sprint and felt pretty confident. the one guy had some weird pedaling issues so i thought i could take him and worry about the other rider. well we came into the finish chute and we all gave it what we had left. i guess i didn't have that much since they both took me to the line. i'm pretty happy with the 7th place considering the small mishaps. tomorrow they are running the course backwards so i'm hoping for something better. i think if i can stay away from the saturn chicks tonight i might be able to recover and put in a good ride. this place is really cool and its fun to be racing with some different people.
Superprestige tomorrow - go Vanthourenhout!
Friday, November 17, 2006
cross belgium beers
so we made it to ashville. the drive down was comical. we woke early this morning and did a quick ride in lexington. what an awesome place to ride. it was a bit chilly but it was so great to ride. we got going again southbound and made it to the hotel. these two cracked me up the entire way. we went to dinner and i couldn't resist having a beer with dinner. i wonder if belguin pros drink beer during the week or before a race. unfortunately i've been wrapped into a mini party with the cross twins since last night. tomorrow morn is the race and adam myerson just walked into are room. a lot of crossers staying in this hotel. i race at 12:15. we stopped by the course quick tonight and it looked so awesome. i hope tomorrow is semi warm compared to what we've had lately.
here is a quick shot of what i've had to deal with since i got in the car yesteray. these two don't stop. after tomorrow they'll have a wake up call when they are puking 15 min into the race.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
the big crowd
clean Vanthourenhout? big race this weekend, SUPERPRESTIGE on sunday in Hasselt Belgium. go Vanthourenhout!
Monday, November 13, 2006
living it again
yea i was getting worked over yesterday. i need to rest pretty good for the coming weekend. back to back UCI in NC. should be good. Nys hurting? actually this shot is from saturdays race in Jaarmarktcross Niel in Belgium when Nys shifted his rear der into his wheel and had to run about 1k to the finish. he still got 3rd. i guess running that distance carrying your bike will throw anybody into the red zone. i'm sure he was happy about sunday though. frick'n nice.
i can't get away without a word to Sven Vanthourenhout. hes awesome. one of the only pros that dismounts drive side. pretty cool. new team jan 1. he will be the new leader of a new team for the rest of 2007. he said he has no hard feelings leaving rabo. he and Nys are pals.
ripping through the hurdles. that turn just before the dismount threw me off just enough so i couldn't quite get it right all day. i guess i got it right enough for 6th place!
so 12 starters in the mens A race. 11 finished. what happend to all the cyclo-crossers? i sure hope we have better turn outs at bloomer and states!
Sunday, November 12, 2006
the battle of river raisin
revenge for yesterdays bad luck and a birthday present for his son.
Francis Mourey the frenchman proving to be a threat in the world cup and is quoted as saying he wants to win the world championships flys into 2nd. the worlds? thats a tall order! the Dutch national champ Gerben De Knegt grabbing 3rd. Groenendaal 4th and world champ Vervecken rounding out the podium. Wellens crashed and knocked himself out but battled back to 11th. Sven Vanthourenthout 9th.
Camp Hill Pennsylvania - Tristan looking serious during the start. is that myerson on the left? Davide Frattini and Matt White also on the front.
and now of course onto the small time local race. today was no picnic. it was hard. i got there pretty early and had a good warm up. it was chilly at about 42 degrees. dave set up a great course today and i knew it was going to be hang on or get popped off the back. i had been thinking about the race pretty much all week but didn't want to psych myself out. it got my head in the game and robert said 30 seconds to go. we blasted off pretty hard like i knew it would but i put myself in a great position down the drag strip. the cane creek boys, tucker and wizz were all pedaling good and i was right in there. i was calm the entire first lap not blowing up. sooner or later though it was going to separate. tucker was driving his signature pace and really flying while the rest of us were sitting on. tuck went into the red and i passed him. i looked up and saw all 3 cane creekers wizz and myself. i was pretty happy to be there although i new it wouldn't last long. tuck is smart and sure enough he recovered and came around. i thought for a second i could stay with him but he is stronger than me. so now i'm riding well sitting 5th. i know saari is coming. maybe i can stay with him today? it took about a lap and a half when he got me. i tried hard to stay but he too is stronger. i was hoping he couldn't hear me breathing. i wanted to work with him but i was working really hard. i think he sensed i was hurting to stay on. he left me. still happy to be sitting 6th i again got worried with the herriman, rosewarne, stark and wier freight train riding hard and maybe making time. i was in no mans land with no wheel. dammit ron where were you? one of my biggest weaknesses is not having a wheel. each lap though i could see that i still had a good gap on all of them and by the last lap i knew i could keep them away. i'm very happy with the day and that i got 6th. i'm pretty tired right now but am looking forward to next weekend in ashville for the double header!
spectating races is just as fun for me as racing them. i have so much respect for the killer B's i almost wish i was racing with them. some really great racers in there. andy brown, joel budacki, jason brake, andy klumb all my bros. they had great races today and it was awesome to watch.
DC and rachel raced awesome today too winning their classes. great race!
Friday, November 10, 2006
i new i was going to ride again today. it was a bit cooler but perfect for cross. i hate driving to rides after i spend all day on the road. while driving back to A2 from the north i had another little park picked out that would be good for tonight and i wouldn't have to drive half way across the map just to get there. on the north end of A2 is olsen park. single track. all of it.
for cross its super tech. on a mountain bike this trail would be pretty mellow but when the conditions are a bit greasy and your on the cross bike its great for technical practice. always turning the bike and negotiating very tight corners with acceleration.
i was on tonight. feeling really good. i did 4 laps here and the legs felt light and snappy. if i feel anything like this on sunday i'll be totally satisfied no matter what the place. of course i would like a good finish but if i can't stay with the leaders i will be happy just knowing i felt good.
more and more this year on rides by myself (which is a lot) i ride with my ipod. i love to trance out and really roll the trail with the right music. i had the gas tonight and the music fit the trail perfectly. some local racers are in the mind set that we only have 3 races left. not me. i have 6. the last 3 tailwind races, ashville UCI north carolina 2 days and nationals. cross is far from over for me. still rolling into the cold.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
i made it
during my trance like state, of course i was kicking myself that i had to travel to such places rather than take advantage of the warm temps and sunny skies on the bike. i knew every other friend was likely spinning some awesome miles while i was stuck at 55mph in corn ville. finally i got back to ann arbor and jumped into my riding clothes faster than an ohio cop writing a ticket for 5 over.
yea the shadows were long since the time changed but i was soooo happy to be riding. sometimes when i ride alone i get more work done than when i'm punched in and on the job. its amazing how calming the bike can be. its my therapy.
i have this really cool little park near my house that i like to train at. its the perfect cross course. its just about 1 1/2 miles. its a nice combination of wood chips, sand, tight gravel and paved road. i did 7 laps tonight and practiced getting on and off the bike. what i really focused on was my acceleration out of the tight corners. 90 degree corner and explode. really fast accelerations and cornering in loose grass and greasy mud. carrying speed over the spongy grass is also something good to get used to since we have so much of that. the tires worked great and i really tried to lay into them in some corners to make sure things were sticking ok. they seemed fine. a couple more light rides then race day.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
the weekend is close
i actually came away pretty clean after stretching the new rubber on last night. i guess a good week of stretching makes the final installation that much easier.
of course this weekends lower huron race is not the only racing i'm excited for. on sunday after we have suffered like dogs in the depths of hell down river, world cup race # 5 will take place in france, THE PIJNACKER!!! i'm pretty pumped to see if Nys will defend. of course he is the fav.
i wonder if local US tall boy "tree farm" himself will go back to dice it out with the worlds best. perhaps he will stick around and head to PA to gather some additional UCI points. damn this guy is tall!
if nothing else though i really am hoping my boy Sven Vanthourenhout finds a good wheel on the day and stays in the front for a nice finish. so far the year he has finished decent but i know he would like to place well here.