Saturday, April 30, 2011

We cant stop, it's too dangerous.

The weather rocket ship has just hit ludicrous speed.

I hope you made it on board.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

SC vs Cambridge Street, Round 1 (Cambridge in a laugher)

"Concentrate on your breathing... you've gotta get oxygen to your heart"

Words of wisdom from one of Owen Wilsons best characters. Dignan, from the movie Bottle Rocket. Even though he's saying it because Applejack is having a heart attack it could definitely apply to me and my attempts tonight at climbing Cambridge Street.

That street kicked my a**.

So i'm racing the Snake Alley criterium on May 28th and i'm very excited about it (finally i'll get to race on the cobbled climb I keep seeing pictures of) my super secret training plan involves repeats of Cambridge Street. It's over in the Volker Neighborhood. You need to breathe when you climb this street. You need to get oxygen to your heart when you climb this street. It's steep, like San Francisco steep, like so steep that when i got out of the saddle the rear wheel was spinning out due to the dirt on the road. It's not a long climb, but neither is Snake Alley (from what i understand) it should be perfect practice.

So that's my plan.

Too bad I felt like s*it while executing my plan. My spirits were however buoyed by the fact that the weather was nice. Tonight was one of those nights were things just felt different. As if suddenly, via rocket ship, we're living on a different planet. Weather is powerful. If you ever find that your weather rocket ship is running low on fuel just pump in some new music.

So, where was i.... while warming up before my Cambridge intervals i was thinking i'd climb it 10 times. The skeptic in me said 10 was too many but certainly i could do at least 5, right?


I could only do it twice. Twice! After that i had a giant fork sticking out of my back.

The cat 4's will do 12 laps at Snake Alley. That's 12 times up the hill. Oh buddy do i have some work to do. Tonight the lungs went first but the legs were right behind them. I figure i can fit in 4 more rounds of the SC vs Cambridge Street fight and by that fifth and final round i'm looking for 10 laps. I'll settle for a decision as opposed to a knockout.

And yes, i'm referring to myself in the third person.

George likes spicy chicken.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter

Now here's my bike tying together three very different photos...

Thursday, April 21, 2011

My old race videos

Favorite: middle row 3rd from bottom.

It's the 13th stage of the 2005 Tour de France and Chris Horner punks Cylvain Chavanel on the way to almost winning a stage in his first ever Tour de France, at age 33. It's kind of like the first Rocky Movie, except Rocky is now bald and Apollo Creed is played by Robbie Mcewen.

Chris Horner is the s*it. I hope doesn't do the dope , Rocky would never do that.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


Holy crap that course kicked my a**!!!

Today was a humbling experience. Where to start...

I had so much fun at last years Bone Bender that i made this years edition a priority. I had never ridden Clinton so i came up yesterday to check it out, quickly realizing that it was waaay harder than im used to. Rocks everywhere.

Last year i had a horrible start and spent the first 25 minutes in a single track traffic jam. This year i made sure that didn't happen. Only this time my start was too good and i think i over extended myself. I'm guessing there were about 150 people there and when we dropped into the singletrack i was sitting about 30th. 30th! Photographic evidence below, the one where were on the road.

30th didn't last too long and i soon started to fade. This would continue for pretty much the entire 3 hours. It's very demoralizing to keep getting passed. But at least for once i didn't race from the back. I let it all hang out and am glad i did.

Did i mention that the trails were hard? Oh buddy. You ever get that feeling after being at an amusement park all day and when you come home your body feels like its still riding the roller coaster? Well, my body feels like it's still bouncing over big rocks. They seemed to be everywhere. I'm not used to a trail like that or the extra energy it requires to negotiate. By the time i started my third and final lap most of my body was cramping. The hands and hamstrings were particularly bad. That last lap was just about finishing, not hurting myself, and trying to keep the cramps at bay so that i didn't end up in a crying heap on the side of the trail. I walked just about every technical on that last lap. It was ugly.

I assume i cramped up so bad because i'm not used to, what was for me, a very demanding course. Plus i'm just a wuss.

So im disappointed with how it went, but only moderately disappointed.

The results made me feel a little better. On a whim i entered the pro/1/2 category instead of the 2/3 category. 4 people finished behind me. My time would have put me 10th in the 2/3 race, out of about 55. but that seems like creative accounting and doesn't change the fact that after about 2 hours i was reduced to a shell of my usual bad a** self.

props to all the folks who were killing it today, and there were a lot, y'all are good.

So despite my moderately disappointing performance tt was still a really fun day and theres no place i would of rather been. The people were great, the weather was great, the bike was great, my body is still in one piece... life is good.

Now here's way to many pictures of the awesomeness that is Bone Bender.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Riding my road bike down memory lane

I mentioned a few weeks ago that i finally had a pack finish in a race on my road bike. Meaning that i got dropped in every prior road bike race i had ever done. Well I remembered one other pack finish, a Perry Dam race last year. I'm awesome.

All this thinking is making me sentimental, so lets take a trip down memory lane and revisit my entertaining road bike race history...


Spring Fling - First race ever. Dropped at the first corner, with a smile on my face.

Spring Fling - Second race ever. Dropped at the second corner. Progress.

Power & Light Crit - Hung with the pack longer than ever before, which doesn't mean much, ended up pulling myself before i had a heart attack. It was hot outside and my lungs were seriously burning. This course is torture.

Tour of Lawrence (crit) - Got dropped early and the memory is fuzzy on this one, but according to USA Cycling's results I finished! I remember trying to work with another dude who had been dropped, but he didn't share my enthusiam. Ended up finishing one spot in front of Roger Harrison!

Tour of Lawrence (circuit race) - I think we did three laps and i think i got dropped on the first time up the climb, but us slow pokes regrouped and i'll have you know that i was the fastest up the climb out of the really slow people. That's where i thrive. Here i am flashing my trademark move.

Sunflower State Games Road Race - Opted for the longer of the two cat 5 races, dropped in the first 8 minutes. I vividly remember my teamate Nate glancing back as i drifted off the pace and imaginaing what he must be thinking. Probably something along the lines of 'sucks to be that guy'.

Tour of KC (KCK Crit) - A side cramp ended what would of been one of my least terrable races to date. New teammate and race newbie Jake was still going as i was sitting on the side of the course. That was motivation.

Tour of KC (Old Overland Park Crit) - My last road race of the year, and by far my best to date. I almost felt like i was a part of the race instead of just watching it pass me by. Still got lapped, but just barely. Spent the last half rotating in a pace-line with three other dudes, that was the first time i'd done that. Now it's starting to get fun.


Spring Fling - Dropped after about 5 minutes, this seems familiar.

Dam Race - Did not get dropped!!!! Finished 15th. Easily my best race ever.

Spring Fling - Dropped after about 10 minutes, i guess i was still lacking that 'high end,' or maybe i'm just allergic to Clinton Lake.

Dam Race - 4 laps this time instead of 3, got dropped, finished in 15th. Dropped my chain 15 yards from the finish and ended up running across the line. American Flyers style, baby.

Tour of St. Louis (circuit race) - I was headed for a good finish but riding at the back proved to be my undoing. Two guys went down and took me with them. I immediately popped up, and (unaware of the free lap rule) started to chase. I never caught back on. It's a shame because this course was waaay fun and i was feeling good.

Tour of St. Louis (crit) - My most successful crit to date. I again raced in the back so i had to keep working around people who were getting dropped. Towards the end of the race i couldn't tell which group i was in, but we were towards the front. Turns out we were in the second group, i had enough juice to sprint at the end, good stuff. The cycling obsession was now growing at a geometric rate.

Le Tour de St. Genevieve - Oh what might have been. This was going to be it, i was feeling good and knew i had a chance to fight for the win. I could just feel it. It was a hilly road race with 3 main climbs. I was pratically first to the top of the first climb, same with the second. Except at the top of that second climb, while shifting from small to big ring, my chain got stuck and i had to get off and fix it. I tried my hardest to catch back up... but never did. S*it!

Tulsa Tough (crit) - My first race as a cat 4 and the biggest field i had ever seen. Got smoked.

Tulsa Tough (circuit race) - My second race as a cat 4. Got smoked. I did however remember to use my free lap after a flat, and even got to ride on a zipp wheel. Which was nice. This pic pretty much sums up my entire Tulsa Tough experience. Cant wait to go back!

Tour of KC (Cliff Drive) - Hot. Finished 39th of 55. Blah. I want another shot at this race.

Tour of KC (Power & Light Crit) - This course is punishing. Pulled myself after about 15 or 20 minutes. I was dying. I've raced this course twice and it's kicked my a** both times. I want a third shot.

Tour of Lawrence (circuit race) - I've never been more pissed after a race. This one sucked. I love Lawrence, I used to live there, I love this race, i'd been looking forward to it since i raced it the year before. Anyway... three seconds after starting someone can't get their foot in the pedal and two dudes go down... they take me with them. I kill myself catching back up to the group and by the time we hit the big climb i'm breathing a mile a minute. On the way up some dude next to me says 'you better ease off'. He can hear my breathing and knows whats in store. I didn't. 15 seconds later i did. Dropped. I don't even remember if i finished.

Tour of Lawrence (crit) - A chance at redemption after the prior days s*it show. Plus my parents were in the crowd so i had to make 'em proud. In a very unspectacular way this was a great race and a turning point for me. I hung with the pack until two laps to go when i just ran out of juice. Rode the last two laps solo, didn't get lapped. Finished 2nd to last, but i finished and it was legit. Mom was so proud.

St. Johns Powerful Medicine Crit (Springfield, MO) - A pack finish was in the cards on this day but it was derailed when with 5 laps to go my groin had become completely numb and i pulled out due to the pain. Yes, it was numb and painful at the same time. Extremely painful. X, my girlfriend, was in the same race. She beat me (and a lot of other dudes). I now have a new saddle, it helps, a little.


It's just getting started... stay tuned.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Bonebender... the keys to success

1. Questionable fitness (hopefully better than i think)

2. Questionable bicycle (likely worse than i think)

3. Enthusiasm (bordering on delusional)

*Throw in some trails i've never ridden and i think there's no doubt that this Sunday is going to be spectacular.

I love it when a plan comes together.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

God's Country Off Road Duathalon

I have a new found respect for triathletes. One type of physical activity is hard enough, two is worse. Triathletes do three! Are there quadathletes? There should be and the 4th discipline should be arm wrestling.

So... X and i drove up to Lawrence today for the God's country Duathalon. This was the first time either of us had done this event (also X's first mtn bike race ever!) and the first race I had ever done with a 'Du' in the front of it. There were a lot of first's going on today so we weren't sure just what to expect.

What we got was a fun and hard day of racing and a very well organized event. Chris Locke seems to have his s*it together. I've done several of his races and the've all been totally sweet. Last years Bone Bender (coming up again one week from today!) is at the top of that list. Today, for example, there was practically a buffet waiting for us after crossing the finish line. Bagel's w/ peanut butter, ham sandwiches, grapes, bananas, cookies, pretzels. Plus free hammer Gel and shammy butter.


Only the Nutella was missing... just kidding, inside joke.

The race started with a 2.5 mile trail run followed by a 11 mile bike ride followed by a final 'ceremonial' run of about 100 meters.

I've been running once a week for about 6 weeks now, but i never ride my bike immediately afterwards. Having now done that let me tell you, it's hard. I finished the run in around 25th (happy with that) and close to vomiting (not happy with that). My transition was filled with lots of deep breathing and deep coughing.

I figured that once i got on the bike i'd be good. After all, i ride my bike a lot more than i run, plus one lap around the River trails is nothing, so it should be hammer time. Only problem is that due to the run my legs now feel like cooked spaghetti and i'm breathing waaay too hard. However long the bike part ended up being (30 minutes, 45 minutes, eternity?) I was still recovering from the run for the first half of it.

Despite this i managed to pass around 10 people, finishing in 15th overall. At least i think that's what the results said. But it wasn't pretty. Due to the run induced fatigue i was bumbling all over those trails. If there was a bad line i took it. Now, I don't pretend to be a great mtn biker, but i can get over the average obstacles no problem, today however i was going with more of a 'drunken master' approach; hit the worst line, head on and at full speed, then use the 'dehydrated fatigue / not thinking strait' confidence to will the bike up and over... then repeat.

I am the drunken master.

X kicked some major butt and was the 2nd female across the line. Not bad for her first mountain bike race ever. Maybe next time she'll remember to bring a water bottle so that by the time she crosses the finish line her mouth wont be glued shut like Keanu Reeves in the Matrix

Today was humbling, hard, and fun.

This guy won, this guy got second, this guy kick's ass.

Plus Johan Van Summeren won today's Paris Roubaix, i love that guy!

Big thanks to Chris Locke and everyone else who made it happen, y'all rock!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Bazaar Road Race

Today is Tuesday, last Sunday i did the Bazaar Road Race.

I came, i saw, i conquered. At least that's how im looking at it.

Finishing 16th out of 20, as a cat 4, in a cat 4/5 race, is not good. But i still feel good after my day in the Flint Hills of Kansas, at 48 miles this was easily the longest road race i've ever done and if not for one stupid mistake the end result may have been better.

The stupid mistake was me riding at the very back of the peleton for the first 25 minutes of the race. I should have known that the massive and unrelenting head wind was going to open up a gap in the group and that when it did i'd get the s*it end of the stick. But i like to learn things the hard way. When the gap opened it took me a second to realize it. I jumped and made my way back to the peloton, it probably took a minute plus to latch back on. The effort required was massive (by my standards) and i paid for it. Remember, this effort was being done into a 30 mph headwind. I think i lost a year off my life during that one minute, what happened next was not too surprising. Commence blow up in 3... 2... 1... BOOM! My ears were still ringing as i watched the peleton float away before me.

I almost quit right then and there, the race had barely begun and i had already been dropped from the peloton and was now facing a long depressing journey into the mother of all head winds. F that. Luckily my pity party was cut short as a group of 3 rolled by. They were in my race. I latched on. We picked up a forth and then a fifth. Soon enough the sloppy and random rotation was firing on all cylinders. I was loving it. Sloppy and random rotations are my specialty. I forgot my cycling computer but we probably spent 35 minutes rotating into a head wind and going 9 miles an hour. It was ridiculous, but we were moving forward. Towards the end of the head wind section our group of 5 was down to 2. The other guy was cool. It gave me a smile when at one point the wind blew off the 'road captain' patch that he had on the back of his jersey. The symbolism was not lost on me.

The impact of the wind can not be overstated here. I did descents in the little ring, for Petes sake.

Then, finally, the road captain and I reached the turn around point which meant we went from head wind to tail wind. Our entire world changed in the blink of an eye. How could so much pain and suffering be completely washed away by something as simple as turning around?

Take that as a life lesson... don't fact your fears, turn around. When you turn around you can spin out in your 50x11! I'm quite sure i hit a new personal top speed on Sunday, and it was easy. The wheels / tires were making a sound like i'd never heard. They were hummin' and it was waaay fun.

On the way back i chatted with the road captain, earlier this year he did a 50k trail run at Wyandotte park and later this year he's doing the Dirty Kanza, for the first time. Pretty cool. Then, after a bit and almost by accident i looked back and he was way behind me. At this point there were about 10 miles to go and the final 6 were back into the headwind. I was feeling better so i decided to give it everything i had all the way thru to the end.

I'd like to think i finished pretty strong. I ended up passing a few more folks, one or two that were actually in my race, and then, at the very end, after the whole miserable, hot, windy, exhilirating, satisfying day was almost over, who do i see as i look up towards the finish line... my girlfriend. Now, she's racing, not spectating, so of course i wanted to beat her. Full disclosure here: she started about 5 minutes ahead of me.

I couldn't believe it, 48 miles, head wind, tailwind, ambulance for crashed motorcycle, more head wind, two goo's a banana and some fig newtons, and at the very end of it all i get a sprint finish against my girlfriend. It was the perfect ending. Okay, I'm probably milking it a little, it wasn't quite a sprint finish. The closest i would get was about 10 bike lengths... but i was in the drops, out of the saddle, and gaining on her.

Next time she's going down.

So the moral of the story is... turn around then go forward.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Spring Fling

I drove up to Lawrence today for the final Spring Fling of the season, and maybe ever?

I did the 4's race and the 3/4 race. The 4's race was first. This is my third year racing road bikes and today was the first pack finish i've ever had. As in i always got dropped. Not this time, baby!

I probably crossed the line in 20th, nothing to write home about, but who cares. It's a new dawn! I'm even more encouraged that on the last lap i had more than enough juice left to stick my nose in the wind and move up thru the field, going from the very back to top 15 and putting myself in descent position for the sprint. Unfortunately i made my move on the inside so when that sharp right hand corner before the finish came i got a little boxed in. That didn't stop Ty, he came into the inside of that corner hot, and held it. I had a front row seat to witness his impressive move, not guts no glory. Someone even clipped their pedal, but everyone stayed upright. Unlike the crash earlier that took about 5 dudes, myself not included. Nobody seemed to get seriously hurt but some skin was definitely donated.

Quite the day.

I got dropped after 15 minutes of the 3/4 race.

But that was fine, the first race was great. After that i stopped by the Bourgeois pig for some ice coffee and sports page. Kila walk off homerun last night! I even got my cycle chic on and snapped some random bike photos.