Friday, June 24, 2011

Tulsa Tough - my sunday race

The Sunday race at Tulsa Tough is pretty hard.

The Hill is fairly steep and comes pretty quickly due to the short loop. Last year i lasted maybe 5 laps, this year was considerably better but a mechanical ended my day early.

On the first pass up the climb i broke my chain. First time thats happened to me. My reaction was somewhere between panic and calm. I knew i had time to get to the pit, but i was still a little frazzled. So instead of just coasting around the course to get to the pit i decided to cut thru the middle and between peoples back yards and down some funky steps. it was very cross like. Naturally i dominated this portion of the race.

I hustled to the pit only to be told by an official that i should have taken my time. 'Watch the pro's' he said, 'they walk'. He said it's a time to gather yourself. Noted.

So i get the new chain and i'm off and feeling good. I have plenty of power on the hill and on the flats. Racing is fun when your not constantly at your limit and just waiting for the inevitable blow up. Then with 8 laps to go i have my race ending mechanical, a mis-shift (or something like that) in the front derailleur. It was totally locked up so i couldn't simply down shift and pedal out of it. Just like at last years MO state road race, just like this years Sheehan race. Son of a. Im pretty sure i could have gone to the pit again. But honestly, i was a little embarrassed. Plus i was pissed. So that was it. i didn't finish.

The race finished in basically a bunch sprint and i'm pretty sure i would have been there at the end.

When i told this story to Britton he said 'What were you doing in the small ring?'


Here's to better luck next time.

And big thanks to Britton at Volker Bicycles for taking it upon himself to give me a better front derailleur plus a chain guard. I think he took pity on me after my Tulsa troubles.

Final answer, i had an awesome time in Tulsa.

Tour of KC Tomorrow!!!!

Britton gets in the zone before his race while Boy George fills up on fluids
party time on the hill
A dude from the 1 / 2 race cools down
Crybaby hill w/ Brad Huff, Jonathan Cantwell, and Boy George lurking in the background
Crash on the tight right hander
Stefan Rothe checks his gap in the Pro 1 race
It's not very big
Rahsaan Bahati
Crybaby Hill
Britton rides thru the crowd after all the races are done

Monday, June 20, 2011

Tulsa Tough - My Saturday Race

The Saturday race at Tulsa Tough was good.

I still haven't mastered the art of getting a good starting spot so on the start line i was 3/4 of the way back of an 88 rider field. I'd been preaching to the newer guys how important it is to line up near the front, but it's easier said than done.

My race was good but uneventful, having said that i'd say it was my best race ever on a road bike. After 51 minutes at a 23.9 mph average speed in hot conditions... i had a pack finish. Bam! I did this race last year and was dropped after 15 minutes. Not this year, baby.

During the race i pretty much stayed in the back, played it safe, and tried to enjoy the ride. I would move up a little here and there, but nothing much. I was just trying to stay ahead of any riders who might get dropped. Hopefully i've learned that lesson, don't ride behind people who are going to get dropped.

The course was hillier than i remember, which was fine. the down hill was fun. long and strait with a wide 90 degree left at the bottom. Tuckin in and trying to see the turn thru the crowd of other racers was exciting, then you swoop left at god knows what speed and then hammer thru and repeat. Speed is fun, i also like turning. Put the two together and i'm a happy man.

I heard two crashed during the race and apparently both involved teammates. Ha! I'm not trying to laugh at their misfortune but out team has (fairly or unfairly) gained a reputation for crashing. Unfortunately the Tulsa trip only added more fuel to that fire. At least now we only crash ourselves. Kenny apparently put his brother into the curb at the top of the hill (a common trouble spot on this course, so you're not alone on this one guys) while Andrew and Brian somehow went down close to the downhill. I didn't know it was them until the next lap when i glanced over to see them standing in the grass. "Great" i thought, they were two of our fastest guys. But no time to dwell, if i didn't concentrate on the task at hand i might of ended up like them. It was around this time i noticed the dude in front of me had on a house arrest anklet. Funny.

Anyway, with a half lap to go a basically stopped racing and just coasted in. I had already completed my goal of finishing with the pack so i didn't feel like risking anything to improve an already anonymous placing. Plus i was really tired and really hot.

I finished 43rd and was basically the very back of the peloton. So about 45 more guys either got dropped or didn't finish. That makes me feel pretty good about my performance.

Tulsa Tough is a lot of fun.

Volker in the house

i love post race chocolate milk

that's a big flag
Tulsa does it right, no debris on this course
X marks the spot
The women's open field pass by the Soundpony and crest the hill. You can see how the road narrows, be careful if you're on the outside
Ramshackle drum kit outside Soundpony, he had a few other drummers and they were pretty damn good
Men's room at Soundpony
Successful beer hand-up
Unsuccessful beer hand-up
The men's pro / 1 race

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Juan Pablo Dotti @ Tulsa Tough

I took tons of photos at the Sunday Tulsa Tough race. The scene on cry baby hill is such that you could take a photo with your eyes closed and probably get a keeper. I intend to post small bunches of these photos over the course of the week. Doing it all at once is too overwhelming.

Plus i'm trying to find a middle ground between full blow blogging and full blown hiatus.

Juan Pablo Dotti got second in the Pro / 1 race. I happened to be at the pit when he was getting his pit bike, then i snapped several good photos of him as he was in the winning two man break for the last 10 or so laps.

A wikipedia search says he's 28 and from Argentina.

(Jose the sram dude hooks Juan Pablo up with a pit bike.)

(They had one police officer to keep order on cry baby hill. He was cool. This is him signaling one lap to go.)

(The roar of the crowd was amazing as they came around for the last time.)

So Juan Pablo took second on a pit bike. The guy who took first is also from Argentina.

Friday, June 3, 2011


I'm taking a hiatus from the blog. See you out on the road or in the dirt.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Snake Alley and the Memorial day weekend races... no Dogma's for you!

Riding bikes is fun.

I just got back from a great ride. Nothing special, although i did ride the single speed for the first time in a while, just a fast spin around town accompanied by great weather and great music.

It's a good thing i like the simple act of riding a bicycle, otherwise this recent string of crappy results on my road bike might lead me to abandon it all together. But i like it too much for that to ever happen.

Yes, this past weekend was crappy. Actually let me rephrase that, the bicycle racing portion of the weekend was crappy, everything else was great. I enjoyed the drive, got to explore some fun new cities and met some good people along the way. If it hadn't been for those pesky bike races the weekend would have been fantastic. So how crappy were the races? well...

I did three races, paid $35 each, and raced a grand total of 1 hr and 5 minutes. yep.

I'm not fast right now.

Day 1
Snake Alley Criterium
Burlington, Iowa

Nutshell version: Got pulled after 4 laps. Taking 10 seconds to clip in and running the first pass up Snake Alley was not a good way to start the race.

Everything leading up to the race went fine, got in a good warm up, did a few practice laps, became acquainted with my surroundings... then it quickly turned to s*it. First i missed my pre registered call up so started one row back of what i should have, no big deal though, still on row 3. then it got really bad. I must have been nervous because i started with my right foot clipped in. I never do that. When the whistle blew it took me forever to get my left foot clipped in. 10 seconds may be an exaggeration but i bet 25 people passed me while i was trying to clip in. It took forever. So there went any chance at a descent result. If ever there were a race where it's absolutely crucial to get clipped in immediately it's Snake Alley. Im such a boner.

Then, one minute later, were approaching the snake where the road bottlenecks and theres a crash in front of me, im forced to dismount and run the entire climb along with about 20 other poor fools. I'm positive that i would have avoided that crash had i clipped in immediately, but instead there i was, running awkwardly up a slippery brick road. It's possible i could have remounted and rode the hill, but you can only clip into one side of my pedals and the steepness of the hill makes it hard to clip in and get momentum. Plus i was feeling pretty frantic and was in what Steve Lavin would refer to as scampering hamster mode. Once at the top i had a sweet cyclo-cross style remount, but that was a minor positive on a day filled with negatives.

I quickly lost motivation and energy and pretended for a few more laps. The climb was killing me every time. When they pulled me i didn't complain.

This race is crazy. Crazy hard, crazy fast, crazy slow... and despite everything that happened to me, crazy fun. Or at least i see the potential for crazy fun. I really hope i can go back next year.

Day 2
Melon City Criterium
Muscatine, Iowa

Nutshell version: Dropped on the 3rd or 4th time up the hill, pulled myself after two more laps. Pissed off.

I was ready for redemption and liked what i saw upon arriving at this course. A fast circuit thru a park with a long steady hill. The race started fast, i sucked, end of story.

no pictures of this race, instead the pictures are from the best part of the day. Post race we went to the country for a pre memorial day celebration. I've spent very little time in the country, but this was great. The house was on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River and there was no noise except the sounds of nature... and occasional gun fire.

But really, it was incredibly peaceful and a great experience.

Day 3
Quad Cities Criterium
Rock Island, IL

Nutshell version: Was feeling fine but got caught in a crash with 4 to go, no more free laps, nuts.

I felt pretty relaxed before the start. The prior two days had been shi**y so i had no place left to go but up. Plus this was a flat figure 8 course, no hills. I used to think hills favored me, but im starting to rethink that. As soon as the whistle blew i was feeling good. Halfway thru the first lap we seemed to be going slow and i easily moved up into the top 10. From that moment on i was in the zone. Totally focused and having fun.

The first crash happened close but didn't effect me. I stayed focused. The second crash was closer, but i was still fine and totally in the zone. Hearing the crashes made the race seem more immediate and serious. As in, 'dont fu*k up or you could wind up in a lot of pain.' Nothing else mattered but the moment. I like the simplicity of that. All the other bs of life is put on hold while you focus entirely on the task at hand.

The third crash happened right in front of me and there was no avoiding it. Around 10 guys went down on the long strait section over the start finish. I had time to slam the brakes and come to almost a complete stop before falling onto somebody. No injuries. I was up and pedaling relatively quickly but the free laps were gone and so was any shot at a decent result.

It's a shame, i was even thinking about taking a flyer. I probably wouldn't have, but just the fact that i was thinking about that was a major change from the first two days. I'm pretty sure i would have at least had a pack finish and sprinted at the end. I've only done that a few times.

Soon grasshopper.