Sunday, November 20, 2005

2 Olympians, 2 Days.

I raced Saturday afternoon in Longmont at Xilinx business park. The venue was really cool and the course was one of the best this year. The registration and bathrooms were inside this big office building, but right inside the door was a big stainless steel locker room type thing off to one side with hooks lining all the walls for employees to hang their bikes on. That is why I like Boulder, not that I could ever handle working in a large office building, but it would be cool to have an indoor place to hang your bike at work. Anyway, the course had a nice little road climb into some singletrack, over a set of uphill barriers, into some off camber stuff and another parking lot false flat which led to a smoking fast winding descent. At the end of the descent you hit a large field that the course snaked around in. There were two different log barrier sections, and one little ditch that you could bunny hop over. I had a great start and at the top of the road climb second lap, I was sitting comfortably in the top ten. I threw my chain again and lost a few places which I was working on getting back when the chain came off again on about lap 5. I had a decent rythym through the course and kept going back and forth with a few Vitamin Cottage guys. I thought I finally had them dropped when I jumped the little ditch and got all sideways and squirrely in the air. I came down and instantly stacked it up into the barriers. I got up, got my chain back on and finished out the last three laps. Overall I felt great physically until those last 15 minutes when my legs just started going slower and slower, but I feel like I finished stronger than last week. I ended with 13th on the day I believe which is alright, but I wish I could have gone without the chain problems and held onto that top ten a little longer. JHK showed up to stretch his legs out a little I guess and absolutely tore everyone apart. Rumor has it there may be a US Gran Prix race at this venue next year, which would be absolutely awesome. Of course this is only a rumor.

Saturday night, Scott, Ray, and I went to the Feighny residence in Loveland for a slideshow of Mike and Dick's trip to France this summer. The pictures were pretty cool, but not nearly as cool as the array of appetizers and desserts that were set out in their kitchen. I think I ate about enough for 3 days. Scott met up with his old buddy KC and they had a ball. It's good to see Scotty in such fine spirits. I'm pretty sure Scott recruited another client at the party, Ray most likely sold 2 motorcycles, and all I did was eat. Oh well, the food was awesome.

Today's race didn't go so well. The day started off great with a stellar 8th place performance by our very own Scott "BOO YAH" Wenzel in the Cat. 4 race. He had a little wheel trouble on the second to last lap, but luckily he has a grade "A" pit crew and he got a rear wheel change in about 15 seconds and didn't even lose a place, plus he still got his feed on the backside of the loop. My race started great just like yesterday. At the end of the first lap I was sitting right where I wanted to be, and even moving up a little, but I rolled my rear tire on a remount, got pissed, and pulled the plug. I feel stupid about not finishing, but I guess there is nothing I can do about it now. Colby Pearce showed up and I'm pretty sure he finished the race. I need to figure a few things out. #1 I need to get my chain problem fixed. I'm going to get a Third Eye chainwatcher and set it really close to my chainring and I think that will do it. Maybe I'll put a new chain on too, mine right now is pretty stretched. Problem #2, I need to figure this tire thing out. After ever race there will be a little part of the bead coming off from my Tufo tires. I was under the impression that these things were supposed to work great at low PSI, and I hear people saying they are running like 30-35 pounds and don't have problems. I figure I weigh a little more then the average pro cross racer so I keep them closer to 45 PSI and they are still constantly coming off. The most obvious solution is to simply lose the weight and get about 10 times smoother on the bike, that's not gonna happen overnight though. Another solution might be a different wheelset, maybe the bead on a Mavic would hold it better? The only other solution I can think of is gluing them on. Maybe just a little tubular glue along the beads? If anyone has any ideas let me know. I'm always open to suggestion. I just want to finish a race without thinking, "I wonder what would have happened if _______ hadn't broken."

I think that pretty much sums up my weekend. Thanks again to Mike and Jen for having us. I'm sure those 3 or 4 pieces of pumpking cheesecake helped that tire roll just a little easier. Although the weekend didn't quite go as planned, I still had a lot of fun. I don't think I'll ever get used to lining up on a start line with people that I read about in magazines, and look up to so much. I would be like taking batting practice with Kirby Puckett when I was in grade school, only these guys don't beat their wives or sexually assault ladies as far as I know.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Foothills Photo

I found a picture from that race I won in Littleton last weekend. That's me with the red helmet, and puke face. Today Scott and I went and did a little cross practice at Aims Community College here in Greeley. The course there is covered in goatheads, and since Scotty Boy doesn't have very much flat protection, we moved all the barriers out into the soccer field and made a little grass course out there. Man, that grass sucks the energy out of your legs. I don't think we did more than 5 or 6 laps total. It was fun though and Scott showed me how to bunny hop. I'm not very good at it, I think I could probably get over an 8 or 10 inch barrier, but I have a ways to go before I'm getting over any 16 inchers. Scott on the other hand can fly! After cross practice we headed into the Breadboard for some pizza and coffee to warm up since it couldn't have been over 40 degrees. The pizza there is amazing and is slowly getting to be a staple of my diet. They also had some day old pumpkin cheesecake bars which are so good I don't even have words for them.

My grandma had surgery on her knee this week in Sioux Falls. It sounds like she's doing better and I'm glad she could have it in S.F. so my parents could help her out and my grandpa has a place to stay. Anyway, keep her in your thoughts and prayers as I know this is a stressful time.

Lastly, I don't have too much to share, but I have learned a few things so far this week:

#1 Pros ride really fast.

#2 It's hard to make a bike go fast when the chain won't stay on.

#3 Just when I thought it had finally died, the facebook is back, and with a vengeance the way it seems.

#4 The people at the post office can be some of the dumbest people around.

#5 Ray and Caiti are having another one!

#6 I love Justin Williamson.

#7 Racing isn't the same without Dave Towle giving you shout outs.

#8 If I see Danny on race day, I'll win, 100% of the time.

#9 Checking your inbox more often doesn't mean you'll get emails more often.

#10 525,600 minutes? How do you measure a year in the life? How about love?

That's all for today folks. Thanks for checking in. Measure in love, seasons of love.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

100th post!

I really don't have anything to say, but I noticed that I'd done 99 posts previous to this. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all my loyal readers. If it wasn't for you fine people reading this website, I'd be writing to myself. That's all I've got for you tonight. Thanks for checking in.

P.S. Anchorman is on TV tonight, there has been an endless string of awesome movies on lately.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

It's a long way to the top, if you wanna rock and roll.

Well, today wasn't as successful as yesterday. Yesterday I was in the mix the whole race. Today I lasted almost a full minute before I was totally out of contention. The start was a little more what I'm used, more like the start of a mountain bike race. We went out hard, up a paved road, onto gravel and into a 90 degree double barrier corner. I made it through the corner about midway through the pack, feeling pretty good about my start. We headed down a gravely parking lot type field, into a couple rough corners and over a little barrier run-up. It was at this point that my chain bounced off and fell down on the inside between my chainring and 3rd eye chainkeeper. I had to get off the bike and wrestle the chain back onto the chainring which dropped me back to dead last. I picked off a few people as the race went on, but never felt too great. My legs felt flat, and my head wasn't really in it. I never felt comfortable on the course, there were a lot of really wierd dismounts and run up type obstacles that I just couldn't see to get down. I stumbled and fell over some railroad tracks, missed pedals on my remounts, couldn't get off my bike before barriers, plus I messed up everything else that I could. I dropped my chain a few more times, and ended up breaking my 3rd eye trying to get my chain out, and I think the true goo in my tires is drying out because I was losing pressure the whole race. I think I finished with about 30 psi max in each tire. On top of that my legs felt pretty flat all day. I think yesterday's effort and Friday night's lack of sleep caught up with me.

Overall I'm not really excited or disapointed with today. It was my first pro race and I went into it with no expectations. Since I didn't set any goals except to finish the race, it was pretty easy to accomplish all I set out to do. I would have gotten throttled whether I dropped the chain or not, but I wish I could have at least ridden with the fast guys for a few laps before getting dropped like 3rd period French. According to the ACA results I finished 20th out of the 25 finishers. I know a few more people started that didn't finish, but they would have beat me if they'd stayed in. I know I could have been a couple places higher without the mechanical trouble and who knows what would have happened if I would have felt like yesterday. Who knows, next weekend will be interesting. It's a Boulder race which means probably 80 starters instead of 30, I'm sure it will be another great learning experience.

On a very important side note, our very own little Scotty Boy Wenzel moved right up into the top ten in only his third cyclocross race. Everyday he rides it he looks faster and faster on a cross bike. I'm scared to see what happens when he can actually get in and out of his pedals. You'll all have to check out his site in the near future as I'm sure there will be some great pictures from his mom.

Thanks for checking in.

P.S. An hour is much longer than 45 minutes.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Win number 2 in the books.

I won again today. The course was long and windy, but I managed to bridge up to Clayton Barrows, the leader, with a lap and a half to go, just as he flatted, and I rode past him and away from him. I opened up a 15-20 second gap within a half a lap and held it to the finish. It felt good to win a Cat. 3 race, now it's time to race the big boys I guess. Tomorrow I'll be lining up in my first pro race of my life. I'm a little nervous, but I think I'm too tired to be too nervous right now.

I'd like to thank Danny Boy Snyder for showing up and cheering me on today. It was awesome to get to hang out for a little while, and fun to be at a race with him. Danny is pretty much responsible for getting me into racing so I owe a lot to him. Thanks again Danny.

Hopefully tomorrow will go alright, I'll try and check in to let you all know how it goes. I might update later if I find some pictures from today's race, it's not looking too promising right now though. Old School is on right now so I think I'm gonna go crash on the couch for a while longer before I got try and fall asleep. "I'm gonna be in the neighborhood later, just wondering if you wanted to get together for some frozen yogurt or maybe a whole meal of food if that would be agreeable." That's all for now.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Few more things I've learned in the past few hours.

#1 You have no idea what a pain it is to ship a box to Australia.

#2 If someone bets you that you can't eat an entire pie, don't take him up on it.

#3 Obesity is listed under "adventure" in a thesaurus.

#4 Postal workers take their frustrations out on their customers, even if they are frustrated because they don't know how to do their job.

#5 There is such a thing as too much candy.

#6 Whisker River BBQ burgers are detoxifying.

#7 My life be like Ooh Aah.

That's all for now. I feel sick. I'm going to bed.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

What I've learned in the past few weeks.

#1 People will pay INSANE amounts for things that say Lance Armstrong or U.S. Postal on them.

#2 The name "Leonard" is best said with a gravely old woman voice, and even better when followed by, "dinner's ready."

#3 A knife can be hours and hours of fun.

#4 Expect to get wierd looks if you try on a camo hat and start yelling like a drill sergeant in a clothing store.

#5 "Then" and "Than" are two different words used in totally different situations.

#6 When thrown in the air, a shoe can be caught on the end of a knife, therefore creating a "Shoeshkabob"

#7 There is a way to anatomically alter your finger to more efficiently use a remote.

#8 It costs a lot to ship a frame to Australia.

#9 Mixed signals are hard to read, because they are unclear.

#10 Jason never deserved L.C.

#11 Cat. is short for Category.

#12 Even so called "broke" people find ways to buy new bikes.

#13 The men selling cell phones in malls don't want to be my friend, no matter how friendly they may seem.

#14 Even Cottage's made of Wattage can burn down on occaision.

#15 When you ask if you can see a particular shoe in a particular size, don't be startled if the clerk at a shoestore says "maybe" and walks away.

#16 If you see some free juice, but don't want to drink it because it's green and opaque, like the color of grass, trust your intuition.

#17 Never trust a man that's 6'3", has lots of tattoos, yet gets so giddy he jumps up and down if he gets a new sticker.

#18 My mountain bike looks awesome with 700c wheels.

#19 The future is made of virtual insanity.

#20 Occaision is spelled "occasion."

Monday, November 07, 2005

Louisville Sluggin'

Saturday's race was cancelled/postponed due to rain and snow which seems pretty lame to me, but I guess they didn't ask for my opinion. They did however call me on my cell phone to tell me it was cancelled. I wasn't registered or anything. I guess when you tear stuff up like I did last time I raced the Schwab Boss of Cross series, you're automatically upgraded to "pretty big deal" status. Anyway, I don't need to float my own boat anymore (I've been doing plenty of that lately). Instead of racing on Saturday my former teamate Mikeal Olson came up to ride some bikes around Greeley with Scott and I. We ended up wasting away the entire day riding and working on bikes, but at 6:30 we were leaving the bike shop and Scott happened to hop on the shop manager, Mark Cooper's cyclocross bike. For some reason unknown to me, Scott's eyes lit up and for the first time since I've known him, Scott decided he wanted to be a cross racer. Mark told him to go for it, so we all stood around and watched him do some dismounts and mounts in the parking lot in sandals. Scott, Mikeal, and I had a sleepover at my apartment, then picked Mark up in the morning and took him to Louisville with us.

The course was pretty cool, but also really hard. There was a steep technical decent with a bunch of ruts and stuff toward teh bottom, a wierd dismount over a stream into a steep run-up, a fast crushed rock loop, two very steep off camber corners, another rough decent into a 180 degree turn and single barrier run-up, a fast road section before a rough singletrack section into an incredibly steep climb with two barriers just after the top, back downhill, into a road climb around a tight 180 into a sand volleyball court and road to the finish. I was pretty nervous warming up on the course, but I watched Scott and he was doing fine so I knew I had little to worry about. Scotty Boy pulled off a great race for his first cross experience, not to mention the first time he's attempted a dismount or remount in the past 2 years, and the first race effort he's done since July. He finished midpack in a Cat 4 field of 76, so make sure and pat him on the back if you see him this week.

I ended up with a decent start, about 12th or 15th, and just concentrated on staying calm, and moving up slowly. I really didn't have to work to get around anyone, because I would pass them all over the barriers, or the technical climb. I ran the sandpit every lap except for one, but I guess Scott was riding it like a pro the whole race. With about four laps to go, I found myself in 4th with a big gap up to third. I just rode a steady tempo and tried not to blow my wad closing the gap or I'd have nothing to get around him when that time came. I caught the guy with two laps to go and just rode his wheel for a lap and a half noting where he was fast and slow on the course. I decided to try and get in front of him before the steep climb with barriers at the top because I knew I could ride that section faster than him. I attacked him on the road section just after the single barrier and I think the gap just kept growing. After I got up the climb I knew I had him beat, but it was still a super hard quarter or half mile to the finish. I crossed the line 3rd in my second Cat. 3 race so I was pretty pumped, but man it hurt, for quite some time. Since both Scott and I were racing we left Mikeal up to taking pictures and movies. He got some pretty cool moives, but unfortunately no pictures for the website. I found a couple online, but none of Scott, so if you want to see proof that he actually did race a cross bike, you'll have to ask him to see a video, or check the ACA website for results. I hurt today, my neck and back are killing me, I think I might ride an hour or so just to loosen up a bit. That's all for now. If anyone knows where else to get pictures, let me know, I always see cameras out on the course, but I don't know who they are or where to contact them.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Congrats to me.

My frame sold last night. I couldn't believe it. I woke up hoping to get at least 300 dollars for it. As the day went on the bid hit 300 and kept on rolling. The auction ended around 8 pm, and at 7 the bid was 369. I was super pumped that there was a chance it would hit 400. Within the last 15 minutes I just kept hitting the refresh button and the bid just kept growing. There was a heated bidding war going on between at least 3 people. When the auction ended and the dust settled, some guy from Tasmania, Australia was the proud new owner of this fine Trek OCLV 120 frame for the bargain price of $512.21. I couldn't believe it. It got better when the guy told me he wanted my old Cane Creek S2 for an additional $15. I guess my new bike is almost paid off. It's pretty cool to be able to trade a 3 year old frame for a brand new one. My Chris King headset went for $82 which is about what I expected it to be. I'm off to work now, I'm going in a little early to get my new frame all squared away and clean up my cross bike for this weekends activitys. I'll be sure and get some pics up after tomorrow's race. Wish me luck.

Here is a picture of my soigneur in action. You can see him in the mock turtleneck right behind the FDNY lady.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

I hurt myself this weekend, to see if I still feel.

Once again the week is here and I've got nothing for you. I did however find a website with some pictures from the cross races thus far. I can't believe how different my racing experiences have become after just a month of this hellish 45 minutes of pain that they call cyclocross. Looking back at the pictures of me at the Boulder Reservoir the pained look on my face looks very similar to some of the pictures from this weekend, but two things are very different. Number one, I'm actually moving in the pictures from this weekend, where as there were a couple points during the Reservoir race when my momentum completely died. The second difference is the way that pain on my face felt on the inside. During my first races, it hurt. When I say it hurt, I mean it hurt in a bad way. Sharp pain, everywhere. It hurt to take a full breath, it hurt to stand up or sit down. It just didn't feel good in any way. It hurt bad enough I had no appetite for an hour or so (for those of you who know me well, you realize how astounding that is) After my two races this weekend I realized that I'm digging just as deep, and working just as hard, but it's more of the dull pain, the good pain that us endurance athletes savor. The kind of pain where your whole body feels hot, and fuzzy. The sort of pain where even though you are hurting, you can dig in that extra 2% to go just a little harder and somehow the hurt gets more intense, yet feels better. The sort of pain where a grimace just feels right, you clench your jaw as hard as you can, you realize what a horrible look is on your face, but you can't wipe it away.

This is the feeling that makes me want to race my bike. I'm much prouder of my race on Sunday even though I messed up, lost some positions, and got straight up beaten by a lot of the other racers. On Saturday I rode away from everyone without ever hitting that total 110% exertion level. I held a steady pace riding at about 90% through most of the race and only trying to dig deep the last couple laps. Even then I never totally went all out. I was very pleased with the way I rode on Saturday, but in the back of my mind I knew I hadn't ridden my hardest, and that I just won a race on less exertion than I put into my previous couple races. I got into my car after the race on Sunday totally content with how I had ridden. I knew that I left everything out there. I gave it everything I had, every lap, and in the end I couldn't have put any more effort into the race. I had some technical errors, but I can only expect that as every race I do is usually the first course of that type I've raced, and usually the conditions are like nothing I've ever raced cross in. The technical side of the racing will come around eventually, but my form is well on it's way. I may not be in the best shape of my life, but it's starting to hurt in that good way so I know I'm on my way.