Tuesday, July 31, 2007

I'm driving home.

Finally on my way back to Colorado after being gone for about a month.

The racing ended well, with a 33rd at the Downers Ave race. I skipped sunday, and spent yesterday with my parents. It was good to spend a little more time with them, my mom and I made it out for a ride on their tandem in the morning. She just sits on the back and chats, but keeps pushing harder and harder until I tell her we're going to coast. There are some big hills on the way home from the bike path, and I just thought we'd drop it into the granny gear and take our time. I ended up having to upshift at least two or three times because she would spin the gear out, and I would find myself doing no work at all. Here she is pushing me up the hills, but won't do the ride alone because she doesn't want to cross 57th street? Doesn't make much sense.

In the afternoon my dad and I played 9 holes of golf at the course right by our house. We alternated shots, which was a lot of fun, even if it seemed like we were trying to make it as hard on each other as possible. (I tried to chip onto a green, ended up hitting the ball at about a 90 degree angle to where I was aiming. Hit it right into a sand trap. My dads shot out of the sand cleared the green, so I got another chance to chip on and actually did that time.)

Now I'm on my way back to Colorado. Unfortunately Nebraska hasn't gotten any more interesting in the past month. My mom packed me a lunch, as well as sent a ton of cookies and special k bars with me. I was born over 23 years ago, and she was the first person I met. I've been very close to her ever since, she probably knows me better than anyone, yet still she sends boxes of really good junk food with me and actually expects me to share it with my roomate and girlfriend when I get home. Does she really expect me to sit next to this box of cookies for 9 hours and not touch it? Sometimes I feel like she doesn't know me at all.

Well, I should get back to driving, I wouldn't want to miss something exciting. Thanks for checking in.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Saturday, July 28, 2007

The End Is In Sight.

The last couple nights races have been a bit of a let down. Thursday night in Sheboygan, the race started out alright, I won a $25 prime in the beginning of the race, but about 20 laps in, it started to rain.

The rain lasted 15-20 laps, and then it started to dry up. The relief was only momentary as the skies soon opened up, and it started to rain with some fury. I made it 3 more laps, but realized quickly that the braking performance of my carbon wheels and cork pads was getting worse by the second. There was a downhill corner and I was grabbing 2 fistfuls of brake coming into it and picking up speed all the way through. After the 3rd time through, feeling the 2 wheels drift as I slid through the corner, I decided enough was enough.

Last night in Kenosha was a boring race. 100 laps around a 1km, rectangular, 4 corner course. The course was pancake flat, with a headwind along one of the longer stretches, and therefore a tailwind on the other long section. The race would bunch up into the headwind, curb to curb, string out through the two following corners, stay strung out down the tailwind section and through the next corners, and then bunch up through the headwind section again. Somehow a group snuck away and quickly put a lap into the field. I unfortunately was in the middle of the pack trying to figure out how to move up without just jamming my bike into small holes in the field like everyone else was doing. I seriously spent about 70 laps trying to figure out the best place to move up, and finally just went up alongside the group on the tailwind section. It felt like a really big waste of energy, but it was the only place I could gain positions.

The last 10 laps were just carnage with people taking dumb risks and stacking it up all the way around the course. I stayed out of the wreckage, but only managed a 51st place. WHOO HOO!

Tonight is the "Great Downer Avenue Bike Race" and I guess it's a pretty big deal. 12,000 spectators, rumors of a $4,000 prime, 200 riders. Should be fun. I thought people were taking stupid lines, and unnecessary risks last night, it frightens me to think about what tonight has in store. I'd love to try and get off the front, we'll see what happens. There are probably 199 other people thinking the same thing right now.

Thanks for checking.

Oh yeah, if you work in any sort of retail industry where you deal with customers on a regular basis, remember, most people don't like it when you talk to your fellow employees like the customers aren't even there. They must have the "B team" on a Panera today. A kid that was on break just sat in my regular seat and talked to the kids behind the counter and bragged about how long he was on break for the past 30 minutes. He complained about how his feet hurt, he didn't like his job, he was annoyed with how slow it was, etc. and the people behind the counter just talked right back like it was no big deal. Meanwhile, customers continued to line up waiting to get their orders taken. Good work guys, good work.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Superweek blah blah.

I'm not sure what day it is anymore, I know it's Wednesday because that's what my phone tells me.

Last night was a crit in Cedarburg, the closest race so far to my host house. Good 4 corner course with a slight rise between corners 1 and 2, with a small sharp kick right before the corner, then long false flat decent into corner 3, more downhill into corner 4, and a long false flat uphill finish.

I was aggressive as I could be the first 20 minutes. I must have covered 3 attacks and instigated 2 in the course of 5 laps. I was really hoping I could get into the break for once, but it wasn't to be. The break did go while I was being active at the front, but I missed it and got shut down trying to go across. I decided then to rest for a minute and see if I could try again later, but as soon as I began to sit up, my legs got heavier and heavier. It seems I dug myself a pretty deep hole, and I was hurting just trying to sit in.

I realized halfway through last night's race that I was telling myself I was hurting a lot more than I really was, and I was losing the mental battle a lot worse than I was losing the physical race. I decided I'd keep resting, but I wasn't out of it for the finish. I felt better and better, and made a couple split second, smart moves, that got me to the front with 10 laps to go. I guess I was pretty lucky to do that as things got awfully dicey and aggressive with about 8 or 9 laps to go, and I was right up in the thick of it. I managed to stay toward the front even with all the swarming and shifts that were happening at the front end of the race. With 2 laps to go things really heated up, elbows getting thrown all over, people touching wheels and chopping each other in almost every corner.

Coming into the last corner I saw more aggressive riding than I think I've ever witnessed first hand, and as scared as I was I just kept focused on the wheel in front of me, and trying to hold my own line the best I could. I got around a couple people in the sprint, but also had a person or two come around me. With a small break up the road, and the big sprint just in front of me I finished up in 20th place. Good enough to get in the money for once.

It's funny to feel so excited about a 20th place, but I think I'm more excited that for once I held my own and overcame my own negativity that's been holding me back in these longer races. I'm really motivated now for the 4 more nights of racing out here, and especially for some local races when I get home. Bannock Street Criterium is my new "home" race, and I guess Rocky Mounts always throws an awesome barbeque party for the Niwot Criterium so hopefully I can pull off some good results for these end of the season races. After that it looks like a pair of crits up in the mountains, (Dillion and Copper Mountain I believe) and then it's time for cyclocross. Maybe it's just the 5 cups of coffee I've had today, or the extra energy from knowing I'm not racing tonight, but I feel like I'm catching a second or even third wind for the end of the season, I sure hope it continues to blow through cross nats.

Thanks for checking in, I need to go find a place to publish this from, it seems like my hour has expired at this cafe.

Okay, back to my Panera Bread hotspot. On one last note, everybody has opinions about all the recent doping busts at the tour. Guilty or not, (they probably are) the only thing I know is that for me, I'd rather be finishing 20th place in a little known race in WI and doing it clean, rather than standing atop a podium knowing that I broke every rule to get there, and I couldn't have done what I did without artificial help. I suppose you get the mentality that everyone is doing it, so you have to do it to beat them, but really you aren't beating anyone, you're just joining them in their tainted race.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Superweek Day 11?

Last night went pretty good. I felt good, able to ride at the front, and even managed to attack a time or two. I still can't seem to buy a lap off the front, but hopefully my time will come.

Today is the Tour of Holy Hill Road Race. Hopefully it goes better than the last road race we did. Right now I've got a full french press, and "Throw some D's" so loud my car is shaking, so the day is at least starting off right.

I used to think about immature things, you know like, do you love me? Do you want me? Are you gonna call me like you said you would? Is this really your real phone number? WAIT A MINUTE ............!

Thanks for checking in.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Superweek Day Off.

No racing today. I went to the Milwaukee Art Museum and walked around most of the afternoon. The building itself is really cool, you can see how the sun shield goes up and down on the left.

It's really a cool building in an awesome location. It opens out toward Lake Michigan, so the views out of the building are almost as cool as some of the sights inside. Unfortunately it was about 55 degrees inside and I didn't think to bring a snowsuit to Wisconsin in the summer, so I froze.

This has always been one of my favorite paintings and I had no idea it was there until I walked around a corner and there it was. A very nice surprise I guess.

Waterloo Bridge, Sunlight Effect by Claude Monet

Now I'm killing time at a new coffee shop near downtown. I just had a Sid Delicious sandwich, (most of the food is named after musicians). Tomorrow is another 100k crit. It'll be better than last night because I can't feel much worse. I wasn't into racing last night. My legs didn't feel like racing, my head didn't feel like racing, so I didn't race very long. Instead I caught the end of a little league game that was next to where we parked. I think it was more enjoyable at the moment than the race would have been.

Time to start acting and thinking like a bike racer again though. Too much negativity for me the past couple days. I always thought people were just whiners when they go to Europe and can't perform because of the setting they live in. Only now am I starting to get an idea what it's like to be somewhere less than ideal and still try to perform your best. It's not been working for me, so it's time for some changes.

That's all for now, if you're in Milwaukee, check out Roast Coffee Company on Locust and Maryland. Cool place, free internet. Boo ya. Thanks for checking in.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Driving to Green Lake.

We're on our way to today's race, and just passed County Rd. PP. There was a guy posing like he was peeing on the sign and his wife was taking a picture. Get it? PP - Pee Pee? Funny stuff.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Superweek Day 8.

Last night was better, still not good, but better. I was actually able to ride at the front, but drifted back of course just as the break went. The rest of the race was spent trying to get in position for a prime, but I couldn't even do that.

I moved from last to first in the chase in a couple laps between 4 to go and 2 to go, but was overtaken by the inevitable swarm, and finished the day off in 37th, probably 25th? in the field sprint, not that you can really call 25 "in" the sprint.

Tonight is another 100k crit. It's a longer drive, so I thought about taking it off, but I think I'll do this one, skip Saturday, race Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, skip Green Bay on Wednesday, and try to knock out the final 4 days of racing on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. That's the plan anyway we'll see how it plays out.

Sorry for the lack of pictures, tomorrow I'll go exploring on my day off, there are bound to be some pictures from that. That's really all I've got for now, thanks for checking in.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Superweek Day... I have no idea.

Racing the past few days has sucked.

Tuesday night it was my fault. I didn't eat in the afternoon, ate a ton just before the race, factor in heat and humidity, I got to find out what stomach cramps feel like during a race. I was fine at the back, but every time I wanted to move up, my stomach would turn to knots and I would start burping stuff up.

Yesterday, Wednesday, I don't even want to talk about. They made a huge deal about centerline rule, which I'm happy to follow. Some people will look to see where the ref is, then attack across the line if they are out of sight of the ref, I don't. I try to follow the rules as much as possible, and if I ever find myself on the wrong side of the line, I'm definitely not advancing my position, and I get back as soon as possible.

I got disqualified for crossing the centerline on a road that didn't even have the centerline marked. I was following the wheel in front of me, as well as half the field, but the ref rode up and said "263, 148, you're out of the race." Was 148, Richard England of Priority Health was 263. After we had a few choice words with the moto ref, he threatened to DQ us from more than just yesterday's race, so following the advice of Karl Menzies who was also DQ'd we drifted to the back and followed the neutral support for a lap. I'd had enough so I went home. Menzies followed the back of the race the entire 160k I believe, taunting them for going so slow the entire time.

Enough about racing, tonight will be a different story. Look to Menzies and England to ride aggressively all night.

The real reason of this post is to let me newest, currently biggest, pet peeve out of the bag.

Now I'm quite guilty of not shaving for a few days and letting myself get a little scruffy, but in my defense, I only have 8-10 whiskers on my face, so letting it grow isn't a big deal. Now the kid that just ordered a cinnamon roll at the panera bread I'm sitting at has a full face of "scruff," but it's neatly manicured around the edges and sculpted just perfectly.

That really bothers me. There is a guy racing out here that I've noticed is the worst case. The scruff never gets longer, always that "I haven't shaved in 5 days because I don't care how I look" length, and the edges are always razor sharp. This leads me to believe he's shaving his neck, and sculpting his sideburns daily to keep things perfect, and apparently trimming the "trendy scruff" to keep if from getting bushy. ugghh. Really gets me angry. I should just get over it, but I don't want to so I won't.

Thanks for checking in.

P.S. Guy at the counter turned around and his 6 inch rat tail is even less stylish than his trimmed facial hair.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Superweek Day 5.

These numbers are getting confusing, today is day five, but nothing has happened yet, so I'll write about day 4, which was yesterday, my rest day.

After I left my coffee shop here in Brown Deer, I drove into Milwaukee. I just drove around a little, as I'd left my bike at my host house, and couldn't explore as I had in Chicago. I was trying to find a bike shop, had the address, was on the street, and must have driven it 5 times when I decided to park and walk. I found the address, but it was in the middle of a park. I called the phone number I had and the kid said they were located 100 blocks north, and about 10 miles west of where I was. I decided I'd go to a different bike shop that could list their address correctly in the yellow pages.

I found the shop, Crank Daddy's, probably the dumbest name I've heard, and their employees lived up to the name. The first girl didn't know what a tubular tire was, then the boy that helped me, told me straight away that they didn't have Tufo Tubular Tape. Luckily the manager overheard this and cleared things up. They did have the tape, it was about 2 feet from the kid, so I left with everything I needed.

I'm not sure if I mentioned that I flatted about 20 laps into the race the first night in Beverly Hills? Anyway, I did. I was shocked as well to find out that all it takes is a little drywall screw to puncture a tubular.

I really lucked out in that it came out the sidewall about a millimeter from the carbon rim. The was it is, I had to replace the tire, where I could have been replacing a carbon rim. Thanks again Scott. You now have 2 new tires.

Back to shopping yesterday. I spent the next hour trying to find a hardware store to get some acetone. Finally found a Lowes and got my acetone.

I ended up walking around Lowes for probably 45 minutes. I've always known I was pretty simple minded, but only recently have I realized the walking through a home improvement store and test driving drills and hammers is about the best therapy I can find when I get tense.

It's only been a few days since I left Sioux Falls, but I get tired of never knowing where stuff is, then I get frustrated and it just a downward spiral from there. If you ever need anything at a Walgreens or a Family Dollar, you should come to Milwaukee. I drove by at least 3 of each last night, and 5 of those stores were on the same street.

Anyway, enough crabbing. I got to make myself some Lavazza coffee this morning and I finally found a comfy place to hang out with free WiFi. Thanks to Andy Couch for the Panera Bread tip. It turns out I have the couches all to myself, although a friendly Lutheran Pastor sat down with me and traded life stories for about an hour. He was a nice old man, and gave me his card so we can keep in touch.

Tonight is 90k on a 2.3 mile lap. Someone really needs to inform these race promoters about units of measure. They measure all of our race distances in kilometers, which is great, I'm used to riding in kilometers, but then they measure all the courses in miles, talk about average speed in mph, and just make it confusing all around. Sunday night, we raced a 0.9 mile loop. We were supposed to do a 100k crit. They had us do 75 laps. Bear with me here. 0.9 mile loop x 75 laps = 67.5 miles. 67.5 miles x 1km/.62miles = 108.87km. Something doesn't make sense, and I blame their refusal to standardize units of measure. As Uncle Al's brother's bumper sticker was going to say "Honk 10 times if you love the metric system!"

Alright, I'm going to go get ready to race. Thanks for checking in.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Superweek Day 3 and 4.

Where to start? I'll start at the beginning. I woke up and left my palace from the last few days and set off for the city.

I drove by my Ferrari/Maserati dealership for the last time. My Maserati does 185, but the Ferrari, that's the fast one.

As soon as I got downtown I ditched the most inefficient and cumbersome means of exploring a new city...

...and I traded it out for the best way to experience a place you've never been.

I headed straight to the lake, rode down the bike path to the museums and headed out toward the observatory for a good view of the lake...

...and a decent view of the city.

From there, I rode north along the lake, bouncing back and forth between the bike path and Lakeshore Dr. until I hit the locks at the mouth of the Chicago River.

I turned and headed up the "Riverwalk" bike path that led back into downtown. Beautiful.

It turns out I wasn't the only person that decided to explore by bike. I couldn't believe the number of people I saw on bikes, especially the new Electra Amsterdams. Then I noticed this place and realized where a lot of them were coming from. They also had these two and four person bike-car things for rent. I saw lots of families riding them, they looked like fun.

Wilco anyone?

I picture Mark Chase living in a place like this someday. Note the boat parking underneath.

After exploring I decided to eat and get on my way to my race in Bensonville. I really wanted some thick crust Chicago Style pizza, so I rode around for a while and thought I had a place picked out, when a little corner pub/restaurant appeared called Bosses. It had murals of Al Capone all over, a garage door that opened to a cool little patio on the sidewalk, and looked like the perfect place.

I sat down and ordered a coke and pizza and 15 minutes later was treated to a Totinos Party Pizza served directly on the cardboard it came on. Not even a plate. I laughed it off, ate it, and went on my way.

The course last night was a 0.9 mile, 6 corner lap that we did 75 times. That's 450 corners according to my math. The race started off pretty fast, and I tried to be aggressive but it wasn't to be. About halfway through I found myself surfing the back just as I hate to do. I tried to stay up toward the front, but the races don't stay fast enough through the corners, so everyone swarms and dives into the corners 10 wide. I usually end up losing about 15 positions every time this happens.

I guess I just need to keep working on acclimatizing to this style of racing. The last 20 laps or so, I found the wheel and followed it a lot. Perfect, big draft, no big accelerations, and I know he won't go down in a corner, everyone else could, but I think he'd clear his own path.

A break went sometime when I was at the back. I was going to try and jump with 4 or 5 to go, but the field basically split with 7 to go, and I was in the back. We just rolled in together, but not before at least one more big wreck in the last corner. Nothing like stacking it up racing for 50th place. Good work.

After the race I drove up to Milwaukee where I am now. I found the wheel to follow on I-94, and made it here about half an hour faster than I should have. I'm taking today off hoping that three hard days followed by some rest will help the form start to come around.

Man, that was long. Thanks for checking in.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Superweek Day 2.

This is me narrowly avoiding the pavement when Jonathon Clarke blew and tire and tumbled with about 20 miles to go last night. That's right, I made Cyclingnews!

Highlights from last night.
Here are a couple of the houses that lined last night's course.

You like the V.I.P. seating in the front lawn? I did.

Another day, another 100k crit. Tonight went a lot better than last night. The course was basically pancake flat, with four corners and fairly wide roads. I felt a lot more like myself today and finished towards the front half of the main group. I tested my legs a little, and went for a points sprint and and $100 dollar prime. I took third in the points sprint and second in the prime, which basically equates to me getting nothing for my efforts, but 5 sprint points and a little more confidence in my fitness.

The last five laps were FAST and SKETCHY. If there is one thing I really need to work on, it's being more aggressive and fighting harder for corners, and I realize that there is no better place to work on that than out here.

Man, I just had to walk up and get the cord for my computer. My legs are less than fresh right now, but the three flights of stairs I had to trek up didn't help at all either. I'd like to give a huge thanks to the Sigfusson's here in Hinsdale, IL. Andy Sig goes to DU and trains with the cycling team a little as he's a varsity swimmer and an outstanding triathlete. I sent an email to the DU team to see if anyone knew of a place I could stay in Chicago for a couple nights. Andy wrote back within maybe an hour offering me his parents house. I talked to his mom who told me that they would be out of town, but the house was mine. It's a beautiful, very large, house in a very nice neighborhood and it's all mine for the weekend. I finally found the basement today as well as the 60in. TV that I'll be watching the tour on tonight.

Well, I think I'm getting tired because I totally lost my next thought. On a final note, the lady in line in front of me at Subway asked her husband what BMT stood for. He didn't know, thought it had something to do with a subway. I felt like a genius when I get to step in and explain what it meant. I'll leave you with this, why is the Subway employee considered the sandwich artist when I am the one who designs the masterpiece, they simply assemble it for me? Thanks for checking in.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Superweek Day 1 v2.0

So, today's race is over.

I felt decent warming up and the course was great for me. I didn't expect the race to start with a bang, but I wasn't surprised when it happened. Maybe it's my lack of form right now, but the race seemed every bit as aggressive and fast as a 90 minute "Boulder" crit.

A big break went early, 16 guys I think. They put a lap into us within the first 30 miles, and then the race got really hard. I was doing a decent job of riding toward the front, but when the break came back around, the speed went up and everyone wanted a top 20 spot. I hung on as well as I could, but came off with 2.5 laps to go.

I didn't feel great, but I guess I felt as good as I expected I would, a little self-fulfilling prophecy? Maybe. On the bright side, I do expect to feel better everyday, so hopefully that psychology lesson will work to my advantage even if I did let it work against me today.

The best part of the race today was the crowds. Families and their friends lined almost the entire course. They all had parties in their yards, and most of them yelled really loud. After the race one family even pulled me aside and fed me, offered me beer and wine, congratulated me, and just sat and shot the breeze for a while. I hope all the races will be like that. There was even a big beer garden and stuff with a band on one side of the course.

I made it to my host house without any problems, but that's a whole story in and of itself. Hopefully I can unwind a little and get to sleep, these late starts mess with my sleep a little.

Also, I'd like to personally thank Dave Towle for having the decency and the brains never to tell the Lance Armstrong cancer story for 15 laps in the middle of a race. I'm not sure what the announcer was thinking, or what got him started, but we got the WHOLE story. It's hard to race when you get all choked up like that.

Thanks for checking in. I'm going to watch Boonen win a stage and then hit the sack.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Superweek Day 1

I made it to Chicago after a stop in Cedar Rapids IA last night. My mom's high school friend lives there so I had a free place to crash, which was awesome. Thanks again Paul and Cheryl.

I didn't have anything to keep me in IA this morning, so I set off fairly early, leaving myself PLENTY of time to get here.

I did a little exploring along the way, but still made it to the race course with 4 hours to spare.

I have my computer with me, so I was going to do an update with some pictures from my drive, and the neighborhood we're going to be racing in tonight, but internet at Starbucks is 10 bucks a day, so I figured pictures can wait.

This neighborhood is awesome, and the course looks to be perfectly suited to me if I've got good form. Unfortunately, I'm just coming off a solid block or R&R, so I might not be too sharp tonight. If anything could coax me into riding better than I should, I think this venue might do it. There is a huge expo area set up with like V.I.P. Seating along the road with cocktail tables with white table clothes, as well as a big announcers booth, etc. Basically it looks like a real race venue, (unlike Coal Miners Classic, I still feel sorry for you Dave).

There is a significant rise on the back of the course, a few hundred meters long, that'll get old on the later laps I'm sure, and the decent seems narrow and fast with a sharp 90• corner at the bottom. It'll be interesting, but that goes without saying. I'll try to get an update out tonight or tomorrow in the a.m. filling everyone in on how this plays out.

Thanks for checking in and wish me luck, I'll need it.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

It's good to be home.

I rolled into town on July 2nd, and was surprised to see all the local businesses greeting me on their signs and billboards. I only got a couple pictures, but I can assure you there were a lot more. Unfortunately most of the other signs said Sgt. before my name, then had the wrong last name after Corey. Anyway, it was a warm welcome nonetheless.

I spent a few quality days in Yankton over the 4th, and survived this year without any stiches. We did all the great Yankton summer activities, boating, wakeboarding, sandboarding, camping on the island, partying at a storage shed (that was a new one for me) as well as running through large water spouts.

I always love coming back home, but I don't think I could survive a full week of it anymore. It's hard to believe that we used to do that for a full summer. I'm in Sioux Falls now with my parents relaxing and getting a couple of good days of training in before I head out to Superweek.

Mark running through the water. (It was really late)

I may or may not have pushed Kristin through the "fountain" with me.

Fireworks from the island.

Sand couch surrounding out fire.

Our fire got really big after a wood gathering contest.

The timeless wakeboarding/sunset picture.