Monthly Archives: October 2008

Building up Cross Bikes

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I think every rider goes through the same thing every fall transitioning from road to cross.  It is on different levels, but it is nearly the same. Either disassembling your road bike to put the parts on your cross bike or starting from scratch.   I’ve been “building” up 4 cyclocross bikes for the past 2 weeks.  Even though most of the parts are on the floor of my garage, it never seems to go as it should.  Intergrated headsets, wrong/no front derailluer clamps, cable hangers, etc.  Not to mention cantilever brakes.  And pads.  Pads to use on carbon wheels.  Aluminum wheels.  Whatever.  But, it is super important   A few seconds you give up here and there can be the difference between a great result and no result at all.  The first few races are over and now I’m back at square one with equipment.  It is a bit draining.  But there are a couple months to get the bugs out.  And just to think, I haven’t even gotten to glueing tires yet.  Fun, fun.

Listen to some interviews from Todd Wells, myself, etc. at The MadCross in Madison at Bikethrow.com.

Drug use. This is a joke.

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I was just reading Velonews.com.  The guy from the French anti-doping agency had a bunch to say.  I’ve always known that the situation was dire, but it never ceases to amaze me. Here’s the most interesting parts.

Bodry added that anti-doping officials were concentrating on looking for traces of banned blood booster EPO, “but we will soon be able to test the transfusions thanks to a new procedure, and we are going to do these tests.

“Some suspected cyclists returned to normal levels, but it was astonishing to see at what point their performances had then slowed,” said Bordry.

Bordry added he had already been in contact with around 30 cyclists who are thought to be embroiled in the latest scandal to hit the Tour de France.

Can you believe that they are looking at 30 riders.  How many did they actually take blood from?  Even if it was all the starters, it would be over 15%.  And it doesn’t astonish me at all to see that the performances “slowed” when their levels are closer to normal.  I’m just hoping my Red Blood Count goes back up to the normal range.  I feel great then.

This whole drug thing is old news, but it’s not getting better fast enough for my liking.  When guys like Basso, Vino, etc. seem to be back almost the same year they left, something is wrong with the system.   Racing bicycles isn’t a right.  Again.  Racing bicyles is not a right.  It is a priviledge.  Truely.  And when you abuse that priviledge by cheating your fellow competitors in such a way, you should loose that priviledge forever.  Enough said.

Dark Horse UCI Cross Race-Burlington, Kentucky

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Got in the car Thursday night after standing in my garage for an eternity building cross bikes and drove the 10 hours to Cincinnati for 3 cyclo-x races.  That is so cool that the promoters got together and have that many races on one weekend.  Anyway, it drew a pretty good field in both the men’s and women’s fields.  Actually really good fields.  Katie Compton, Georgia Gould, Sue Butler, Jeremy Powers, Barry Wicks, Jerimiah Bishop, plus many more.

Anyway, the course was pretty bad.  It hasn’t rained here in months and it was bumpier than sh**.  And there were a million u-turn corners.  Very hard course to get any sort of rhythm on.  And I had very little rhythm to dance to today.  There were over 50 starters in the men’s race.  I started OK.  Got into the grass in 6th, behind Eric Tonkin.  It was so tight for the first few minutes I could talk to him.  Not a normal cyclo-x thing. He was having some cornering issues and it was gassing me.  A big gap and then a hard acceleration.  So, after a lap and a half, Jerimiah Bishop, Troy Wells and a couple others went by.  I felt like quitting and saving it for the weekend, but thought there might be an outside chance that I could still finish in top ten and get some UCI points.  But, I never got going and ended up 13th.  So I’m steadlily moving down in results in UCI races weekend to weekend.  Last race 12th’s. This 13th.  And it wasn’t an easy 13th.  Not that cyclo-x is ever easy, but this seemed extremely painful for some reason.  Probably because it was in the mid 80’s temperaturewise.  And it is supposed to be the same the next two days.  Great!  I’m not doing so well in the heat this fall.

My travelling  compatriots didn’t fair so well either.  Catherine Walberg returned from Europe on business late Wednesday night and got in to the van at noon the next day.  She took a bike with here, but only rode it a couple days in Paris and hadn’t been on it for most of the past week.  She tied me with a 13th place finish.   Bill Stolte came looking for one measly UCI point for the weekend.  Not today.  He was 25th, which is the last paying place ($19).  He had some mechanical issues and had to make a few stops into the pit.  It should go better for him the next two days I’d think.

So,  two more painful days for me to look forward to.  At least it’s a weekend and we get a reprieve and don’t have to endure the stocks market woes/economy disaster for two more days.  Cycling is a simple life in comparison.

Results from my recollection as follows (don’t hold me to these!).

1. Jeremy Powers
2. Jerimiah Bishop
3. Barry Wicks
4. Joachim Parvo
5. Jonathan Baker

1. Katie Compton
2. Georgia Gould
3. Sue Butler
4 Deidre Winfield
5 Devon Haskell

Photo smorgasborg below. (Double click photos to enlarge.)

Me and my garage.

Prebuild fork selection.

Looking for my seat and post and Bromont took it to bed with him.

Right after the start.

Another artsy photo.

Johnny’s Java Cross-UCI C2 Middletown, Ohio

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Day 2 done. Things went better today for the Kansas gang, but the results won’t reflect that. The course is awesome. A much different course from yesterday. It flowed much better with a U-turn through a sand pit and some other well thought out sections.

The start is on a grass field with the barriers pretty within the first 30 seconds. It was just as hot as yesterday, mid 80’s. I got an OK start and was 5th or so over the barriers. There was a huge crash 100 meters from the line and it split up the field pretty good. I kind of faded a bit towards the end of the first lap, start of the second lap and ended up riding with Marko LaLonde in 9th and 10th for a couple laps. He was going good pulling the whole time. About half way through the race just before he was going to catch the group going for 6-8th I flatted. I instantly went under the tape having no desire to try to play catch up for UCI points. Tomorrow is a UCI C1 race with double points 15 places deep, and anyway it would of been a stretch to get any points today without a monumental effort. I think Marko ended up riding up to finishing 6th. Pretty good race.

Catherine was riding better, but had a chain issue that made her frequent the pit enough that she lost all motivation to race. Bill was pretty much on the same schedule. He has been into the pit more the last two days than any other rider by far I’d guess. I think he has quite properly it figured out now— hopefully.

Jeremy Powers schooled everyone as Katie Compton did in the women’s race. Georgia Gould flatted, ran half a lap and still ended up riding up to 6th. Jerimah Bishop finished 2nd, Barry Wicks 3rd, etc. Pretty much the same 5 as yesterday.

So, we had to hunt down a new chain for Catherine’s bike, glue a new tire on my rear wheel and stick Bill’s spare bike away in the depths of the van where it won’t be needed for the rest of the year hopefully.

Another start photo.

Lead group after a couple laps.

Marko and me.

My view for a couple laps.

Bio Wheels/United Dairy Farmers Harbin Park Cyclo-Cross (UCI C1)

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Back at home. Nearly 4 am. 13th place again today. Not what I was hoping for, but exactly what I deserved. I rode mediocre. Not sure why. Thought I might have a good day. Guess not. But, I’m not dwelling on it. Some things are pretty hard to figure. I’m blaming it on the heat right now. It was in the upper 80’s. That might be a bit of an exaggeration, but not by more than a degree or two. Troy Wells said something on the line like-“fun, fun – cyclo-x at 90 degrees.”

The course was great. Alot of terrain changes and elevation. Dusty because it hadn’t rained this year in Cincinnati. But, good, none the less. About 60 guys lined up for the Elite Men’s start. Pretty good turnout. Jeremy Powers won for the 3rd day in a row. Jerimiah Bishop was 2nd again. Broke his chain in the sprint for 1st and had to run to the line I guess. Troy Wells rode super and stayed in contention until the last lap and finished 3rd.

If I had been just a bit better early on I would of been racing for 9-11th. That is the best it could of been. That doesn’t thrill me much. But, that is the way it was. I started OK and pretty much destroyed my lungs the 1st lap. From then on it was nearly survival. Every once in a while I thought I was going to get going good, but that feeling never stayed around very long. I went all the was back to 17th and clawed my way back into the top 15 point mix. I fell on the last lap by augering my pedal into the ground in a corner. Bent my rear hanger pretty good and had to ride the last lap in either an 11-12-13 in the back. It didn’t really matter. I passed one guy and got to ride in easy. 4 UCI points for the weekend. Lots of suffering for not much return. But, it was still fun.

OK. Going to bed. Pictures later today.

Long sleeves at 90 for Joachim next to me.

Riding by myself which I did most of the day.

Sand pit.

Kohl positive EPO. 4 down ???? to go.

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I love this list from Velonews! They just keep slashing the names off the results sheet after the fact. It kind of reminds me of a conversation going on while I was sitting up in Purgatory (ski resort outside Durango) in the early 90’s, waiting out a huge thunderstorm before a downhill. The downhillers were talking about how marijuana was being added to the drug control list. A past, unnamed here, World Champion piped in that “if that is the case, they’re gonna have to throw out everyone in the top 20”. Might just be appropriate now.

Free Weekend…not really

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I should be on the East coast racing the two UCI ‘cross races there, but instead, am sitting here in Topeka with a sucking chest cold.  Probably just fall allergies, but I’m a horrible sick person during the season.  And, I have a tendency to not get over these things too quick, so it really weighs on my psyche.  There are a couple local ‘cross races that I’ll go and watch.  I don’t mind watching local races, but am not into watching bigger races that I think I should be racing.  Kind of weird.  So, back to the drawing board with fitness.  It is hard not to just lose fitness all fall until ‘cross Nationals in December.  That is why it is so important not to get sick much later than now.  There just isn’t enough time to recover.  Sometimes there isn’t enough good weather, either.  That is two strikes that are almost always thrown.  So, the message here is, don’t do anything stupid the next couple months to get sick.  OK.  That’s all the energy I have for now.