Monthly Archives: April 2009

Hillsboro Roubaix 2009

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I haven’t raced the past few weekends and was really looking forward to the Hillsboro-Roubaix weekend near St. Louis. There is a 90 mile road race on Saturday and then a very short “circuit” race on Sunday. I’ve had either a cold or allergies for the past two weeks, so I was interested in how I would feel at race speed.

Saturday’s race is on a 22-mile loop that is pretty interesting. Lots of corners, rolling hills, and scenic country roads. There is a nice long brick section through the finish town, thus the Roubaix. My worst finish in the race previously was 2nd. I won the event last year with my teammate Brian Jensen, finishing 2nd. He had previously finished 2nd in the race the previous 3 times he had raced it, so it was his turn. One thing I have learned about Brian is that when he puts his mind to doing well at a race that has previously eluded him, he is nearly unstoppable. And that was the case on Saturday.

The field was “over sold” at registration, so we had to wait until 10 minutes before the start to get numbers. Pre-registration closed on Monday for some reason. Anyway, there were 130 PRO 1-2 riders at the start. Very early, maybe 6 miles, into the lap there was a big crash. The field slowed down to wait. Frank Dierking and Brian separated themselves from the pack soon afterwards. I thought it was way too early and was worried about him wasting energy.

My friend, Dennis Kruse was down visiting from snowy Wisconsin and came to the race to spectate. He was out riding the course and encountered a pack of dogs. He tried to keep the 8 crazy dogs off the course, but ended up getting bit. Twice. Once on the hand by a Great Dane and then again on his leg by a Chow mutt. The rest of his day was spent at the emergency room.

Meantime, the field never let Brian and company get out of sight, but it took nearly 45 miles to catch them. During that time, I fell on one of the coned climbs. I was riding up the hill and somehow a cone ended up in my front wheel and I instantly went over the bars. I’m not sure if someone hit one of the cones and knocked it into my wheel or I just ran into it, but it was the same result. I took my time straightening my bike out, so had to chase a few miles back on. I asked Brian how he felt and he said great. The race was over right then. A small group was off the front and when we hit the next cross wind, Brian jumped up to them. The field was shattering and there was a minimal chase the remainder of the lap, but eventually everyone ran out of juice. Brian attacked the group until only 3 riders were left and then pulled the last lap. He flatted only 2 miles from the finish, got a wheel from a spectator and caught back on and won by himself. I finished 2nd in the “field sprint” which was good for 9th. I wasn’t having a bad day, but definitely not stellar. I was micro cramping the last half lap and was pretty tired that night.

Sunday’s criterium is a criterium with no corners. In a park, one loop. Short, maybe a little over 1 km. I hate those races. Closer to a track race than a criterium. There has to be a corner in a criterium. The more the better I think. Anyway, only about half the guys that raced the road race started Sunday. I’m not sure why that was. Maybe it was the baby prize list. I don’t know, but that was the case. My team, Tradewind Energy/Trek Stores had 5 guys for the weekend. The day before, Texas Road House had 10 guys and a few other teams 6+. But, we were the strongest guys for sure.

We were super aggressive right from the gun. We didn’t want the race to come down to a field sprint. Josh Carter was going to win if that was the case. Eventually, a break got up the road with 8 riders. Everyone but me from our team was there. But, Josh made the split. The race was over, but I think we made a tactical error and started attacking the break too early. It was super windy and when the break split up, the field got remotivated. Long story short, the field was back together with 5 to go. I got away on the next lap with one rider. We had a good gap, but Josh Carter bridged up towing Brian and one more guy, Dave Henderson. There were only 2 km to go by then. I put in a good last lap dig, but Henderson chased, giving Josh all the rest he needed. He outsprinted Brian and I pretty handily. So, we finished 2nd and 3rd on the day. Shad was 2nd in the field sprint for 7th.

Catherine Walberg, not teammate, but travel team companion, finished 2nd in Hillsboro and won the criterium on Sunday. Somehow, our team should/has to take some kind of credit for her results.

So, since Tradewind Energy became involved, we’ve won 3 out of 5 races we’ve entered. Finishing 2nd and 3rd in the other two. Pretty good winning % for bike racing. Probably not sustainable for the remainder of the season, but a good start.

After race huddle.

After race huddle.

Ater race drink.  Guys, chocolate milk, ??? Slimfast?

After race drink. Guys, chocolate milk, girls, Slimfast. Whatever.

Dennis Kruse's dog bite hand after hospital visit.

Dennis Kruse's dog bite hand after hospital visit.

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Can I only win in Oklahoma this season??? The Fire Hill Criterium

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It’s been awhile since I posted. Sorry. I haven’t raced in a couple weeks. There was a stage race going on over by St. Louis that most of my guys were going to race, but Bill Stolte and myself decided to go down to a one day race North of Oklahoma City, The Fire Hill Criterium. Sometimes it is better to separate and spread the wealth. The race was rumored to have a pretty good hill every .8 mile, so it was going to be good interval training. Plus, it had a great prize list for a regional race, which is never a bad thing.

The race course was all it was rumored to be. It was held at a Firemen’s Training Academy with super smooth pavement. A 150 meter hill with a snakey descent that involved a good amount of handling skills. I probably gained more from the descent than the climb. There were a fair amount of people watching (though you can’t see that in the photos). Both Bill and I rode the master’s event early in the morning. I kind of have a personal rule against racing master’s races. That is unless I feel under raced and/or there is a lot of money to be won. Both the before mentioned “rules” were present Saturday. There isn’t much to report here. We got away and finished 1st and 2nd. The biggest thing to report is that I flatted with 5 laps to go and had to “chase” back.

The Pro1-2 race was going to be much harder. But, I had been riding pretty good recently, so was mildly confident. I immediately got off the front with a few guys. That break got absorbed after a few laps and right when we were caught, they announced a $100 prime. I went down the hill pretty quickly and only had an ex-teammate, Adam Mills, with me for the “sprint”. We were pretty separated from the rest of the field so decided to just keep going. Both of us had a teammate left in the field. We got into a pretty good tempo early on and steadily built up a good lead. Eventually, the course took its toll on the field and we took the last 1/2 lap out of them in just a few laps.

Adam and I are friends and knew the situation, so we kept working to the finish. There were a few guys dangling off the front of the field, but it was all back together with a couple laps to go. Adam went up the hill as hard as he could and I lead it out from a 1/2 lap to go for Bill. It worked nearly to perfection. Adam’s teammate, Joesph Schmalz was on Bill coming off the descent. There was a small rise and a two sweeping corners in the last 400 meters. I was in a 12 and let Bill come by the last 100 meters. He ended up 3rd, winning the field sprint, with Joesph 5th. So, Topeka and Lawrence, Kansas riders dominated the top 5. 1-2-3-5. Bill and I came home with $1500, so it wasn’t a bad day prize-wise, either.

I’ve only won two races so far this year and both have been in Oklahoma. Hope that isn’t something I post in December. Catherine Walberg, van travel companion, won the women’s race handily. She lapped virtually the whole women’s field. She also rode the master’s race earlier to get some more form and try to keep up with the guys. It was a good course for her with a good climb and technical descent. Brian Jensen, Tradewind Energy team, won the Tour of Hermann near St. Louis convincingly. Our team winning percentage is increasing dramatically.

The drive down to Oklahoma through Kansas is very picturesque. Between Topeka and Wichita there is a huge expanse of grazing land. It is called the Flint Hills because of all the rock deposits. Huge rolling hills as far as one can see. It is where they do the majority of grass burning now in the spring. I’ve heard that a cow grazing on grass that has been burned puts on something like 25 more lbs. weight than one that eats last years grass. Not sure if that is the case, but there must be a reason. Anyway, they were burning at night when we drove back and it looked surreal. I think people are natural pyromaniacs. Especially men, men farmers. I didn’t get any good photos, but it is crazy looking at night. I’ll find some to post later.

Going to Iowa to race the famous Iowa City Criterium and road race next weekend. I’ve won both the races recently and so has Brian, so it should be a good weekend.

Field sprint with Bill winning on the right. I'm in the middle.

Field sprint with Bill winning on the right.

Adam and I climbing the hill.

Adam and I climbing the hill.

Descending.

Descending alone.

Annoucement to the Flint Hills.

Annoucement to the Flint Hills.


Flint Hills in the summer.

Flint Hills in the summer.


Another Flint Hills photo.

Another Flint Hills photo.

Tour of Turkey Final Sprint

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This is the reason that guys shouldn’t be taking their hands off of the bars during a bike race to push another rider. Theo Bos (Rabobank Continental) should of been using his hands to pull his brakes instead of whatever he was doing. The officials totally screwed up the ruling with no penalty or sanction. This hand tapping/pushing is occurring constantly now in US racing and is total bullshit. If you click here on YouTube.com and watch one of the videos of the whole last kilo, you’ll see a bunch of riders falling. It isn’t good bike racing.

I just like anything to do with Bicycles I guess

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This guy has unbelievable control of his bike. Back in the day when MTB racing was new, Mt. Snow Vermont was a NORBA National stage race. All the cross country riders had to do the downhill and trials. I did the trials with Rishi Grewal and Thomas Frischnect. It was a joke. We were terrible. After a couple of the “courses”, Thomas and I just took the maximum dabs for the remainder and left. This guy could of done it blindfolded. Check this out.

Earth Day. Not in Kansas today. Burning field rant. Again.

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This is going to be toned down from last year. It is Bullshit how many people burn their grass in the country. It must be nearly the only place in the civilized world that allows this. I read yesterday that the county is issuing burning permits to the end of May. That is way past the point where it is beneficial for the grass for cattle. So, it is for lazy ditch burners. Good way to get rid of the plastic pop bottle rubbish. Anyway, it has been pretty bad the last couple days. Along with all the trees, flower, and grass allergies, it is nearly impossible to breath. At least breathe properly. Some photos (via iPhone) of the evening ride tonight.

Burning the ditches.

Burning the ditches.


Finished product.

Finished product.


Descending into the abyss.

Descending into the abyss.


My cute dog keeping me company between races in Oklahoma last weekend.  He's a great sleeper.

My cute dog keeping me company between races in Oklahoma last weekend. He's a great sleeper.

Iowa City Road Race

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Drove up to Iowa with the gang for the Iowa City Road Race and Old Capitol Criterium. Both the races are good. Nice courses. Well promoted. Just a fun bicycle racing weekend. I won the Iowa City Criterium nearly 25 years ago. I think I’ve only raced it twice. A couple years ago, Brian Jensen and myself were 1st & 2nd. Our team, TradeWind Energy/Trek Store have 4 guys here, which is a good number for a regional race. Not too big to overwhelm the field, but enough to take turns and ride a good strategic race.

The road course today was a 13 mile loop with a couple big ring climbs. It historically has been very windy, but the storm that was supposed to pass through midday never came. So, it was relatively calm. Less than 10 mph for the majority of the race. But, the temperatures were in the 50’s and it was damp. Kind of cold standing around for sure.

Anyway, the race was a little negative from my perspective. But, I think that is nearly always the case when the course or conditions don’t help make the selection. We only race offensively. It is way more fun and the results usually reflect the efforts. I wasn’t having a great day, but not horrible either. I got into a couple moves, but didn’t have enough to just ride away from the field. Finally after 50 miles or so, the field started getting a bit tired and the wind picked up a tad. On the last lap of 5, I went pretty hard up a hill with Brian on my wheel. The wind was coming from the left, so I knew there wasn’t going to be much of a field left. Brian jumped over the top with 3 riders in tow. I should of went, but thought that might be too greedy. In retrospect, it was an error, but you can’t kick yourself for making a decision on the road afterwards. Only learn from it.

Brian rode away in a group of 5. The rest of the field seemed pretty done. I rode away virtually at will pretty much the last 6 miles, but never could stay away. I had the wind, but not the power I guess. Brian shelled the break as soon as they started sitting on. 6 miles to go. I got caught the last time with less than a mile to go. Brian won alone. I got a OK leadout from Bill, but ended up getting beat in the field sprint by last years winner, Dan Ajer I believe. It was only for 6th place.

Catherine Walberg, Kenda, who seems to be always getting a mention nowadays, won the women’s event handily. There were nearly 40 women there, so it was a pretty good race for them. We still need to figure out a way to take credit for her results somehow.

So, now I’ve raced the Iowa City weekend 3 times and I’ve either won or a team mate has won every event I’ve entered. That is kind of lucky I’d guess. We’ll see if we can extent the streak for one more year tomorrow. Maybe Iowa City is like Japan for me. I am undefeated in the nation of Japan racing bicycles. 3 times racing MTB and once on the road. I probably shouldn’t go back there to race and just leave well enough alone.

For the tourist in you – The road was held in Kalone, Iowa. 25 miles Southwest of Iowa City. It is Mennonite country. Lots of carriages. Home cooked pastries and bakery items were.75 cents. Huge, homemade cinnamon rolls to die for. I definitely gained weight.

Tomorrow the criterium is next to the University of Iowa around the Old Capitol. It has a pretty good climb in it and lots of corners. It is supposed to rain nearly all day. Should make for an interesting race. It’s raining already. Stay tuned.

"Bag Lady" Catherine trying to stay warm before the race with bike blankets.

Catherine, emulating a bag woman, trying to stay warm before the race with bike blankets.


Mennonite carriage shot from the van on the way to the race.

Mennonite carriage shot from the van on the way to the race.