Monthly Archives: May 2009

Tour of Lawrence

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Click the link here for Tour of Lawrence over the July 4th holiday. The race is held in downtown Lawrence, Kansas on Saturday for the criterium and then a super cool venue on Sunday, racing on the KU Campus on Mt. Oread. Click on the race flyer and check out the prize list for all catagories. It’s great.

If you’ve never been to Lawrence it is a great town. The old main street is original with super good shopping and dinning. There is a fireworks display on July 4th, obviously. So, it’s going to be a good weekend for the family if that’s a concern.

Rock Island Criterium-Memorial Day

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Rock Island. A 50 lap, 40 miles .8 mile figure 8 course in downtown Rock Island. Flat. The weather was looking like rain the whole day, but it held off. It was windy though. This race is hard to read. It’s a field sprint usually, but a lot of times breaks succeed. The wind made the race seemed destined to split.

It was going pretty good all day. I was in a fair amount of moves. I felt better than the previous 3 days, but not stellar. But, the couple times I was with Adam Bergman, Texas Road House, I realized he was going to ride away eventually. And he did with 10 laps to go. Bill and I made a pretty big effort, but weren’t up to the challenge. Adam was with Gregory Christian, Panther. He had showed his power on Friday bridging up to the break at the end and power it almost to the line. When I heard the announcer say that he was with Bergman, I lost all hope and went back to the field. Road House had 10 other guys in the field, so we were not going to catch the break. It was only 6 laps left, so I was trying to recover

On the last lap, 5 of the Texas Road House guys got lined up to lead out John Puffer I guess. I was maybe 15 guys back, but had 5 corners to move up. I got to the long back stretch, two corners from the finish maybe 10th and decided to go from there. Normally, the 1st guy to the last corner wins. That means that you want to be in the top three around the 2nd to last corner. It amazed me that the Texas Road House guys weren’t going faster. I was going by them pretty quickly and went throught the corner perfectly in 3rd. I figured that the rider in the front was done and I only had to go by one guy Kirk Albers. But, as usually in this race, the first rider fell. I had to go straight and skid up towards the outside curb. Kirk made it through cleaner than me, but was over geared too. I shifted up a couple in the back and got to within a couple bikes lengths by the last corner, but was pretty much done. I assumed that the rest of the field made it through on the inside and would be coming by pretty quickly. But, no, they got held up and I just needed to go by Kirk to win the field sprint for 3rd.

I’m not sure what to think. I wasn’t having a stellar day, but I hate being in a race and no race for the win. I was 3rd in the race last year too, so maybe that is my destiny. Catherine Walberg finished 3rd in the women’s race. Meredith Miller, Tibco won out of a 6 rider break. Catherine was 3rd the day before in Muscatine, so her last two days were awesome.

We’re heading down to Tulsa Friday for the Tulsa Tough NRC. 3 hard criteriums. A ton of money. Something around $150,000 for the weekend with the majority for the PRO race. It’s gonna be pretty hot and hard. We don’t race until 10pm on Friday night, so it’s going to be a weird sleep cycle again. I like racing at night. Makes the speeds seem so much more and with the shadows, it’s really makes you focus. Should be fun.

Podium-Christian Gregory, Adam Bergman, me & Chad Hartely(sprint points winner)l-r.

Podium-Christian Gregory, Adam Bergman, me & Chad Hartely(sprint points winner)l-r.

Muscatine Criterium

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Another Muscatine Criterium in the books. The course is in Weed Park above the Mississippi. Pretty nice setting. The course is 40 laps of a mile course that is down for a third, up for a third and a third flat. The flat portion has a couple corners with a hairpin 150 meters before the finish.

Nearly 140 guys lined up for the start of the PRO 1-2 race. The race seemed kind of destined to be a field sprint from the gun. Too many pretty fit guys. And the momentum at the bottom of the descent ate breaks alive. I was riding like yesterday most of the race. Pretty flat. Covering stuff I thought I should cover. But suffering doing it. With 10 laps to go, everyone seemed to be getting pretty beat. The humidity was pretty high. The temperatures in the 80’s, which seemed hot. Anyway, it was easy to sense that the field was struggling. I finally made a decisive split with 8 to go. But, Eric Marcotte was in the move. And he wasn’t really pulling. He is pretty much faster than me and I wasn’t willing to sprint out of a small group with him. I need a lot more traffic and commotion to beat him. One on one I’ll lose most of the time. Anyway, the field was splitting behind and I was pretty rested by the time Brian came up in a small group with 2 to go.

Then the field reattached sometime soon after, but they were done. I jacked up the sprint again. I’ve never executed a good sprint at this race. The sprint is to the last corner. Brian tried to lead me out, but the commotion that I was looking for earlier got involved. I was buried 100 meters before the corner, but had a bunch of juice left. 20 meters before the final corner I was 8th and went into the hairpin 4th, with way too much speed. Ended up on the far curb going about 5 mph and by the time I got back up to speed I was lucky to loose only one place, finishing 5th. Chad Hartley won for the 2nd time in 3 days. Eric was 2nd by 1/2 a wheel.

Tomorrow is Rock Island. Big $$$ race of the weekend. Doesn’t seem like with all this criterium riding I’m getting anymore leg speed. Yesterday I quit taking the antibiotics that were prescribed for a month. I took them for 10 days. I figure they is way too much racing going on the next month to be suffering like this. And I have to blame it on something. We’ll see.

Only photo from today.  Sharing water with Eric Marcotte (notice the sprinter legs-his, not mine).

Only photo from today. Sharing water during rider introductions with Eric Marcotte (notice the sprinter legs-his, not mine).

Snake Alley Criterium

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This is a epic race. One of the best races I do all year for sure. 20 laps on a .9 mile course up a switch backed, brick climb and down a screaming descent. This year, add water in the form of rain. I won the race the only other time I’ve raced it in the rain, but this wasn’t to be. I’ve been riding pretty mediocre for the past week. I didn’t confirm the feeling until Burlington Road Race. Just flat. When it started raining before the start, I got a little more motivated/nervous, but still didn’t have any confidence. 107 guys started. It is a cluster f*** at the back the first time up the Snake. Alot of walking for sure.

Long story short, I started fast and was gone immediately. At the bottom of the descent I couldn’t see anyone behind me. For a minute I though, just maybe. Then, Paul Martin for the Panther Team was coming up. I waited, but on the next climb he came off and lost more time on the descent. Then he motored up on the flats again. Eventually, Brian Jensen for Tradewind Energy and a few others got a small group formed. But, I was flat. Brian rode away and I rode up the climb slow. But he never got a huge gap. Then Adam Bergman, Texas Roadhouse went up the climb pretty hard and that was all she wrote. He rode away and the rest of us screwed around. I was feeling weird. Sometimes up the climb I felt super and then the next lap I was done 3 switch backs from the top. I could always get back on on the descent. It was wet with 3 super fast 90 degree corners. With 9 to go I felt okay and thought I’d try to catch Adam. I rode two laps pretty hard off the front of the chase group and barely took 8 seconds out of him. Then I fell apart, sort of. Well, lost motivation for sure. I realized that first was gone. Our group split into ones and twos. I was at the back. Ended up finishing 8th. I didn’t really care. If it would of been dry, I would of been buried.

Brian finished right behind me in 9th and Chris Hall came from lining up 103th to 13th. He had the ride of the day for our team. It was nice to see Iowa local, Amanda Miller win the women’s race handily. She should of won last year except for some mechanical problems. It is a classic race and it’s nice for her to win it so close to home. Today is Muscatine Criterium at 4 pm and then Rock Island Monday afternoon. It is a pretty nice way to spend Memorial Day Weekend.

Our new kits. Me & Dewy. He had a good race finishing 4th

Our new kits. Me & Dewy. He had a good race finishing 4th


Early when I had power.

Early when I had power.


They don't make streets like this anymore.

They don't make streets like this anymore.


Amanda Miller rode a perfect race and won on her own.

Amanda Miller rode a perfect race and won on her own.

Burlington Road Race

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Drove up to Burlington Iowa for the Friday afternoon road race. It is always nice to be able to race on weekdays. The 80 mile road race is a nice way to get over the 7 hour drive. The race goes North out of Burlington and parallels the Mississippi River up to a small town, Wapello, and the back with a small diversion to Mediapolis and back to a super fast downhill finish in Burlington. Pretty flat. Historically this race is pretty breezy. Friday it was almost calm. This race had field sprint written all over it.

Then a break of 6 got away after about 25 miles. We had two guys, Bill and Chris Hall in the move. So I did everything I could to slow the field down. They got out of sight after a while and it looked like it had a chance. Eventually, a group of strong guys got rotating at the front. Not one time in particular. Just one or two guys from a lot of different teams. They were rolling pretty good. 28-30 mph for the next hour. The break had 1:30 with 20 miles to go. Then they were in sight. We were coming up on them pretty good with 6 miles to go, but a then a couple guys jumped from the field and with the new blood, Bill and 3 others kept a gap. The finish is up a small hill, 800 meters of flat and then 500 meters downhill. They still had 100 meters going up the hill, but the Texas Roadhouse guys, with something like a million riders, lined up and started their leadout (even though they had one rider in a 4 man group). They did have he fastest guy in a downhill sprint, John Puffer. He was the wheel I was going to start on. I can’t go around him unless he screws up and goes too early. At least I never have. Bill jumped and was away, but we caught him with 700 meters to go. I started over the top of the hill in good position and then it went to shit. There were 5 or 6 Texas Roadhouse guys in the front and Kirk Albers decided to jump instead of leading Puffer out. Then the rest sat up. Chad Hartley went for Albers. I started for Hartley and then thought I should stay on Puffer. By then everyone was in the wind in a 45 mph downhill sprint. I was buried. Chad Hartely won with Puffer 2nd and Josh Carter 3rd. The fastest three guys for sure, but Puffer should of won the race if the leadout would of been executed correctly.

Anyway, no one crashed and it was fast and fun as usual. Snake Alley was the next day, so no one wanted to kill themselves.

Steve Larsen

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One of the last times I raced MTB’s with Steve was at the Sea Otter before he “became” a triathlete. I had the pleasure of riding the whole Sea Otter cross country with him. I was doing the Iron Otter. It involved racing the road stage race simultaneously with the MTB stage race and then adding the combined times together. Danny Pate and Cadel Evans were my main competition. Anyway, the final race was the cross country. I was having a pretty good day and ended up in a small group of guys with Steve. Eventually it got down to just the two of us. He knew about all the racing I’d done the past three days and nursed me along the last hour to a top ten finish. Very nice of him.

I first met Steve when he was a junior. It was in Nevada City. He was pretty unbelievable then. I followed him as he matured. He just got better and better.. He eventually raced on Motorola on the road. Then switched to MTB. He nearly always rode a good tactical race. He had a epic duel with Lance Armstrong at Mt. Snow. I think he let his emotions get the better that day and Travis Brown ended up winning the Norba National because of it. But, Steve made Lance ride way beyond what he had anticipated. The quote in the paper the next morning from Lance was “That was the hardest thing I’ve ever done!” That was after he had already won a Tour de France.

We always got along pretty well. Probably because we shared a lot of the same passions and a lot of the same experiences. He came to the Olympic Road Trials in 2004 to support Chris Horner. That was after he hadn’t raced for a while. Horner should of won that race, except for the facts that he was on antibiotics and everyone in the race ganged up against him. Steve was a very good team mate. He was a very good cyclist. That is a fact. I hadn’t seen Steve in a while. But, he was a friend and will be missed.

Steve congratulating me after helping me for nearly an entire Sea Otter Cross Country.

Steve congratulating me after helping me for nearly an entire Sea Otter Cross Country.

Auburn Road Race

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A couple days ago, Sunday, there was a local race less than an hours ride from my house. I wasn’t planning on riding it, but Jack Mason, the promoter came over and made a personal plea for me to attend. I can’t t really turn Jack down, can I? And I’m very glad he did. It was a very nice race and super fun.

The course was Southwest of Topeka in a town called Auburn. Small farm town. The race course start and finished in Auburn riding west into the Flinthills. Two hilly loops. Beautiful terrain. It was maybe the best course I’ve ridden this year. I rode out to the race with Bill, Nick and Catherine Walberg. I was pleasantly surprised to see how many riders showed up. It was pretty cool have so many guys from Oklahoma, Arkansas, ect. come and ride a race where I ride every week.

We had around 40 guys in our field. I was worried it was going to be less than 15. Anyway, I started hard and tried to keep the group rolling pretty fast. Bill got away early in the first lap with Peter Erdos from OKC. Jeremy Pych eventually bridged up to them. I think I might of let them get too far ahead. By the time I decided to make my way up to them, they were nearly out of sight. It took me a a couple other guys a good part of 45 minutes to eventually claw our way back to the front. I hate chasing when I have a team mate up in the group ahead pulling. Bill said he was looking back, but could never see us. When we finally got within 30 seconds or so, Bill looked back around a corner and we were on pretty instantly.

There was one good climb on the course. We’d already done it once on the first lap. I wasn’t nearly as good the 2nd time up. There were 6 of us left when we started the climb. I attacked half way up. Felt pretty okay for a minute or so and then bogged down some. Okay, maybe alot. Alex Battles-Wood, a junior from Tulsa was riding pretty good. He had chased Bill and company for about the same amount of time I had chased. Anyway, he was the only one to respond, with Bill sitting on. I eased up to let them catch and when they did, Bill attacked immediately. Alex realized he was in trouble and decided 3rd place was a good result. Which it was. We rode the last 6 miles together back to Auburn with Bill winning and me 2nd.

So, I have to thank Jack Mason again for talking me into racing. I don’t know what I was thinking before. It was really fun. It was a super hard workout. I had over a 100 miles by the time I got back to my house. Kind of like racing in Belgium. Ride to any one of 5 races, race and ride home. Wouldn’t that be great if that were the case here every weekend?

Start of climb.

Start of climb.

Bill, Jack, and me.

Bill, Jack, and me.