Monthly Archives: August 2011

Racing again I guess

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I haven’t raced for a month. Mostly by choice, but it doesn’t really matter. Brian, Bill and I are driving to St. Louis this afternoon and racing a criterium in Edwardsville, IL tomorrow. There is a $5000 prizelist and it isn’t that far of a drive. We were thinking of doing Elk Grove, but that didn’t seem to happen. I kind of hate Elk Grove because there is a PRO 1 race and a 1/2 race. The 1/2 race is better to do because it is actually racing and the PRO race is super controlled with leadouts for time bonuses. I’m not so big on a race being decided on a 8 minute TT and then time bonus sprints, but that is the scenario they’ve stuck with for the last few years.

I went to a small high school reunion last night. It wasn’t the official reunion, but just a gathering of maybe 40 people from my high school class. I went to the 10 years pre reunion get together way back, but haven’t been in town when it was happening since. I was surprised that everyone seemed to be in pretty good shape. The 10 year reunion was an eye opening experience. Lots of kids running around and guys polyester pants. This was much better. I’m glad I was around town this time.

It rained last night and it is steamy now. 98% humidity and it’s supposed to get to 98 degrees today. I’m going on right now, since I already missed the early ride here. I don’t like waking up and getting on my bike first thing in the morning.

Okay, I just got back from an hour and a half ride. Our roads suck. Our infrastructure is going to shit. I don’t think there is enough money out there to fix this huge problem. I nearly pitch flatted two or three time just riding through the neighborhoods getting home. Very depressing. Better get packing.

Photo from the gathering yesterday. Gene Edwards , Brent Sledd, Martine Padilla, Lucy Miera, and me.

Lucy Miera and Marcia Hecht looking great.

St. Louis

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Drove to St. Louis yesterday and we’re driving to Edwardsville, IL to race this afternoon. It is going to be ugly. Pretty hot, mid 90’s and muggy. We rode an hour this morning and it already seemed muggy. It is amazing how much stuff you have to gather to go to a race. We in the full size diesel van and it kind of seems like a hassle loading and unloading bikes to ride. Boy am I spoiled.

I often think of how spoiled we are, as Americans. Complaining how cold it is in the hallways of the hotel when it is 100 degrees outside. Ice machines that spit out virtually unlimited ice for free in all hotels. Free sugar for the taking at any fast food restaurant/Starbucks/everywhere. It is truly amazing what we take for granted. I wish we’d appreciate it a lot more.

Okay, I don’t feel that great riding. Heat hasn’t been bothering me too much the last week, so I’m cautiously optimistic that I’ll be good. We’ll see.

Pre ride ride. Everywhere is under construction.

Back of the van, not even full.

Edwardsville Criterium

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This race was super enjoyable. The race is in downtown Edwardsville, Il. Edwardsville is just 30 miles from St. Louis, but you’d never know you were that close to a big metropolitan area. The promoter did just about everything right. More than right. All the way down to cooling areas inside for the riders to rest before the race. The town itself is really behind the event. The town is crazy bike friendly. I was told that there are 134 miles of bike trails in the surrounding area. That is probably more than in the whole state of Kansas.

The course was great. .8 mile and pretty technical. It was a figure 8 with one end being small and super technical. There were less than 50 guys in the Pro 1 race. That is mainly because of Elk Grove happening just a few hours North. And it was stupid hot. That word stupid is how the waitress at the Starbucks described the day. It was appropriate. 96/96. That is 96 degrees and 96% humidity.

Since we’d ridden in the morning, there was no warming up. It would have been hotting up anyway. We were only going to try to win the race and not stack the results. With only 3 guys there, you have to be careful how much energy to expend trying to optimize your results. Brian seemed nervous before the race, which is usually a good sign. And it was. He won a $50 prime early in the race and the field was super slow to respond to his move. I knew that it was going to be over quickly. With the far end of the course being so tight, it was very hard getting to the front to respond to anything. The far end was a left, followed by a right, right, right, left, all within 150 meters. And the corners were tight with some manhole covers, ect. making them tricky.

My legs felt pretty strange the first 15 minutes. It might have been because I had panty hose filled with ice in my shorts. Trudi had told me that the BMC doctors had told their riders that putting ice on either side of you groan, where your iliac artery runs, is super good at cooling you. I guess it worked because I never over heated in the 75 minute race, but I have to admit, I was looking forward to that ice being gone. It lasted maybe 20 minutes max.

Anyway, Brian rolled away pretty early with two guys, a Dogfish and Big Shark rider. Man, does that sound strange. Looks like the St. Louis guys are some sort of professional bass fisherman teams. I asked their team mates if that was good for them and they said that Jensen was going to kill them, but a podium was good for them. I was a little disappointed that the race was going to be decided that quickly, without really getting a chance to make the split. But, it wasn’t that easy.

The Bigshark guy crashed on the first tight right had corner and it took him a while to get back to the pit and back in the race. When he did get back, Brian was already pulling virtually the whole lap and they both got dropped. Luckily the field was kind of overheated by them, but not enough to stop aggressive racing.

Bill and I were in every move. In retrospect, I wish I would have throttled it a couple times when we were in a small split because it didn’t work out that well the way it turned out.

With 10 laps to go, they rang the bell for a $200 prime for the field. I was a ways back in the field, but I couldn’t pass that up. It went badly. I jumped late, wanting to get into the tight section in the lead. And I did, but barely, completely set up wrong for the first left corner. I was all the way on the inside curb, having went way too hot, at the wrong angle, going into the left. Anyway, the next corner came way too quickly. I should have just scrubbed some speed and started all over again, but I already had a few bike length lead and guess I didn’t want to loose that. But I did because I wasn’t moving, just laying in the corner.
I just slid out and hit the curb. Everyone made it by pretty well. I wasn’t too ripped up, but my seat post, integrated to the frame, snapped off.

Anyway, I rode over to the pit, looking to borrow a bike to finish. There were 25 place for $5000, so it made sense. But no bike and the field was coming by, so I just got back in with 6 to go. Josh Johnson asked me if I thought it was dangerous riding. I said something like, “not to you, but to me.”. It really wasn’t too bad riding without a seat. The problem was cornering. It is amazing how much you rely on your seat to corner quickly and correctly. I got the hang of it after a couple laps, but was pretty wasted from never sitting. I got to the front to lead Bill out, but he was bumped off my wheel. Tracy Smith was trying to lead out Matt Brandt, but I had to let him go through the tight section. A couple guys had rolled away, so I think the field was sprinting for 4th. Bill ended up 10th. I kind of bagged it, not wanting to screw any body up in the last corner, since it was only 75 meters from the finish. I was around 15th on the day. But, afterwards, I was told the free laps ended at 7 to go, so I was a lap down. It didn’t really matter.

So Brian won alone, but it was a big effort, mainly because of the heat. The prize list was a little top heavy, which I’m generally against, but it is great if you win. It was 5 hours back, so we didn’t get back until after midnight.

Driving back there was a super lightening storm all the way from Kansas City to Topeka. More lightening than I’ve ever seen before. Vertical, horizontal, everywhere. Pretty spectacular. It’s raining pretty hard this morning and is suppose to rain some nearly everyday this week. It’s only 72 out right now, but is supposed to get up to 95. But, this week is going to be better weather, in the 80’s, which is a nice change.

I’m not that torn up from falling, but I re-injured my already separated shoulder. I’ve crashed 3 times this year, once in the rain in Tulsa, once in Iowa City and now this time. I can count on one hand how many times I’ve fallen on my own in a criterium. Okay, maybe two hands. But, I’ve raced hundreds, if not a thousand criteriums, so I can’t complain too much about screwing up every once in a while. We all do and it’s just a part of the sport. I’m not sure what my next race is. I’m thinking about going out to Colorado, but nothing is written in stone, ever.

The race was right in an old downtown, super nice venue.

The women's sprint into the final corner. The girl that won got a pretty good jump from behind, but Catherine finished 2nd, which didn't thrill her that much, but it was a good result none the less.

After the women's race and before our race, Brian checking out the yard sale Catherine has going on the sidewalk.

Not good. But it isn't that depressing. I've been riding this same frame for nearly 3 seasons and the seat mast wasn't in that great of shape, so I didn't really trust the frame anymore, probably with good reason.

Pretty good prize list for a regional race.

I saw these guys at a gas stop in Missouri. They look like they love travelling.

Challenge Tires

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Bill Marshall hooked me up with a few new Challenge Tires last week. I haven’t had a chance to mount them up, but off the bike they look great.

The new Limus ‘Cross tires are pretty exciting. I’m pretty sick of Dugast tires. Super expensive and they don’t last even if you baby them. Challenge tires are exactly the opposite. Not so expensive and they are hardy. I don’t agree about the tires being mud specific. I’ve never been depressed with too much tread in a cyclo-x. I’m kind of like Tim Johnson in that respect. He seems to ride a lot of tread, no matter what the event. The tread of the Limus tire is incredibly deep. If they hook up like they look, it will be my tire of choice for the season.

I also got a couple 24mm road tubulars. I’ve been interested in riding bigger profile tires ever since I read this year about many of the Pro teams in Europe riding them because of a reduced rolling resistance. I’m into the cornering aspect though. I know that when I was racing Fatboy Criteriums, the 1.25 tires were incredible for corning. I don’t know why it would be any different going from 21 to a 24. Challenge makes a 27mm race tire. It will be fun trying them out.

UCI max width at 33mm.

Pretty agressive tread.

Nice weight for so much rubber.

This is a 24mm road tire. Perfect for criterium racing. I should have put them on for last weekend's race I guess.