Double Feature: ChiCrossCup #1 And US Gran Prix #1

27 Sep

Cyclocross season has been underway here in Chicagoland for a month now.  3 races already under my belt and it’s still Sept; Relaycross, Chicago Cyclocross Cup #1 at Jackson Park and even one U.S Gran Prix race in Wisconsin.

living in the center of the cyclocross universe in North America has its benefits, where else can you race a ChiCrossCup one weekend then drive 2 hrs the next weekend and race a  U.S. Gran Prix? Nowhere. And it just gets better every week.

CCC #1 at Jackson Park marked the start of the series and the start of the chase for call-ups and standings. I’m pretty sure last weekend set a record for # of racers at a CX race in North America, 680!

We had about 70 racers start in the Masters 40+ (most classes sold out at 100) No lucky call up for me this year, I just put my head down and pedaled.

Pics by Nick Gajewski

I ended up finishing 7th, exactly the same placing as last year at Jackson Park.

As much fun as it was racing, the most fun of the day was had cheering and heckling Cassidy.  She raced the Junior race and did awesome, finished 4th out of the girls.  She came to the race wanting and expecting to get heckled and heckled she got.  I don’t know who the megaphone girl was but we got her to chase Cassidy along the course shouting, “Hey, Cassidy Utah, you suck!” Cass was laughing so hard she could barely get back on her bike.

Fast forward 1 week and U.S. Gran Prix #1 in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin served up exquisite CX conditions.

I’ve always said I’m a fair weather racer and would shake my head in disbelief when other crossers prayed for rain and mud.  I get it now. Mud rules! Ended up getting 4th in the SS class.

ChiCrossCup #2 is on Sunday in DeKalb and the Masters classes need some hecklers.  Come out early to heckle and and I’ll reward you with coffee.  I’m bringing 5-gallons of coffee and 20 gallons of CarboRocket. last week the coffee was gone by 10:30 and the CarboRocket was gone by Noon.  The early bird gets the worm.


Sweet 16

4 Aug

It’s hard to believe my baby, Kendra, is 16 years old today.  I love it, I think.  She is amazing and wonderful and smart and beautiful and talented.  I do love her, that, I know.  We have been celebrating her non-stop all day long.

I celebrated her with oven-puffed pancakes this morning.

Tacos this afternoon.

Followed by $100 worth of empanadas and Haagen-Daz coffee ice cream for dinner. Yes, $100 buys a lot of empanadas, please stop by tomorrow and have a few or I will be eating them for the next 3 weeks.

She then celebrated her 16th by shaving and bleaching her hair.

Kendra will continue celebrating her 16th birthday for the next 3 days at Lollapalooza in downtown Chicago wherein, I will age 5 years in same said 3 days.  Oh, to be 16 again! I’m loving every minute of it. I think.  Happy birthday Kendra, you are the best, most awesome 16 year old daughter I could ever hope for.  I love you!

2nd and 3rd Dirt

4 May

Sunday was my 1st mountain bike race of 2011 but my 3rd dirt race of the year.

Leland-Kermesse was dirt race #2 and stands as the toughest of the 3; 65 miles of dirt, mud, gravel and pavement.  Oh, and completely flat.  Racing on the flats is tougher than racing in the mountains, there are no downhill sections to recover it’s pedal, pedal, pedal.  I tried to debut the new CarboRocket jersey and the stylie  Bonebell / X-Men combo  arm warmers.

Sunday I hit Oglesby, IL for stop #2 of the Illinois Homegrown Series the Matthiassen Mountain Madness and my 1st mountain bike race of the year. I also debuted the new Rhodamine Red 333 jersey.  I think it goes really well with the orange CR bibs, no?

The thing about racing in the woods is that you never know if anyone is ahead of or behind you until you find yourself right on top of them or they on top of you.  The idea of having a carrot is non-existent.  I finished 8th but 5th, 6th and 7th place were all within 60 seconds of me yet I never saw them on course.  Damn trees!

Next up – May 14th, WEMS Stump Farm (stumps=carrots?) 100!

Officially Official

31 Mar

It took 9 months but I no longer feel like a tourist/visitor to Chicago.  I can now officially say Chicago feels like home.

In the meantime 3 parking tickets finally convinced that an out of state license plate does not grant you ticket immunity.

Illinois however, doesn’t feel like home yet.  The license plate and DL may say Illinois but I keep forgetting I’m in Illinois because Chicago feels like it’s its own state, it even has its own flag.  How many cities have their own flag?

Barry Roubaix 2011

28 Mar

What is Barry Roubaix? Like the website says, “A Killer Gravel Road Race” or as I now like to say, 65 miles of Leadville, just replace the 5 big climbs with 40 little climbs and subtract 10,000 ft of altitude.  40 little climbs translates to zero recovery, non-stop pedaling.

Much like Leadville you see all types of bikes; mountain bikes, cross bikes (yes, always someone on a cross bike at Leadville), tandems and even a few road bikes (not so many road bikes at Leadville).  Even like Leadville – 1000 racers.

I got out of bed at 4:15 am on Saturday, picked up Todd of TenSpeedHero slash HalfAcreCycling fame and headed to Michigan.  While waiting in line to park (20 min  just to park, I’ve never been to a race where there was a line for parking) I noticed the outside temperature read 18 degrees, not so excited to be in Michigan all of a sudden.   Luckily, packet pick-up was a breeze, shout out your number and you got a plate.  No I.D.  No license.  No fuss.  Took all of 10 seconds.

Did I mention it was 18 degrees? We had a police escorted neutral roll-out (Leadville style) before hitting the dirt.  The initial dirt 2-track felt so good.  It’s been a long, long time since I’ve been in the dirt and Immediately felt right at home.  After the first couple of  grunt climbs I reached down for my bottle and noticed that I had already lost one in the rough stuff and the nozzle on the  bottle  that remained was frozen shut. Great.

It’s been forever since I’ve done any climbs on a bike and Barry Roubaix did not disappoint.  The climbs are not the long, get into a rhythm grinds found in the West but non-stop short grunts that really wear you down.

I was so beat after 1 lap of the 2 lap race that I almost bailed.  Lap 1 was very much a pack race where road tactics and drafting either helped or hurt you,  I’d jam up a climb passing the riders around me only to get sucked back in to the group on the flats.  Lap 2 was all about attrition and I frequently found myself riding along all by myself.  There was a small pack that I rode with for part of the last lap but they shed me pretty fast on the last 5 miles of pavement, I ended up crossing the finish line in 3:48, 49th in the 65 mile category.

Barry-Roubaix is a race worthy of a road trip or flight from anywhere in the country.  Huge turn out, well run and well organized, great early season endurance race, awesome people, raffle and FREE flowing Founders.  Highly recommended! Oh yeah, a Canadian dude won on a cross bike.

Mormon Bread

7 Mar

It’ll get you in the door every time.

The doorbell rang yesterday (Sunday) and standing there was a tall, long haired, hippie looking guy in blue-jeans who looked about my age.  In his hand he held a bag with a warm round loaf of bread, it was still steaming.  He asked if I was Brad Keyes to which I responded, “why yes, yes I am who are you?”  He said he was with the “Church”.

If I lived in Utah and it was Sunday and someone came to my door with a loaf of fresh baked bread (he made it himself) dressed in a suit and tie and said he was with the Church I’d think this normal behavior.  Not exactly normal behavior in Chicago and especially not from a long hair in blue jeans. So naturally I said, “which church, the Catholic church or the Buddhist church around the corner?” I would have asked the same question if this had happened in Utah.

Of course, deep down I knew exactly what church he was talking about.  Frankly I was surprised it had taken them 8 months to find us.  The bread smelled delicious and I couldn’t just take it and shut the door so I invited him in,  plus he looked lonely.  As the first Mormon I’ve met in Chicago in 8 months surely he must be lonely.

We broke bread. Not true, I waited til he left and then me and the girls went to town on that loaf.  Crazy good! Best bread I’ve ever had, it didn’t last 20 minutes.  I’m trying to figure out how to get a loaf out of him once a week.

Base Camp 2011

16 Feb

I’ve been at base camp for the last several weeks, no time to post  but plenty of time for riding.  Everyone does base camp right?  Here are some camp pictures, base building if you will, Chicago style.

Sometimes you just have to take it indoors, thanks to PWP for a nice space, music, videos, great folks and top notch instruction.

And sometimes it’s so bad outside you can’t even make it to PWP and you bring camp to the family.  Strictly emergency riding. Still got tan lines from 2010!

Being outside in Chicago never gets old no matter the weather, love it!

OK, maybe just tolerate it sometimes.

Even the week of the blizzard of 2011, Snowprah,  I got out for a couple rides.  Favorite thing  about Chicago so far – the Lake Front Trail was plowed days before my street.  Couldn’t drive anywhere but I could ride my bike.

Base camp has been a success! More saddle time in Chicago for this time of year than I ever got in Utah. I’m thinking a Chicago fly-in-camp for Winter training would go over really well, who’s in for next year?

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