Tag Archives: chicago

Norge & TEDTA

22 Nov

Otherwise known as, Norge Ski Jump CX  & Ted’s Excellent Double Track Adventure CX.

Norge was a last minute call Saturday and it turned out to be the best last minute decision I’ve made in a long, long time.  If you missed it, well, you missed it.

The pics by Ali Engin do justice to the course, it was as awesome as it looks.

Looks like a game of bike polo where everyone has their own ball.

Super technical with lots of off-camber, up-hill 180′s, logs, drops and super steep, loose climbs.  Which is to say, I loved it. Funnest course of the year. The venue at Norge is tailor made for a cross race,  hopefully, it will become a regular stop.

Sunday I dragged the girls to Volo, IL for Stop #11 of the ChiCrossCup, TEDTA.  I didn’t do as well as I did on Saturday but loved the course.  It had the best sand and run-up of the year and gets my nod as toughest of the year.

It’s a little blurry but if you look closely you can see that everyone on the front row, (10 racers wide) is racing Zipp 303′s except me.  I wish I could say that’s why they all beat me.  303′s would be so rad on a steel single speed.

Bonebell!

I ended up 2nd at Norge in the SS class and 11th at TEDTA in the 40+.  Next up Jinglecross on Friday and Saturday.

ChiCrossCup #2 (DeKalb) and #3 (Dan Ryan Woods)

11 Oct

My first race of the day last week at ChiCrossCup #2 (Masters 40+) went off at 8:45. Strategy was simple, go as hard as possible and see what happens.   While the hole shot and first lap victory were my reward, 6 laps were far too many for that strategy to work.  I faded fast and finished 11th.

All photos thanks to Amy Dykema aka Velogrrl.

The second race of the day for me, OUISSSCXC didn’t start until 4:15, no wonder the family didn’t want to come out.  But as you can see below, it was well worth the wait.  With so much on the line for the winner, all the fast dudes showed up.

Including this guy.

Hay Straw bales!

Hay Straw bales should be mandatory features in all categories at cyclocross races, let the petition drive begin!

I got 6th in race #2 of the day but more importantly James Lalonde won.  What does that mean? That Chicago will be well represented at the 2011 SSWCXC. No pressure James.

Huge thanks to Half Acre Cycling, North Central Cyclery, ChiCrossCup and Robots Powered by Love – they put on a stellar race and the course was my favorite of the season until this past weekend.

ChiCrossCup #3 – I wasn’t prepared to like Sunday’s course with lots of flat, straight, grassy, power sections, but there were enough climby, off-camber, techy sections to more than make up for it.  Bonus points for the giant log in the middle of the course, just big enough to scare 95% of the racers into getting off their bike but not so tall as to intimidate like a regulation barrier.  My favorite CX course so far this year, will be very hard to top.

Wait for it, wait for it…Money!

My strategy was to not go out as hard as last week and to hopefully ride with the lead group for as long as possible leaving enough in the tank to finish well.  Problem was, backing off just hair at the start of a CCC race doesn’t mean just a few people get in front of you it means 25-30 racers get in front of you.  Chase on!

Not starting at the front resulted in my best CCC placing ever, 6th out of 70+ registered.  Note to self: new strategy needs to be somewhere in-between the two previous strategies.

Big thanks to Beverly Bike-Vee Pak and Region Racing for all their work and especially for the free spicy chicken!

My Plan For OUILSSSCXC

29 Sep

Sound it out…ewls-kuck-sk. Or, Official Unofficial Illinois State Single Speed Cyclo Cross Championship. Ewlskucksk is easier to say.  This is a big deal. What is on the line? Check out the prize list here. Yes, you read right, not just the OUILSSSCXC on the line but an entry into the SSCXWC…scuks-wic, (Single Speed Cyclocross World Championships) in San Francisco along with round-trip airfare! Damn!

I’m all over it. Problem is, so are a lot of faster dudes and dudettes in the Chicago area. OK, so I don’t really have a plan, more like lots of hopes.  I hope a certain person rolls a tubular.  I hope another certain person doesn’t show up on their SS SuperX.  And I hope someone else  keeps trying to race cross on a SS mountain bike. Lastly, I hope it snows because that would be rad.

That’s what I’ve got – hopes. Oh, and I have this:

After getting my Cannondale CAAD9X stolen last month I cobbled this together from stuff on my back porch.  I think out-of-pocket I’m into it about $100, which may be too much for a dirt bag single speed bike.  See you in DeKalb for ChiCrossCup #2 and the OUILSSSCXC!

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.


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?

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?

The Chicago Diet

1 Jan

Disclaimer: The Chicago Diet is my diet while I’ve been in Chicago, not necessarily the diet of all Chicagoans.

I haven’t worried too much about what I’ve been eating in Chicago for the last 6 nonths (holy crap, I’ve been here 6 months!) because I have been racing my bike nearly every weekend and riding 3-4 days a week.

I should have been worried.  I can’t even count how many of these, yes, there is encased meat in there somewhere:

Or how many slices of this I’ve consumed in the last 6 months:

Like I said, I haven’t been too worried.

I had planned on taking a week off the bike (but not a week off my Chicago Diet) after a very busy race schedule before starting on training for 2011.  That week turned into 2 weeks after getting sick over the holidays.  The Chicago Diet caught up to me in that short 2 week period.  Caught up to me and run my ass over. I’m fat. I’m out of shape.  I’m sick of it.  I’m done.

2011 is here and the Chicago Diet is out the effin window today! Bring on the Kipper Snacks!

ChiCrossCup Wrap Up

16 Dec

Chicago Cross Cup is over. I did 16 races in the series, more CX racing in one season than all previous years CX races combined.  I learned a few things about CX and Chicago CX in particular.

  • Just because it’s Chicago doesn’t mean you’ll have cross weather.  9 of the 10 weekends were pretty warm and dry, only the final race could be considered cross worthy weather.
  • Heckling is a respected and honorable activity.
  • 9a.m. is not too early to start drinking, it’s 5p.m. somewhere.
  • You want run-ups? You gotta build ‘em and no expense is spared.
  • No matter how hard you are pedaling it’s not hard enough.
  • Full body contact is expected and encouraged.
  • I still can’t re-mount with grace, someday.
  • Cyclocross was taylor made for single speed bikes.
  • My legs are still sore the Thursday after doing back to back races on same day, I can only do that a couple times a season.
  • You really can race the entire season on the exact same tires, maybe not smart but doable.
  • Ghetto tubeless (zero burps) works better than Stan’s rim strips.
  • Some days 45 minutes is actually 55 minutes and other days 45 minutes is actually 35 minutes.
  • Bib shorts snag, skinsuits do not.
  • A few pounds of tire pressure in the wrong direction and you are screwed.
  • I have the biggest POS cross bike in the Masters class.

Cross has been so much fun I’m thinking of treating the mountain bike race season as CX training next year.  As much fun as it was it would never have been possible without the great people and promoters at the Chicago Cyclocross Cup.  Huge props to ring leader Jason Knauff and all the other promoters, how they manage to make the magic happen week after week and still race is beyond me. Also big thanks to fellow racers, especially my Masters group, hecklers, volunteers and new friends its been a great season of racing.  The biggest thanks goes to Tasha for helping me out the door every weekend and cheering me on.  Thank you!

Finished 8th overall in the series.

7th, 9th, 9th, 11th, 12th, 11th, 8th, 16th, 23rd, 13th, 10th, 10th (bold italics are geared races)

Bastardos!

29 Nov

First off, I must say that my Thanksgiving dinner was better than yours.  How could that be you ask?  Here’s how:

  • Blue cheese and apricot crostini
  • Deviled crab
  • Andouille sausage and chestnut stuffing
  • Japanese sweet potatoes with chipotle adobo
  • Roast chicken and riced potatoes
  • Pumpkin praline soufle

Told you so!  Bottom line, if you ever get an invite from the Bosens for dinner please, for the love of all that is holy, GO!  They are not the bastardos in the paragraph below.  Hands down the best Thanksgiving dinner ever.  Sorry, Mom.

OK, on to los bastardos.  Long story short we had a couple bikes stolen here in Chicago off an incredibly busy street out of  a full bike rack.  It felt pretty safe to leave them there with a burly lock and all the other bikes.  Wrong!  It took a while to sink in as we walked the 6 blocks home.  After the 3rd block I started to feel violated. It didn’t help that our bikes were the most expensive things we own, each worth more than our car.

I filed a police report as soon as we got home and spread the word via twitter (thanks for all the retweets!) and also filed an insurance claim.  They were just bikes after all and we can live without them.  No, actually, we can’t live without them.  Tasha commutes 25 miles a day 5 days a week so her’s is pretty important but she is learning to use public transportation.  The theft coincided with freezing temps here in Chicago so I’m not missing mine yet and what better excuse to take a week off the bike.

Moving on again.

Chicrosscup #11 last week marked my first top top 10 finish out of my last 4 races.  I got a great start, sitting 2nd or 3rd for half a lap, but parlaying that start into a great finish continues to evade me.  I’m not sure why.  One thing I am sure of however is that I belong on the SS, I doubt I’ll ever use gears again except on the road bike.

There is only one race left in the Chicago Cyclocross Cup and it’s the Illinois State Championship at Montrose Harbor next Sunday, my backyard!  I still haven’t cracked the top 5 this year so that’s the goal, hoping the home court advantage is worth something.

Results so far:

7th, 9th, 9th, 11th, 12th, 11th, 8th, 16th, 23rd, 13th, 10th (bold italics are geared races) Good enough to be sitting 8th overall in the series. 


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.