Tag Archives: cycling

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.

Fail Moab

16 Nov

I missed Fail Moab Fall Moab this year for no good reason.  I so wanted to get back to the desert and ride with the team but I’m old, kids are busy, dug, Rick and Rick bailed.  Not to mention a Chicrosscup double header weekend for crying out loud. Wait, those are all good reasons.

Oh, and the debut of the CR skinsuit, front row!

Day 1 was awesome because the family came out to heckle and take pictures.  Kendra captured my favorite moment of the entire series – Cassidy running along side me heckling, “You suck, is that how you ride a bike? Can’t you pass me?”  The daughter heckle rules!

Day 2 was awesome because I finally got to zip on a superhero suit, I left it on all day – ask Tasha.  Thanks for the pic Duane!

Maybe it was the new superhero suit, maybe not.  All I know is I was riding out of my head, hanging with dudes I have no right to be hanging with. Finished 6th on the day, tying my best finish at a Chicrosscup.

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!

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!

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.

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. 


Chicago Cyclocross Cup #9 and 10

16 Nov

Mondays are hard enough by themselves but following a weekend of cyclocross in Chicago makes them almost unbearable.  A weekend of CX is like a caffeinated sugar infused adrenalin rush that can’t possible be sustained, poor Monday doesn’t stand a chance.

I don’t know how they do it but it every weekend Chicrosscup is more fun and crazy than the week before.  People are lining up for the rush, just between the 4A’s and 4B’s there were 200 racers!

Speaking of lining up, spectating at CX never disappoints.  Supergirl via Velogrrl:

After having my absolute worst result of the year last week (16th) on the geared bike I was hell-bent on kicking some ass Saturday at day 1 of a 2 day weekend of cross racing.

I did everything right during the week; nutrition was in check, rest days observed, sleep was priority #1.   I lived and breathed my training to a “T” (what does “T” mean anyway?) There was no stopping me.  I lined up Saturday knowing I was going to get a top 5 for sure.  Tasha and girls even came out to cheer me on, nothing motivates like family hootin’ and hollerin’ for you.

The conditions for a stellar race couldn’t have been better, yet, I sucked worse than I could have imagined. I got 23rd which, barring a Leadville placing, may be the worst placing I’ve ever had.  I seriously thought about bailing on the rest of the series.

But I don’t always listen to reason which was shouting at me to “rest, take a race off, a week off.  It’s been a long season Mr. B, You should be sucking.”  I lined up and did it again on Sunday but brought the single speed.  Same course, same competition, same, same everything but the bike.  Oh, and zero expectations.

It’s good to be home, moved from 23rd the day before up to 13th even with a flat tire on the last lap.  Results so far:

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

I’m all over the place on the geared bike, I know it’s only 3 races (I actually did 5 races with gears 2 of which were “B” races on the same day and placing in the high teens ) but I’m throwing out the geared bike in favor of the SS.  The consistency of results with the SS would be reason alone but the #1 reason I’m staying with the single speed, It’s more fun.

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