Tag Archives: sports

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!

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.

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)

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.

Gears Are Stupid

11 Nov

Or maybe I’m just stupid.  After extolling the virtues of gears last week I had my worst race of the year Sunday on the geared bike completely negating my positive experience with gears the previous week.  This supports my original hypothesis that it just doesn’t matter, you’ll do how you do based on your ability and fitness and not on your bike.  I mean, I already knew this from mountain biking having equal if not better results on a SS. I was hoping that maybe, just maybe, gears might make a difference in cyclocross.  Nope.

I was kinda pissed about it too.  After pre-riding the course at Woodstock I was sure I would clean up.  It was very mountain bikey with lots of dirt and climbs and rough sections, for sure I was going to be at an advantage.  Ended up 16th with nothing left over for the 30+ race that I had signed up for.  I whimpered away with my tail between my legs.

Was it the gears?  Am I not training hard enough?  Am I training too hard?  No warm-up?  Too many encased meat products consumed?  I can go on.

I’m not throwing in the towel just yet on gears, I’ll give them 1 more chance. This weekend is double cross weekend at Chicago Cyclocross Cup and I plan on riding the geared bike for both days.   Of course if I really stink it up on Saturday I’ll have no problem turning my back on the geared bike on Sunday, maybe forever.

7th, 9th, 9th, 11th, 12th, 11th, 8th, 16th (italics for geared races)

Chicago Cross Cup #2

5 Oct

Not really a race report, more of a, “why isn’t everyone at the cross race?” kind of report.  This could apply to any cyclocross race anywhere but it’s abundantly clear in Chicago.

Flyovers rock!    The flyover did not disappoint anyone – unlike the new UCI rules –  multiple pile ups across all classes provided constant entertainment.  I hereby cast the first vote for the UCI to enforce a flyover obstacle at every race venue instead of their silly new rules.

Racing CX is exquisite, painful fun where spectating CX is just exquisite fun.  I mean, where else are you going to see a bacon stuffing pepper?

Or a man in leopard tights or an aero helmet? Oh wait, triathlons.

Just because you happen to be a big time CX star doesn’t mean you have immunity to the heckling.  If anything you may be subjected to more heckling, at least in Chicago.

Of course, the real reason to take the whole family to the CX races – faceplants!

Get the kids up, pack a lunch, skip church and head out to your local cyclocross race.  Good times guaranteed.

My race, the Master’s 40+ class, goes off bright and early at 8:45 every week before any one else.  The crowds haven’t shown up yet, only a few people are drunk and not too many hecklers.  If you were to watch my race and leave and then come back for the last race of the day at 3, the 4B’s, you’d swear you came back to the wrong venue; crazy crowds, drunken hecklers, tampon & twinkie hand-ups.  Yeah, I want to race 4B’s.

No hole-shot for me this week.  Luckily, I preserved my call-up for next week.  I had actually resigned myself to finishing outside the top 10 after battling what I thought for sure was a tapeworm for most of last week.  That’s all I’m saying about that.

Next up: Elvis Cross, sure to be a barn burner, better clear your calendar.

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