Tag Archives: chicago

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 #3,4,5,6 and 7

26 Oct

Officially there have only been 6 Chicross Cup’s but at race #6 I decided to nut up and do back to back races. More on that later.

There have been so many races in such a short time span that I am starting to forget the names of all the venues.

One of the things not helping my memory is the consistency of the race series and one of the many constants at the Chicrosscup races is the sheer number of racers every weekend.  I think it speaks volumes to the high level of organization, great promoters and growing popularity that the women’s 4 class is one of the 3 biggest fields week after week with 60+ racers.

Here they are on the run up at stop #3 Dan Ryan Woods.

And coming back down. Down.

The first double race weekend of the series started at Wauconda for race #4.  I have no idea who this guy is but must admit I have a little thigh envy.

Speaking of envy, the following picture will cause no small amount of flyover envy.  Replete with a faux slate roof.  If you want vert in Flatlandia you have to build it.

Day 2 of the double cx weekend had us out in Carpentersville for race #5 of the series.  They had live polka music, dancers, food court, beer garden and dirt rollers.

The rollers caused more than their fair share of problems across all categories. A flawlessly executed superman endo if I’ve ever seen one.

Race #6 at Bartlett with another sellout category, the 4b’s.  Every single week the 4a’s and 4b’s reach their max field limit of 75 per class-150 total cat 4 men!

I’m constantly learning new CX tips and tricks from my fellow racers.  Here’s the HTSP (head tube seat post) carry which I’m going to practice on Wednesday.

Spaghetti and marinara hand-up or is it mouth-up? Gross. And I think I see Darth Vader in the crowd. Cool.

I started the series out strong and thought I’d just get stronger but every week I seem to finish one spot lower than the week before.

With the season half over I thought I better step up the training so I did 2 races back to back on Sunday focusing on the 40+ race since it goes off first and using the 30+ race for a good work out.

Having never placed higher than 7th in any race I got the 6th place call-up. Just showing up every week has its rewards, I get to line up with the fast guys and watch them pull away.

My 2nd race of the day had me lining up with the 30+ crowd and with no call-up and no expectations I sorted myself towards the back.  It was a lot more fun picking people off than being picked off and not nearly as hard as I expected it to be, definitely doing it again next week.

Starting next week I plan on mixing things up a bit while conducting an experiment.  I’m dusting off the geared bike for the last half of the CX season to confirm my hypothesis that is doesn’t matter whether you have multiple gears or just 1 gear.  I predict similar results for the last half of the season.

My results so far, notice the trend, 7th, 9th, 9th, 11th, 12th, 11th.  I’m not keeping track of my “b” 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.

Palos Meltdown Race Report

24 Aug

Saturday was race #2 for me in the Midwest and I’ve learned a couple things. First, don’t pre-ride the course by yourself because you will get lost.  Second, if you forget #1 remember to take everything with you on the pre-ride that you’ll need during the race.

With 45 minutes to start I thought I’d get in a nice warm up then come back to camp and get my bottles and instruct my crew on hand-ups etc.  While I had actually pre-ridden most of the course the week before the organizers hadn’t quite got the start finish area dialed in at that time so I needed to go scope that out.

I kept thinking the trail I was on would double back on itself and take me right back tot the start, nope. I started to get nervous that I was going to miss the start when I passed a spectator out on course and asked directions.  He said its a couple miles away and the race starts in 5 minutes, Doh!

I came out of the woods about 50 yards behind the start just in time to hear, “5,4,3,2,1”  I was already gassed from the effort of trying to make the start but somehow managed to still roll out with the group. Oh yeah, no bottles on the bike. Have I mentioned it’s really hot?

The course at Palos was non-stop single track, really tight and twisty with the just the right amount of technical.  It was about 8.5 miles long with some grassy hill sections near the start-finish to break things up.

From what I’ve heard hey had a record turnout of 500+ racers across all classes.  The classes were pretty big which led to a lot of congestion and multiple pile ups on the first lap.  By lap 2 and aided by the dense single track it seemed like there were only 5 or 6 people on course.

In spite of my botched start and lack of bottles on the first lap I felt pretty good all day mostly just passing racers and thought I had finished a lot better than I actually did.  Got 4th Expert 40+ and 24th overall.

pic by Brian Coggin

Some of my deep thoughts after the race:

  • I’ve  fallen off the racing bandwagon harder than I thought.
  • The dudes in Chicago are faster than the dudes in Utah.
  • Maybe I’m just getting old and slow.
  • I am so going to suffer at PCP2P.
  • 2:30 hour xc races are too much for me.
  • Rolling single track is more fun to race than monster climbs followed by monster DH.
  • Rolling single track is harder to race than monster climbs followed by monster DH.
  • Am I really craving a duck sausage and foie gras dog?

Deep thoughts aside it was a great day at the races. Thanks CAMBR for putting on a 1st class race at an incredible venue, I’ll be back for sure.

Chicago Aint So Bad

22 Aug

It’s actually pretty awesome.

Several people enjoying the beach. I had no idea Chicago had a beach.

Luckily you can get away from everyone without even leaving the city.

I like to think we traded mountain views for city views.

Living in the city has its perks, you can go from this.

To this, all in one afternoon.

I’m digging it.

Tomorrow or maybe Tuesday Midwest race report #2 Palos Meltdown.  Is it  harder and more fun than an ICUP race?