Tag Archives: cycling

Utahhh!

20 Sep

It’s been just over 2 weeks now and I’ve finally cone to grips with the fact that I pedaled the PCP2P 2 hours slower than last year. 2 freaking hours!  Yeah it was hard but last year was even harder.  Enough about the race you already know it’s a bitch.

On to the PCP2P ride.  The first 3 hours were complete single track bliss.  I spent the whole time riding with Dave Harris and Fatty.  Just tooling along having a good time singing songs and possibly irritating fellow racers.  What could be better than Utah single track with friends for 3 hours? Pretty much nothing and certainly not the next 7 hours.

This is what I do in a feed zone, get on my bike and ride.

This is what Elden does, looks for sympathy.  For what? His hands hurt. Whatever, sac up!

I really wish I would have felt better at the finish so I could mingle and schmooze with everyone that I haven’t seen for several months but I was too busy curled up in a ball trying to recover.  It took me almost 10 and one half hours to finish.  I’ve become a soft and pale city boy.  It is what it is.

The weekend came and went too fast.  I did manage to squeeze in some Corner Canyon dirt, Bayou and a visit to the lab.

Mountain bike racing is OVER! I am pretty excited about that since no matter how hard I look there just aren’t any mountains to be found in Chicago.  I am hereby declaring my official new cycling discipline to be cyclocross.  I even have the first race of the Chicago Cross Cup under my belt and I couldn’t be more pleased.  More on that tomorrow.

WORS Alterra Race Report

31 Aug

I’m up to 3 races now in the Midwest each in a different state.  They all share two things in common, lots of tight twisty single track and hot, wet heat.  I’m slowly but surely acclimating.

I Finally got a WORS series race under my belt and it did not disappoint.  It was the Alterra Coffee Bean Classic at Crystal Ridge, Wisconsin.

WORS puts on a well organized, professional race. ICUP ain’t too far behind though.  In the bang for buck category WORS wins hands down with bigger turnout, just as stiff competition, equally great venues and medals for everyone on the podium all for a measly $25.

This was the first race with some serious climbs, steep enough to hurt but not long enough to get much distance on anyone.  Alterra offered up the twistiest, tightest and most single track of the 3 races I’ve done.  My single track skills are progressing but not once in the 3 races I’ve done have I ever felt like I was in any sort of rhythm.  I did however, pass way more racers in the one track than passed me.  Progress.

Alterra was also the hottest, by far, of the 3 races.  More CR before the race was key to feeling great the entire race with no fade. Or it might have been Half Acre riders Jen and Paul-Brian cheering and dumping ice water on me. There were 19 in my 40+ category and I ended up 5th.  I’ll take it but think I could have moved up a couple places just by getting to the front before hitting the single track.

The Pro Men’s podium.  Guerra 1st, Braun 2nd and Matter 3rd.

Any good race day is not complete without some good food.  All road trips that pass through Wisconsin now require a mandatory stop, the Mars Cheese Castle.  A little bit of kitsch and a whole lot of killer sandwiches.  Try the 3-cheese and tomato grilled cheese.

Thursday I fly to Salt Lake to ride the Park City Point 2 Point and fill racer’s water bottles with CR.  Yes, I said ride.

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?

I’ve Got Some Serious

16 Aug

How much serious? This much serious:

Enough serious about the upcoming cross season that not only did I sign up for and complete a cyclocross camp, seriously I did, but I also now have a skinsuit, a very limited edition, very serious skinsuit. Thanks to the fine folks at Revolution especially, one Mr. Stupidbike .

Can you think of anything so serious as skinsuits and cross camp? Didn’t think so, it’s next to impossible.

Not just any cross camp would qualify as serious but a camp put on by pretty much the best cross racer in the Western hemisphere Mr. Jeremy Powers.  You might be asking where JPow’s serious went in the following pic, I think it’s pretty obvious that I took it from him.

I’ve got the bike, I’ve got the skinsuit, I’ve got a few skills (including a super secret JPow hole shot move) but most importantly I’ve got some serious.

Pain In The Hill

11 Aug

I thought the parking garage climbs were a fantastic solution to my mountain dilemma but I’ve had less than stellar results. Too much security or too much traffic or really, just not that steep nor long.

Today on board the community cross bike everything changed. I’ve actually ridden by this hill many times not giving it a lot of thought because its just not that long. I gave it a go and it totally kicked my corn.

And from the top:

20 laps all out and I’m temporarily satisfied and even think I’m ready for Park City Point 2 Point or at least a cross race that has a hill or two.

Trophy Garage

27 Jul

Being mountain starved makes every bike outing a hunt.  I’ve been riding all over the city trying to find a good climb and came across these towers. I pedaled around them a few times and then asked the security dude if I could have a look, he just shook his head no and walked away patting his taser. I’ll be back with donuts.

I did find a garage a couple blocks away with no apparent security and 12 levels of parking spaces.  The first 2 levels were pretty steep leading up to the main parking area.  After tentatively riding to the top, not sure if I was going to get tasered, I headed back down confident I had found a decent mountain and looked forward to pushing it hard on the 2nd effort.

With separate entrances and exits I needed to exit the garage before climb #2.  As I approached the arm blocking the exit flashing lights and sirens started going off.  I was sure I had just won a special prize for being the first to bicycle to the top of the garage.  Instead of waiting around for the prize I decided to reward myself with a dip in lake Michigan.  There’s a good reason all those swimmers I’d seen earlier were wearing wetsuits.