Saturday, April 29, 2006

Well, it has been raining for over 24 hours and doesn't look like it is gonna stop...I thought that I had put the trainer away for good, but I was wrong. The good thing is that there is basically endless playoff hockey on (my wife is SUPER excited).
Anyway, I thought I should do a picture update of my bike collection.

Rig 1 the Fuel has seen the most love and has produced all my racing result starting with my first full season of racing. For you weight weenies, it is 23.75 lbs

Rig 2 the latest and greatest from Trek, it will be in full force on select courses this year...the 9.9, 21.75 lbs.

Rig 3 the enduro...otherwise known as the "cadillac" because you can stay in the saddle and pedal over just about everything around here without getting bucked, 31 lbs (makes rig 1 and 2 feel like rocket ships when I train on this hog)

Rig 4 yes, I do have a road bike...most people assume I don't, but I do. I don't ride it much (right now it is set up for my wife=), because I don't race on the road and figure I should train how I race...although I am going to try a black dog tt this year. The 17lb weight allows some fairly rapid climbing.

And the basement where it all comes together=)

Next up is the first Buck Hill race on Thursday and a BLAST race in Elk River on Sunday (I have a bachelor party Saturday night, so we will see on this one=)

Until next time...enjoy the rain.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Platteville TT Race Report

This weekend in Madison and Platteville was fabulous. Fisher, Jen and I headed down to Madtown on Friday night…the main event for the weekend was an off-road time trial in Platteville, which is only 1.5 hours from Madison. My brother Ben wanted to do the race (he skipped collegiate road regionals for it… and took a lot of crap from his team for it), as he was ready to ride some dirt!
BTW, I decided to race on the Fuel which ended up being the right choice for the course.
We set out around 8 am on Saturday from Madison so we could get a pre-ride in…I am glad we did. The course was just about the most twisty, tight trail I have ever ridden. There was some climbing but not a lot of sustained burners…just a ton of stop, accelerate, stop accelerate. That stuff really wears you down! As an aside, we got to ride part of the dual slalom course, which was very fun, and we got to see the DH course (both races were sunday) which is the gnarliest I have seen in the Midwest…it included a 32 foot gap jump over a stream…coming up short on would plant your right into the side of the stream bank. Yeah, they have some crazy dudes down there. Here is the jump….
They started the 26 comp/expert riders with 1 minute gaps. Jeff Hall started about 5 minute ahead of me, Ben was my 2 minute man and Fisher was my 1 minute man. They started us off at the top of this 8 foot ramp, pretty cool…after you roll down it there was a quick right turn. When I rolled down and turned, my front tire was on the wrong side of little ridge and I did a Superman…in front of everyone, and before I even hit the course. It took me 10-15 seconds to remount and get my water bottle. After that, it was just flat out as hard as I could go for 2 laps. About 10 minutes in, Fisher was on the side of the trail with a chain in his hands. The quick link of his SRAM chain had come undone…he was looking for the second half of the quick link, which he never found. 2/3s of the way through the lap I caught Ben who was having some crashing issues. After the race he said he went down 3 times the first lap just from the front tire slipping out…again, the course was so tight and off camber that it took some pretty nifty skills to navigate it quickly without going down. I just about popped when I caught Ben so I had to ease up a little, and Ben hung on to me for most of the rest of the first lap. As I started the second lap, my legs were on fire..not the good kind of fire. I don’t want to know what my HR was, but I was above threshold for most of the race. I slugged through the course and ended up passing most of the riders who started in front of me. However, I never saw or caught that Salsa jersey. As I finished up the second lap, I was pretty sure I hadn't beaten Jeff with my crash out of the gate and some sections I didn’t ride very cleanly. I was right. The final results show Jeff at 1:01:something , me at 1:03:something, and Ben at 1:08:something (sorry no exact results posted yet). The next racer was about 4 minutes behind Ben. I was gassed, but I know doing a TT that long will help me later this season.
On Sunday, we took a road ride on our mountain bikes. The Madison area has some of the best road riding in the country in my opinion (Wisconsin doesn’t really believe in gravel, so the most remote low traffic roads are paved). Ben and I were hurting, and Fisher laid the hammer down after his DNF the previous day. Needless to say, it is time for some rest, as climbing stairs was less than pleasant this morning.
I forgot my camera, but they had someone taking pics, so I will post a few they are available.
Oh and one more highlight. On the way home we stopped at Taco Bell (we had eaten Subway 3 times already and needed some dog meat). Fisher pulled off the impossible task of eating 10 Tacos, and ENTIRE GRANDE MEAL! Holy crap, I am sure his Jen had to suffer from the effects of that meal.
Thanks for reading…

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Do I hear a 9r9r or a gas pump?

So, with more race bikes comes confusion, indecision and strife...I can hear all the small violins playing...should I ride the fuel or the 9r this weekend for the Platteville TT. Life is hard and important decisions like this must be made=) As of yet I am undecided. Why am I thinking about this stuff at 3pm...I guess it my minds way of telling me that I need a non-smokers 10 minute break (I figure they get 10 minutes per cigarette once per hour...for all us non-smoking fools, that is 80 minutes of break we have coming each day, right?) =)
I found this pic of a downhill course obstacle (race on Sunday)...I am a wuss and will stick to the XC!
Race Info:


Sunday, April 16, 2006

Oxbow Recap

Yesterday was just a great day for racing. The weather was about as perfect as it could be. There was some wind, but it wouldn't be a spring day in MN without wind=) I chose to "illegally" race the A (Cat 1-3) race which was 3 laps of a 17-18 mile course that is 90% gravel with almost no flat areas...just constant rolling terrain. My license says I am a Cat 5, but I was pretty sure that I could hack it with most of the A's, and I was just there to get a good workout anyway. The bike of choice was my Trek 9.9 with 1.5" slicks - I also put 125 PSI in the fork just to make things nice and rigid... Paul Hanson and I were the only ones on mountain bikes in the A field=) When the race started, there wasn't really a nice roll out like last year, it was a straight on attack by the eventual winner from the time the official said go. For the entire first lap, I was 90-95% the entire time, painful. The only time I got any respite was on the climbs. In fact, at one point, after the first large descent, I was going 100% for about 5 minutes...that is tough this early in the season...or at any time of the season. By the second lap, there was a lead group of 4 (Swanson, Hareland, Hall, some UWM kid) and a group of 2 (Miner and some Birchwood dude) and then my group of 5-6. By the end of the third lap, we had picked up the second group and became the chase group. Our group somewhat splintered on the 3rd Oxenburg (again from last post, a steep hill with a max grade in the low 20%'s) climb where we lost Justin Rienhart and another Birchwood guy. For some reason, the pressure increased again in the 3rd lap after a slightly more relaxed second half of the second lap. About 1/3 of the way through the 3rd lap, we picked up Jeff Hall who had fallen off the lead group...he joined our group. Then about 10 minutes later, we pulled in Doug Swanson, who had also lost contact with the leaders. Doug was pretty spent and wasn't able to latch on. We continued to roll at a decent pace, and I continued to rest on the climbs....seriously, the downhills were so tough cause of my 44-11 as my biggest gear, and my small 26" wheels. Anyway, it is good that the climbing legs are there. With about 6 miles to go, one of the birchwood guys on a road bike started to doing a fishtail in loose gravel (very typical and it was happening all day). Jeff Hall caught his wheel and went down right in front of me....I skidded trying to decide if I should bunnyhop him or go around him...I had just enough contrl to swerve around him, but I hit something hard with my bottom bracket...I really hope I didn't hurt him. He got up ok and finished the race anyway. So soon after that I started putting in some attacks. On my second attack, I dropped Jeff off the group and the group was suffering...problem was that a downhill was coming, so they were going to catch me there anyway=( I continued and put in about 4 attacks total when I felt the pace was marbles. Then Miner and a Birch guy took off. It as too late when I reallized it and neither Dan Swanson or the Birchwood guy had an answer for the attack. So the 3 of us road home together...but home was at the top of the Oxenburg. Dan put in a super strong attack on the last climb and dropped us..I was impressed! Must be all the "secret training." I pulled ahead of the Birchwood guys who cracked WIDE open and told me "That is it, that is all I got!" So I finished 6th out of maybe 20-25 riders. Not to bad for a Cat 5 mountain biker=) Here is how I looked on the last climb...
In the B race, my brother Ben showed his good form and took both KOM (king of the mountains) prizes - given to first rider up the hill each lap. Check out the gap he had on the field for the first KOM sprint, and notice that he is on a mountain bike...he is learning quickly=)
He finished 5th in the B race and Sam Oftedahl almost pulled out the win with a 2nd place finish. Nice work guys...

Next weekend is the UW Platteville TT for me. Time to race on some dirt=)

Monday, April 10, 2006

National Champs!

Yeah! The Badgers are the NCAA Hockey National Champs! It was a sweet nail biting game with a shot that went off the post in the closing seconds. Needless to say, I did a lot of phone calling to all my Badger buddies on Sat night.

On a biking note, I found a ride for next winter.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Anyone want to know about Oxbow?

The starting line is about a 7 mile ride from my parents house, and given that we were hear in Roch for Jen's running race, I previewed the route...and more. For those who did it last year, the course is very close to the same except the SW corner is now cut off. You exit a busy road (CR4)near the end of the course and take a gravel road to the foot of the "Oxenburg" climb where you start it all over. So bascially, after the start, you don't see that stretch of road again until the race is over and you are limping back to your cars. The finish of the race this year is at the top of the "Oxenburg" climb....for all you quick thinkers out there, that means we get to climb it 4 times this year. I stopped in at Rochester Cycling and Fitness afterward to say hey to Matt and crew... the only reason I mention this is that it is Matt's fault for including this 4th climb! Matt, the owner of RCF (and thus my sponsor), is a great guy, but he clearly has a cruel streak.
BTW, the gravel roads are dry, but there are a lot of potholes and rough corners. Cross or mountain bikes will work best.
For those that haven't done the race, there are very few flat spots, and the the course is 85% gravel. The "Oxenburg" climb is a steep, several hundred meter climb with grades as high as 24% (right now there is a road closed sign at the bottom of the climb that they use during the winter because it is too steep). Anyway, it is a fun relaxed atmosphere so come on down.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Being back to normal this week actually has felt ok...
Check out Jen's Blog for some more Vegas Pics.

Cycling Update:
I took Friday noon (in Vegas) until Tuesday noon off; well, not entirely, but at least no really hard days. I was planning on doing that until Wed, but the weather was sketch for Thursday and Friday, and I am a wuss after 2 nice vacations away from MN weather. Now, they are saying only 50% chance of rain today and nice tomorrow. Oh well, either way, I did 2 days of interval training Tues and Wed with hockey thrown in on Wed morning. On Tuesday, I did max effort intervals which almost forced me to quit because they hurt so bad. I found one of my own "secret" training hills in Shakopee; I heard that the Penn guys have a hill they like around here so I couldn't resist=) On Wednesday I put the knobbies on the 9r9r and pulled a group of road bikers the entire way south into a 15mph head wind. I was suffering, but so were the people drafting, so we all got a good workout. After the ride, my legs were making it clear that 3 straight days of hard riding would not be permissible.
This weekend I am headed to Roch to watch a 1/2 marathon race that Jen is doing and to ride with my friend/sponsor, Matt. We will probably end up doing the Byron race course once or twice....I heard rumors of an uphill start...could it be true?
I have had a lot of fun this season. It is going to be ending for me next week because I don't want to risk excess fatigue or injury during the racing season. It is really hard to bike after you get a slap shot to the thigh (trust me, I have tried).
I want to mention a couple of other sad things. One is that Franz, one of my great friends, lost his grandma this week. I was at her visitation last night...two months ago his grandpa died suddenly...three months ago my grandma died suddenly. It is a tough for people our age as it is a time when we are loosing family members. If you have older relatives left, SPEND TIME WITH THEM! You never know how much time they have left. The other thing is the I see Saul Raisin, a great American road prospect, is in a coma. He is in critical condition. I don't know him, but it still is scary. Keep him in your thoughts and prayers.

On a happier closing note:
The Frozen Four starts tonight! If you are looking for me, you will find me parked on my couch (likely with a beer in hand) yelling at the TV. Go Badgers!