Sunday, April 29, 2007

Sweat, Dirt and Snot

You know it has been a good week when all of your bikes are covered in sweat, dirt, and snot. Yes, even the road bike.
Time for some rest...

Monday, April 23, 2007


Early season off road TT's are a nice mean way to wake your body up from the winter slumber.
This past weekend Jen, Tego, and I packed up and headed to Madison. We hadn't been there in way to long and missed the city and our friends there....oh, and there was a off road TT nearby at UW Platteville on Saturday=)
The TT course was 1000 feet of climbing each lap, lots of twists and turns, a log bridge over a big gap jump, and a starting ramp to get you going (pic above). The race was 2 laps and I went really hard on the first one...Ben started 30 seconds behind me so I had to get on it right away. I started to gap him. Then 1/2 way through the lap, I dropped my chain and slid my front tire out in a matter of a couple minutes..i lost 30 seconds to a minute from these two hiccups. Going into the second lap, I had put 30 seconds on Ben, but didn't know it. I kept pushing until the end and dealt with some calf cramping because of the effort (Ben also had calf cramping, and all we can figure is 80 degree temps and first hard mtbking of the year caused this).
One great thing about TT's is that given similar conditions and the same course, you can compare your results from previous attempts. In the end I won the TT and was 25 seconds off Jeff Hall's course record from last year. Minus the dropped chain and foolish crash, who knows. Either way I was 2.5 minutes faster than last year. Ben came in 2nd and trimmed over 4 minutes off his time from last year! Watch out for him...
Results should be posted here at some point:

After the race we were treated to some sweet jumps...this one courtesy of Richzilla.

After getting back to Madison and showering up, we got a babysitter for Tego and headed out on the town. Between some Great Dane beer and a boot of Spaten Optimator, we were all fat and happy=)

Top secret training you ask? Yes, this is Ben and his girlfriend Polka'ing the night away at the Essen Haus (German beer house).

Our biking tolerant hostess Mackenzie and my lovely wife=)
Until next time.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

The OX and a 96er

This weekend kicked off the race season here in Minnesota. Rochester Cycling and Fitness, our teams title sponsor, along with RASC hosted the Oxbow Spring Classic. The highlight of the race is the Oxenburg climb, which is a couple hundred yard stretch of 22% grade followed by a gradual 1/2 mile should be noted that they shut the hill down in the winter because it is impassable. Look what the Oxenburg did to this poor animal...
Let me back up a few steps. I was having some debate on what bike to ride because in the past Ox races I had trouble hanging on when the peleton ramps it up going downhill. On Wednesday, I took my hardtail for a ride with 29er wheels (29" or 700c is the road wheel diameter vs 26" for mountain). It felt really high in the front end because I had my fork set up with no sag. Then it came to me... and the 96er was born. I put a hard case tire on a 29" wheel for the rear and a mountain bike tire and wheel up front. I couldn't call it the 69er because Trek probably already has a Trademark on that with their 29 front and 26 rear combo.

Back to the race.
Since my license says I am a Cat 5 (the lowest cat) I am kind of breaking the rules when I race the Cat 1-3 race. However, I am there for training and I wanted to do the longest, hardest race. This year they split the A class 3 ways...Cat 1-2, Cat 3, and over 35. That was fine by me, and so as to break the rules "less," I registered for the Cat 3 or A2. This allowed me to do the long race w/o messing up the results for the more serious roadies.
Off the start it was slow and nice until the first Oxenburg climb. The King of the Mountains prize was given to the first person from each category up the climb. While I didn't plan on even trying for the KOM title, we hit the climb, and I felt fine. I put in a little effort and crested the hill 4th or so but I guess I was first in the A2. It was hard to keep track in the race because the only difference was that A2 numbers were 600's and A1 were 700's. The rest of the race was pretty lame until the end. It was unknown to me and most of the peleton, that Grandstay, who by the way had 8 out of the 30 person peleton, had a guy away after that first climb. Grandstay sat on the front of the peleton and shut anything I sat back and dealt with surge after surge....100% for a minute or less, followed by 2 min of coasting. This is TOTALLY NOT what I train for (mountain bike racing is just max sustained effort for ~2 hours) and was quite draining on my legs. I probably would have been better off taking pulls to keep the pace high. My brother Ben caused a lot of pain and had the peleton asking "who is that guy" as he put in pull after pull. In the end it fried him, but like he said, he was just there for training=) All I know is that Ben is going to win some races this year.

The only snaffu of the race for me happened when I missed a handoff. Ben, Chris and I were close together and I fumbled the bottle. I would have been screwed, but my dad sprinted after me and got me a bottle...a total race saver. He can sure still move for an old guy=)

Near the end of the race, Doug Swanson had gotten away and the Grandstay team was starting to look more ragged. I hopped on the front with 1/3 a lap left and put down a reasonable effort. I couldn't deal with more slow climbing and was pretty confident I could hurt some people with a hard pull....the pull ended up being for several miles.
Then THE LOOK! Dan Swanson had been sucking my wheel. He pulled up on my side, gave me a good stare and took off! I will have to get him back for that=) From what I hear it was pretty funny to see.
It was just hammer the last couple miles to the finish. There were only a couple 600's left in the group and when we hit the Ox the last time, Fisher hit it hard but then popped. Some other 600's kid on a road bike was right in front of me. I found plenty in the tank to pound past him (in pic below).

In the end I won the A2 race and was the A2 KOM (5th or 6th overall - no results yet), which is pretty cool because I expected nothing out of the race. Most importantly, I got a really good hard workout.
Oh, and I have to mention the trophy...the COOLEST I have ever gotten. As Chris Walkin would say, "I have a fever and the only cure for that fever is some more ...

Dan admiring the VeloRochester bike selection
Enough writing already right? Sorry, it has been a while since I have had anything worth talking about.
As Kip would say, Peace Out.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Silver Lining

This morning I got up before dawn like every Friday morning to go play hockey...but I didn't go play hockey. I went to Mammoth! It was frozen, crunchy, and sweet kinda like chocolate chip ice cream.
I only got one lap in because Seagate pays me to be an engineer, not a biker...and retiring earlier rather than later is on my mind=)

And a cool random picture for today:

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


Let me start with the good news. I picked this up last Friday.

It is Cannondale System Six DA road bike. It is fast and fun, and I have had one decent day to ride it since.
Some more good news is that Tegan now gives some positive feedback when he is happy (vs. just not crying before). He can smile and will lay on his back kicking like a crazy man until he gets out of breath. Then sometimes he cries=)
Bad news: Mother nature crapped on us. 4 days straight of rain were followed by one "nice" day near 50 (average). Luckily, I had rest planned for the 4 days of rain. Now it is 15 degrees out with 30-40 mph winds. I guess I won't be getting soft any time soon.
I wonder what it feels like to ride on dirt......