Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Group ride

Yesterday me and Sam went on the County Cycles group road ride.I've only done it a few times in the past 3 years and its been 2 years for Sam. We started early to get a good warm up and see if we could find Greg Levick (I don't know how to spell his last name) somewhere along the way.We headed south through Vadnais Lake and it was perfect timming because we intersected right with Greg.It was funny,me and Sam just rode easy to let Greg catch up but he just sat back 100 yards not making an effort to join.Then after a stop sign a big truck with a trailer full of sod passes us, and there's Greg 6 inches from the trailer drafting , going to beat hell right past us. After his little stunt he joined us and we did an hour warm up around Bald Eagle as he told us stories and all kinds of interesting things that could stir up controversy.That guy has been around for a long time and knows everything about everyone. I.e.-we see a biker go by and he says "hey, thats Steve Hed" and he goes on about all the inovations that he's been a part of.
After a quick waterbottle fill we hook up with the group.We just stayed in the rear untill the first sprint into Hugo,but the pace all the way there was in the upper 20's.I don't do much group riding, but man the pull you get in the middle of a pack is insane. After sucking some wheels in the Hugo sprint everyone takes it really easy and it gives you some time to talk before the country roads.I was up front when this tall guy in a Croll jersey comes along side me. I look at him and and here its Aric Harland.This was his first time in the group ride too.After a few words we hit the county roads and Aric takes the front and starts pounding. There were about 5 of us up front pacelineing when these two girls on bikes come out in front of us from the sidewalk and we nearly smeared them.Right before the first climb I backed off to catch a few seconds of recovery and get the h.r. down.When we hit it, alot of the riders back way down,so Aric,me ,Sam,Greg and a few other guys pulled the group thin to the top.The next climb and sprint I wasn't in because I pulled for Sam but on the last climb I was sitting back about 6 places,and when the lead guys hit the hill they slowed way down.I broke way to the outside and just took off.After that climb there's a little flat before the next hill and I did a breakaway to the top unchallenged.Sam was leading the chase group up the hill and I recovered on the decent.On the last sprint I followed some guys out and broke wide again, but I was too early and I got caught by Greg and some other dudes.That ride is fun when your feeling good.Plus it gives us a chance to mess with the roadies.I plan on doing it more often so we'll see how it goes.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Du Lac

When we arrived at Mt Du Lac it was downright cold.We pulled up and everyone is wearing sweatshirts and all had was a sleeveless shirt. But by race time it had got up into the 70's,perfect for riding.The start was a typical MN start.Sprint up a ridiculously steep hill from a resting heart rate and you can almost hear your legs pinging.Since I had a bad week I thought I'd have the same game plan as the last race and have Sam start in front of me.Next to me was Matt and roady Tone C. I was super nervous this time.But as soon as the word" go" comes all your energy goes to the legs and lungs.I was back a ways at the top of the first half of the hill and I saw Sam making some moves so I did the same and was a couple riders behind him at the top.Ross was right behind me as we hit the single track then as soon as he was rested he took off through his home turf.I bet those Ski Hut guys can do that single track blindfolded.I got up behind Sam andfound myself feeling pretty good.The pace was slow again so I told Sam I wanted to lead.As soon as he gave me a line I jumped up front and started to close a small gap.I like being up front because I can go faster through the singletrack that way.As soon as we got to the big climbs we were about 30 seconds from a small group which included Chris.I picked up the pace and closed it at the feed station I think.But we grouped together and for an entire lap it was me,Sam,Chris,and Ben moore.At the start of the climbing I kicked it up again and pushed a nice gear to get a small gap on the group.On the second part of the climb I looked back to see Chris leading the group about 30 seconds back.So I did the same thing he did to me on Shady Lane at Afton and waved my arm erradicly to motion him up.But it was Sam that attacked and made it back up to me at the top.We caught some new Ski Hut guy in the singletrack and he led a lap making a constant pace.At the start of the 5th lap I had put a small gap on Sam and dropped the Ski Hut guy on the climb. I was starting to feel it every once in a while in the singletrack.I just kept putting in those little burst's through the mud and around corners.But Sam was closing in.I was pondering if I should just let up a little and save it for a sprint or what.I just kept a manageable pace and kicked it on the last hill with about a 10 second gap.Man was that painful.When I got to the switchbacks at the finish Sam was right on my wheel.I said "Man,why did you have to do that."Comming down the hill I through it in the big ring and took the corners as fast as I could without sliding out.I guess it was a cool finish as I had the kick to take the sprint win over Sam.My time was 1:55,overall-15th.I'm happy with the result and had loads of fun in the singletrack.Next weekend will be tough.Sunday is the MN Wors union race then the next morning at 8:00 we are thinking about doing a crit in Northfield.Add in tues group ride and thursday nights at Buck,makes for a pretty intense week.We'll see what happens.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Crummy Week

Man this week was a drag. After my usuall day off on mon I tried to do a nice workout on tues and my legs just wouldn't warm up.They felt really tired and no energy.Wed started the overtime at work.I had to be in Eden Prarie by 5:00 am to start cutting a concrete floor,and I put in a 10 hr day. It was going crummy too. I got electricuted twice this week,one of which was a pretty good one,where I could feel it in my elbow.After work I just did a slow 45 min spin.Today I put in 9.5 hrs in a steamy underground garage and put in an intense recovery effort afterwards consisting of going from the hot tub to the pool about 4 times and then lounging in a beach chair for a 1/2 hr.Yes, I am beat after that one.I needed It though.I'm hoping to ramp the training up for this weekend at Mt Du Lac,and get more sleep.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Word from the wise...Next time use zip ties

Putting the hammer down Posted by Hello
This course was insanely fast.Half single track and half atv& ski trails.It was kinda like the pre-fat.At the start I told Sam to start ahead of me sinse he's been staying with me on the starts,or close behind.My plan was to let him set the pace untill I got warmed up.Then work together after that.When we went, everyone was literally eating dust. I could hardly see or breath, it was so thick,and my eyes were drying up.The pace was a bit slow I thought and I was tempted to surge past Sam in some spots,but I was patient.What gets me is a big group going through the single track that bunches up all the time.Thats racing though,either beat it or join it. 3/4 of the way through the first lap my pace maker got a flat.2 flats in a row is very discouraging(he flatted at Afton last week) Well now its all me.So I said self,its time to put the hammer down.And boy did I ever.I was flying through the ski trails and I found my rythm on the single track.At the end of the first lap someone yelled 1 min from the front. I was like sweet,which gave me some more spirits to go harder.On the 2nd lap I was chasing down what I'm guessing was the lead chase group of about 10 or so. And I was pulling for a few other guys behind me. A few riders were dropping back from the lead group and I was gaining slowly. 1/2 way through the lap there's this really,really bumpy single track with huge boulders strewn about with no distinct line.As I was going through my number plate fell off.I quick put it back on while about 7 riders zip by.I got back on just as another group comes by and jump in.I quick give a burst, and pound right past up to the front and start pulling again. You can't back down at all on thes flat races because the time gaps are very small.1 min can drop you 5-10 places.I just kept motoring and hopefully pick up some of the guys dropping back.I didn't know who was behind me I just kept my eyes forward.On the third lap in the same single track spot,my number came off again."What the heck!" This time it flew totally off and I had to go back to get it.There I was trying to stuff it in my jersey pocket,but the dang thing is just big enough to not fit, so try putting it back on the bike, crap the twist ties broke.Ok plan C,try folding it in the pocket.This thing aint easy to fold in a pocket because its a thick plastic. It worked but it was a little uncomfortable and I had lost some decent time.At this time I knew I had no chance to catch the group so I was just going to keep poundin at pick up what I can.At the start of the last lap I caught back up to some guys and they were sticking to me pretty good as I was pulling a good pace.At this point I was desperate on finding mike for a bottle because I only got 1 hand up on the 2nd lap.At the top of the biggest climb on the course, right before the bumpy single track I yelled for some water from the spectators.One guy came running up with a bottle and I was surprised the guys behind me didn't attack because I almost came to a stop.Bad luck hit again as the bottle was one of those stupid ones that no matter how hard you squeeze the thing it trickles water.Through the single track the guy behind me was barely hanging on he said.But he held on as I was starting to feel the need for water.I had like 2 miles to go so I just tryed to keep the pace as high as I could.Within the last mile we came out of the woods onto a atv trail and the guy behind me came around and started the final attack.It was just me and him now.We were comming in hot on a guy right into the last single track section before the finish line.We anounced our approach and the guy in front of me made it around him but the dude cut me off right on the apex of the corner. I was like what the heck we are going way faster than you and you pull right in front of me.With nowhere to pass ,he got a gap on me so I couldn't challenge him at the end sprint.
I did have a fun race and I am feeling better with every race, so live and learn I guess.Time-2:18,overall- 27th,age-10th.I figure if everything went right I would have been in the top 15.
On an ironic note,my 2 Wis race times are 2:18,and my 2 MN race times are 2:01. Very freaky man.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Ah,Nice Weather Finally

How does everyone like the nice weather this week.After what we've had we deserve it.Tuesday was disappointing for me,it was that day where we were on the tail edge of the front,and the rain was very scattered.I really wanted to do a group ride so I waited untill 5:00 before I hopped on the bike.I had looked on the radar and it seemed like it would miss us,so I rolled the dice to try my luck.The ride doesn't start untill 6:30 but I was going to do a small loop to get warmed up.During my ride I saw this nasty cloud comming right towards me.I was thinking about waiting it out at a gas station but the ride was going to start soon and I didn't know how long it would rain.So I just hammered it to the group ride route and took my chances.Right on the south end of Bald Eagle lake the wind picked up and I looked over across the lake."Oh crap! this is going to suck" I said to myself as I could see a downpour comming across the lake.For those who remember Maplelag last year thats what it was like,no rain, to the flood gates of heaven opening up.I said forget this, and rode through North Oaks for a few hills and called it quites.
Then wed came and redeemed itself.Me and Sam went out to Stillwater and up to Marine on St Croix for a 3 hour tour.Man did that feel good.We avged 20 mph at a med intensity.Thats pretty good for us.
Thursday we raced at Buck and Sam did very well.He took 3rd right behind Luke.I was about a minuite back taking 6th in a finishing sprint with Chris and another guy.I was behind both of them at the bottom of the hill but I couldn't muster enough power to go around in the loose gravel.Oh,well not bad for the "fun night".
Friday was very nice at work.All the company sup's went on a fishing trip up to Voyagers national park on one of those 55 foot house boats.So I was all alone at work.It made some time to talk to one of the electritions and he said he would like to try a mountain bike race.He had recently bought a Fuel 80,so he might join me next week at Buck.After work me and Sam went to see Star Wars 3.Nothing great there. I thought the acting was poor for showing emotions.Yes,there are no loose ends at the end, but I think it could have been written better.Anikin was way too moody and swayed to the dark side too suddenly.The animation was good though.I bet this whole movie was made in front of a green screen.
Well,tomarrow is the Wausau race,and its going to be very hot and humid.Hopefully I'm acclimated to it by now.I'm just going to hang out around the house today and take er easy,my legs were a bit weary today on the ride.It's a good day to break out the grill,which we haven't yet this year...mmm fajitas.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

The Many Hills of Afton

Today was the Afton Mt bike race.Its nice to drive only 45 min to a race instead of 3.5 hours.Everyone was there except for Jeff and Doug who are hammering out the roads in the NVGP.Doug did exceptionally well yesterday.I would recommend reading his blog to see how well he did.He was pro stuff,man!Anyway the weather was very good today. The humidity was alot less than the previous race and I was taking in enough fluids to keep my senses.Off the start I had a little flub,I couldn't find my stupid pedal quick enough.After I found it I hammered behind Sam and Dr Bob in the top about 15th or so.I think they sent us up shady lane a little earlier than last year which was fine with me, to get it over with.At the top of shady lane Sam went for the more technical but shorter route while I opted for the little easier path and ended up passing him up.From there I just kept motoring and rode conservitive and ended up putting a gap on Sam.I kept my eye on Jay Richards,Chris Fisher,and Tim Norrie up about 15 seconds.While Sam was back a bit and Jan Rybar had was closing in.On the second lap going up shady lane Chris looked back and saw me, so he signaled me to close the gap.But I was going as fast as I wanted to,and that was the mistake of the race.I should have went for it and took my chances. So I kept my pace while Chris droped the group.I caught Tim and slowly he dropped back by the third lap.On the last lap the hills were taking there toll and my legs were burning pretty good on the hard long climbs.I actually took a little digger on a tight downhill corner were my front tire slid into a rut and over the bars I went.It was just one of those oh,crap! moments then just pick up and go.I had Jay in my sights for a long time but he was able to hold me off to the finish.This was kind of a weird race because I was all alone for like the whole thing, usually people would stick on your wheel and work together to bridge gaps. I need to work on that,I usually need someone to push me over the platue and keep me going.I can tell my mental toughness needs work this year.
Other mentionable moments is Sam got a flat on lap 2,Dr Bob had a horrible race and faded bad-sorry to see that man.Paul Hanson broke a chain and dnf'd.
All in all I felt pretty good and I could motor nicely up all the hills.This is one of the tougher courses in MN with ALOT of climbing.So I'm glad I didn't crack on the last lap like last year.Time-2:01, 11min back from leaders,place-10th in age,11th overall.
P.S.I just looked at my time from last year and they deffinately shortened the course this year.Dougs time was 2:02 last year and mine was 2:18.I thought the laps felt shorter.On the web site they said it was 23 miles total though.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Nature Valley Experience

Last night me and Sam headed down to watch the Nature Valley Gand Prix.We saw just about everyone we know related to bikes.It wasn't as crowded as I thought it would be so it was easy to move around to get some nice shots.I brought the camcorder to get the locals in action.There were plenty of crashes I heard but I never got one on tape.It was neat to be able to walk anywhere through the open pits and watch all the teams.The pace that they kept was brutal.I could tell Doug was suffering bad and Dano got dropped.Aric Harland did very well and even took a big pull at the front of the group,the only local rider to do so.Jeff had bad luck at the end of the race.With 2 laps to go he got a saftey pin in his back tire.He was doing very well too, about mid pack or more.He was pretty disappointed after that.I have to go and get my ride in because I'm going to go help Mike with the Salsa crew down in Red Wing.Yesterday he said he might need me in the feed zone.

Doug <

Monday, June 06, 2005

Couldn't beat the heat

The picture says it all Posted by Hello
I have to start by talking about the training camp on Sat. It went well and we had a little practice in the rain.When me and Sam got there they were going to do some video for channel 11,so we gave the media some shots and Jeff did an interview,and carried on with the camp.I didn't know that that guy was from channel 11 untill the next day when mikes like "did you see the footage on the news last night" If I would have known I would have recorded it.oh well.We just rode around and talked to the group giving them advice and what to practice.There was 8or 9 people in the group,which is about how many Mike wanted.
I'll just jump right to the race.On the start line I was in about the third line back which was fine for me since the first mile was flat as a pancake.In the first hundred yards I see this guy totally endo over his bars and his bike flew over his back and almost bounce over a 12 foot fence, ouch that hurt.After the first .5 mile in the airport field there was a 90 degree corner around a fence ,over a road and into a 6 foot wide imagine 100 riders doing like 30mph and pushing and shoving to get a good position.I managed to weave through the cluster and stick on Hollywoods wheel after a couple of agressive moves before the single track.Lap one went pretty good. Me and Sam stuck together through all the rooty, bumpy, twisty, windy singletrack. And managed to work our way up the field.By the end of lap 1 I already drank both my water bottles and the humidity was starting to affect me.At the start of lap 2 to my suprise we caught Paul Hanson and his team mate Justin R. For that whole lap Justin paced for Paul while me and Sam sat in.We were all suffering and our concentration and reflexes were horrible. I almost went down like 3 times on the roots but had some marvalous saves,like when Sam almost took me out in a corner...we were going down a 4-wheeler trail about 25mph,I was right on Sams wheel when he took this like 150 degree corner into the single track,and I just locked up the brakes and skidded sideways yelling Go! Go!My front wheel stopped just shy of his rear wheel.
At the end of the 2nd lap in the water station while I was getting some much needed water a group of about 5 riders charged hard right past us.By the time I knew it everyone was pulled away.I managed to catch Justin and ride with him for a while,But Sam and Paul were able to stick with that other group and dropped me and Justin.As the lap went on Justin dropped and ended up DNFing while I put it on damage control and thought about just finishing.I couldn't drink enough water.I would only see Mike once each lap and I would slam the bottle that he gave me right away.With 3 miles to go I made a sudden movement to catch myself and my left calf went ping and I had one of those really bad cramps.But I kept on going and finished with no one around me.
My fitness was good. The legs and lungs were just fine.My Knee felt fine.It was the first hot, humid ride for me.I haven't had any training in this kind of weather yet,but that will change and I believe I'll feel better for the next one.The course was 32 miles total time-2:18,place-10th age,38th overall Sam halled the whole way pulling for Paul but Paul got him on the sprint and Sam had a time of 2:14,place-7th age,21st overall.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Bummer Dude

This stinks that I have to sit out of a race because of an injury.I had everything planned and packed in the truck to go to Buck on thursday after work.But during the day my knee was hurting pretty bad.My decision was based on getting it well enough for this weekend for Wors #3.What makes all this worse, is that I'm feeling the best I've ever felt all year in terms of fitness.I did go to the doctor on tues. and he said it was a knee cap tracking problem.There's inflamation under the knee cap,and that pushes the knee cap away from the knee joint causing it to track wrong.It's the same thing that took Tom Danielson out of the Giro.The things he told me to do is ice it often,spin higher rpms, experiment with cleat position,and hopefully it will pass.Plan B would be a cortizone shot,which he doesn't really want to do.I can still bike at high rpms,but its the high torqe stuff that that stresses it a bit,and mtbing is all powering.
I did have a good time at Buck though,when I don't race I'm video coverage.I've always liked taking pics and video all through high school.So,tomarrow we head out to Afton to join Mike and Jeff for the training camp and scope out the course,then Sun. is Wis. Rapids.No knee problems (knock on wood)
I updated the South Dakota pics so check them out.