Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Getting close

Less than 2 weeks before the big Nascar opener of Erik's Spring Cup at Harmon Park. Where has the spring gone? We have had March weather for the past 2 months. I've only been on the dirt training 1 time so far. Whats up with that? I'm going to do a local TT or two here to get some race intensity in. Tuesday group rides are going on too.

Last year Erik's was a group ride the entire time with an average of 19mph. I don't think it will happen this year. Doug and Jeff will be back, and with the weather not being so nice to ride in, I think fitness will be sporadic throughout the field. We'll see what happens; the first race is always nervous because nobody knows where everyone else is at and the body kind of forgets what its like after a long winter.

2 more weeks of school left too!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

2 wheels and a motor

I've been riding the Thumper to school on the nice days. Nice to hear the 4-stroke again. I'll be putting the semi-slicks on this weekend. I need to work on those corners...

Monday, April 21, 2008


A few big events went on this last weekend.
Fisher Wedding- Chris Fisher married Jennifer Saturday afternoon. Great wedding and a lot of laughs. Funny moment: At the reception Sam, Dave Meyers, Jason Wenk, Paul Hanson, and myself(all mtbers) made up the bachelor table in the very back of the back room. Everyone knows at weddings that when everyone starts tapping on the glasses that the bride and groom need to kiss. Chris and Jen had this wonderful idea that they would draw a table # and that table is asked a question about the bride and groom, if they got it right the bride and groom kissed, if they got it wrong the couples at that table had to kiss. Just before they drew a number we stole the # off the empty table behind us. Right then they called our table 20. We quick dropped that # down and put up 22. They didn't buy it. We were still given a question (relating to biking thank God) and we did get it right. We were wondering where the bachelorette table was, I never saw one.
I haven't eaten so much that night since the last time I was at Maplelag. Before Sam and I went to the wedding we went biking for a couple hrs and missed lunch, so between the ceremony and the reception 3:30-5:00 I had to make a stop at Culvers for an appetizer of a burger, fries and a shake. Then at the reception they had a buffet of those green beans in butter with almonds, mashed potatoes and gravy, ham, turkey, and some killer bread. I made the mistake of keeping a piece of cake sitting in front of me. Paul said it was the best cake he's had and I couldn't take it anymore, I could only polish off half of it. I heard Brendan gets the heap management award for stacking the most food onto a plate. One of the benefits of being an elite endurance athlete is you can eat just about whatever you want in mass quantities and never gain weight(during the on season of course). Chris had also made the decision to rent a Hummer limo between the ceremony and the reception for the wedding party. Me and Dave were wondering how many bikes one could fit on the roof. Anyways Congratulations to the newly wed and thanks for inviting us.
Floyds Hall of Fame Induction- Floyd and some of the team went to Bethlehem, PA for his speed skating Hall of Fame ceremony. He said it went well and he had a great time. He winged an 8 minute speech and donated one of his "wooly" USA jerseys and his skates to the museum which will be moving to Milwaukee soon. Congratulations Floyd on such a life achievement award.
I want to put a word in for Eric Thompson who ripped it up at Sea Otter this weekend too. He took 2nd in the semi-pro short track behind his teammate and Michigan resident Mike Anderson. Eric has been one of the workhorse for the team this year being a freshman and all. He's putting in his time now so when he is a Jr and Sr in college he will be set up for the wins. Get this, both Mike and Eric's last 3 laps in the short track were faster than Sam Schultz and Ryan Trebon's last 3 laps. Not bad for a couple 18 year olds. In the xc on sunday Mike took 2nd and Eric came in 14th. He said he didn't feel good at any part of the race. He pointed out the lack of sleep because he had to sleep on the floor of their room for a couple nights. His true fitness is just starting to sprout now, it will be interesting to see how far he can make it.
Sunday was Sam and my first time on the dirt. We did 2 laps around Harmon then rode down to Battle creek and did 2 laps there. It was about 3.5 hrs total in 70's and sunshine. I'm sporting my first biker tan(burn) lines of the year. All the food from saturday pulled me through well and I had no problems. Its also a good sign that Sam never dropped me on any of the climbs and I did my fair share of pulling during the ride. It feels good to be on the fat tires again.

Lees-McRaeCollege bike team- Eric is 4th row 3rd from left

Thursday, April 10, 2008


The only upgrades for this year are pedals and shoes. I was always thought about getting the specialized shoes and now that they changed to a decent color (last year was red and that doesn't match anything) that actually does match my bike and kit quite well. I used the shoes yesterday when I went on a ride with Sam and Johny T. I didn't have the pedals yet though. I took the dualie out for the first time because it has been very lonely in the basement. The soles of the shoes are supper hard. I had to file down the back of the cleat that would usually press into the sole so the cleat doesn't move, but they wouldn't press into the specialized carbon. I really like the Boa system. There are no pressure points at all around the foot. Another feature I like about these shoes is the heel cup is narrow. I have a small Achilles tendon so it conforms nicely and prevents heel lift. Specialized shoes are narrower than the Nike shoes I had and a little taller in the toe area. Nike seems to have a big toe box with a low profile. The Specialized shoes are incredibly stiff. They feel more like road shoes than anything. They also weigh as much as my road shoes (720g a pair w/cleats). The only issue I have with them is getting my foot in the shoe. They have a small entry opening with a grabby material lining the heel so it takes a little more effort and wiggling to get in them.
Look Pedals- I just put the pedals on today and have only ridden them around in the yard so far. It's always risky trying a first generation pedal design out before any reviews come out but look has had a lot of pedal experience and there are some pros using them in the world cup circuit. Whats interesting about the design is there is no tension spring which is why they are so light. I don't know how they get the tension to be honest, I'll have to look at it a little more. What sold me was the weight of the Crank Bros.egg beaters with the platform of the Time Atac (we'll see about mud shedding ability later) all under $100. I have the Atacs now and I have always had a problem with the axles developing some play. Oh, and they weigh a ton for what you pay for them. Atacs are renown for their mud shedding abilities and their butter like entry and exit in all conditions. The entry on the Atacs are nice too, you could just slam down on the pedal from almost any angle and clip in fast. From what I've experienced so far just riding around the yard the looks are more precise and solid feeling. The Atacs I notice do have some slop to them and there is some lateral movement while being clipped in.With the Looks there is only 3 degrees of float with a 15 degree release angle. The Atacs have 5 degrees of float and I don't know what there release angle is. The entry I don't think is as forgiving as the Atacs but I'm sure its something I just need to get used to. You do need to shim the cleats with certain shoes. I had to use the 1mm shim on the specialized shoes. I'm thinking of adding the .5mm shim to see if that will make the entry a little easier but it will loosen up the shoe on the platform. I'll have to experiment a little bit with that. One last thing, the cleats need to be deburred in the back. The burrs were beginning to hack up the cage when clipping in. I took a file to them and now its fine.
In the end I'll have shaved 230g (.5lb) off my feet, and have made things a lot more solid meaning more efficiency.

Photos from Specialized.com and MTBR.com

Monday, April 07, 2008

Sunny and 60

Saturday was the best day we've had so far. There were so many cyclists on the roads along the St Croix river I bet the motorists were getting frustrated. It was a full on invasion. Sam, John Thompson(of course on his mtb), and I met up with Brian Abery (the guy that planned the France trip last summer) by lake Elmo. We went down into Afton and stopped at a cafe where I saw Patty(speed skating teammate)with her Birchwood teammates. We headed south and when we got to the 4 way intersection going into Afton Alps a posse was standing on the side of the road. Andy Kruse, Ben Dubay, and Joe Dubay joined us and we pace lined down to Prescott. We all split up in Prescott and it was just us three again heading back with a tailwind. Going in a group is a lot easier than riding 4.5hrs alone. I had plenty of energy left over after the 85 miles this time. We had a good time out there.
Yesterday John invited Sam and I over to watch the Flanders RR. He bribed me with milk and cookies so I couldn't resist. Great race and a brutal classic. I know the cameras don't give those climbs any justice. 20% wet cobbles is insane. Epic for sure.
Here is Joe's sprint up a climb in the 2008 JOs in Anchorage. He is smokin up that hill

We have to keep John company now since he has become an "empty nester". Eric Thompson has been living the dream out in North Carolina riding with one of the best cycling colleges in the nation. This is his first year of full on long hour base miles and his fitness is has sky rocketed. Not to mention he is on his first real road bike. Hopefully he will be up to a cat 2 by the time the Duluth Classic rolls around or I will be hanging on to his wheel for dear life. They had a team time trial recently and they averaged 31mph on a rolling 13 mile course with 3 guys. It will be interesting to see what he can do when he comes back for the summer. His daughter Stephanie made it into the Nature Valley Grand Prix so he is proud of that too.
How about Mike Phillips place this week at nationals. 9th place in his 2nd pro race is stellar. He has been doing his homework in the cold snowy weather.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Spring Finally

I'm about a month behind on my training this year. Crappy weather and a cold that lasted 2 weeks (I'm still hacking up some crap in my lungs but its not that bad) has wreak havoc on the training schedule. Today I did the Scandinavian tour for the first time. My first 4+ hr ride of the year. with near 60 degrees and light winds I couldn't pass it up.I took the good bike and I'm glad I did or I wouldn't have made it back. I averaged 20 the first 3.5 hrs then I went south (literally) after that and I had to turn it down a little. The last 10 miles I was tapping my ruby slippers together chanting "theres no place like home, theres no place like home." I'm diggin the Boonen hair though. A little bit longer and I'll have the flowing Lavick the stick euro pro look.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Scandinavian Tour

Just trying out this Map my Ride thing. This is my spring base miles route that I like to do. No traffic where there are normal shoulders and huge shoulders to get out of town. Its pancake flat except for a few rollers between Forest Lake and Scandia.