Saturday, May 31, 2008

Prescott ride

Good ride today w/ some nice hills. Next time Sam needs to ride his light bike so I don't have to pull him most of the way. There is some gravel riding on this ride but the Ardennes felt really nice on them. They are the best shape gravel roads I have ever ridden. Very smooth. I found some really nice bike maps here for Wisconsin roads. Click on the county you want a map of.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The log splitter wanted a piece of Sam Tuesday and it got it. Just the finger nail portion on the left pointer finger got tenderized. Luckily the bone didn't get broke but the flesh turned to hamburger and he had to go to the hospital. I knew exactly how he did it before I found out because every time I run the thing I look at the the hazardous spot and see the potential. It was smashed between the support pedestal on the front which is on the side of the main I-beam and the piece of wood being split when it dropped down a bit. He has been on the bike but road vibration does hurt. I don't know when mtbing will be in the picture. Good thing the avids have reach adjustment.
Work has been going great building wheels. I was building up some stinger 60's for Team High Road today which will be used in the Tour de France and the Dauphine Libere. Kind of cool knowing that the wheels I'm building will be under Hincapie or something and rolling through the Tour. It adds a little pressure too.
List of wheels easiest to hardest to build:
Jets C2
Stinger 50
Stinger 60
Stinger 90
Alps (Thank God they dropped this model and they only come in as repairs)

Monday, May 26, 2008

Finishing up a long weekend of racing

Wow what a long weekend. We finished up today with a quality crit in downtown Cloquet. 45 min of pain is what crits are. The course had a long very wide finishing straight at a slight downhill and a strong tailwind. At the end of the straight was a screaming fast 90 degree corner, after the corner was a short kicker that you could carry some momentum up with another 90 degree corner at the top. From there it was a gradual climb into a headwind to the 3rd corner and down a somewhat rough descent into the last 90 which spit back out onto the finishing straight. Anyway it started raining when we started and the corners at one point were getting slick. I felt my rear tire slipping a little going into the fast 40+ mph corner. I backed off a little after that. Dave Muecke broke away early (I'd say within the first 15 min) and another guy had joined him. I never even knew there was a break until I hear people yelling "40 seconds" with like 7 laps to go. Everyone still had some kick in their legs and the pace was surging quite often. I tried to make a prime at one point (not knowing that Dave was out) but a couple guys still came around me. It was kind of fun coming down the finishing straight all stretched out single file going 45 mph. I was amazed that Dave stayed out the entire time. I'm impressed with the endurance and jump speed these guys had the entire weekend. I was happy making up some time every day in the GC. After the TT on friday I was like 21st and by the end of today I climbed up to 15th. These guys have been pushing big headwinds in road races all spring and started training alot earlier than I did. This is also my first road race in 2 years (besides last years cat 4 Northfield crit) in which I was racing cat 4 or 5. This curly bar racing is a totally different effort than mtbing, and tactics is a major factor.

Observations on the differences in the mtb community vs road racers (note: these are merely personal observations and I mean no offense to anyone or group)
With an environment of tactics, and ones standings being effected by what others do there seems to be more tension between riders in the road community and a more "competitive" attitude toward others. Its a more serious game out there on the road. And since everyone is together sketchy riders can easily crash out a bunch of riders, so there is some tempers that can flare there too.

In mtbing the strongest rider always wins, there is nothing a team can do to affect the outcome of a "real" mtb race and no one can hide or get a free ride at the back. There is no support out on the trail and everyone must fend for themselves. Unlike road racing where you quit racing if you get dropped, you keep racing because everyone is spread out over the course. Anyway, this kind of racing doesn't give much reason to get angry at anyone. You either have it or you don't. The mtb community seems to be more laid back and friendlier to competition.

I still like road racing and I think both disciplines compliment each other. This weekend definitely kicked my but and I'm fried right now but now its time to recover and wait for the benefits to be had on the other side.
I have to say thanks to the Thompsons for feeding me out on and off the course, Tone Coughlin and Jill for housing me and putting on a superb weekend of racing, to all the volunteers out on the course making it safe to ride, and to Hed wheels for some TT goodies and the pair of Ardennes wheels which made the bike quite a bit lighter and handle like a dream out there. There is also some pride in riding some wheels that you built yourself :)

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Duluth Classic stage race

Coming to you from Tone Coughlins house. The last 3 days have been busy racing and then getting ready for the next one. I just finished stage 3 of 4. so here is a recap so far.

Stage 1- 16.2 mile time trial. My start time Friday evening was 7:26. I was trying out some tt bars and wheels for the first time but I think it was kind a bad idea since I haven't had much time in that position. I only averaged 24 mph which is the slowest I've done. The course played a factor in it to. Going east off the start for a few miles was quartering into the wind until I hit hwy 23 south with a tailwind. 23 was rollers all the way to county 1 which was the turn around point and the headwind really took its toll as it was uphill all the way with open fields. The wind was 20+ mph and everyone suffered. my calves started to cramp up at the finish when I got out of the saddle which wasn't good. And my glutenous was hurting to the maximous. I finished way behind GC like 4 min so. The guy that won put up a time that would have put him 3rd in the 1/2 field. It was a late night because I didn't leave the race venue until 9:00 and I got to bed at midnight.

stage 2- 54 miles in Superior WI. Flat course with a tail wind on a mile or so 4% grade uphill going south and a headwind on the downhill. Start time noon. Nothing got away. Big surges here and there but there was nothing that could stick and beat a 32 man field. One UofM guy had a break for almost a full lap but was brought back with 1 or 2 laps to go. I sat in the back for the last lap and kind of spun the legs out. My muscles were kind of sore from the time trial.

stage 3- this was the major stage with a big climb that was 1km or so long and kicked up pretty steep the last 200-300 meters. We did 5 laps on a 12 mile course so that meant we went up the hill 6 times because we started at the bottom. The finish line was at the top of the hill. The pace was on and off the first lap and I think 2 guys were off the front about a quarter mile or so in front of the pack and they took the first KOM points. I was somewhere around 4-6th I think. On lap 2 I think Dave Schueller (the #1 cat 3 racer this year) broke away with another guy and we let him get way out there. I think at one point it was over 2 min. Some of the long straight aways I couldn't even see him. It was either on this lap or lap 3 that we caught the cat 1\2 racers (They started 10 min before us. yeah, the pace stayed pretty high). We toyed around with that group for a good lap or more passing each other about 4 times. Schueller stood strong and was still out of sight. Eventually the 1\2 group slowed when they caught their solo break away rider and they let us keep chasing Schueller. Right before we hit the big climb at the end of lap 4, 4 or 5 guys got about a 100 meters on the field. I was on the front of the pack and this guy from Manitoba Canada (wearing the polka dot jersey) who happened to be just killing it on the hill each time, went to close the gap. I jumped on his wheel cross eyed but lost his wheel when the grade kicked up at the top. I was so close to connecting but couldn't quite make it. I thought that was going to be the move for the day. Once we hit the top me and a couple other guys chased hard with the pack in tow. I gave up and had to recover at the back of the field for a while. The pack did start to work however and we slowly closed the gap. Everyone did get back together with under 5 miles to go. Note- its starting to rain at this point. To our amazement we also caught Schueller about 2 miles from the finish. I don't think you could have timed it any better, just like the pro peleton. The final climb was chaos. At this point we just caught the 35+ group which started 5 min ahead of us and were on their sprint/leg shattering finish too. This had to be interesting for the officials, there were 2 classes spread out all over the hill and coming across the line simultaneously. I had nothing left and couldn't contest a final sprint but just stayed seated and pushed as hard as I could. I just happened to cross the line about a wheel ahead of Hollywood. I picked him out as my vegetable to catch before I crossed the finish. Right when we crossed the line it started pouring rain out with lightning. It was going to make for an epic last lap for the 1/2 race. It was another 10 min before the 1/2 even came up hill hill after we finished so they must have been taking it easy today or we were were just that fast. I do know that they did go allot harder yesterday than we did and they have about half the field size that we do. There is no hiding in the pack when the numbers are that low.
Tomorrow is the final stage in Cloquet, which is a 45 min crit. With 3 races already in everyones legs, who will have that explosive power to make the accelerations around the corners? We will see.

Friday, May 16, 2008

New Job

I'm no longer a bum anymore. I got a job here and I start on monday. Its been almost a year and a half since I had a full time job. It will be nice working with people who understand cycling and athleticism for a change.
I'm going up to Duluth with my Speedskating team mate Patti tomorrow to preview the road courses for the Memorial Weekend stage race. Floyd and Janet are going to be following us around. Sam went to race the Cable Classic. A big showing this year. Paul,Chris,Brendan,Wenk,and Charlie Tri are all going to be there. Hopefully they took out the nasty speed bump that took out Brian Narrum and Charlie Farrow last year with, correct me if I'm wrong, broken and separated shoulders. It also took out Chris a few years back.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Erik's spring Cup 5.00

A cold(start) windy day at Harmon for the MNSCS opener yesterday. The race was pushed back an hr to let the trails dry up. And dry up they did with only 1 giant mud hole with a wheel sucker in the middle. I guess Chris and Brendan both fell victim to. Off the start I took position behind my early 2007 season nemesis and Wisconsin native Jesrin Gaier. In front of him was Brendan, Paul, and Doug. Behind me was Chris, H-Wood, Charlie, and Sam. Within a half lap Paul dropped back to me and Jesrin. A little while latter I began to drop both Jesrin and Paul. On the start of lap 2 I was 3rd in between Brendan and a group containing Chris, Paul, Jesrin, and Sam bridging up to them after getting a bad position going into the single track from the start. Near the end of lap 2 Sam had bridged up to me and we still had a gap I'd say around 20 seconds or so. Sam led the 3rd lap and Paul did what he does best and thats putting in a huge surge to catch us. He latched on at the start of the twisty single track at the end of the lap. I led the first half of the 4th lap. Paul went to the front at the turn around point and put in another big surge. Sam and I were going cross-eyed and Paul opened up a gap. On the last lap we almost pulled Paul back but no cigar. In the end Sam had some spunk left in the legs while mine were going ish. I came in 5th, 1 sec behind Sam, Paul 30 sec up, Brendan 1.5 min, and Doug 4:00 min.

all pictures provided by the best ski and cycling event coverage site in MN

I'm going through finals right now but they will be over wednesday.
next up is my first road stage race over memorial weekend up in the Duluth area. Eric Thompson will be back tomorrow or wednesday so I will be getting some good training in with him. He did the collegiate national team time trial in Fort Collins Colorado this weekend and took 3rd. They would have done better but they were spinning out in their 53x11 and averaged 31mph. Not bad for 4 freshmen.(One of his team mates is Mike Anderson from MI who won the semi-pro short track race and got 2nd in the xc race at Sea-Otter this year.) A lot of talent on that team. The winning team all had 56x11 gearing. Lees-Mcrea also took the mens and womens road race title.

Friday, May 02, 2008

One more vacation check

The carpenters union came through for me again. To my surprise today I received a check in the mail. Now I can go out and buy that cable ferrel I've always wanted to get. Seriously, why in the world would you spend 41 cents on a stamp to send me a 4 cent check? Thats it, I'm suing.
I'll send this one into Joe Soucheray.