Wednesday, December 31, 2008

KCCX Day 4

Single Speed Race
58 degrees, windy and at 8am. Need I say more. These guys raced in the worst weather last year (-1000F windchill), so the fact that they got the highest temperatures of the year was poetic justice.

Single Speed finish + a few minutes
"Cold Front" rolls in. It's never good when you see purple clouds in December. Never. Grey is cold, Green is Severe thunderstorms and tornadoes, but purple is just frigid. Temperatures fell 8 degrees in the first 6 minutes. Or was it the other way around? It doesn't matter. At the start of the Elite race, 22F. Windchill: 6 degrees, or gawd am cold!

Elite Natz!

The best of the best view this as the only event. Myself.... I've already had a top 10 in a national championship this year so everything else is gravy.

I'm not so big on cold weather. Actually, I hate it. If my hands go numb, I usually race like hell. Other guys on the team ride very well when it's cold. Steve, Shadd, Bill, Joseph. I like it when it's HOT!

I'm number 109 which means I'm in nearly the back row. Sort of like the 30-34 race except that the guys here are all elite, as in many of them have UCI points and many others were close on many occasions. We're all cold, with many riders keeping the thermals and tights on till the "1 minute" warning. A tornado of clothing leaving riders towards the sidelines and we're off!

Nothing. No gas in the tank. I couldn't pedal, couldn't steer, couldn't breathe. It was just a bad, bad, bad. I got crashed 2x in the first 1/2 of the first lap and was OTB. Awww, hail. To add insult to injury, my bike didn't shift and wouldn't stay in gear, which meant that I probably had a bent derailler hanger. Bike change.

Got on the "B" bike and it was a total buzz kill. When you go from a 16 pound bike to a 19.5 pound bike, it's never going to feel fast. As I was pitting, I told Joseph I was going to need the light bike back. After all, there was lots of climing....

By the end of it all, I got pulled about 1/2 way through the race. But not before having some fun. The WONDERFUL part about the home town crowd is if you're doing as crappy as me, you get beer hand-ups! One word: Awesome.

So that's my story from KCCX 2008. I guess the next couple of years it's going to be in Bend Oregon. While I'm sure they're excited, I'm going to miss a national championship being in the KS every year since 2005 (2005-2007 Collegiate National Road Champs, 2007-2008 CX National Champs- KCCX).

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Holiday Season Nearly Over... FINALLY!!!

The Holidays have mostly come and gone. It all started with Thanksgiving, with a whirlwind of holidays, and racing. The "real" Cyclo-cross (CX) season is upon us and it's time to start riding fast. "Real" meaning late season and close to Nationals. The races that usually matter most and leave a final memory of how your 2008 CX races really went. Strange how that works. If you race poorly in the early season, and that's how it usually is for me, then improve your performance dramatically in the late season, you'll remember that as how well you performed.

But if you reverse the scenario, then the season was a disaster. Hmmm......
Okay so the late season goes a little something like this:

Thanksgiving: Stuff yourself, gravy on everything followed by pie, then more pie.
48 hours.
Jingle Cross: C1-C2-C2 for 2009!
one week.
4 days
6 days
Fort Worth for Xmas!
New Year's in Austin
TX CX Champs: Jan 3 and 4.
Home and relax... riiiight.

If you are reading this then:

Monday, December 29, 2008

KCCX Day 3

Okay, I've finally got some time to finish these posts up. Here we go.....

Masters 30-34.
Getting home and to bed at midnight sure made that 7am alarm go off very early. It's a bit like groundhog day at this point. Get up, eat something HOT for breakfast. It's winter now, I've got all day to be cold, why would I want to start the day like that? Make lots of piping hot coffee. Throw my race bag into the back of Matt's Man Truck with all the bikes and head out.

By the time I got to the races and got my stuff ready to go, Joe was just starting the Men 19-23 race. He ended up riding to 18th place which is awesome considering the competition. Intersting observation though... At the 35 minute mark everyone in the top 20 absolutely blew apart! Lap times got 15-25 seconds slower and all the small groups shattered. That's how hard the race was. Incredible. I rode next to Joe during parts of the race, giving him updates on how guys were riding. It was probably the best warm up I've done in a long time. That's forshadowing....

Masters 30-34.
Back row. I shouldn't even have had a number, just the initials DFL would have worked. The number series started at 500. I was number 2232. Ha! I utilized three different techniques for this race. 1) Jed Schneider: I lined up a full row behind the field. This allows me to clip in and get a running start at the other guys waiting for everyone in front of them. It also gives me a moment to look for any lanes that may develop. 2) Jensen: I went flying up the right side of the road, on the shoulder and away from any slow starters getting in my way. Then avoided a nasty crash across the finish line and into the grass. 3) Stolte: drive around guys like they're traffic barrels, don't be nice. I probably was in the top 25 or so guys coming off the pavement, which helped. Now is when the race gets hard.....

Groups were forming and fracturing, only to reform +/- a few guys. People were jumping and scrambling for better position. I made it a point to hit the, "GO!" button for the first lap and see where I was. At the end of lap 1, I heard I was top 20 and moving towards the group going for 13th- 18-something. Ahead of them by about 4-6 seconds was a group going for 8-12th. That's when I started noticing the absolutely incredible home-town crowd!

Some athletes claim to not hear crowd noise, some say they can spot a certain someone in a mass of humanity. The crowds weren't that big, relative to what was to be on Sunday, but I heard people yelling for me everywhere on the course. Thanks to all! Your support enabled me to perform that one bit extra. You allowed me to race with emotion, with the desire to excel beyond what I've done in CX before. I could not have done it without everyone!

At the end of lap 2 I had caught up to my team mate Matt Ankney who did me a magnificent favor by hitting it, full gas, across the finish stretch to put me on the tail end of the 13-18 group. Still the 8-12 group was in front of me dangling. Close, but farther than I would have liked. I jumped across on a steep uphill section. Why not? I wanted to do well, the crowd was going crazy for me, and what did I have to lose? Might as well try. I jumped, and my Scott CX bike flew across the gap on my super light wheels. Wow! I made it to this top 10 group. Myself making it the 8-11th group. Two guys were on the same team, motoring and making it a bit difficult to follow. The cumulative effect of the slinky in CX when you're at full throttle is brutal.

I made some attempts to be in second place but the guys weren't having any of it. There was a little bumping but nothing out of sorts. Actually, all of us raced very clean and very hard. The way sport should be. I decided, after about 2 laps with this going on, that I just needed to attack the two guys and see if I could separate them. Maybe I could even drop the other one too. I did drop the first of the two team mates, and the other one, but still had one with me. We rode a good race, unable to drop each other. Until two to go, when the fourth guy came back to us in what had to be an amazing recovery. In the end, he got away and I was racing a very good rider for 9th place.

I guess the important thing about CX is knowing how to ride to the maximum of your strengths while exploiting the weakness of your opponent. And that's what I did. My opponent was bigger than me and had a good jump on the flats. I'm not known for sprinting, but I can find a way..... I jumped him on a slight uphill section about 250m from the final asphalt section, went around a fast corner, up some stairs, around a hairpin corner where I saw Jeremy Haynes as I said, "It hurts," and finished 9th place.

At the finish line was Promoter/ CX team director Bill Marshall, happy about the performance. I was so exhausted I basically collapsed. And that is probably the hardest I've ever raced in my life.

Here's a pic of the result sheet. They line you up by number order. 500 was the first.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

KCCX Day 2; Friday.

And that's a wrap! I'm closing the book on the 2008 season. Time to relax a bit and focus on the job, life and all those little chores around the home that have been getting put off for weeks, months..... since last winter.

Day 2. Working in Pit row.
My neighbor has been checking out some new cars so we went to watch in his new hottness (test drive style, ahem).

The slimy sketchy conditions gave way to hard pack surfaces over the course of this day. Temps stayed in the favorable 40s F range so that bone chilling cold wasn't a factor as it was last year. I watched as a good friend yielded her Masters crown to another competitor. I think she should be proud of her 3rd place. It's true that you always want to win and it's true that you can have a "bad day" or a "good day" or whatever. It's also possible to ride a near perfect race at the maximum of your ability and just get beat by someone who's better. Once she pointed that out to me, then life was back to good. Her 3rd place was well deserved and everyone except 2 people would covet that bronze. Onward!

Next Steve did what Steve always does. Wins a Stars and Bars jersey. Here's Steve's account and that on Velonews. I worked the pit for Steve, which really meant that I got to enjoy a beer and watch the race as no one really took a bike the whole race.

Myself, and the Tilford crew stopped by the Trek Stores KC/ SRAM party to do some meet and greet for the sponsors and SRAM. There was a good crowd and some fantastic beer to boot. The holidays are my favorite season and it all begins with Thanksgiving... (I've got a post that wraps this all up, someday I'll get it up). Some of the guys from the road team were there, including Shadd Smith. It's good to meet up with everyone again. But the only tricky part is that there are national championships going on, so you can't live it up too much.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

KCCX. Day 1. 'Mer-cans can't even win their own races!

One down, two to go. I've written about 7-8 posts in the last 6 weeks but they're not done and it's time to move on to my own personal coverage of KCCX. I'll get them up in time, but now is the time for now.... On to the races!

Pre race: Yow-zas! It's f-f-f-freezing at 730am! 15 degrees and the world is dark and frozen solid. 740am and Joe and I are driving the Matt's Man Truck full of bikes to the races. Matt had a meeting so he was running late which required me to get all his stuff ready for the race. Makes for a bit stressful pre race, but all the running around did help me "warm up." Right?.....

Not so much the "B U29."
Joe and I started in the 4th and 5th row. Coming off the pavement, we were 4-5 or 5-6, somehting like that. John Giles gets the hole shot, which ensures him a good place and everyone else is left chasing. Joe gets held up by a crash, then falls himself. I fall, then get held up by a crash, then fall again later. All that in the first lap.
After Lap 1, all the frozen hard ground loosens up and turns to instant slime. Each corner that I was flying through before, now is snotty and slimy. I fell 3 more times but managed to ride myself into the top 10, after each of those crashes. I still managed to throw myself on the ground a couple more times and did a spectacular job of sliding (good pun) out of the top 10, finishing in the 20's.
Meanwhile, Joe had a hell of a ride, scoring himself a 6th place and having yet another good ride on what could be the early start to a breakout year. But the ride of the day goes to Shadd Shriner, a Physical Therapy Student from KU Med. Shadd's a mountain bike rider with bike driving skills the likes I haven't seen first hand in a while. I was able to go up hill fast, even passing Shadd a couple of times. But the guy just goes down hill in the slime fast! If he hadn't gotten a poor start and held up by crashes I think the win was in his ability.
The win went to Robin Eckmann of Germany! What?! A German winning the 'Mer-can B race? Well, it appears that wasn't the only 'Mer-can race won by a non-'Mer-can.


B 30+
I only know one guy who could start from the back row, ride through everyone, and be in first place by the top of the hill. Brian Jensen (from Denmark), and that's exactly what he did. When the final lap bell rang, Brian had decimated the field and still had time to finish a cold one before standing on the podium. Well done Brian!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Chris Wallace, the Manchild

KCCX/Verge Rider Chris Wallace has been awarded a spot to attend the Eurocross Camp December 18th, 2008January 3rd, 2009. Chris has traveled the country this year to better prepare his cycling skills and results to become eligible to face the worlds toughest competition. Chris is the currently leader for the USGP Series in the Junior 17-18 with only two races remaining in Portland, Oregon on December 6th and 7th. Chris’s name will join the ranks of the Nations best Junior and Elite Riders. On behalf of the entire KCCX/Verge team and sponsors we ask that you make a donation to assist the Wallace family and team help send Chris across the pond to Belgium. Thank you for your time and support; it is greatly appreciated.

Help Chris Wallace get to Belgium!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

CX Nats Course

Here's the preview video from a race we had in October:

And here is the final revision. A great shout out to Jeremy Haynes and Boss Cross. I've known Jeremy for years and I believe he was a key instigator of the entire Cyclo-cross (CX) scene here in the KC, Lawrence, Topeka area. Anytime there's an "underground culture" movement, you can usually trace it to a few and incredibly enthusiastic people who not only liked to watch and participate themselves, but who are able to impress this excitement upon others. This charisma and ability to influence others intrigues a few, who spread it even more. Such was the case when CX was in its infancy in KC back in 2000 (at least in my world). All that I know is that I went from riding long rides in the cold to riding long rides in the cold and then racing this "new" discipline. And now, there's a full schedule of CX events within 50 miles of my house!

In contrast, other areas are just getting started in CX. Still others have not yet had the necessary catalysts step forward.

Thanks to Jeremy and others like Mark Thomas (the man behind the 2000 CX Nationals in KC) CX is here for a long time... Who knows... these two could have influenced those in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska and begun the CX craze there too.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Zero Traction and Beers, and previews.

A bunch of us had dinner and enjoyed some fabulous Free State beers before watching the world Premeire of "Zero Traction."

Keith Walberg and the folks at Gizmo did a great job of creating a documentary/ video diary of the 2007 CX Natz. You can Purchase Zero Traction Here. There's lots of footage of any and all KC area racers. Including that of most folks that have lived in the KC area, once upon a time (that's you Jed).

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

GBR: Rule #32

If you crash during a race, and aren't hurt, get up! The race isn’t over yet and wallowing in self pity won’t help you get your road rash to the finish line any faster. There’s plenty of time to dress wounds later. Right now, there’s a bike race in progress.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Austin, ghosts, goblins, and CX oh my.

It's been a while since I've put any sort of new post up. Here goes:

Austin. I went back to Austin to see some friends, do some orientation and participate in LAF Challenge. It's a cancer research fundraiser bike ride. For anyone who is on the fence about going down there, it's incredible! Well run ride with lots inspiration. Indeed, many of the volunteers are Survivors and are most grateful for everything you do.The coffee shop outside Mellow Johnny's Bike Shop.

Dell's Angels Bar at mile 30-ish.

Coffee and Beer (behind the barista) at the final SAG stop.

Also: I went to some Halloween parties in the last two weekends. This has to be my favorite Holiday! I was an "Identity Crisis" in Austin and a rocker on the real Halloween. Or as a neighbor put it, "lookin' good." I should have an entire slide show below, I hope.

Now to CX, I've raced a few cross races this year and I think the score is: 4-3 in my favor. I'm riding about where I was last year which is good considering everything. I'll try and find some pics, but I managed to flat twice which basically means you can't really go anywhere but backwards, fast when that happens. I rode around with Steve Tilford for about a lap before crashing, then rode behind the group racing for second for about 2 laps before flatting for the second time. Overall, I felt good, but my tires had some problems holding air in them.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Spin Class is here!

Sunflower Bike Shop and Star Signs and Graphics Present:

Winter Spin Class Training Series


Adam Mills

Beginning Thursday, Nov

13 at: STAR.

801 E. 9th Street

Coach Mills

Adam Mills, M.S.Ed.


-USA Cycling: Expert Coach

-Multiple years of NRC racing

-M.S.Ed. Clinical Exercise Science

-Published numerous times,

-Member, HRRC/ Trek Stores Elite Cycling Team

Adam has the core knowledge, enthusiasm, and communication skills to motivate, coach, and train you to improve your athletic prowess.

Adam’s coaching method will help you reach your full potential through focus on physical, behavioral and strategic coaching.

The Training

The Winter Training Series will improve your fitness and maximize your winter training regardless of athletic aspirations, ability or experience. Some of the elements the class will focus on:

-Improve overall fitness.

-Develop your aerobic energy system.

-Increase endurance.

-Improve repeatability of maximal efforts.

-Reduce recovery time.

-Improve knowledge of cycling and fitness.

-Educate the athlete where appropriate.

-Help athlete to create and achieve goals.

Regardless of your ability, Adam’s individually tailored programs utilize principles of exercise physiology. This will help you to reach your full potential. Based on your individual goals, Adam will coach, advise, inspire, and motivate you throughout the Winter.

The Details

The Winter Training Series will begin with a fitness assessment during the first class

-Classes begin-

Thursday, November 15 and will run every Monday and Thursday evening 630-800pm for 30+ sessions through March 6.

-Pedals are turning at 6:30, and will run until 8pm. Please be early!

-UPDATE!! All Classes will be held at Star this year (801 E. 9th Street). Bring your trainer and leave it here for easy setup!

-Tuition is $130. Dues paying members of KU Cycling are eligible for the “College Discount.” Pro-rated Tuition is available.

-You will need: your motivated self, your bike, trainer or rollers, a heart rate monitor (average and max HR are great), water or energy drink, and a towel, or two, or three…..

Equipment is available at Sunflower Bike Shop for purchase. Ask about the “Spin Class Deals.”

Thursday, October 16, 2008

"Grad School Field Day 2008"

Ahh yes, Field Day. The day where the overwhelming theme is, "Recess!" We all remember that day. Some would dread it, some would embrace it, some really didn't care. I was one who embraced the idea of competition on the not so grand scale. Whether it was the 50 yard dash, the water balloon toss, or even the Flip Cup. The bottom line is, "winners win."

Such was the case as I was invited to the 2nd? Annual Grad School Field Day, 2008. The competition was fierce, the beer was good and the prizes were Excellent! As you can see, I was the winner of the "Ghetto Sack Race" which was renamed, "Socio-Economically Challenged Sack Race" to be politically correct.

Great care should be taken to avoid dehydration. This basket on my cruiser bike holds 2 Growlers full of Octoberfest beer from Free State Brewery.

The turn-around point for all the events.

Water balloon toss. My team started well and were in the mix but narrowly missed a medal.

Sean showing off the hardware.

Patrick IS, kind of a big deal.

Dizzy Bat is indeed more fun with a couple of adult beverages.

The Three Legged Race shatters hopes and dreams, yet someone will always emerge victorious!

Preliminary round of the Ghetto Sack Race.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

GBR (Ghetto Bike Racing) Rule number next one:


Two water bottles maximum allowed per training ride or race. If the temperature is not hot, you only need one. Water is an unneeded item for the true Ghetto Bike Racer.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Livestrong Challenge 2008

The Lance Armstrong Foundation unites people to fight cancer, believing that unity is strength, knowledge is power, and attitude is everything.

Through the dollars and awareness that we raise, we can inspire and empower individuals, and we can make life better for the more than 10 million Americans affected by cancer.

* $10 provides information packets to 16 cancer survivors to offer support, inspiration and hope.

* $50 provides 35 people cancer survivorship information, worksheets to organize their fight against cancer and support, inspiration and hope from other cancer survivors.

* $155 provides a cancer survivor one-on-one direct support through the LIVESTRONG SurvivorCare program.

* $250 provides LIVESTRONG Survivorship Notebooks to 27 cancer survivors.

Please support me as I make a difference in the cancer fight through my participation in the LIVESTRONG Challenge. Thank you!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Going in Reverse at the Diamond Blackfan CX

Lookout EVERYONE, that guy's going backwards!

Yup, that's about how it felt at the Diamond Blackfan CX race today....... Reverse.

I couldn't even get out of my own way. Ha!

The course had lots of turns and I'm usually fine in the turns. I was in 4th place on the sidewalk when the "go" was said. From there it just went bad. No power, no rhythm, no fun.... I think I was dead last after lap one. I recomposed myself. Not really, but I told myself I wasn't quitting and that I was having a horrible day. I just started riding. I couldn't even go hard enough to get winded. That's a rarity in CX racing, so I knew it was going to get ugly.

In the end, I passed a couple of people that had mechanicals/ physicals. I guess some people were melting down in the heat. I like heat and hot CX races should be good for me. Today, I don't think I was going hard enough to melt or really to fall apart. Game over. Score so far:

CX Season 2, Adam 0.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Cross Season 1; Adam 0: Hermann Lightless Cross

Expectations were high, bikes were clean, and team kits were fresh out of the plastic. But by the end, egos were crushed, breaks were vaporized, and bikes blended with mud. Yes. Cross is humbling. Very much indeed.

Hermann Lightless Cross
We jump in the Shad-juar and we're off... again. Myself, Joe, Shadd, and John Giles (the star in my CX practice movie). But, just to be a bit under the radar, as if the 3 bikes on top of the car wasn't a huge attention getter, it was decided that we should be on the down low...... You know, FBI style.

I'm racing for a new CX team this year: KCCX. It's a CX team put together by Bill Marshall and KLM Marketing to promote the sport and 2008 Cross Nationals being in Kansas City. Expectations were high going into this race. We had 4 guys on the front line so we better at least start off the season looking good.

The course: Start line, 100m, U-Turn, 40m, 1,2,3,4 U-turns back to back to b- get the idea, 10m, U-turn to 2 barriers, around a hut, down a screaming fast hill, 3 more U-turns, MUD like this, 200m pavement, U-Turn, more pavement, Stairs, finish line. Oh the "Stairs" video is from the race.

I forgot to mention, the whole thing was at night! Yup, first CX race at night! How cool is that?! It hides the faces of agonizing pain I'm making the entire time. Ha.

I got my first ever call up in a CX race.
I started out okay, better than I ever really have, 5th into the first U-Turn, which meant I had good placing until the course opened up again in about 1/4 a lap. I sort of tensed up on the downhill and lost some spots, got them back and was sitting at 7th at the end of lap 2.

That's when the problems started.... Crashed into the barriers, I think someone ran into me from the inside? Got back on terms, only to have mud shoot into both of my eyes later in the lap! Shit! (literally, it was) Riding at night on a U-Turn infested course without the ability to see is equal to a blind man driving during rush hour traffic in Dallas! I lost about 8 spots and was sitting 15th. Totally gassed, and demoralized.

I decided I should at least ride around for the remainder of the race just for a workout. That's when I noticed I wasn't losing time to any of my immediate competitors up the road (thanks to a tow from Bill Marshall). So, I went back into race mode and started really riding again. Caught a couple, a couple had mechanicals, a couple crashed and I'm in 8th place. Through all this Jeff Winkler was right on me, forcing me to race the entire time. Normally, that's good as I need to race the entire time. But tonight, it was tough. Jeff is an excellent rider and every move I made was neutralized. However, in the end I barely managed to hold off Jeff for the final spot. Check Results here. Now, on to the next step...

Clean Up.
Bad. My bike had probably 7-8 pounds of mud and grass caked on. Now I need to overhaul the thing.... Blah.

My synopsis of Cross..... Hard. Really hard. Humbling. Embarrassing. I forgot how long 60+1 is in a Cross race, especially if you're actually racing! Oh and I HATE U-Turns, but the promoter didn't really have much of a choice other than U-Turns or 3 minute laps. The rains of last week (Hurricane Ike I believe) flooded the better part of the park and we were lucky to even have the race at all. I don't turn on grass fast yet. What happened to those days where I would slide out on purpose? Time to relearn bike driving skills. I'm not fit for CX at all! I couldn't even race for 3 laps (14 minutes) without going into melt down mode. Apparently, I have some work to do.....

The race was, overall, excellent. The best was made from a crappy situation with the flooding and it was a cruel reminder to everyone that there is work to be done.

Josh Johnson: You seem to have corrected your slow starting issues from last year. Great ride, you were my "favorite pic" in this race.

Bill Stolte: Ride of the day. Sorry Josh. Bill started in DFL and was in the top 10 on a tight, technical course before the first lap was over. He did it the way bike racers do, by going flat out and taking risks. 4th place.

Joe Schmalz: In the top 10, started DFL +1, but decided it was too easy with all that air in his tires... then he realized that flat tires don't roll so good. But he DID have the 5th fastest lap of the night.

One improvement: I would have liked this race to have been in the middle of the afternoon. Not so much for the lighting thing, but for the Hermann thing. I don't think I talked to anyone who was staying overnight. I would have appreciated the opportunity to clean up, and go wine tasting all evening. Perhaps for the MO state CX championships, there could be a more "tourism friendly" schedule.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sometimes "Graceful" just doesn't happen.

Ah, Cross Practice...... graceful, isn't it?

Monday, September 15, 2008

It has BEGUN!

It's Cyclo Cross Season!!!!! Time to break out that funny looking road bikes with the knobby tires and start putting them to the test. Dukes of Hazzard style. I can't wait. Can you?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Just Call it a Comeback!

Yup, you heard it here. Lance is racing again. It's late and I'm tired so I'm just shooting writing, not really even proofing or anything. Okay, here we go!

The timing is odd, at best. Lance is probably the most widely accused doper in all of sports. BUT he's never once tested positive for anything. Anything! Strange right? Is it possible anyone can be that good? Just ask this Jamaican as he demolished the best runners in the world. I guess, this time he's coming back and making every one of his blood tests open to the public in an unprecedented act of transparency.

But WHY the comeback? How does racing bikes actually promote cancer research and improved care? Does he just want to ride fast again? Does he just want to give Astana the ammo it needs to ensure that the ASO can't possibly exclude them from the Tour de France? Does he just want something that will keep him entertained?

My only hope is that he is making a true comeback. I have a special appreciation for sport and sport performed at the highest level of competition. I don't want to see Lance do what Michael Jordan did when he returned, for the third time to NBA basketball and played for the Washington Wizards. It was phenomenal to watch a man seize command of his sport, claim victory and walk away knowing he was the best. However, the return of a King who is no longer able to lead by example, or improve his team, is a true disappointment. I hope, Lance will be able to defy what "most" research studies say, which is that he is too far out of his prime to be and effective athlete. I hope that Lance realizes that he's the only rider with something to lose by returning to the Tour de France. I hope.....

Thursday, September 4, 2008

COFFEE!! Support for the previous GBR rule!

Seriously everyone. Coffee! I just read a study that basically says:

Caffeine(8mg/kg of body mass) ingested with Carbohydrate(4g/kg of body mass) over 3 hours improves "muscle glycogen resynthesis" (pronounced "recovery") when compared to carbs alone.

How does this help you and me? Well......

Someone who weighs 150lbs should eat a Powerbar immediately following training/ racing and another one each hour for 3 hours. ALSO, drink a Tall Starbucks cup of coffee (not a latte or any of that other expensive stuff) right after the training/ racing and follow it with another Tall Starbucks coffee 2 hours later and BAM! The best recovery EVER recorded in a lab! This would be especially helpful for Shadd Smith and Steve Tilford (go Google alerts).

Here's the low down for all you disbelievers to look it up on your own.

David J. Pedersen, Sarah J. Lessard, Vernon G. Coffey, Emmanuel G. Churchley, Andrew M. Wootton,They Ng, Matthew J. Watt, and John A. Hawley. High rates of muscle glycogen resynthesis after exhaustive exercise when carbohydrate is coingested with caffeine. J Appl Physiol 105: 7–13, 2008.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Ghetto Bike Racing: GBR

Next Rule:

Coffee. Nothing else to say.

Special thanks to Ben Coles for the wonderful picture.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Fall, CX, training?

So it's almost time to start thinking about jumping off bikes and running... wow. Already?

I've got some very interesting ideas about training for CX that I'm virtually positive have not been used or implemented by anyone. The "general consensus" is that to train for CX, you train for time trials and you're, "good to go." I don't think that's the most effective way to do it. I've got some ideas and have been coaching/ training (depending on your definition, right Steve?) some other riders to really be able to, "go fast." Hopefully, it'll pay off.

In the meantime, I'm resting up for the Gateway Cup. I've never done this race as rested as I should be so this could be very, very fun.

Friday, August 22, 2008

GBR: More words to race by....

When the odds of crashing are, "higher than average," old team kits/ skin suit should be worn. Skin suits are virtually worthless after the current sponsor year is over. Wear it during risky scenarios.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Tour of KC: What goes around comes around.....

Brian Jensen: "He's world class and doesn't even know it." Those were the words spoken by a very good bike racer known and admired by many.

Pete Grieg has done a great job with this event over the years. I remember racing it every year since my first year racing as a junior. Since then it's been one of my favorites, bar none. The races are all designed, coincidentally or not, so that the strongest, toughest bike racer is able to win. Hilly, technical and just plain hard are the name of the game in this series. The crowds are rowdy and it's close to home so I get to sleep in my own bed.

Difficult parcors play right into the hands of the strongmen and this is the backyard of the now 5 time defending champion Brian Jensen. Brian made us all look like amateurs, this last weekend. It seemed as though he was able to just ride away at will. Although, he was tired as he admitted to me a few days later. This means he is human and he does have limits.... i.e. hope for anyone racing against him.

A few months ago I was able to write about how the HRRC/ Trek Stores team was able to out maneuver Brian at the Hillsboro Roubaix Road Race. That was some fine riding by everyone on the team and Brian handled the defeat at the hands of his former teammates with grace. I think the most important reason I savored the moment was that I knew, at some point, the tables would turn and we would be the ones watching Brian on the top step of the podium. That's exactly what happened at ToKC.

We tried a few different things to win the stages, but the bottom line was that Brian Jensen deserves to be the 5 time defending champion. He won all three stages in style and not once did he have to sprint more than one other person to win a stage. Incredible.

The big surprise of the weekend came in the form of Chris Hall. Chris has been racing for a few years and has only recently started to reach his potential. Chris was the only other person to hang onto Brian in Saturdays Cliff Drive Classic- the hardest 50 mile race in all of America. Not once have I ever wished that the race was longer. Chris got a second place this day, which may be a big coming out party for him. We'll see......

Friday, August 15, 2008

Shadd Smith on CBS (aka: National Television)

The best part, is the NATIONAL exposure for the team! I'm thinking the brief segment was watched by more people than ever saw any sort of domestic professional bike race, actually any bike race including the Tour de France (they mostly just watch the 12 second blurb on the local news). This is because the Early Show is watched by the mainstream audience that most professional cycling teams fail or forget to market towards (with the exception of Rock Racing who it seems like everyone knows about).

Also, note the light blue and white jersey. It belongs to Source Endurance, the company of some good friends, Stefan Rothe, Derick Williamson, and Dave Wenger.

Watch CBS Videos Online

Shadd is still in the September 2008 issue of Outside Magazine. Page 96.
On anther note. This is my first attempt to embed video into my blog. How cool is this, huh?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

GBR: Rule number next one.

Ghetto Bike Racing Code of Conduct:

"Crash kits" will be stocked with at least one prescription pain killer, and beer/ liquor.

Why would anyone want to fall down and not have something available to immediately ease the pain? Sure we can't really keep morphine and the really good stuff in the kit, but we can make sure there's some sort of respectable pain killer there.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Crossin’ it up at the Elk Grove Criteriums

So here I am, driving back from Chicago. I’m getting pretty good at the I-70 to I-35 to I-80 (not very much fun with all the tractor trailers) to I-88 process. This time, however, Chris Hall and I came armed with an atlas, the race bible, fuzz detector, and an IPod adapter. Ready, set, GO!

It’s strange how the realm of racing works. Racers go in and out form, where that “super fitness” is always on the fingertips, but never quite within grasp. You want to train, but you’re exhausted. You want to race, but you’re sick. You go race, only to find that the form is lacking so you ride and race more in search of the fitness you thought you had. In reality, you’re probably on great form and just need a bit of a break to rest and rejuvenate yourself.

Racers also go in and out of motivation. This demon is much more serious. Obviously racing is a stressor. It takes effort and energy to make the plans, travel, race and travel home. Throw in some stress from the “real world” and all of a sudden racing becomes something that can become tiresome fairly easily. Ask most racers and they’ll say, “I want to race, but I just don’t want to travel.” That’s about average.

I just raced the last 5 days of Super Week. Fun, fast, faster and Ludicrous Speed! were the name of the game. While I wasn’t really a factor in the races I do think I gained some fitness from them, as well as refined my criterium abilities which I’ll need for the next few weeks. Then, I looked on the web and saw that Elk Grove was week. $12k on Saturday, $13k on Sunday. 80k long each day, AND they were Amateur 1, 2 riders only. Yee Haw! Let’s make like Paris Hilton at a Spelling Bee and get out! Chicago here we come! Friday 3pm, clocked out of work at the hospital, jumped in the Saab to head north. Picked up Chris, set the cruise at 85 and pulled into Chicago around 11:30pm.

We stayed with the parents of an old friend of mine from my KU Cycling days, Rob Kelly. Naperville, IL. If anyone has ever seen the movie “Pleasantville” then this probably describes Naperville is nearly a carbon copy of this with its manicured lawns, people walking their dogs, large trees overhanging the streets and viable, fun downtown area right next to a college.

Chris and I spent Saturday evening walking around downtown Naperville as Rob gave us a guided tour via cell phone. Props to Rob for getting us some great Pizza, excellent beer, and marvelous scenery!

Elk Grove Criterium 1.

I spoke a little bit about motivation. However, motivation is also influenced by the “fun factor” of the races. This is typically decided by: venue, crowd, quality of competition, course, organization, prize money, atmosphere (ambiance) and there are probably more but that’s what comes to mind immediately. I’m going to address those things now…..

Toll roads. I hate toll roads. Well, not really. Actually I like the idea of toll roads but I despise stopping to pay a toll. I have a K-Tag for Kansas, but the KTA doesn’t seem to think it’s necessary to link it’s K- Tag software with any other toll system in the country…. Which means I have to stop ON THE HIGHWAY and pay a toll every 5 miles. Oh, and the I Pass gives you a hefty discount.

Let’s take some time and talk about the race bible. The race bible is written expressly for the use and enjoyment of the Professional riders. That’s understandable as the Pro race was for $250,000! However, it was a bit strange how, in order to find any useful information, you had to read the entire 34 pages of the race bible, all the while, combing the pages for any useful information for any amateur race. Things like, location, start times, scoring methods were all tricky to find at best.

Parking: HA! Ever try to find a way around a particular stretch of road in the suburbs of an amercan town? Remember that suburbs are NOT built on grids but rather in windy, twisty culdesac infested growths of asphalt which are nearly impossible to navigate without the aid of a GPS device. This we did not have one of these wonders of technology so we drove, twisted, turned, and off roaded our way to a respectable parking spot.

Next, the registration process: In order to find the proper room to pick up your number asking for directions was a necessity. Then, it seemed like no one really wanted to give you the answer. Is this normal in the big city? Finally, when you found the building there were something like 5 doors into the building, all numbered. It was like some sort of twilight episode! By the way, door number 3 was the winner.

Door 3 put you into this gymnasium which had an upper and lower deck. Upper deck was “Day of” registration while the lower deck was “Pre- registration.” Oh but you didn’t know this until you asked someone which brings me too….

Crossing it up: From afar, the registration personnel were middle aged women. Probably volunteers, which is normal for bike races. However, as you approached something wasn’t quite right. They had shoulder length hair, which was real, and a fair bit of make up. More than you would have thought was needed for a bike race. These ladies aren’t very feminine looking either. They kind of have rough looking faces and is that 5 o’clock shadow? Then they talked…. Holy crap! The registration ladies have deep husky voices and Adam’s Apples! Awesome! I’ve never once seen cross dressers at a bike race. It’s pretty impressive that this can happen so openly.

Venue: Bike racing is currently a fringe sport in the US. That’s why you don’t see every rider with big money contracts and why races often are promoted and executed with a “mediocre is okay” attitude. Often times, the location is key to attracting people to the race. (Actually, as a promoter, you are selling a product so location is everything.) Elk Grove, as a race is a positioned in a place which makes it a destination spot for spectators. That is, the race doesn’t really get the passers by that a downtown area race would. There was a fairly good crowd so maybe racing in the Chicago area has progressed enough be viable in this format. Time and sponsors will tell.

Course: Basically the course is like circumnavigating a lollipop. Long straightaway, U-Turn, Long straightaway, corner, 2 blocks, corner, 50 meters, corner, 2 blocks, corner, 700 meters, finish line, repeat.

But the MONEY! $12000 on Saturday, $13000 on Sunday. Let's get rich or die tryin'!

HRRC/ Trek Stores was represented by myself, Chris Hall, and Derek Goerke. Derek is self proclaimed "not fit" but he did manage to grab a couple of primes and place well in the field sprints. I wish I could be that "unfit" and do the same. Back to the race!

The first day wasn't quite technical enough. With long straightaways, it allowed the riders who had horsepower, but were nervous and can't corner time to get back to the front and really foul up the rest of us. When there are more corners, those guys tend to get pushed to the back and stay there- they remain unseen.

There were Primes, lots of primes. $500, 250, 150, 100, 50 and lots of them. Crazy fun and crazy fast. I thought I was riding bad but I was bridging across to moves at 32-33 when the field was already going 27-29 mph so I guess I wasn't going that slow. In the end, nervous riders do what they do best when trying for lots of cash.... crash or get close to it. I had to grab my breaks hard with about 700m to go and about 20 guys passed me. Over, done. Oh well. Derek placed and Chris was just out of the paying spots.

Day two saw a shortened straight away which was good as it prevented the afore mentioned problem, mostly. Same deal with the prize $$. I led out for some primes, but basically nothing worked. Very frustrating day as I saw a lot of dollars ride away from me lap after lap. Maybe I should become a sprinter and go for them myself?

In the end, my overly, unconservative riding led to a total shut down once the pace got really high. I guess that sort of effort does wear on you after some time.

The drive back was as "eventful" as the drive up. It was my only time in Chicago by car... now I know why.

Thanks for reading.