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.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Paris one upped a Senator!?

That just Happened! I'm not a Paris Hilton fan (she might be the most annoying celebrity ever) and I'm not a McCain fan. But last I heard, if you use someone in a commercial, you should at least ask their permission first (and maybe do some research because maybe, just maybe the family who helped to fund your campaign has a daughter who might be in your commercial). This very well could be the only cool thing Paris Hilton has done. Ever.

Take that Senator!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Ghetto Bike Racing, the Beginnings

We've all seen and heard of the Euro Cyclist but I've come up with a "Code of Conduct" for the Ghetto Bike Racer. First though... What IS Ghetto Bike Racing?

I'm going to have to plagiarize my good friend and co-founder Ben Coles to explain this one. I'm just going to pull some quotes from his blog entry. Jed Schneider also being a co-founder and contributing author of the Ghetto Bike Racing Code of Conduct.

Ghetto Bike racing was more than an activity; ghetto bike racing was a philosophically derived praxis—the perfect Hursurlian marriage of the phenomenological ‘to do’ and ‘to be,’ that amongst other things involved over-intellectualizing the day to day with clever phrasing and complex pseudo-social scientism in order to pass the many long hours spent on the windswept hills of Kansas. Ghetto bike racing was, and is, a life style. ....... The philosophy remains an intriguing avenue for epistemological introspection and interrogation of what it means to be (ghetto) and be hard, the later a subject of intense debate and an even more intensive pseudo-scientific ranking system for the measurement and analysis of hardness that often resulted in conversations following a feat of stupidity. The ethos of ghetto bike racing, summed around these key rules, with the added perspective that safety indeed sucked, was that nothing except the race mattered. And, life evolved around the race.

-Ben Coles

So there you have it. Now, in an obvious attempt to keep readers coming back for more, I'm going to place one rule, a caveat if you will, at a time on the blog. Eventually, Jed Schneider and I are going to make website completely devoted to this philosophy as well as some other things (i.e. Cyclocross: Where your line is your weapon).

Rule number whatever:

Under no circumstance is it "ok" to get dropped from the winning break. The winning break is going to win and winning is what every bike racer dreams of. Do Whatever It Takes to stay in that breakaway.