Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tour of Lawrence in the news MORE!

Cycling event rides into town on July 4 weekend

Inaugural Tour of Lawrence features 3 days of races

By Chad Lawhorn

June 28, 2009

Downtown Lawrence, buckle up and tighten that chin strap. A weekend of fireworks and fury is heading your way.

After a one-year hiatus, the Lawrence Jaycees fireworks show will return to the downtown area on July 4, but not before a new type of thrill show takes center stage.

Downtown Lawrence — home of quaint strolls and leisurely dining — will turn into a revved-up race haven over the July 4 weekend as about 400 amateur and professional bicycle racers take over the downtown as part of the inaugural Tour of Lawrence event.

Participants are promising the race will produce its own brand of fireworks.

“It will be like a more human form of NASCAR,” said Adam Mills, a semi-pro racer who lives in Lawrence. “There will be a lot of drama. You’ll have a pack of bikes going around a corner at 30 miles per hour, and you’ll definitely be wondering if anybody is going to fall.”

Organizers are hoping the Lawrence economy ends up being the ultimate winner from the event, which will have activities Friday through next Sunday.

“That is really one of the main reasons we’re doing this. Fourth of July weekends are really very quiet for the hotels and a lot of the downtown businesses,” said Bob Sanner, director of sports and conventions for the Lawrence Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We wanted to do something to change that.”

Racing and street closures

Downtown will be the center of the racing activity on Friday and Saturday.

On Friday, racers will participate in the Eldridge Hotel Street Sprint. The event will be a drag race-like event with riders starting at Seventh and Kentucky Streets and sprinting uphill to Seventh and Massachusetts. The event will close parts of Seventh Street and the Seventh and Massachusetts intersection to motorists.

Part of the area also will be shut off to accommodate a “Kids Zone” at Seventh and Mass. that will feature inflatable playground equipment. The Eldridge Hotel also will provide a live band and outdoor food vendors in the vacant lot just south of the hotel.

The live music begins at 6:30 p.m. The Kids Zone and the racing begins at 7 p.m.

On Saturday — Independence Day — the event’s premier race will take over much of the downtown. Racers will speed through a one-mile course that will be run on parts of Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont streets.

The race, called a criterium, is expected to produce some of the better opportunities for spectators to see top-notch racers.

“This event is going to attract, basically, the best bike racers in a 600-mile radius,” Mills said.

The crit-style racing — which is the same type of racing featured downtown from 2005 to 2007 as part of the Collegiate Road Racing National Championships — will produce large packs of riders tackling the downtown terrain at average speeds of about 30 mph.

“The riders are so close, that if they just throw their elbow out, they are going to hit somebody,” Mills said. “It is really tight racing, and it does get kind of scary out there.”

The Saturday race will completely close Massachusetts Street to motorists and parking. The parking garage at Ninth and New Hampshire will be open, although motorists can only access it from the north. Most of the other surface parking lots in downtown also will be open.

Bolstering the economy

Jane Pennington, director of Downtown Lawrence Inc., said many of the area’s restaurants and shops plan to be open on the July 4 holiday.

A Kids Zone featuring carnival-like rides and inflatables will be on Ninth Street between Vermont and Massachusetts streets. At 12:45 p.m., a kids bicycle race will be at Ninth and Mass. Walk-up registration is allowed.

The main racing will begin about 1 p.m., with the men’s professional race starting at 7:30 p.m.

On Sunday, the racing will move to the Kansas University campus. There, the focus will turn to longer distance racing on a course that features massive changes in elevation.

“There will be a number of guys who roll into town, and after a lap or two, they’ll be shattered,” Sanner said. “It is a tough course, but they tell me that is what they like.”

Motorists should use caution anywhere near the university’s main campus, as many streets will be closed for the race.

Various heats of races will take place from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

In all, 14 professional teams — along with hundreds of amateurs — have agreed to participate in the event. They’ll be competing for about $22,000 in prize money.

Fireworks and food

On Saturday, the racing will be just the beginning of the holiday fun downtown. Lawrence Originals, a group of locally owned restaurants, will be host to a food and music festival at Watson Park, Sixth and Kentucky streets.

The festival, which will start at 3 p.m., will feature three local bands and food and drinks from 18 locally owned restaurants. People can buy tickets for food and drink the day of the event.

Bands will play until about 9:30 p.m. when the Jaycees’ annual fireworks show will take over. The restaurant group is sponsoring this year’s show, and organizers agreed to move the launch site of the fireworks closer to the downtown Kansas River bridges. That will allow spectators to gather at Watson Park to see the fireworks. The view from Burcham Park, the traditional location for the show, will be limited.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Tour of Lawrence in the News!

Cycling enthusiasts prepare for the Tour of Lawrence races

The Movie: http://www2.ljworld.com/videos/2009/jun/28/25289/

June 28, 2009

Editor’s note: Reporter Mark Boyle takes us behind the scenes of news stories in the area. This week, he clips in and pedals off with two seasoned cyclists as they prepare for the Tour of Lawrence. The race will attract both professional and amateur cyclists from all over the country, bringing them to Lawrence during the Fourth of July weekend.

When a professional cyclist challenged me to a race, I had my doubts.

That’s because I am from Colorado and quite comfortable riding a mountain bike over rocky terrain. However, I am not so comfortable riding a road bike on pavement.

Adam Mills, the professional cyclist, assured me that when it comes to the street sprint event, anyone can win.

“It goes a little bit uphill. It’s about 200 meters. As soon as they say ‘Go,’ you get to the end as fast as you can,” Mills said. “People who can go fast for 10 seconds have a chance and that’s the beauty of street sprint.”

Equipped with the best gear, courtesy of downtown Lawrence’s Sunflower Outdoor & Bike Shop, 804 Mass., I was ready to take on the pros.

It was my chance to see what it would be like to participate in the Tour of Lawrence, which is July 3-5. That’s when professional and amateur racers will take over the streets in the city’s first USA Cycling Pro-Am event.

“Lawrence is a great cycling community, and I think it’s a great opportunity to showcase that,” said Dan Hughes, owner of Sunflower Outdoor & Bike Shop. “Everywhere from downtown to the campus and everywhere in between, I think it’s a big event this year that’s just going to grow.”

Mills travels all over the country to race and is happy to welcome an event of this magnitude to his backyard.

“You’re going to see upwards of one thousand riders here over a weekend just racing and having a good time in a community that supports cycling a lot,” Mills said.

Mills edged out Hughes and me as we raced up the street sprint course on Seventh Street, between Kentucky and Massachusetts streets. He won all three races.

The sprint course is quick, exhilarating, and when the professionals take over the track, it will most certainly be exciting entertainment for any spectator.

“The universal response from folks who haven’t seen a bike race before is just the sheer speed in which these guys go around the course,” Hughes said. “It’s amazing and they create their own wind stream when they go by, so it’s fast and a lot of action and a lot of fun.”

For more information about the race, log onto touroflawrence.com.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

ToKC 1:1

Longview Criterium.
Hot, muggy, technical, and fast. This was going to be a fast and furious race and also a duel of sorts between the Tradewind Energy Team of Steve Tilford and Company vs. Mercy Elite Cycling Team featuring the New/ Old guys. I've raced with the Tradewind Team when they were the Trek Stores team for many years and the guys are all my friends so this was going to be scenario like the Looney Tunes, "Don't Give up the Sheep," featuring Ralph Wolf and Sam Sheepdog. Okay, here we go!

Immediately the race was fast with everyone wanting to get to the front in order to minimize the "slinky effect." I like the heat and while I found it fast, it wasn't too terribly hard. There were points where it was fairly obvious that everyone was hot and that was good as I was never in that boat. I'm giving credit to my home A/C unit that doesn't work so well. That means that as all y'all are sitting in 73F bliss, I'm "acclimating" to the relative cool 83F in my house. Gawd.... I can't wait for the repair guy to come on Monday morning.

Steve has done a fairly good job depicting the race here. I'd like to make some personal observations.....

The best riders are always watching each other. When one moves, the others react.

Cycling as a skilled craft is a universal language of sorts. Mercy Cycling did a fantastic job of riding as a unit despite the newness of everyone to each other.

These races will not be won without some sort of coordinated team tactics in play. That means guys are going to have to go full throttle knowing that they won't make "the break" but that others on the team will.

Scott Moninger still has, "it." I wish I could be that fast and only train a few days per week. Although he was only one of the best Professional riders in the entire country for years.

Brian Jensen can't so much as sneeze without multiple guys ready with hankies for him. Yes, I said hanky. Why not? If you can turn the screws on a bunch of Pros at Winghaven (another post I need to finish) he's obviously a favorite.

I forgot how much I missed Tar-Zan Chris!

That's all from me! See you at the races!

Monday, June 15, 2009

This man was #2 for eight years?

I'm not sure how you measure "american-ism" but I'm positive that wishing for Americans to die for your own personal, "I told you so" isn't so patriotic.......

WASHINGTON, June 14 (Reuters) - CIA director Leon Panetta says it's almost as if former vice president Dick Cheney would like to see another attack on the United States to prove he is right in criticizing President Barack Obama for abandoning the "harsh interrogation" of terrorism suspects.

"I think he smells some blood in the water on the national security issue," Panetta said in an interview published in The New Yorker magazine's June 22 issue.

"It's almost, a little bit, gallows politics. When you read behind it, it's almost as if he's wishing that this country would be attacked again, in order to make his point."

Saturday, June 6, 2009

What's been going on here....

I've been gone for a while. Holidays and road trips are always fun, yet stressful in their own right. I'm finding that if I don't write the recap of events on the road trip home from the event, it rarely ever gets written. I'll work on that. After all, I've readers (somewhere) to entertain.

In the couple of weeks I traveled to the sun scorched land of Texas for some work at the Source Endurance office as well as some bike racing. Including the best weekly series this side of the equator. The Driveway. 60 minutes of fast and furious bike racing on a super smooth course. The best thing about racing in Austin is that all the races are fast. Numbers of a Thursday night race:
Average Speed: 27.5
Normalized power: 322W
Number of entrants in the P,1,2,3 race: 60+
Number of times Pat McCarty jumped: about a million.
Number of times Squadra has won this race in 2009: Lots.

From there it was on to Dallas to do some fast and fun Criteriums for the entirety of Memorial Day weekend. These races usually start and end FAST. At some point a small group goes, usually in the last 4-8 laps and it never gets any easier.

Co-worker Dave Wenger won Saturday's race on a brilliant 7/8 lap to go move and stuck it. Ouch! I'm surprised he could even raise his arms at the finish. Congrats Dave.

So I raced Thursday, Sat, Sun, Mon. Then came Tulsa Tough. 3 motorcycle fast days of criterium racing at the P,1- NRC level. So much fun! Racing with Pros is hard, but more relaxing in a way because compared even to Elite Amateurs the guys are smooth and can drive their bikes. But the races were hard and I didn't finish as well as I would have liked.

Reality Check:
The beauty and bane of doing hard races is that with a power meter you can really analyze the file and see what happened. This is especially useful when you actually get dropped and mark the next dangerous move that goes out the back end of the field. You see, just like watching "game film" in other professional sports, a power meter can tell volumes about when, why and how you failed in a bike race. Were the efforts too much? Too high of powers? Not enough rest between jumps? Cadence effect? Overreach? Just blow-up? Just plain out-horsepowered? Well, it happens and the important thing is to figure out what happened, why and take steps to correct it. However, the blow of getting dropped to the average over-inflated bike racer ego is a bit more tricky (insert would have, could have, should have here) to manage so it's important to consult with the rider and tell them what was found and explain the steps.

That's what happened to me beginning in Texas and running into Tulsa Tough. Of the six races, I didn't finish 2 of them. That's odd for as it hasn't happened in a long, long time. Sure the two races were widely regarded as "hard" as in teeth marks on your handle bars hard but still.... I should be finishing them. So onto the power files and Wha- La! Training plan to correct the weaknesses. After all, what's the use in the power meter if you just look at it and say, "wow" right?

Which brings me to peaking and the power meter....