Thursday, July 16, 2009

Roll Out

Superweek is over for 2009. Well, maybe... I'd like to head back for either the last 3 races or for Elk Grove. Anyone?

We did the Shorewood Criterium today. Fun, fast and rough like a good Superweek race should be. Strangest thing happened though. There was a FIRE in an apartment on the course during the race. Full stop for the race until all was resolved, then go! Again!

The best thing about the race being shortened is that all the primes and points sprints are compressed, which makes for a really tough race. To make matters even more interesting, there are a lot of new guys that are way too tense here. That'll go away in a couple of days, I expect.

Stupid, er... Superweek totals:
Days here: 7.
Days raced: 6.
Races finished: 5.
Races that I'm happy I quit: 0.
Number of corners turned: Approx. 1 million.
Near misses with crashes: No less than 20.
Crashes: 0.
Number of times my legs were on fire: Approx: 9,583.
Scale of 1-10 I'm glad to be driving home: 11.
Happiness scale (1-10) tomorrow when I have to wake up early to make that happen: -3.

As for Mercy Cycling (myself and the Young Guns) we're driving South by the time you read this. Home. You know, the best part of being on a mancation is getting home. Back to the real world and back to all the wonderful things you missed while you were gone. KS, here we come!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Bensenville CT, being from out of town.

The beauty of being from Kansas is that anytime you make a wrong turn or blow a stop sign, it's okay, "we're from out of town!" I'm trying to think if there's any time where that excuse is over-used, but I don't think it is.

Bensenville today. Hot, windy and sort of in a boring park type venue with only about 75 spectators. Lots of guys were gone today, taking a "rest day." I don't blame them. We started as all the races have started thus far. Too fast. Maybe I should warm up? Nah, what's the fun there?

I found my way up to Chris Wallace and he said, "my legs are on farrr!" Two laps later he was sitting on the sidelines doing his Tarzan impression. Meanwhile, I was in a number of moves that didn't work, but did allow the next move to ride up the road, unchecked. Total drag and really frustrating. In the end, I was sprinting to not be last and only about 30 some finished.


Finally, we get to eat at a Noodles and Co! Trio meal or whatever it's called. Yumm. We've been to 2 other ones but each time it's the same thing: we get there just after closing. BUT the closing time is different depending on where you go. Buyer beware! 9pm, 10pm, 11pm? You just never know.

Sometimes you hear stories about how much races and organizations hang on a thread. Today I learned a little bit about the problems facing Superweek, some of them are normal for all events, some of them are unique. The behind the scene look is definitely eye- opening. Hopefully, they are handled in the most professional way and get resolved. Among other things, Chris' prize money check from Elgin Lake U23 was never signed, making it utterly worthless. Hopefully, they do the right thing...... Updates on that as they happen.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Superweek Days, Superweek fails.

If anyone out there is wanting to know what it's like doing a Superweek schedule, here it is:

wake up whenever, usually around 930 or 10am. Eat a bit, then go for a warm up ride of an hour or so, ending at the coffee shop. Then coffee for 30-45 minutes before riding home sometime around noon. Eat second breakfast (1245) and then "free time" where you check email, facebook, etc. Get ready for the races and head out around 330pm. Get to the race around 430 and then dress, and get ready for our 545pm race start. The 545 is the official time, and it really starts at 630. Race until 845, pack the car, go eat around 930- 1030. Drive home (1130) shower and clean up until 1am. Then it's back to facebook because you're still jazzed from riding 100km at 50km/ hr. or 62 miles at 29mph... ish. Get to bed around 2am then do it all over again the next day.

We raced the Elgin Lake RR on Sunday. 87 miles, approximately 6432 corners per lap and an extra incentive for the "Young Guns." $1000 3 deep for Under 23 riders. Some of the U23 guys must have misunderstood the distance or how the race was going to play out because they did two very inadvisable things: 1) They assumed that no one would chase them as they were U23 guys and thus were free to do as they pleased. 2) I think they misunderstood the distance of the race to be 40 miles instead of the posted 87.

Wow! The first two laps we did at nearly 436mph! At least that's what it felt like! The race quickly came down to a war of attrition and groups of the strongest riders started peeling off the front, never to be seen again. Next time the overzealous U23 riders should race the first 4/5 of the race as normal, THEN start marking other U23 guys. Of the 80 or so starters, I think less than 1/2 of them finished. Joe was having a 'bad day' and thus it was up to Chris Wallace to throw down and see if he coud do some damage in the U23 racing. I managed to help CW out for about 2/3 of the race until I cramped to the point of seeing striations in my quads, then decided to be a cheerleader for the remainder.

Chris managed to score 3rd in the U23 and 26th in a shattered peloton. He was a complete train wreck after the race and into the next day.

Next day: Rest day.

We took Monday as a rest day. Why? Because we were tired and our legs were on fire. But being our day off, we were determined to make it a peaceful and relaxing day. Easy ride, coffee, and Transformers 2 were on tap. So nice indeed to be away from the racing scene. Chris didn't even look at his bike as his legs were just too tired.

It'll be interesting to see how the "Young Guns" handle the last 3 days.

Arlington Heights CT.
Holy CRAP! What a tough race. Figure 8 with the bottom half of the 8 200ft. for each side. It was a true criterium course. Fast technical and crazy tough. I was doing everything I could just to hang on the first hour until everyone started to get tired just a little, then it was time to participate. In the end the field was sprinting for 7th, I think. 45 riders finished but it was a good hurt. It reminded me that just being able to finish a Superweek race is an accomplishment.

Superweek FAIL:

Ever wonder why Superweek races are so late all the time? This was taken of the official's booth during the Women Open race. Look very close at the computer screen and you'll notice the INTENSE game of solitare the official is playing. Also, another official came over to "help out with the computer." Red 6 on Black 7? Great idea!

This one is self explanatory.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Super Week... How Many?

Alex Boyd started this on his facebook page. The single thread started and within a few hours grew to this. I copy/ pasted them all and put them together. It was amazing how many people contributed and how many people love Superweek. here we go!

Alex and many others wonder how many times the following will happen at Superweek '09:

1. It will be announced that Eddie Van Guyse played the villain Italian in the motion picture "Breaking Away.”

2. How many riders Kris (the registration/prize money lady) will become impatient with and scowl at. (can't say I blame her)

3. How many races will be stopped within the last 5 laps due to crashes.

4. How many Pro Elite Development Amateur team riders will run out of talent in a corner and take out 30 guys.

5. How much PBR, Miller, Point, etc. beer will be drunk by fans and racers alike.

6. How many hours the Holy Hill Road Race will start late.

4. How many races will start over an hour late.

7. How many 3rd world national teams will come to Superweek and absolutely throttle everyone and then return home with their prize money and live like kings.

8. How many thousands of dollars the Super Prime will be at Downers Ave.

9. How many dollars in late fees I would have been charged for not pre- registering. I'm guessing hundreds.

10. How ... many times I would have gotten bored during a 100km crit and had inner dialogues with myself where I had to convince myself to not pull out and actually finish the race so I could win my entry fee back (didn't happen too often last year).

11. How hotel rooms will actually contain 6 guys when only one is registered.

12. How many hotel pools will be used as post-race shower facilities.

13. How many relatives and friends in the area will have broke-ass bike racers living in their basements for 2 weeks :-) No, seriously I love you guys ...

14. How many times you will hear "(fill in the name of a foreign rider)" loves collecting pictures of Benjamin Franklin." (i.e., winning $100 bills) Gotta love Eddy!

15. How many updates Eddie will give regarding the Tour only to find out later he was wrong or had the wrong guy.

16. At the Kenosha Crit how many times will you hear Robbie "The Rocket" or "K-Town Motor" Ventura even when he won't be there.

17. How much debt (from entry fees and food, possibly lodging) will be amassed by joker pro-developmental riders that can't make it in the money once over the course of three weeks.

18. How many of those guys will re-evaluate their decision of being a pro-developmental rider and get a real job.

19. How many innocent host families will be shockingly introduced to the true meaning (through example) of the word "cretin.”

20. How many times will the lap board magically go from 26 to 21 laps to go... or from 19 to 14? Funny how that seems to happen when races are running behind.

21. How many times guys will think that pushing you out of the way is the best way to make room.

22. How many times the foreign riders will freak out when they have someone dive a corner and take "their line."

28. How many $5 surcharges will be paid because some a-hole wrote 17 bad checks last year and now ALL of us get to fund his Superweek 2008, during Superweek 2009.

29. How many times would you hear "on your inside."

30. It's just not the same with out "The Gun Show."

31. How many crashes will be in the 4/5 feilds? Thats a good one... Maybe we can take bets?

32) How many times will someone who sat in the entire race dive bomb you in the last lap just to get 32nd?

Superweek. Enter the Vortex

Day 1: Beverly Hills Classic.

Yesterday, er.. Thursday, Myself, Joe Schmalz, Chris Wallace, and John Giles loaded an insane amount of stuff into a Honda Passport and drove North. Destination: Chicago and the first few days of Superweek. I've been here a few times but the last couple of years I've made it a point to do different races that I've never done. Joe's done Superweek last year and had fun. Chris and John have never been here so they had no idea....

We are entering the Vortex. Superweek is a place where time has a different meaning. Where the only time that matters is the race start time and when Noodles or Chipotle close (10pm, sharp, by the way). Once you're in, you are on Superweek time. Coffee at 4pm, Race at 545pm, which really turns into 620pm after Eddie Van Guyse (sp?) finishes all the introductions and what not. On a side note, I heard he played the "Villan Italian" on "Breaking Away." The race gets over around dark and by the time the car gets packed and we wait for payouts, you have to book it to the closest decent restaurant and squeeze through the door as the employees are desperately trying to find the key so they can lock up and go home. If you're lucky, you're home the same "day" that you left, and by the time you get the car unloaded, laundry "done," showered, desert, and settled.... sure enough it's the wee hours of the morning. 2am or so. Awesome. But on the plus side you're not needing to get up at 8am or anything. But I wouldn't miss this for the world.....

100k Criteriums, thousands of cheering, barbeque-ing, beer guzzling spectators every night. It's definitely more closely related to Nascar than anything bike racing like.

Today's race was just that way. Super fun, fast, and really tough. Oh I meant to say, rough. I think a couple of potholes had their own off ramps. With 80-ish guys on the start line for a go, it meant that the racing would be hard. And sure enough it was. Mercy Cycling was represented in the break that formed 5-6 laps in (of the 62) and sure enough, they lapped the field. Chris and I did our thing to keep him out of trouble and out of trouble he was, finishing an incredible 9th place in his first SW race of 2009. Consider that a warning shot.

Other than that... with 2 laps to go, the rider in front of Chris decided to test the Pauli Exclusion Principle. Yup. It still holds true and indeed two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time. He threw himself on the ground and took Chris with him. Chris is okay, but a bit bruised.

Okay, time for bed. It is 232AM in the Vortex.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Tour of Lawrence. Volunteers NEEDED!

There's a difference between needed and NEEDED! Anyone who has organized or competed in any sort of athletic event understands that the promoter has the knowledge and acts as the central hub for all decisions, the athletes make the entertainment and take much, if not all of the press. BUT....

The volunteers are the ones who really make the event possible. This begins as early as packet pick up. Those packets don't stuff themselves. It takes a fair number of people to get that done. Set-up/ tear down, food runners, crossing guards, corner marshals (the ones that keep the cars from plowing into riders), and the list goes on. Those are the unsung heroes of the event. You can never have too many volunteers. But you can have not enough.

If you or anyone you know can volunteer for the Tour of Lawrence, please help us out. There is a lot of pressure to make this event seamless so that we can have it again. The University of Kansas has never allowed any sort of road closure of this magnitude and may never again unless this race is executed to perfection. Help us keep the riders safe and make it happen in 2010!

Eric Struckhoff
(785) 979-0347

Tour of Lawrence Start List

For the Elite Men... I think this may be the best Pro/ Am field in the country! Hell, some could argue that it's the best field in the country this weekend, including Fitchburg!

Pro,1,2 Men
Registered: 51 Field Limit: 125

NameCatLicense CityStateSponsor
james carrico 103246622mount vernonIAMercy Specialized
duane dickey 1019437CokatoMNMERCY/SPECIALIZED
Seth Rubin 10280715DenverCOSubaru-Vista Auto Group
John Olney 101152158Iowa CityIAMERCY SPECIALIZED
Chuck Coyle 101102604BoulderCOSubaru-Vista Auto Group
Ryan Sabga 10198814DenverCOBlack Dog Pro Cycling Team
Ryan Luttrell 102133963Colorado SpringsCOBlack Dog Professional Cycling
Adam Mills 101102467LawrenceKSMercy Elite Cycling Team
William Stolte 10134257Kansas CityKSTradewind Energy/Trek Stores
Shadd Smith 101138402Overland ParkKSTradeWind Energy / Trek Stores
Joseph Schmalz 101197714LawrenceKSMercy Elite Cycling Team
Chris Wallace 102220920ShawneeKSMercy Elite Cycling Team
Ben Raby 101119285BoulderCOMercy Elite Cycling Team
Brian Jensen 101185340LawrenceKSTradewind Energy/Trek Stores
Bill Marshall 10153358Overland ParkKSMercy Elite Cycling Team
zack allison 101211435Fort collins VArocky mountain bicycles elite cycling
John Trujillo 101225639AustinTXTOYOTA / CYCLING TEAM p/b GCCA
Joseph LaFico 101206317austinTXTOYOTA / CYCLING TEAM p/b GCCA
Jed Rogers 102271069AustinTXTOYOTA / CYCLING TEAM p/b GCCA
Zac Davies 101182034BoulderWISubaru-Vista Auto Group
Zak Grabowski 101129309lafayetteCOSubaru-Vista Auto Group
Joshua Carter 1010110443WICHITA FALLSTXMercy/Specialized
Kolt Bates 1010194640BedfordTXMercy Elite Cycling Team
Heath Blackgrove 1
UCI19801205AustinTXTeam Hotel San Jose
Carlos Vargas 1
UCI85255AustinTXTeam Hotel San Jose
Adam Bergman 101103032lino LakesMNTexas roadhouse Cycling Team
Pat Lemieux 101210769Saint PaulMNTexas roadhouse Cycling Team
Steve Tilford 10135598TopekaKSTradeWind Energy/The Trek Stores
Christopher Cummings 102116077DENVERCOrocky mountain elite cycling team
Ryan Belew 1020224524BoulderCORocky Mountain Bicycles - STOK
Martin Guess 102242094BoulderCORocky Mountain Bicycles Elite Cycling
seth hansley 101201753fort lauderdaleFLchampion porsche
Frank Travieso 101160295fort lauderdaleGAchampion porsche
Yosvany Falcon 102208086fort lauderdaleFLChampion Porsche
michael midlarsky 102215015delray beachFLChampion Porsche
Joey Iuliano 102237283West LafayetteINPurdue University
Derek Laan 101173347West LafayetteINPanther/RGF pb Felt Bicycles
Phillip Gronniger 10114262ShawneeKSEpic Cycling Team
jay blankenship 102179001wichitaKSTulsa Tough
Nick Kiernan 10195282EulessTXTX TOUGH Cycling Team
Tyler Jewell 101168914FriscoTXTX TOUGH Cycling Team
Tim Cook 102152094EulessTXTX TOUGH Cycling Team
Jason Knight 102174449LawrenceKSEpic Bike and Sport
Andrew Malcom 10151206DerbyKSTulsa Wheelmen
Brian Parks 103168619EdmondOKTeam Undiscovered
Austin Allison 101224219St. LouisMODogfish Racing
Nathan Leigh 10284431TulsaOKTulsa Tough Racing
Sean Sullivan 1
UCI19780808Boulder COTeam Hotel San Jose/ Redbudsports
barry lee 1
UCI85255austinMOHotel San Jose/ Redbudsports
Travis Burandt 1
UCI19891210WoodlandsTXHotel San Jose/ Redbudsports
Ronnie Strange 1
UCI0248703HoustonTXHotel San Jose/ Redbudsports