Thursday, December 24, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

KCCX . Totally Legit!

Disclaimer: I'm going to forget to mention things.  Sorry if I leave you, or your contribution out.  As all of us in the house know, everyone was responsible in making this happen.

What does it mean to be treated like a PRO, on a legitimate outfit that is set up for the sole purpose to promote the sport an teach riders the ways of cyclocross?

The 2009-2010 CX season began just prior to Interbike 2008 for director Bill Marshall.  He started cementing deals then and procuring sponsorship to enable all this to happen.  The result: a setup and infrastructure based on sponsors, donors, and personal relationships that rivals any of the professional outfits in the US.

The van and trailer courtesy of Trek Stores KC

If you were to find our "camp" either in Portland (USGP) or Bend it would like a full working bike shop.  3 racks stuffed full of bikes, 3 pop up tents, Sprinter van, and a trailer.  The trailer has and rear quarters act as a changing/ warming room and there's plenty of space to relax.  Just stay out of the way because there's always someone warming up or doing last minute race prep.  Accompanying this is over a dozen riders and excess of 30 bikes, and about 70 sets of wheels.

The tents are full of KCCX sponsor product.  Wheels wrapped in rubber, chic black Scott bikes, Outlaw Earth bags crammed full of Verge clothing.  You name it, it was there.

Sure the "stuff" is cool, but what makes the whole thing run?  An outfit of this size has to be kept organized and spot on.  Enter the true champions of the last 2 weeks.... of the KCCX equipment is maintained by Superman Tom Price.  Tom has played an instrumental role by keeping each and every bike up and running with very little help.  And he takes everything in such great stride.  No matter what "emergency" a rider would have, it would be handled very smoothly and efficiently by Tom.  Oh, yeah.... Tom ALSO went from DFL in his 50-54 race to 4th place.  Watch the videos on his blog, I counted 1:16 from the final podium spot to him on the first lap!

Shadd Smith dominates the Killer B's! The first of many KCCX podium performances.

So that's Tom, what about our fearless leader? Bill Marshall everyone.  He is the reason this whole outfit got rolling and he wore the mantra well.  Bill had everything spot on.  From the airport pick up to the final packing of the bikes in the trailer and sprinter van.  Bill had it DIALED!  For example, Saturday, KCCX had a rider in EVERY race all day.  So what do we do?  Obviously, we relocate the entire "bike shop" operation to the pit for the day.  Obviously.  It just made sense.

Half of the garage.....

The other half of the garage....

As much as everyone would like to say, "it was totally PRO and looked great" the reason for all this was to allow the riders to be stress free and race their bikes.  And race KCCX did.  4 podium spots, 2 guys racing overseas at EuroCrossCamp, and lots of attention.  KCCX has a good mix of veterans and Young Guns.  The Veterans have done it and can keep the Young Guns from getting too nervous.  Also, whenever there's a attitude needing adjustment, it gets taken care of.  However, Veterans realize that the focus of the team is the Young Guns and they realize that to succeed, they need to learn from the wealth of knowledge from the former.  It's a good mix and one that I'm proud to be part of. 

So what's a normal day look like in the KCCX camp?

Night before: Dinner
Bill sits down and lays out the next day's events including who is racing and when (each rider is given a laminated schedule with this information on it).  Tom asks everyone what each bike needs done to made "good" again.  After getting this long list each night, Tom disappears into the HUGE garage packed with bikes to work his magic and doesn't emerge until every bike is working again. 

Next Morning, REALLY early:
Most days, Bill, Tom and Dean were on site at 630am.  Yes, that's early.  Everyone else sleeps in, but they are there all day, everyday for the first person racing to be fully supported.  Imagine that.... The 830am racer gets the SAME support as the 230pm racer.  Oh, it gets better, these guys don't take a "lunch break" like the Shimano neutral support did (what? we have 30 guys needing help?  eh, let's eat).  Oh no, they were at all day like the SRAM guys are when they work races.  Tireless. 

330pm, usually when the last race starts, anyone in the area helps to pack up the van and trailer.  The trailer was secured and locked up while ALL the bikes made the trek back to the house to have Tom work his magic again. 

5pm.  Bill would call everyone at the house with a 5 minute warning.  Be outside to help unload or face the wrath....

7pm.  Dinner.  Bill actually cooked most nights.  Either because he was famished or everyone else was too tired.  Not sure but the food was very good and there was lots of it.  Repeat the meeting and hit replay and that's a day in the KCCX Camp.

 LB and Adam's room.  It was a solid yard sale, but we kept it organized.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Lawrence cyclist to race in Europe

December 16, 2009

It’s muddy, vicious, fast, tricky, taxing and technical. It’s the NASCAR of cycling — it’s cyclocross. And 19-year-old Joseph Schmalz is heading to Belgium today to compete in Euro Cross Camp.

“When you go to Europe, you’re racing against the best athletes in the world,” Schmalz said. “It’s a whole different atmosphere.”

Cyclocross is set on a closed, one- to two-mile course, and racers try to do the most laps in one hour. Like NASCAR, the racers have a pit crew to clean and service their bikes, sometimes up to six times per race. Cyclists ride on grass, mud and sand, and often have to dismount their bikes, jump over barriers and get right back on.

“It’s a mix of mountain biking and road racing,” Schmalz said. “It’s the hardest discipline within cycling. You only race for an hour, but it’s the toughest thing you’ll do all week.”

Schmalz is one of 18 cyclocrossers across the country selected to participate in Euro Cross Camp. He will race every other day from today through Jan. 4.

Schmalz raced for the first time at 9 years old and pedaled to a first-place finish in the Sunflower State Games 9-under race when his grandfather, Gary McGregor, saw a flier for the race and signed him up. McGregor owns a bike shop in Atchison.

But Schmalz only started cyclocross in 2006 to keep in shape during the offseason. Since then he’s had incredible success in the discipline. He is currently ranked second in the U-23 division and has been placing in the top 20 in pro races.

“How often do you hear a 19-year-old talking like a veteran rider?” said Adam Mills, Schmalz’s trainer and CEO of Source Endurance, a cyclist training company. “Joe has so much talent, I feel kind of obligated to help him be the best he can be.”

Schmalz rides every day, averaging 10 hours a week. The recent Free State High graduate is taking the semester off to train and travel for cyclocross.

Mills said Schmalz’s success was surprising because of his age. “The thing that makes cyclocross difficult is that you must draw on all of your experience,” Mills said. “It’s rare to find young riders as fast as Joe because they don’t have the experience. It takes emotional maturity to be able to handle this. Joe might be 19, but he races like a 28-year-old, mentally.”

The nature of cyclocross means a lot of pedaling, a little bit of running, a little bit of jumping, and a lot of falling. The object, Mills says, is to make mistakes (of which there are many) at points that won’t be detrimental.

“He just doesn’t get frustrated,” Mills said. “The hardest part for most riders is patience. There are not a lot of ways to win, but a lot of ways to lose. You don’t need to punch guys out, you just wait for them to do it themselves. Wait for them to make a mistake. No one ever rides perfect.”

Schmalz said he looks forward to the intense competition in Belgium, and hopes to eventually ride professionally. His next goal is to make it onto the World Championship Team.

“He’d be bored to death on a float trip down a river,” Mills said. “But some people think that’s fun. Joe would rather be riding his bike at 30 mph.”

Sunday, December 13, 2009

CX Nationals More Top Results

Men 50-54: Tom Price 4th!

Men 35-39: Shadd Smith, 10th!

Congrats to Tom and Shadd!

Friday, December 11, 2009

2009 CX Nationals, Day 1 Results... WOW!

Of course, it's the infamous curse....  The snow and ice curse.  Oh well, let's get to racing!

Men 20-29 "B" race.  Connor Cartland.  Sitting in 3rd place late in the race when a crash K-O'd his bike.  Tough break!  So close...

Men's 30-39 "B" race.  100-ish starters, random call up.  Shadd Smith, 2nd to last row (11th row) to 1st place! Congrats to Shadd Smith!

Men 40+ "B" race.  167 starters, random call up.  Tom Price, last row call up to 3rd place!  Congratulations to Tom!

Dean Parker was also sitting in position for a top 20 in the 55-59 National Championship race when a crash K-O'd his bike.  Oh MAN!  Dean ran 1/3 of a lap, changed bikes and rode from 45th back up to 29th in the snow and ice.  Fantastic ride for Dean, even with the unfortunate luck.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Another Week, More Top Results For SE Athletes

Tom Price, Masters 45+: 1st!  Overall: 2nd.

Dean Parker, Masters 55+: 1st!

Tom Price, Masters 45+: 2nd

Dean Parker, Masters 55+: 2nd

Michigan CX Championships
Tom Burke, Men Open: 4th

Missouri CX Champs
Scott Fleming, Masters 45+: 3rd

Boss CX
Scott Fleming, Masters 45+: 2nd
Aubree Dock, Women 4: 3rd.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Stretching. Believer or Non- Believer....

November 25, 2009, 12:01 am 

Phys Ed: How Necessary Is Stretching?

Max Oppenheim/Getty Images
For research published earlier this year, physiologists at Nebraska Wesleyan University had distance-running members of the school’s track and field team sit on the ground, legs stretched before them, feet pressed firmly up against a box; then the runners, both men and women, bent forward, reaching as far as they could past their toes. This is the classic sit-and-reach test, a well-established measurement of hamstring flexibility. The runners, as a group, didn’t have exceptional elasticity, although this varied from person to person.
Phys Ed
Overall, the women were more supple, as might have been expected. Far more telling was the correlation between the various runners’ tight or loose hamstring muscles and their running economy, a measure of how much oxygen they used while striding. Economy is often cited as one of the factors that divide great runners from merely fast ones. Kenyan distance runners, for instance, have been found to be significantly more economical in their running than comparable Western elites.
When the Nebraska Wesleyan researchers compared the runners’ sit-and-reach scores to the measurements of their economy, which had been garnered from a treadmill test, they found that, across the board, the tightest runners were the most economical. This was true throughout the groups and within the genders. The inflexible men were more economical than the women, and for both men and women, those with the tightest hamstrings had the best running economy. They also typically had the fastest 10-kilometer race times. Probably, the researchers concluded, tighter muscles allow “for greater elastic energy storage and use” during each stride. Inflexibility, in other words, seems to make running easier.
For years, flexibility has been widely considered a cornerstone of health and fitness. Many of us stretch before or after every workout and fret if we can’t lean over and touch our toes. We gape enviously at yogis wrapping their legs around their ears. “It’s been drummed into people that they should stretch, stretch, stretch — that they have to be flexible,” says Dr. Duane Knudson, professor of biomechanics at Texas State University in San Marcos, who has extensively studied flexibility and muscle response. “But there’s not much scientific support for that.”
In fact, the latest science suggests that extremely loose muscles and tendons are generally unnecessary (unless you aspire to join a gymnastics squad), may be undesirable and are, for the most part, unachievable, anyway. “To a large degree, flexibility is genetic,” says Dr. Malachy McHugh, the director of research for the Nicholas Institute of Sports Medicine and Athletic Trauma at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York and an expert on flexibility. You’re born stretchy or not. “Some small portion” of each person’s flexibility “is adaptable,” McHugh adds, “but it takes a long time and a lot of work to get even that small adaptation. It’s a bit depressing, really.”
What happens to our muscles and tendons, then, when we dutifully stretch before a run or other workout? Doesn’t this lengthen our muscles, increasing our flexibility and range of motion?

According to the science, the answer appears to be no. “There are two elements” involved in stretching a muscle, Dr. McHugh says. One is the muscle itself. The other is the mind, which sends various messages to the muscles and tendons telling them how to respond to your stretching when the discomfort of the stretching becomes too much. What changes as you stretch a muscle is primarily the message, not the physical structure of the muscle. “You’ll start to develop a tolerance” for the discomfort of the stretch, Dr. McHugh says. Your brain will allow you to hold the stretch longer. But the muscles and tendons themselves will not have changed much. You will feel less tight. But even this sensation of elasticity is short-lived, Dr. McHugh says. In a new review article of the effects of stretching that he co-wrote and that will be published soon in The Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, he looked at the measurable impacts of a number of different stretching regimens. What he found was that when people performed four 90-second stretches of their hamstrings, their “passive resistance” to the stretching decreased by about 18 percent — they felt much looser — but the effect had passed in less than an hour. To achieve a longer-lasting impact, and to stretch all of the muscles involved in running or other sports, he says, would probably require as much as an hour of concerted stretching. “And the effects still wouldn’t be permanent,” he says. “You only see changes” in the actual, physical structure of the muscles “after months of stretching, for hours at a time. Most people aren’t going to do that.”
And most of us don’t need to. “Flexibility is a functional thing,” Dr. Knudson says. “You only need enough range of motion in your joints to avoid injury. More is not necessarily better.” For runners, extremely tight hamstrings and joints have been found in some studies (but not all studies) to contribute to overuse injuries. But somewhat tight hamstrings, as the Nebraska Wesleyan study showed, can make you more economical. Some degree of inflexibility may make you a better runner.
How then to judge your own flexibility? “The sit-and-reach test is pretty good” for at-home evaluations, Dr. Knudson says, at least of your back and hamstring muscles. Using a staircase, sit and straighten your legs so that your feet push against the bottom step, toes upright. Stretch forward. “Try to lay your chest onto your thighs,” he says. If you can reach past your toes, you’re more than flexible enough. (No one yet has devised a way to reduce flexibility, by the way, although some Olympic-level coaches in other countries are rumored to be trying.)
If, on the other hand, “you can’t get anywhere near your toes, and the lower part of your back is practically pointing backward” as you reach, then you might need to try to increase your hamstring flexibility, Dr. Knudson says, to avoid injuring yourself while running, cycling or otherwise exercising. You can find multiple hamstring stretches on YouTube, although you should consult with a physical therapist before replicating them at home; proper technique is important to avoid injury. “You won’t get a lot of change,” Dr. Knudson says, ” but a little may be all you need.”

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Jingle Cross (videos) and other Top Results.

New Website is LIVE!  
New, updated, and awesome:

Breaking News!  The Streak Continues!

It's official, Tom Price is going fast!  Including ALL THREE RACES at Jingle CX , Tom has climbed to the top podium step in 5 consecutive races and 6 times in November.  Want more?  4 of the 6 wins are at national level races, meaning fierce competition from the best within a 1 day drive or around 500 miles.  Still want more?  The WINS are in four different staes!  Kansas, New Jersey, Nebraska, Iowa.  How many riders can say that?  STILL want more?  Tom is at the races all day, working the pits when he's not racing!  Tom has been progressing all season and is right on track for Nationals coming up in Bend, OR in two weeks time.  Stay tuned for more!  

If you see Tom, do NOT mention this.  "Never talk to a pitcher when he's throwing a perfect game."

The Last Kiss CX East Grand Rapids, MI 11/29
Tom Burke. Men Elite: 1st!

Jingle CX, UCI C2. Iowa City, IA.  11/27-29.
Jingle CX III (11/29)

Joseph Schmalz.  Men Elite: 17th
Shadd Smith. Men Elite: 25th.
Tom Price. Masters Men 40+: 1st!
Dean Parker. Master Men 55+: 3rd.

Jingle CX II (11/28)
Tom Price. Masters Men 40+: 1st!
Wanda Simchuk. Masters Women 35+: 2nd.
Dean Parker. Masters Men 55+. 2nd.
Shadd Smith. Men Elite: 18th.
Adam Mills. Men Elite: 25th.

Jingle CX I (11/27) 
Tom Price. Master's 40+: 1st! 
Scott Fleming. Master's 40+: 6th 
Shadd Smith. Men Elite (UCI C2): 17th.

Jingle CX Recap.....
Mud.  That was the theme of the weekend.  Not really mud, but more like horse poop.  Sticks to everything and the only way off is with a power sprayer.  That's where the KCCX Pit Crew stepped up.  All weekend, in multiple races The riders not racing were manning the pits so that KCCX riders would have bikes that went fast and go fast they did.  Multiple top placings including the first win from Alex Edwards racing the 2/3 Men.  Watch him, he's on the move....  Thanks to all the Pit Crew because without them, not a single rider would have been able to race to his/ her full ability.  It was definitely nice to be able to haul ass into the pit, to the handoff, and jump on a clean and well working bike.  Such a luxury.

Jingle CX is probably one of the most fun trips I take all year.  Iowa City is like gem in the middle of... well, Iowa.  College towns are typically like that though.  Groovy.  The races are probably the most humbling of any CX race I do all year.  Sure there are technical parts of every CX race, but this race relentless.  Every year, only the strong AND the one who can drive a bike the best will win.  Having either is not enough.  Also, you absolutely can not be afraid to fall down.  I stopped counting after about 6 on the weekend and I know everyone fell or nearly fell in every race, every day.  Don't lie to yourself.  You're not an infallible bike driver.


 Jingle Cross, the Video.  Thanks to Keith Walburg!

Jingle Cross 2009: Friday Night Cross from Gizmo Pictures on Vimeo.