Sunday, February 28, 2010


I have been a terrible blogger, I know. Too much life has been in the past year. I must catch up.

Starting in November, I renewed my life in the saddle. I've been riding extra miles through the parks after work; strength training on the hills and the gym. December was a little off with a cold and getting trapped in a Nebraska blizzard, but even in the drifts of snow I have been finding my strength again.

In January, I fell into obsession, or as it appears. I have slipped further into the crazy I thought I never had. I found myself with a Tacx virtual reality trainer. It has greatly increased my trainer time. The base software has three simplistic 'islands' on which to ride, but I added a profile of the 30 mile Hub ride as well as a video run of a mountain climb through Austria. It is the first time I've trained with power readings. I initially had some low power readings on it, but after some work on cadence vs. the resistance, the numbers rose as well as the realistic feeling. The trainer can't simulate extreme grades and reverts to a speed/power/resistance calculation to simulate. So my 13% grade in Austria, feels realistic if I stay in the big ring and think like I'm in the little ring. I have a set power test program available and the results indicate my threshold in February is a respectable 320 watts.

So today, I have finally had a chance to put these numbers to the road. Froze Toes is not a definitive race in any means; 60 miles is an afternoon scamper for top amateurs, let alone guys like Huff or Henderson. How much this race compares to their total effort by them is unknown to me, but our strategy today was to just finish as best as possible with the main group. To this end the first lap we were quiet and the pace was easy. On Devin's advice, I stayed back but within sight of the front. The second lap started with a fury. The pace was put on to thin the pack. Strung out I was just happy to stay on, then the break started. I saw it there in front of me, so I set down to chase. My first attempt was my best, nearly making it but coming up just short after a 35 mph burst. The dropped in and recovered. We turned to the second leg of the square. The wind at our backs the whole pack went furious chasing after them, but the elite group of the best riders stayed just out of reach, barely. The second half of this leg I found myself in the front chasing again and again, yo-yo'ing closer but just not quite there. The third leg, the break put down the hammer. My efforts in the front, pulls of about 30 mph. over the next 6-8 miles wasn't enough. A few from the break fell off and we caught them, but that was it. I rolled in on Devin's wheel at 18th place.

I didn't catch the break, but realistically I'm just happy feeling good enough to try it, repeatedly. I put in a lot of work in a field shared with 1/2's. I stayed with the second group of riders across the line. I should say that this was resulting from my training and having my team there, and that is partly true. I know that there is more to this power than that. I am a 32 year old amateur racer. I will never be a pro, never will I have kisses from podium girls. I pay money to do mostly what I could do for free. There is really few good reasons for me to push myself down the pavement. What goes through my mind, but a heart, beautiful.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


The Bubba CX mud today was thick. I'm am too new to this style, I'm still working out the basics of it all. Even though my results don't show much, the improvement is building. I started fast out of the gate with good position, but two sections of soft sod on the course proved I would not be a contender. I pushed myself to hold my position but I was slowly losing that battle. In the middle I found myself in company of my teammate Mathew. He was fading. I told him we're finishing this thing and so he sticks with it. On the last lap I flatted and I am still without a spare set of wheels -- I'm still using a seriously cheap set for the front line. Mathew was just behind me and we pulled into the pit and he lent me his spare front wheel. I had enough nuts loose in my head to attempt to run the entire last lap, but I know I wouldn't have made it. A good team makes the finish.
After a mess of a year and many things off the saddle distracting me from really enjoying any saddle time, I find myself out of shape and struggling on terrain I used to eat up. The divorce is nearly through and with it's weight and all the problems before it lifted from me, I'm rediscovering good time in the saddle again. The commutes to work are once again refreshing and the trainer time isn't nearly as dreaded. It's good to grind again.

Friday, June 26, 2009


June is nearly over and so much has happenned it is hard to pick a point. The whole world is in a mode of destruction.

I abandonned my hopes for the state road race, knowing I could not close the deal given my condition. But I was proud to see Devin ride on to take the jersey home for the team. I was glad I could help. I have ridden little since. This is definitely out of character.

The ground is in upheaval around me. The storms have whipped black and gray; hazardous debris circles, drooling for flesh. I am firm, resolute. Through the darkness I see my path, my line. My heart beats steady, my breath roils of purpose.

We'll see what happens at our home course this weekend. I feel no expectations, but I plan to ride hard and true to the finish. It is just a day in the sun; another day closer to a finish.

The world may fall but I will stand.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Racing in the homeland

Last weekend started an exhausting month. Norfolk Classic Road Race started in Stanton, Ne on a wet stormy morning. I arrived the night before at my brother's house to take part. Like last year, I was the only St. Louis racer there, but this year the 3's were racing against the 1/2's and the fields overall were larger and stronger. Riders from Colorado, Kansas, and Minnesota showed up to really stiffen the competition. The course is a simple square, 32 miles in length. The hills are light rollers, and the wind is treacherous. I felt stiff from the 8 hour drive the day before and the rain didn't make me feel very confident. The race had a 1 mile neutral rollout and things seemed nice, then the race started. For the next 15 miles relentless attacks occurred. I stayed back with the group as I was alone in this one, and I had only myself to look out for me. About 20 miles in, I discovered that I had let myself hang back too much and I was gapped and out of the race. I was with a small group and we started to work together because we could barely see the main pack through the fog and rain. On the last leg of the first lap, we were just four guys. 2 guys seem to be fading hard. Turning for the second lap, one of them bowed out, three guys. We start hitting the rollers and the two guys behind me are struggling. I waited for them on a couple of hilltops, but finally they waived me on.
I solo'd for about 30 miles. No pack in sight for most of them. Finally I caught them with about 6 miles to go. I settled in for a rest in the back of the pack. In the last two miles the attacks started again. I just held a wheel, and kept holding. Suddenly I see the finish. I sprinted not for the placing or to beat anyone to the line. I just wanted to end this thing. 3rd in the field sprint, 10th overall. After a post race beer, my brother, his wife, and I packed up and headed over to a local Stanton bar called the Wolf's Den for a true Nebraskan style post race meal:
Can't argue with a 1 lb. burger, Onion rings and a couple of beers and still get change back. Later that night we met up with some friends in Martinsberg for some more beers and more incredibly awesome burgers. However, I didn't test the town law:
I really did try to bribe my brother to test them though.
The next day started with some dime sized hail hitting town. The cat 5's were cut short because of it. I waited it out at my brother's house, not sure if the race was a go.
It went on. The course was wet and fast. Even more out of state pro/1's showed up to put on a real cooker. 25 mph average on an 8 turn course in the rain, it was rough. A crash early really broke things up and it was utter confusion for me since. I just kept trying to go as fast as I could with the guys around me. Somehow my final placing in the 1/2/3's was 11th. I think I was lapped by the leaders, but I'm not sure.
The weekend was fun but the Monday morning I had to leave, this time with another vehicle, borrowed from my brother and another old eagle in tow to scrap for parts on mine. I haven't ridden at all this week, everynight has been spent tearing apart the parts car and collecting the keeper parts. We'll be done with that this weekend and start repairing the damage on the original. The project car will look really good when done.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Just another weekend

I'm not sure if it was the new TT steed or the fact that I was chased by one Shawn O'Neal in the time trial Saturday, but it looks like my best time trial run yet.  I finished with a time of 27:53 and 8th place.  This was a definite improvement over the Hermann Time Trial.  I don't attribute this entirely to the bike though.  At about the 3/4 mark, Shawn passed me and that gave me a little mental edge to go harder.  I can even see it in the data from the Garmin.  To keep  improving I need to improve my mental fitness for TT's  I don't think technology can help me near as much as training my mind for the effort.  
Danny did a fare better than me at 27:14, enough for 4th.  So Sunday as a team, our goal was to get Danny into the top 3 over all for a omnium podium.  In general, we had three of us to control the break aways or the field if Danny was lucky to get into a break.  The course was a good one for breaks: lots of corners and narrows with just enough climb to be noticed.  On the second lap, after the 'climb' the whole pack slowed to a crawl.  I wanted this to be faster to weed people out, so I snuck on the side-- a bit dangerous normally, but the curb was a rounded ramp making the sneak really smooth.  I meant only to pick up the pace, but I caught people early and made a gap.  
I think it was Patrick Hawley who joined me on this little break early and we swung it around to the start finish where they immediately called a prime.  Great, just a little more carrot for the rest of the field to chase.  We took some even turns on the lap until Patrick slid out on a corner and swung wide onto the sidewalk and maybe into someone's yard.  I looked over to see that he was okay and coming back on, but it looked like he was going to drop to the pack at that point.  I decided, why not see if I can stick this to the line for the prime.  I renewed effort, solo.  
I brought it around and picked up the prime and then let up for a recovery pace.  If they didn't catch within a half lap I would have renewed a steady pace, but they did and I settled into the field while Devin and Mark handled the breaks and the pace for roughly the next 10 laps.
On the final laps I shadowed Danny.  I kept telling him that I'm there and I'll come around to lead him when the time comes.  That was the start of the last lap.  I came out on the side and powered alongside the field to the front with Danny in tow.  
Danny slid into the front of the pack as I started my final pull of the race.  I held it for half the lap then slid off  the back of the pack.  I gathered what I could and latched onto the back to finish the race knowing that Danny was in the top 5 wheels with less than a half lap to go and all the major turns covered.  Devin was up there with him, but just in case I pushed to see if I could rejoin.  No dice, I was done I filed across the line in the back of the pack.  Danny came out a little early on his final sprint but was able to hold on for a 4th place finish, propelling him to a 2nd place over the two days.  It was an excellent day to see the team execute nicely and finish with a guy on the podium.

Friday, May 22, 2009

TT Ebay Special

First ride on the ebay special time trial frame.  I was pleasantly surpised.  It isn't the best by any measure, but for the price it is thus far proven unbeatable.  I have found only two issues on the build so far.  First,  I was able do my entire 11 mile rough road commute on it with only dropping the chain to the lower ring once over some RR tracks.  It's not a safety issue but an unintentional downshift would probably cost time in a TT.  So a front deraileur, regardless of function, would be good insurance.  The second is the cheap Bontrager post I borrowed from the commuter has issues staying in place on this frame just like the last.  Now it is possible that both frames, being unmarked ebay bargains, suffer from the same defect, but I think that the post is more likely.  Clamping it with extra force seems to remedy this for the short term.  I'll replace the commuter post with something basic.  So after the rework tonight here it is in all it's glory (don't laugh it works):

It has 9spd downtube DA shifters running a 10 spd cassette -- hurray for old fashioned friction.  The front deraileur I just added tonight will keep the chain on the big ring for now.  I don't plan to shift it in tomorrow's TT.  The fork is cheep but it keeps the front wheel in place so I'll run with it for now.

"Not the Victory but the Action; Not the Goal but the Game; In the deed the Glory"
-- Hartley Burr Alexander

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Last Sunday's Hellbender lived to its name.  I think most people stuck to a strategy of just sit in till the end and hope their still there.  However when everyone does this, the result is a race where everyone is just waiting to start.  I don't like races like this.  The result: I pulled a lot.  That's okay I knew the pace would keep my full team refreshed and ready for the end even if I wasn't.  The finish hurt alot.  A cramp crept in with about 10 miles to go and I kept working to keep it back.  But in the end I just decided to fight through it.  Painful.  I hoped that a jersey was on my wheel as we crossed the bridge, but there wasn't.  At that point I just kept going in my position and finished 8th.  The next day I was dead tired and all of my muscles hurt.  I skipped my ride into work for the Jeep.  Tuesday was even worse.  By late Tuesday night I was fully blown and contagious.  So the next two days' effort have been to shake it off.  This was maybe a bout of flu, I'm guessing not the swine type because that's supposed to be an apocalyptic plague, and here I am on the mend after a couple of days.  Maybe it's a sign that the dooms day architects are just getting lazy.
Either way I'm hoping this doesn't affect me much for Saturday.  I don't have a chance at winning a time trial, but it is a personal goal to do better than bringing up the rear like last year.  The new ebay special time trial bike is nearly ready, tomorrow will be a test run.