Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Much love to all my family. I'm very thankful for all of you. I'm looking forward to a great day of food and football.
Also much thanks to all our service men and women. You sacrifice so much in service of this country. I hope this holiday season that you are away from home protecting our freedom you feel our support and thanks.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Saturday, November 7, 2009
1. Brian Fawley is back from racing on the national scene and is destroying the field from the gun.
2. A pro Johnny Sunt (sp?) in a Kelly Benefits kit rolled up to the back of the field. Rolled around the first lap in last place, let a huge gap open, and then begin to work. Currently sitting in 4th.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
It started with Wurstcross in New Braunfels on Saturday. It was a highly technical course with lots of tight switchbacks and off camber action with loose dirt or gravel. I manage to stay upright despite a couple of close calls but lost time through all the technical areas. I started 3rd on the 1st lap after the sprint and slipped back to 12th by the end of the race. It was fun and challenging and continues to make me more determined to improve my bike handling.
Sunday's Tour de Gruene was full of drama. My teammate Anthony who dragged an out of shape me around the course last year hadn't been riding much leading up to this two man time trial. To top it off he went out to celebrate Halloween the night before and called me around 3am to notify me that his car had been stolen from outside the club and he would need a ride in the morning. We finally get there and warmed up but still managed to miss our start time by about 45 seconds. We started off strong but and I was more than happy to lead but Anthony finally came apart over the big hill with about 7 miles to go and faded from that point on. We finished significantly slower than last year and failed to make the podium in our age group (we won it last year). Thankfully, after the Tour de Gruene a lot of the team gathers outside Gruene Hall for a big year end BBQ. It was great to swap stories and enjoy the camaraderie of what is the best team in Texas.
The sequence of events was frustrating and to say I was moody Sunday afternoon would be putting it nicely. Thankfully, the weather is beautiful and slow rides to and from work the past to days along with a patient wife have healed my racing soul. There is heartbreak and frustration but racing is about the beauty and fun of it and I can't wait to race again.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Sunday, October 25, 2009
This weekend we went to ATX to see family, race on Sunday (full report to follow in the next couple of days), and check out the Texas Custom Bike Show that was there with the LiveStrong Challenge. Here is a few photos from the small show. (sorry for the photo quality, was using a loaner camera I didn't know because I left mine at home.)
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Saturday's race was held at the San Antonio Police Academy. The course was a little rough but had a good flow to it.
The red lines on the right side is the start point. We lined up and I managed a good position on the front row. The whistle blew and I opened a strong sprint and was second wheel once we entered the course. My riding skills weren't very good though. I cross like a roadie on a cross bike, not a true cross rider. There was a series of off camber sections up on the berm at the top side of the course. These were my undoing and I lost 3 spots our first time through them. I started to settle in but on the second lap as I went over the barriers my chain fell off due to poor placement of my chain guard. I got the chain back on but lost 2 more places. I hammered it to try to regain the spots I lost and going through the berm section I wiped out on the third off camber section and dropped my chain again. A group of 3 guys caught me here, a large guy in a black kit, a guy in a Bicycle Heaven kit, and Zack Gonzalez. As we rode I figured out I could open a gap when I wanted and I was faster over the barriers but any time I gained I gave back every time we went through the off camber sections on the berms. These attacks did manage to dislodge Bicycle Heavan but Zack and Black Kit were still there. The next to last lap Zack attacked on the berm section and I couldn't get around Black Kit to go with him. Going through the barriers entering the bell lap I attacked Black Kit and opened a good gap. The last time I went through the off camber berms I took it very conservative and managed to maintain a small gap on Black Kit. Knowing I was faster through the rest of the course I tried to power down to catch Zack but was unable to catch him. 9th place overall in a field of about 30. It was fun and I know it will get better as I find some cross skills.
Sunday's race was the same venue as last year's state championship and is a great course. It is at Padre Park on the river and flows beautifully.
I lined up in the front row again because after the start it is single track for a while and is very hard to pass. The whistle blew and I sprinted well and entered the course 2nd wheel for the 2nd straight day. I was flowing well and the field was stringing out. The course dropped down to the river twice with steep climbs back up. During the pre-race ride I decided it would be better to run up the steep climbs as opposed to trying to ride them and get stuck part way up. We went down the first drop and I was a little rough in my dismount and dropped the chain. Guess I still don't have it dialed in. I managed to get it back on, lost 3 places, but was still in good position as we dropped down to the river for the second part. As we approached the steep climb up I decided to change my plan on the fly and try to ride it in a gamble to make up some places. As I got near the top and tried to turn left with the course my front tire rolled off the rim tearing the valve stem from the tire. The tire instantly went flat and I went down. I was to far from the wheel pit to have a chance at making a change and getting back into the race so I called it a day.
It was very disappointing but I'll glue on a new tire and try again next week.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Since my last post; congrats to the Kaptain and El Wonder Nino on collecting State RR jerseys in last weeks state championships. Also, cross season starts in less than 48 hours!!! I keep telling myself its for fun and not for results. It's for fun, it's for fun, it's for fun. I think I believe it....
Finally, there is a new toy in this house. I've loved Oakleys and have owned 4 pairs, two of which I still own but never a pair of truly race worthy shades. Cancellara wore a pair of orange Oakley Radars that were cycling bling in the Tour last year. They were obnoxiously bright and as my wife can attest, when it comes to shoes and shades I love obnoxiously bright. The orange would go perfectly with our kit but a teammate bought them before me and I prefer to roll unique. This year Oakley released the Jawbone in Atomic Orange. Matt at Bike Heaven had a pair and hooked me up. This is true cycling bling. Now if only Sidi would make some orange and white shoes.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
The NFL season started last weekend and with it Fantasy Football. Fantasy Football is a game in which you and the other contestants in the league draft players at the beginning of the year and then complete "lineups" each week. Each week you are matched up against another contestant and the score is based on the stats of the players in the "lineup". Last year was the first time I had played Fantasy Football. I finished 2nd in my league and love it so much I am playing in 4 leagues this year. 2 leagues that are friend/coworker leagues which I really want to win and two other leagues that I'm in simply to have fun. The weeks leading up to the season create so much anticipation it's amazing that it can actually live up to it.
Week 1 came and went with all the highs(not many) and lows(more than I'd like) of a Fantasy Football weekend and I am 1-3. I won my match-up in my coworkers league but lost in my friends league and my two other leagues. Now its time to search for great free agents and tinker endlessly with lineups in anticipation of next week. Have I mentioned that I love football?
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
I woke up this morning happy to be commuting once again and enjoyed a beautiful cool 70 degree weather. It felt wonderful to be on the bike again. The ride home was under a perfectly clear sunny sky, about 90 degrees with a light wind out of the north. Factoring in the heat index it was 15-20 degrees cooler than it was a couple of weeks ago.
I can't say I've forgiven this summer but the anger has subsided. C'mon fall!!
Saturday, September 12, 2009
There is a man who has been instrumental in the growth cyclocross in the US and is now the unofficial "spokesman" for the sport. He's coined "hup, hup, buttercup" and writes one of the best blogs out there. He is none other than Greg Keller. The one and only author of the MUDandCOWBELLS blog. He is the standard of blogging by which I measure myself and someday I hope to have the impact on cycling that he has had on cross.
Keller, you are the man!!!
Saturday, September 5, 2009
We lined up to race and after a dry summer of minimal racing, the skies threatened rain. I quickly ran back to the car and traded the carbon wheels for the aluminum tubies. We lined up and light rain ensued. I looked over at Skillz-Skelley and we agreed to go from the beginning to avoid the mayhem of riding in a pack in the rain. The race starts and we immediately take off and try to string out the field and keep ourselves out of trouble. There was a crash 3 miles in that we later found out involved the Hall Monitor who displayed some nice skills staying up but did break a spoke in the front wheel and was unable to get back on.
The next 10 miles settles into a routine of Skillz-Skelley, The Pilot and myself attacking and patrolling the front of the field hoping to soften up the rest of the strong riders. After the first lap the field is smaller and it settles down through the first half of the second lap. Skillz-Skelley and I continue to push the pace on the rollers and my lack of road riding is rearing its ugly head. My recovery is slower and I drift into the back of the field. I worked my way back to the front just in time for some attacks. Velossimo with their new Tri phenom move to the front and attempt two hard attacks which we cover the first one and I find myself covering the second one. After Velossimo sit up I'm at the front again. I pull off and drift back to try to recover. Waiting for the legs to come back...... still waiting..... hmm, still no legs and I'm off the back. I watch the field disappear. Sorry Jens.
Hoping it's enough I roll in the last quarter of the race with another rider. A lonely finish to the race. Unfortunately, we were without any top 10 results with El Wonder Nino putting in the best finish despite spinning out in junior gears. I'll definitely be out for States to support the team again and hopefully this was the spark I need to have some decent training to come in with some form. Having teammates makes racing truly special and we have a great group of guys. Good luck though out the rest of the weekend!!!
Monday, August 24, 2009
I'm desperately awaiting fall and the cooler temperatures it brings. To help convince myself that cooler temperatures are on the way and since I'm finding it harder and harder to motivate myself to train for these last 3 road races I have, I'm turning to cyclocross. What is cyclocross you may ask? It is a crazy winter sport that is huge in Europe and is fast gaining popularity here in the US. Here is a short video to help give you a little more background.
Well, during most of the year (mid January-September), my cross bike functions as my commuter. So yesterday, in a desperate effort to convince myself that fall is just around the corner; I took off my Bontrager Race Lite Hardcase tires (best commuting tires ever).
And put on the knobbies.....still with dirt from last year on them.
Now they're Cyclocross Wheels!!!!
Today, I enjoyed a day off of work and took my Van Dessel Hole Shot out to explore the Salado Creek Greenbelt. Sorry, iPhone photos aren't the same quality....
Hopping on the Greenbelt at 1604 and riding it to 281 for the first time I have to say it is very rideable on a cross bike with only a few parts that required some dismount and carry practice. A good trail that I would definately ride again. It was great to get out and explore and work on my trail riding skills which are seriously lacking. Falls coming....I know it!
Sunday, August 16, 2009
After the State TT on Saturday, I was back at the scene of the crime for a 7:42 start for the Team TT on Sunday. I rode in the Cat 3 TTT with the following roster; Mr. CycloX, SuperLegs, and The Pilot. The Pilot, like myself, had done the individual TT Saturday so both of us had serious questions about how much we had left in our legs but thankfully Mr. CycloX and SuperLegs had skipped the individual TT and were fresh.
After a discombobulated team warm-up,Mr. CycloX and I were the only members there when our team was called to the start line. SuperLegs showed up with about 30 seconds till our start and The Pilot came in about 10 seconds before the start after a last second nature call. We were given the go and SuperLegs immediately drilled it and the rest of us scrambled desperately to get to his wheel. SuperLegs let off and glanced back to make sure we were all there and then decided to drill it again. Finally, SuperLegs decided he was done and we began to settle into a nice rotation. About half way through the "out" leg, it was becoming apparent that The Pilot was feeling the prior day's effort and his pulls became shorter and he even skipped a pull or two. SuperLegs also backed it off and even allowed the speed to drop slightly during his pulls which was okay as long as he lived up to his moniker and pulled hard coming back. My legs felt better than expected and I finished our "out" leg with pull at the halfway point getting us through the turn around and back up to speed.
The leg back started with the eventual winners catching and passing us soon after the turn around. My turn to pull came right after they passed us and I ramped it up to match their pace. Soon afterwards I hear Mr. CycloX announce that SuperLegs had come off the back. I backed off the pace and waited for SuperLegs to rejoin us. We went through another rotation and when SuperLegs came to the front he pulled hard again. He announced the end of his pull with a loud bang accompanied by a giant mushroom cloud and came detached for the second and final time. Unfortunately, SuperLegs didn't have his legs on that day.
The time is taken on the third rider from our team so it was imperative not to lose anyone else. Mr. CycloX, The Pilot and I continued our rotations and my legs continued their good sensations so I continued to share the majority of the work with Mr. CycloX. The headwinds picked up on the way back so the pulls became increasingly painful. With about 4 miles to go Mr. CycloX began to feel the effort of the day but The Pilot miraculously found his legs. Mr. Pilot made two very strong pulls before I led out the sprint at the end for a 57:05 which was 9th; 3:10 off the winning time. It was a great ride and fantastic group of guys to fly the colors with. Time to give the TT bike a two week rest before I get back on it and work on becoming more slippery and powerful. Let the tweaking begin......
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
It's amazing how your body knows when you are going to race. You wake up feeling different on race days. It as if you body "prepares" itself for the ensuing adrenaline and pain.
I woke up early (4:40 am) as the adrenaline started pumping. Slowly at first but threatening to overtake me. It requires focus not to peak and crash before you arrive at the race. The ritualistic preparation ensues after we arrive in Castroville about 7.
After I had taped and pinned up my race number and prepped the tubies to 140 psi; the mind and body screamed to be unleashed so my wife and I rode the two miles from the registration to the start.
The start Willis had created was unique in that it was a steep ramp that was quite difficult to walk up in cycling shoes.
Riders went off every 30 seconds so from the time the rider in front goes off, you have 30 seconds to climb the ramp, mount your bike, and clip in both shoes. Apparently I wasn't quick enough because by the time I was on the platform the race referee told me I had 15 seconds. I quickly jumped on the bike and tried to clip in my right foot. Missed on the first two tries..... "10 seconds" states the referee. I clip in the right foot and try to get the left foot in as the referee counts down from 5.
You can see in the photo the referee is at 3 seconds and I'm still trying to get my left foot in.
I get clipped in just as she says "go" and power off without even starting my Garmin.
No distance, time, or average speed info to use for pacing. My legs felt good but lacked that extra spark that makes great performances. About 2/3s on the way out I feel the wind pick up at my back. This means the return portion of the TT is going to be extra painful. I turn around and head back in and began the struggle against the wind and the pain. With about 3 miles to go my legs are absolutely screaming at me and everything in my body wants to stop fighting and get out of the aero tuck. My teammate Kurt who is a TT master (and current 45-49 State Champ!!) says that if by the end of the TT you don't hate the bike so much you want get off and hurl it across the road you haven't gone hard enough. I was there but I made it to the finish using everything I had in me. Its rewarding just to know you couldn't have given it any more.
I don't know if pictures can accurately depict the relief and exhaustion you feel after you cross the line. The ride was good enough for a 59:16 which was 5th on the day. 1 goal met, 1 goal missed. Something to aim for next year. Time to start training.
Sunday TTT report to follow.