Tuesday, December 30, 2008


I'm cathing up on a lot of overdue stuff right now. I am off work for the week (except for Friday) and have been busy straightening out my home office, financials, cycling, etc.

In good news I went through my cycling gear and I put approximately 80% of my clothing into either deep storage or e-bay piles. It is now way too f'n big for me.

I always approach time off at the end of the year with the idea that I will ride every day and get a jump on everyone else....not. End of the year is for resting. That said I have still alid down some decent 1:30hr blocks good work. Today I got outside and put in an hour on the cross bike. Crazy thing is I pulled a speed that I used to average during the summer using a road bike....and it was deep winter I was wearing all my gear and on a cross bike with 38psi tires. .....and I felt like I had a lot more in me. Yummy

Then I hit the trainer class at Bicycle Heaven and laid down another 1-1 1/2 hrs there. Yesterday I was at the gym - 5k on the dreadmill followed by about an hour of weights.

Weights are crazy. I have the weight lifter genetics. I don't have to do much and my body REALLY responds to lifting. I just don't want to throw on a ton of muscle and just end up heavier.

Just when Mrs. P and little P came back from Nana's they turned around and headed into downtown. They're doign a sleep study on little P. *sniffle*. My dad has sleep apnea, I have been told that I have sleep apnea by more than one person but haven't been tested. Little P has it for sure. I have heard him.

He had his adnoids (?) out a while back which did wonders for a while, but he has slowly gotten back to where he was before. They most likely grew back. Don't know why we're doing the study. We know he has it. So what. He's 2 1/2 so it's not like he'll wear a mask to bed. I don't feel like putting him through another surgery.....

Oh well. Now I am up late and thinking of them. Poo.

Sunday, December 28, 2008


I spent some time on the trainer today, but nothing special. What was cool is that we did it over at MJH2's place. JAnd, MJH2, and I. Makes trainer work much easier.

Too much water around here. Too much rain, snow, etc. It sucks because it just isn't ridable. Climbing the walls.

Mrs. P is down at the in-laws visiting her sister and family. Little P is with her as well. I'm hanging at home trying to get caught up with the stuff you just can't get doen with family around.

Settled down for an unwind and found a recent family member was snarking my beer. "ROARRRRR"

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Indoor TT at Vision Quest

So 2 Sunday's ago I was looking to ride. It was the first Sunday after the end of Cross season and I was still looking for a way to beat my head in for 1/2 hour. I had a power test that I was going to try to do, but MJH2 called me up and said there was an indoor TT that Vision Quest was putting on for that day.

I checked out the site and decided I would have a more effective power test if it was in actual competition. So we both decided to go.

First off let me say that Vision Quest is owned and run by Ex pro cyclist Robbie Ventura. He rode with Postal and 7-Eleven during his career. He was/is also Floyd Landis's coach. you might remember Floyd as the 3rd Americna to win the Tour de France in 2006 who was later found guilty of doping and stripped of the title, banned, and whose trial turned into a circus of a show that included members of his entourage calling another Tour winner Greg LeMond and threatening him with revealing his secret that he was molested at an early age by his uncle......

....now where were we?

Anyhooo....the TT. First off this was a really nice facility. Top notch. A lot fo money went into this and it shows. The setup is 24 computrainers all wired together in a multi-trainer package. They had a table at the door for registration where they took your bike, wiped off the tires, set it up in the trainer for you while you changed and weighed in.USAC officals and all this was a sanctioned event.

VQ Indoor TT #1 2008
This shot was sent to us in Robbie Ventura's Holiday e-mail. That's myself in the front row next to the red sleeveless jersey guy. MJH2 is right next to me.

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The setup from the other side. Notice the large flat displays? Rocky was giving me strength.

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So the TT went OK. I ended up placing 8th out of 16 Cat 4/5 racers. I had a lot of caffiene that morning so my HR averaged 185 for the duration of the event. That hurt. For the last sprint I peaked at somewhere near 198 bpm. The USAC official was looking at me like he was going to have to take me to the hospital. Meh.

Good news is I established an FTP or Functional Threshold Power of 266 watts. Not super high, but about 3.3 watts/kg....woughly half what a TdF contender can put out.

On the way out of the locker room I spied this poster:

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For those who don't know me that well let me just say that I started riding "seriously" in 1988. That year I was picking up cycling magazines and soaking up everything that was in them. I picked up an issue of Winning at some point and started reading about this squirrelly looking blonde kid wearing a pink jersey.

Hot pink was in back then, but still I thought, "what a panzy. Who would want to wear a pink jersey. I would be so PO'd at the organizers." Then I saw the picture that is in the poster above. It is simply a picture of Andy Hampsten riding across the Gavia wearing shorts on his way to sealing up his 1988 Giro d'Italia (Tour of Italy) victory.

It was, and is, the toughest picture in cycling I have ever seen either before or since. Sure there are some other great ones, but this one is mine. I have a copy of the poster sitting in my dining room still unframed that I got by writing a letter to Andy's brother when he was still selling them. This picture changed my life. If you saw it in real life you would know why. Stare at it. Think about all the posting I do about cycling and suffering. Think about the raw will that it takes to ride like that. That is cycling to me. You become a machine blinded by pain and focused on one thing. It's beautiful.

Anyway....to see that poster hanging on the wall autographed by Andy himself.....I just about swooned like a 13 yr old girl at a boy band concert.

After the TT we got to look through the new flagship Trek store atached to the facility. Tons of lance stuff on the walls. I'm not going to say that I ma not a Lance fan. I am not going to poopoo what are great achievements. I'll just say that while in there MJH2 and I both found the Landis stuff more interesting as well as both of us wanted to ask where the LeMond bikes were....

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A set of all 7 of "official" TdF yellow jerseys signed by the man himself.

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A cool wall of Robbie Ventura's stuff from his career. The bikes are junior track bikes he raced in Northbrook and Kenosha as a kid.

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MJH2 posing in front of 2 podium presentation jerseys from Floyd Landis. One from the TdF and one from the Tour of Georgia. These are uber rare as it is. Floyd's story makes them even more interesting. To many they are worthless to some like us...they are priceless.....and shoved in the back corner of the store...

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Beauty of a Phonak team jersey from Floyd. "Thanks for the help."

The TT was cool. I want to do another one, but the holidays have my all a jumble. Want to lose some more weight this winter, but lifting has me adding weight right now....lifting weights as well as beer and cookies that is.

Trying to focus.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Time to work

I just got word my upgrade request was approved. Boo....I mean Yay! I am officially no longer a Cat 5 wannabe. I'm a cat 4 POS.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas - Check out the video

5 to 4

I made my request to upgrade from a Cat 5 road racer to 4. Even though I suck it was still time. 5's are meant to allow you to get the lay of the land - to learn what is involved in racing and how to race safely with others...not as a development category.

I don't feel ready, but the TT results from Sunday have helped show me that I am. I basically came out with a 3.3 w/kg functional threshold power (ftp) which puts me about mid level Cat 4 on Coggan's chart. I will post about the TT later. As it is let's hope I get the upgrade. Don't know if I officially have all of the starts required, but I just threw all of the events I have done on there. Big fields. Competitive. Meh...we'll see.

Monday, December 15, 2008

A little behind in my work

I have been trying to focus a little more on work, family, and of course...riding lately. As a result I have thoughts of tons of nice things to blog about but haven't gotten around to actually blogging.

First things first....Montrose wrap-up:

It was cold. this is what it looked like when we left that morning.

I did tear up my tights in on fo the wrecks I had. Didn't notice until later. I finally washed the cross bike yesterday. The season is now over for me. Poo.

In more exciting news we had a holiday BFNIC party that Colochange put on. He was nice enough to invite a bunch of us less desirables over to his house and feed up beer. I took him up on the offer...

pic 031 Above L to R: Cycling Jester (thanks for the ride DD), Recursive trying to remember why he came, Cyclpsycho/Alien, Colorchange our host, Alien2, CyLowe97.

pic 041 Recursive - that's how he rolls...

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iab - the premise of the party was that you brough your bike and got your picture taken with it. Nice idea. Colochange got to work another one of his hobbies in. Check out the vintage steel that iab is spoting. I can pretty much assure that it is older than anyone actually reading this.

pic 043 Alien - What Woulf Jens Do. I love this shirt. For those that don't get it google "Jens Voight". Throw a lot of German/Australian accented f bombs around and you might get close.

pic 018Above L to R: Voldemort, Recursive, Alien2, Scummer, SmokinMiles, iab and Alien
Good party and lots of fun. I remember doing a shot or two at one point. I also remember getting up on his TT bike in full party mode and riding it a bit....I think. His puny bike bent under my awesomeness (read "weight") and the tire rubbed a bit on the table....
The next morning we went to see The Laurie Berkner Band at the Rosemont Theatre....Complete with hang-over we got to be crammed into a huge theatre with a slew of 2-8 yr olds....jumping and singing. Awesome.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Sorry about the lack of updates. I'm in a funk. Mix of end of season blues, winter.

Ah, f' it.

My form of therapy for this is to go ride my ass off. I am usually so flooded with endorphins afterwards that you could shoot me in the foot and I'd be like, "Oooo...look at that hole. It goes clear through. Nice shot!" Thank you, mother nature, for making that an impossibility.


Cyclocross is over. Montrose. It was cold. I was wearing 2 layers of tights....seriously. My heavy winter ones to boot. Single digits out there. Hands were so numb I was certain I was going to end up with frostbite damage. They were so cold/numb I couldn't even feel that they were there anymore. No pain or anything.

I got a great start - 3rd in by the end of the starting straight. From there I just started to make mistakes. I let a few guys go by as we got to the hill the first time because I was thinking, "these guys are still going for points, I don't want to take them out from some stupid move, I'm going to pop if I push too hard right now."

From there began the comedy of errors. The conditions changed drastically - getting more icy as the race went on. I had too much pressure in my tires after changing it 3 times...and I was running like 32-34 in clinchers.

This race sealed for me the opinion that you do need tubulars for cross racing. At least when conditions get like what we saw on Sunday.

So....some missed remounts on ice, dropping my chain and having a hell of a time putting it back on with gloves on. For the second venue in a row I kicked my brake caliper into my wheel (under the rim and into the spokes). I had to stop and pull that out. I had to put a foot down and stop so many times it was pathetic.

At one point something happened on the second downhill into the bridge. I had to dismount and run down the rest of the hill, through the tunnel and up the hill over the next barrier. It sucked.

I was a defeated man. I didn't even want to be riding anymore at that point. For the first time I thought about quitting - not because I was physically beat - but because I had lost all my motivation and just didn't want to keep getting beat so bad.

Then Bob passed me. It was similar to the feeling I get those times when Little P doesn't want to give me a hug. No love.

At that point my race was done. I had no desire to do anything other than get the race over with. Someone else passed me somewhere. Then on the home stretch I heard someone moving up on me.

There was a section of pavement near the start/finish that I had wipped out on during a practice lap. I then watched tons of guys go down in the same spot in every race after that. it had a poor transition between the pavement and the grass and the pavement was slick and 100% ice.

I had taken it slow everytime through there just to stay upright and it had cost me about 1 position every lap. This time again I was coasting over that section as this guy was nailing it. I wasn't going to give this one up. He had about half a wheel on me and the momentum when I decided to sprint. I clicked up about 3 or 4 gears and just layed into it.

I realized I hadn't even dug deep at all that entire race. Sad. I had a lot in reserves and took him at the line. He gave me a "Nice finish. How many laps did we do?"

All I could muster was a, "I don't know....3 or 4."

Turns out it was 5. Who knew.

I finished 23/52. Blech. I gave it away. MJH2 got a 7th. Congrats man. Way to go into the offseason with a top 10. Way to stay vertical.

Cross is over. Winter is here. Trainer season has started at Bicycle Heaven. Between Tuesday night and Thursday night sessions there and spending time with my family I hope to remain sane.

The TT build is about 90% there in terms of parts. I tend to hold things off because I like to prolong it. I don't like the thought of having a build complete in December and not getting to ride it outside for months.

I may complete it earlier than normal though so that I can ride the trainer with it and do the indoor TT series on it this winter as practice for the next season's TT's.


Double Meh.

Bah humbug.

Pic of Montrose from velogrrl...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

I must be stupid

Hi. It's in the single digits out there today. Lots of snow. I'm just about on my way to go race my bicycle. I just spend about an hour digging for all those deep winter clothing items. Balaclava....last piece of the equation.

So...when you're sitting there watching the Bears play today just think that just a few miles away Yours truly will be riding his bike over frozen mud, and off-camber snow and ice at the Illinois Cyclocross Championships in Montrose.

It beats riding the trainer. I think.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Today the guy in the uniform brought me more stuff. Happy Birthday to me.....

Monday, December 1, 2008


I spent the week at my folks house last week. I just didn't get around to posting much on here. I have a great race report/pictures mostly from the Woodstock race. I had my highest placing yet and best start by far - coincidence?

I'll see what I can get out here...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

It's here.

So...I picked up a tailgater that just wouldn't leave me alone yesterday...

14 years after inherting it I finally got around to moving my 1928 Model A from it last resting place in Piasa, IL up to my place in Elgin. This car was bought new by my great-uncle Charlie Schaefer. I have the orginial invoice floating around here somewhere. He paid something like $650 for it in late 1928. The engine number is in the 400,000-500,000 block making it an early A.
Little things like the red steering wheel, etc also confirm it was made in the first few months of production of the Model A.
Unlce Charlie and his wife in Texas with the car....most likely in the 60's

Charlie again.

Now when Charlie passed sometime back in the 80's - lacking children - he had moved back up to Illinois from his ranch in Texas and left the A to my Uncle Bob. The above shot is the A landing on my mother's family farm. Uncle Bob's truck having hauled it up from Texas.

My uncle Bob saw fit to leave it for his nephew - me - when he passed in 1994. I guess he knew I wouldn't sell it, rat-rod it, part it out, etc. He and I talked about old cars a few times when I was at the farm trying to maintain the 1962 Mercury Comet he had hauled out of my paternal Grandmother's house in Peoria just a few years before that.

Uncle Bob on the right in this shot. H used to drive the A in parades all the time. I remember riding in it as a kid. We had a blast. There's a picture of that at my mom's house that I can probably find and scan this week.

Anyway. It's home now. Little P reacted just the way I knew he would....he was all about having that car there. It will be a project car for both of us as he grows up. Hopefully I get it done while he's still in the house (before 18), but if not he'll have something to work on with his kids.

Thanks Charlie.

Thanks Bob.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Last weekend Race Reports

First off I have to give props to J-Dub - the man behind the lens. All of the pictures you see in this section have been taken by him. You can find his shots a Peloton-pix.com. I have his site listed in my links on the right as well.
The man with the best seat in the house
So...Whitewater...As I said before it was a mtb race dressed as a cross race. If you weren't climbing you were descending.
I got a kind of crappy start and just went backwards the whole race.

Right at the start. Flanman (listed as "Carlos Flanders" - the guy in registration were stoned - 4-sure) is on the far right of this shot.

The long beach section was soft and deep enough that you pretty much had to ride in the water or run it. Many rode it, but a ton ended up losing it at some point. I cut my loses and ran it except for one lap.....this one
One of our Bikeforums.net buddies did the race with a camera on. Check out the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ltwelCHMlQA

For those keeping score that's me coming across the line at the end...ready to die....and before you ask - yes that's a girl who finished in front of me. I am sure someone will chime in about her palmares, etc. but ...it's a girl....and she beat me.

Now...I on sunday I was starting to not look forward to racing anymore. I was beat up so badly in Wisconsin that it broke my soul. That performance after Northbrook - which was a loser of a day as well - had me feeling like my season was truly over. I wasn't even sure I wanted to toe the line.

We stopped and ate at a McDonalds - yes...haven't eaten there in forever and it rocked - and I almost couldn't manage to get together enough will to get up from the stool to head out to the race.

Getting crushed at races is an expected thing when you start. It's also an expected thing when your form wanes. That doesn't change the fact that you still feel like a piece of poo when it happens. It just kills a tiny piece of your soul. Hurts. I was not looking forward to the pain

...then we turned the corner and I could see the course. Holy crap my mood did a 180. It was as flat as my first girlfriend (4th grade) and the only things that broke it up were the sandpit and 3 barriers. That's it. It was a grass crit. These things are made for people like me. If you're keeping score that means that it was made for short fat guys who can duck out of the wind and lay down some serious power....Wisconsin guys say it was an FIB course.

I did a happy dance in my mind.

It was still painfully cold though.

This is MJH2 and myself talking about the race/course with Ara who had just gotten done. You can see his wheel on the left hand side. Can you tell we're really f'n cold or that 2 days racing have started taking their toll already?

Here's Ara rockin the pit in the 1/2/3 race. Photo from link off Pegasus blog (Luke). Check out his other photos here

The race was pretty much what I expected. It came down to the start. I got a crappy one. You can see it in the video. I was second row right behind Bob from Beverly. We were all lined up on the left and the right side was the one that made it into the turn first. By the first turn I was right behind MJH2 and we were an easy 20 guys back. It sucked.

I couldn't find a groove early on. The 2 day's of racing had taken their toll. I just didn't have anything deep. It was the kind of course where you could put it in the big ring and ride 99.9% of it there. I was running the sand for sure. I tried to ride it early on in practice and just couldn't hit it at all. There was a barrier before the sand that was close enough to make it hard for me to get up enough speed to carry the sand.

I didn't bend to the crowd pressure and stuck with running. After the first lap I was wanting to quit. I have been feeling that way lately. Sad. I know enough about myself now to know that's just my body getting going. As long as I keep turning the pedals I will come out the other side of it. I gave up some spots. Flanman passed me at one point and I couldn't hold his wheel long. I gave up a lot of ground to others for sure.

Then on the second to last lap I started to feel it. My groove was coming on. I passed 4 riders at once, followed up by some other quick passes. At this point lapped traffic started to filter down through us. Don't know what it is about cross, but lapped traffic is a total PITA. In a crit it's no biggie even if they take the line, but in cross they really slow you down and get in the way. You never have any breath left to yell either.

I got cut off and run into a few times by lapped traffic. Shiz happens I guess.

I really hit a groove on the last lap. I was feeling good, and was actually hoping for another lap or two. This was probably because when I hit the pavement section I looked to see where the next rider was and saw it was Bob from Beverly and he was in the pit. There was no way I was going to be able to catch him before the line.

The pit was crazy. Rabid cross fans feeding on beer, brats and the energy of each other. Check the videos to see what I mean. It's weird because the rest of the course was dead silent with no spectators....then you entered the tunnel of sound. Yelling, bell ringing, people crowding the rout and in the way from time to time. It was crazy....crazy awesome.

I ended up finishing strong, but the damage had already been done. I ended up 20th. Poop.

Video from the Lansing race. You can see me and MJH2 lined up in the front row on the opposite side. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MtQ42Lt6qDg

Another great video was done out there of one of the other categories. I got the link from Velosnap's blog

Find more videos like this on veloist
Next race is Woodstock. The gentlemen (Jeff?) who is putting it on is the guy that did the cross clinic I attended before I started all of this stuff. During the clinic he mentioned that the course would be very hilly and have lots of technical terrain changes. Others who know the park say it will be pretty hilly.
After Wisconsin I have no fear of hills. Should be interesting to see how I do. I am going against all my instincts and I am going to change the cassette and eliminate my 27 bailout. It might be what I want to spin, but it's just too slow for racing.

Finally I'll leave you with this shot of Recursive. It's just a f'n awesome shot. The shirt is appropriate as well. "That's how I roll." - J-Dub is the man.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Still no time to post race reports. I have some good ones though. Lots of people shot video. Beverly Bob sent me some via Ara that show MJH2 and myself running the pit.

I was checking out Chicago Bike Racing and they linked to Cross Results.com Messed up....weird place. Awesome idea. I especially like the Nemeses and Victims. Check out my profile on there...


Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Don't have a lot fo time right now. The double was interesting. I have bruises and wounds in weird places. Crossers are friggin nuts.

I'll do a race report later for both, but basically Sunday was the complete opposite of Saturday. It was a flatlander's/crit rider's dream...it was a grass crit with a sandbox thrown in.

Even then I still didn't do as well as I should have. I got a horrible start, and that was it.

I started feeling great at the end, but the race ended before I really started reeling people in. I beat "Fake Hauge" and Jorge, but Bob held on for 1 spot on me at the end. MJH2 had a good race (read "he stayed upright").

Ara cheered us on all race, and J-Dub yelled encouragement and took pics. It was kind of a surreal race. Lots of beer, brats (with the occassional brat hand-up), sand castles in the pit, dollar bill handups, etc. Generally a circus atmosphere.

I guess people are afraid of the South Side or at least that's what MJH2 said because a lot of the normal crowd was not there.

Thos who showed were ready to rip legs and burn lungs. Bastards.

More later.

Oh....and I have to move my 1928 Model A finally. I have avoided moving it for 15 years, but the time has come. I need a hand. Anyone got time this Friday/Saturday or early next week to help lend a hand??

Saturday, November 15, 2008


That was a crappy race. I sucked so bad I had a job offer from Hoover waiting for me at the finish line.


Umm....it was a mtn bike course not a cross course. They have this stuff up in Cheeselandia. They call it "hills." They put some on the course. I have never been lapped on a cross course ....before today.

Mechanicals, loss of care, cross-eyed riding the wrong direction ("whaaa...everyone is going the other way....oh look.....tape....). Total suck of a day.

Form is gone I fear. That and I have never been really good at hills....

MJH2 kept it upright - and still got lapped at the line. Flanman rode 2 hard races and came in frotn of both of us. Nice job!

Hope tomorrow is better. This wasn't worth the drive. :(

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Breathe out...

Scale this morning. Got on. It said "169.5". I took a quick breath in amazement about to celebrate....it changed to "170.0".

Next time I'll hold my breath.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Garmin Chipotle

A sales engineer walks into my office today and notices the cycling decor in my office. He asks if I ride. This usually comes up with sales guys, but leads quickly to a "really you ride that far? Doesn't that hurt? I could never do that? Do you love Lance? You think he doped?" kind of conversation.

I hate those.

This was different though. He went on to ask if I was a fan of euro style pro racing. Then he asked if I had heard of the Garmin-Chipotle team. Then he drops a bomb. Tells me his brother races for the team.

I check up and he's the real deal. I didn't recognize the name at first but I do recognize his nickname: Meatball.

Best part is that this guy seems cool, recent relo to the area (this year) and is looking for places to ride and people to ride with. I'm ALWAYS down for riding with new riders.

BTW - his brother is also an Olympian track cyclist. Then he mentions he's always wanted to try track cycling. "seeing as how my brother is pretty good at it maybe I'd be good too."


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The double

Do I dare do a double cross weekend? Get my passport stamped with a Cheeselandia visa?


Whitewater, Wi cross race on saturday...11:15 race in Cat 4 - 30 minutes.

Lansing, IL cross race on Sunday...3:00 race in Cat 4b - 30 minutes.

Gas is cheap right now. Spring is around the corner. The souls to crush next year are stacking up. Others are already inside on the trainer....

Monday, November 10, 2008

More snaps...

John Wilke is the man. Check out his shots of the race(s) at Peloton-Pix


Pictures from Yesterday's race via velogrrl

The Widow Maker

Carnage (3 riders in that shot...can you find the third?)

SupergirlTeam Picture. I'm on the steps while MJH2 is on the ground after his wreck.
The Flanman - Nice picture.

Bob on the widowmaker. I was riding the other way past him and yelled "See what I mean BOB??!!"

Save Ferris Cross

Like all races I just didn't feel ready for this one. I can say that the family has been sick and I am sure I caught something. I can say I rode too hard on Saturday. I can say a lot of things, but in the end I just didn't have the legs yesterday.

I think the cheese invasion didn't help. Northbrook is kind of close to the border of Cheeselandia (Wizcohnsin for those of you new to the world according to psimet). I guess the racing up there was either non-existant, not preferred, or the cheesers just wanted to see how they stand up FIB'rs (again...F'n Illinois Bast***s).As a result - despite the crappy weather - we had 55 finish our race. More than that started.

The course....OK I kind of hated it. Sorry. I know a lot of people loved it. No barriers. I thought I would love that, but they really needed a few. Way too long. It could have been a little shorter and more aggressive. The ENTIRE thing was off-camber. For you runners that's when you ride your bike ACROSS the grade of the hill. Only in this case the hill is a soft combination of mud and torn up grass......you slide out and fall it you brake.

Then....we have the hill of death with the "widowmaker" corner. *shiver*

OK, when I first saw the schedule for this series with our race being the last of the day my first thought was, "I understand that people hate the low cats, but putting the least experienced on the courses after they have been torn up all day long is cruising for a lawsuit." I like that I can get there late, etc and that if we were first we would destroy the groove around the course and rip everything up for everyone else, but still....

Illustration was the widowmaker. some 30+ guys and 3's were telling me they rode it through the whole race, but by the time we got on it it was an ultra steep mass of mud. Nothing to grip even remotely.

Long story short....it sucked. MJH2 and I rode it a ton in between races....until I totally bit it one time and messed up my front end on the bike badly. Bars, shifters, etc. It was a mess and ools were definitely needed. I would have run it, but then the next section would have had the bike on the wrong side to remount. Hard to explain without diagram...

So I went through there still on the bike with one foot out. Lost time, but usually not position.

I felt like barfing before the race. I don't need that kind of pressure. I'm just too competitive to let it go and relax. I wasn't feeling good. The course wasn't going to totally split up everyone before the widowmaker, and most of the guys had not even ridden a pre-ride lap to know what that corner was even like. It was going to be total carnage.

I followed last wek of getting a front line position behind the top 10 series call-ups. MJH2 got a front line position right on the end of the line. I should have gotten behind him, but I didn't. At the start the two guys I was in between boxed me and got poor starts. I was an easy mid pack before the first turn. Sucked.

I got through the interesting stuff before the hill without issue. i think I either passed supergirl here on the first or second lap...not sure.

The hill was OK. Big steps to run up. No problem. J-Dub was there taking pics and shouting encouragement to me. MJH2 was first to hit the stairs....FIRST. The man is an animal.

I foot dragged the widowmaker. After that I got stuck in slow traffic and passed as much as I could. The long open sections I ripped some legs off people, but I did let a lot of people by me. I had a few bobbles, wheelslides, etc. but all in all I kept it pretty clean.

I just didn't have that deep of a pain cave. I could take the pain, but going for more revealed just nothing there. No response. That doesn't happen to me so I was shocked. Never felt like I could get on top of my gears, just slowly crank them over. Low, slow power. That's all I had.

I put a 27t cog on for this race. I think it was a mistake. I went to it far too often and it was a crutch. I could have ridden the 25t through those sections with no problem. Lesson learned.

So....we're doing 4 laps. On lap 3 (I think) I hear a slide out of the bottom turn on the hill of death just as I am going into the stairs. I can see out of the corner of my eyes that the rider is totall off course and jumping up. It's MJH2. He yells, "It's all you now Rob!" He's such a drama queen. :D

Turns out he wrecked his bike on the widowmaker, destroyed his shifter, got back on thinking "I can put it in a gear and just hold the dangling shifter in my hand." Realized right after that this meant he had no rear brakes now. Proceeded to wipe out sliding off course and under the tape in one of the subsequent turns. Yelled at me, and then threw his bike - much to the crowd's pleasure. "Whoah!!!!!!" Destroyed his wheel, bent his derail hanger, broken shifter, probably bent bars, etc. He was in 7th place at the time. The rest of the day was punctuated with "I had a top 10 locked in!" out of nowhere.

The rest of my race consisted of passing one more guy, and then actually racing the 3rd lap - holding off 1 guy. I finally lost my position to him on the last lap on the big hill climb on the back side. He nailed it and just overpowered me. Again....it wouldn't have happened if I hadn't had that 27t on.

I then got nipped in one of the last turns to drop my second spot on the last lap. They placed me 22nd out of 55 who finished. Missing the top 20 by the 2 guys who passed me on the last lap.

All in all a cold day, the racing was stressful for some reason, and I just didn't have the legs. I hope for better next week.

Thanks J-Dub for the encouragement and look forward to seeing your shots on http://www.peloton-pix.com/ . I could always use the rights to a few to post on here with linkys....:D

Saturday, November 8, 2008


Rode 34 miles on the cross bike with MJH2 this morning. Cold, raining and very windy. Perfect cross weather. We did an easy pace so I should be adequately prepped for tomorrow's race.

aham ran an awesome 10K (kudos man), CyLowe put 15 minutes...err...an hour on the dreadmill...all is well.

Powetap is laced and amazingly tensioned and true. It was really easy. I can only say it must be the beefy flanges than helped. Amazing really. This should be the most stout wheel I have ever ridden.

It's super heavy as well though...1220 g ....just for the rear wheel. OOoof.

Going to a movie with little P and Mrs. P. Madagascar 2 I think. This will be his first movie. He's 2 1/2 BTW. This should be fun........

Friday, November 7, 2008

Circus Tent

Yesterday while at work one of my co-workers (an uber cool Euro - Dutchie really - who loves to talk cycling with me even though he doesn't race while using terms like 'awesome, that's so awesome') mentioned that it was time for me to get new pants.

He was right. I display all of the normal headtrips that go on with people that lose weight. I don't want to get rid of my larger sized clothing for fear that I will just re-need it in a few weeks.

Losing weight for me hasn't been like a 1 season thing. I've been rolling down my weight for years. I do it the old fashion way....extreme efforts and revised diet.

My max was 230 pounds about 6 years ago. That's when I decided I needed to ride in such a way as to get healthy...not to pose.

Scale has been tipping 171 for about 2 weeks now. Recently I have lost a lot of "inches" around my waist, but the weight has stayed the same. Got to chalk that up to running and cross adding core muscle....and a lot of it.

I realized that my pants looked like a canvas circuit tent that was strapped together at the top by the "new" smaller belt that is now on it's smallest setting. My jeans had doubled and tripled over on to themselves along the waistband in between belt loops like the drawstring neck on an old army duffel bag.

I haven't felt like spending any money on anything that I don't just absolutely need right now...the powertap was with old cycling money that had been squirrelled away so it doesn't count. So I didn't feel like shopping.

Mrs. P has been losing a lot of weight as well recently and doesn't have many clothes that fit her well or make her feel as beautiful as she truly is so I feel bad in buying any clothing, but something had to give. She agreed so a trip it was.

I soon found out I now wear a 33 waist, and it's still loose on me. I also found myself back in the position I used to be in back in high school last century - I now have to watch the cut because there are not pants that have small enough waists that are big enough to accomodate my massive guads (yes...mispelled on purpose...check out BF for answer).

I was wearing a 36 waist. I still have some 38's laying around as well. I should probably be in a 32....but that's just crazy talk.

Sorry about rambling on, but this is a big change for me. I have shed "fat" from everywhere else on my body, but the gut never went. Cross/running has made that happen. It's been a slow transition too so I still feel like I have all of my power.

Later I'll post my season goals (I have some now!) and the powertap build progress (amazing how easy it is when you put the correct spokes on the correct sides). Bet you can't wait....

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Sometimes I hate building wheels

Tonight I stripped the rim off of my new powertap and went to lace it up to my new rim (Kinlin Niobium XR-300 - 30mm). Everything went really well and slick. I was cooking along. Overhauled the hub so it now spins like butter. Prepped the spokes and rim. New Spoke prep which allowed me to realize that my old prep was getting....old.

So...it's late. I ALWAYS make a small stupid mistake when wheel building. It's like making a simple math error. It just sucks. It also always seems to happen when I attempt to build when it's late and my eyes are tired and I am already squinting.

...but no....not tonight right?? :(

I was in a hurry to start getting power numbers at the end of this season. I am in rocking form and I want to set some baseline numbers.

So....I laced the wheel. I get to about the last 5 or so spokes on the drive side when it dawns on me that the spokes are going to be just a tad too short. I check, double check, triple check all of the possible causes and see that I am doing everything right. Now I'm pissed. That means I calculated the spokes wrong...AGAIN. I HATE doing that.

But there's no way. This is a straight forward build. Spokes are within 2mm of each other. The drilling is straight up and I am using the same spokes with the same lacing on both sides. Short spoke on the drive side and long on the non-drive.....


.....right?......wait......does this thing have different size flanges? Is the bigger flange on the non-drive side because fo the torque transfer tube on this thing??!!

MOTHER F'R!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I swapped spokes.

Check the notes! Check the notes! I always tell myself to check the notes and verify everything multiple times but NOOOOOOooooo. I'm too smart for that.....

Hope your day was better.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


The results are posted and they have me 14th out of 55 finishers. They did put one guy in front of me that I am pretty sure was not in front of me only because I know him and do not remember him passing me and know I was in front of him at the start, but stuff happens out there. I am sure of nothing.

This means I picked up 17 points in the overall and climbed up into 30th place. MJH2 did a 16/55 for this race and is in 45th because he popped last race and hit a barrier this one (COME ON MAN!). He is sooooooo much better than that and he knows it.

JAnd had a good showing coming in 48/55! I think that might be ones if his best performances to date in terms of the number of guys he beat. The man has talent. More than I think he even knows. MJH2 and I have decided that we've only ever seem at most 60% of his actual current ability and we're pretty sure he isn't even aware of how deep his well really runs. Need to get him on the road circuit this year and serve up some pure pain as a form of demonstration.

JBernaeyge dropped a 25th place after what he calls a miserable performance. He beat supergirl though and he says that's all that matters (Supergirl...no hating here...I'm still one of your biggest fans!).

JMaxwell had a good showing dropping in between myself and MJH2 with one of his best showings to date. Someone send us a pic of him so we can have our eye out for him next time.

EDIT: Special shout-out to velosnaps for nailing the picture of the day of me... here!

Sunday, November 2, 2008


Awesome race. Robert Kelley and Matt Stewart from my team (Bicycle Heaven) set up the course and all I have to say is....OMG!!! Actually more like OMFG!!

MJH2 and I ended up getting out there early to pre-ride. I have pre-ridden every course and only put in 1 lap or 2. This time I put in at least 4 and maybe 5. On top of that we rode one section with some off-camber cut-backs at least 8 or 9 times trying to find a line.
After that we hung around to watch the start of the 30+, 40+ and 50+ groups. I hope to post a video later of the carnage that ensued in the off-camber pits of despair.
Around 12 I came in and volunteered at registration. That was pretty cool. For the first time I had an idea of how many were in my field before we started. I also got to meet a lot of riders and connect names with faces in some instances.

"Where is your license? No license? NO SOUP FOR YOU! NEXT!"

When we got to about 2pm I made a bee line to the car to get ready for my race at 3. The weather had steadily warmed up throughout the day so I ended up ditching the arm warmers, etc.

I'm too sexy for these arm warmers....well...too hot at least.
Before the race we got a few minutes to have an impromtu team meeting near the "off-cambers of death" section on the course.

Imagine that...I'm telling a story...
"So...like...this is the part I alwasy mess up..." Justin is all, "Ooooo...look.........racers..." MJH2 is all "Psimet....you suck"

Practicing my "you're not getting around me" move.

Lined up at the start: MJH2, myself, and our targets...Jorge and Bob from Beverly Bike Veepak.

Right after that they did call-ups....which is where they call up the top 10 riders in the series. because the whole thing comes down to your start and your starting position this is where they give these guys a reward for showing to the start late. Sometimes it's annoying, but I understand why they do it. If it were me I would be all over it myself.

I got a great line right out of the start. I was, hooked up, and putting power down before the first turn. I got some good looks at lines and took what I could. MJH2 and I were top 7 or 8 heading into the woods.

In the woods there were landscape timbers/railroad ties that were used to both help prevent errosion and to create steps along the hill. So...we rode around, over, across them up to a barrier where we dismounted, jumped, and ran about 4-5 more steps before being abel to remount. At this point the pack was already starting to settle down, but the guys near me were still thumping.

MJH2 was in front of me I believe, and Jorge and Bob from Beverly were just behind me (at least that's what it looks like in some of the pictures). I was still getting the engine going. I know myself well enough to know that I have to go hard early and get that feeling that I am going to pop....and then realize that it is only a temporary feeling....hold on and push and next thing you know I am through it and feeling......stable.

The pain in cross is horrendous. It is as intense as a time trial with the combined effort of having to think. For you runners I would liken it to trying to do differential equations in your head at mile 18 on a marathon while upping your pace to a 5k pace....I think. Of course that could have been like saying, "No yo soy puede, pero no hay de que"....which, if I am correct, makes no sense at all.
Anyway...CyLowe97 showed up and got some killer shots of the action in the "off-cambers of death".

All in all a good race. Jay from Tati grabbed my wheel and pulled me back while climbing the stairs after the barrier in the woods....to get by...which was funny, but I couldn't laugh at the time. He disentigrated a lap later and became trail fodder though.
Jorge from Beverly got around me early on. Bob was well seated behind me though. Each lap was painful and we ended up doing 5 of them I think. I saw 3 to go at the end fo the second lap I did so that would make sense.....see....you like have to do simple math and stuff when you're on the limit....no fair. That's more laps than we have done since I have been in the series. I was not ready for that. It hurt bad.
I have discovered that when I hit my threshold I breath very loudly - which everyone around me takes as a signal that I am about to pop. Funny thing is I am not. It's weird. It makes for some people taking chances passing me and then me just passing them up shortly thereafter.
Had one guy go around me at the same place Jay from tati did only to then eat it on the loose sand by the ballpark. He blocked the whole course, but I wiggled between him and the fence to get around. At least I didn't run right over him...
During prerides I kept thinking that I needed to drop the pressure in the tires. So I did....then when racing it dawned on me that all I did was make it worse. Boo. Lesson learned. As a result I kept sliding out in places. I recovered, but I need to get that stuff under control.
I was following MJH2 on the steep downhill with the soft gravel down the center....so we were staying tight to the inside. I got it a little too tight and the pole at the corner caught the inside of my handlebars. That bike did stuff I never knew a bike could do. .....and I stayed upright. A spectator at the bottom of the hill gave me a look like "OMG I can't believe that just happened AND you stayed upright". I gave him the "OMG I KNOW RIGHT??!!" look.
This race was competitive. More so than the others so far. I was really riding off some contenders and feeling pressure all the time. There was no where on the course to really rest. Some of the stuff that normally you would coast on to recover was where the pressure was coming. You just couldn't let off.
At some point (lap 4 I think) MJH2 was in front of me going into the last barrier on the back side. This was the one that was followed by the drainage ditch you had to jump before remounting. Well...he hit that barrier....literally. I didn't see it happen, but when I looked up he was on the ground at it's base. I think I yelled for him to get up. He got over it at the same time as me and said "I dropped my chain." I think I told him one of the pieces of advice I figured out in Carpentersville when I did it. I think I said, "Just relax and take your time and fix it right."...as I was hopping on and pedaling away.
Last lap I had at least one guy on me all the way through the technical stuff. I think he thought he was going to get by me either on the uphill or in the off cambers of death, but I kep edging him out (getting in his way). I laid on the power on the flat section and just kept him off going into the last barrier. I could hear him breathing down my neck into that barrier and knew it was all going to come down to how well I did.
I cleared it and got back on and started pedaling before him. I could hear him groan in disgust. From there I hit the big ring and floored it. I had more speed and gas then I thought I did for that last section. When I crossed the line I was beyond my limits. I was in total sugar shock with shaking, I was disoriented, etc. I left it out there at least at the end.

Results came in late, but they have me down at 14th out of 55. Mrs. P was pretty sure I was closer to in the top 10, and so was I when I was getting word I was in 11th while I was out on the course, but things happen and it's hard to keep track. To be honest I didn't even know if MJH2 had finished in front or behind me. When I saw him I asked. He reminded me that I passed him when he hit the barrier. I had already forgotten. That's how violent this stuff is...

Bottom line is I keep getting better....

They say that up to 90% of all "mechanicals" (guys dropping out of the event because of a mechanical failure of the bike) during Time Trials (TTs) really aren't mechanicals, but guys throwing in the towell because they aren't ready to physically handle the pain.... I know I am at my limit when I find myself actually hoping for a flat tire. I did that yesterday.

Again...thanks to everyone who helped put on the race. Thanks to Mrs P and Little P and Nana for enduring. Thanks to Mr and Mrs CyLowe and the inquisitors for joining in the fun and cheering me on. Thanks to Half Acre for the intense aroma of digesting beer coming off their breath as they screamed at us through the corner. Thanks to the dude with the lit cigarette who filled the course with smoke on the last lap...ugh....

Thanks to all the cow bell ringing physchos and families. It felt like a real race. you guys are awesome.

Next week......Northbrook....or the "Save Ferris" cross event!