Thursday, July 31, 2008

Lots of racing

Elgin crit is on Sunday. There's a 2-man TT I'm doing with aham on the following Sunday. In between the two I have the following:
  • Train all operators and managers in a new Lean visual board system
  • Set up a Kaizen event for the following week
  • Travel to DC for SPC software training from Tuesday-Friday
  • Set up my road bike to a full TT setup...for the first time including new brakes, shifters, bars, etc.
  • Validate the setup will work
  • Be a father and husband on Saturday before the TT while my wife is at work (no ride on the TT setup)
  • Lace 2 wheels, tension, true, validate 4 of them.

Traveling the week before a race will suck. I hate business travel. It's extremely painful mentally anymore and it is a assured way to gain weight and lose fitness. To top it off my flight back is at 5:30 out of DC Dulles to Chicago O'Hare on a Friday afternoon..... = No frigging chance of being even remotely on-time.

I'm starting to wonder when I am going to get any of this stuff done. I was trying to commute, but even that has become hard to do with timing.

Perfect storm - family, work, riding. I am virtually a ghost on BF and basically have resorted to using this blog as my main outlet for now basically because I don't feel the need to check for updates every 5 minutes.

If I have time later today I'll update with a picture of some new toys for the TT, impressions of the Elgin Crit course, and thoughts about the fact that Sunday looks to be the hottest day of the year. Boo.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


I love music, but I just don't approach it like most people. I really can't explain it, but I appreciate it at face value. I don't listen to, or even sometimes understand, the lyrics as words. I don't really listen to what the song has to "say". I simply hear the vocals as another instrument. Mix of horn and percussion.

That is to say I most likely don't know the words to a song I love, or even what they are saying, but I still love the song. The conviction in the lyric and the delivery are what I enjoy.

I have to think a lot of that is simply due to poor hearing. I seriously can't hear 99% of what any artist says.

Exceptions to this are forms of heavy political artists. Hip-hop or rap in particular. For the most part I can hear every word and understand what they are attempting to say. I tend to like this type of work not for the message, but for the raw energy it taps into.

Rage Against the Machine is a prime example for me. They had the ability to tap into the primal energy of aggression, hate, conviction, dedication, hard-work, passion, etc. within me. I call that pool of emotion "Young Man's Energy" mainly because that pool isn't as deep as you get older.

Everyone has that kind of music. It's the stuff that you put in and crank on the Friday night in a car on your way out to a great party, or get together.

For me it's the heavy stuff. In that collection would be Rage, Eminem, Metallica, The Who, Green Day, Van Halen (old not 'new'), No Doubt, Led Zeppelin, White Stripes, etc. Kind of a strange mix, but remember....I don't really listen to what they are trying to say, or the image, coolness, etc....just the actual music notes....

Recently aham turned me on to the flobots. Rather he made me aware of their single "handlebars". I'd like the youtube video, but meh. You have the do it. I loved the single instantly. I rarely fall for music like that. based on a further conversation with aham I decided to get the album/cd/whatever it is these kids call the collection of music that is released at one time anymore.

First reaction....meh. I hate the idea of buying an album for 1 song. Just never really works out well although I have had great experience doing it before. I started realizing what was ind of turning me off about this one's the lyrics. They're just too Young Guy moody, political, social, protesty, hip wannabe, blah for me. The message is OK for that kind of group, but they just do it so much more poorly than say a Rage Against the Machine.

Kind of in a rut music wise and feel like I am disconnected with a lot of the great stuff going on with the kids.

Monday, July 28, 2008

How fast is a race?

I get asked frequently how fast races are. It's a tough question to answer. It depends a lot on the terrain, weather/conditions, what's at stake for the riders, etc. One of my favorite quotes regarding bicycle racing is from one of the old masters of the sport - Jacque Anquetil.

I can't find the quote online so I apologize for butchering it but it was something to the effect of:

"Funny people these bicycle racers. They believe that a racing bicycle is built to go fast. It is not. It is only built to finish first."

The essence of that statement is the essence of bicycle racing - the race is not always about who is fastest, rather it is about who crosses the line first. There is a difference. It speaks to the core of tactics in a bicycle race.

I often find this is the hardest part of cycling for armchair football watching couch jockeys to understand. As Americans we believe it is all about who is the fastest - most in shape. We tend to not understand or appreciate the nuances of the racing itself.

...Actually I also think, as a fan, that a lot of those tactics have disappeared due to over specialization, extensive use of race radios, the Lance era, etc....but I digress.

So how fast are entry level Cat 5 Crits? My usual response is, "Faster than you have ever gone before. Faster than you could ever go until you do it once." I still stand by that.

I never had data to back that up until recently. I ran some numbers last night to see. I remembered that in the bensenville 4/5 race I was dropped about 6 laps in. Then I was lapped around lap 15. I could see the exact moments on my Garmin file because of things I remembered doing at that time.

I was basically thinking, "how far off was I?" I was turning in a tremendous effort solo and still got lapped in like 6 laps on a roughly 3/4 mile course. The math just didn't add up....

So like any engineer I fired up the datafile and excel to see what happened. Turns out it works out perfectly. I'll post the exacts later but basically the group was riding at a 26-28mph average. I maintained that average until I fell off the back. I then went to a 21-23 mph average alone. The differential in speeds accounts for the quick lapping. The pack actually maintained that 26-28 average.

Other data I have seen from recent events shows about the same kinds of speeds. These are short 3-4 turn flat crits with courses under 1 mile with wind. Can you say, "ouch".

So if you're thinking of racing the next time you are out on a ride just try to accelerate up to 26-28mph and hold it. Sure it's different in a pack, but if you can't even do it momentarily then how will you ever bridge that gap back to the pack if they gap you on a corner.

Then when you're comfortable find a stretch of road that is open and try to do 10-17 miles at an average of 23-25 slowing to about 13-15 every 0.10-0.2 miles and then re-acelerating. When your heart gives out and your legs start to tremble as you stand to accelerate then you might have an idea what your first crit may be like.

hmmmmm.....maybe I should stick with distance riding.....

Sunday, July 27, 2008


I'm coming down from a wedding induced coma of sugar and alcohol. Driving long distances, family, and celebrations although tons of fun don't make for a healthy self.

Got back in town and found the time to hook up a ride. Hot and heavy. I had raised the saddle a bit and again...I make more power there, but I pay a "price"....physically....

I hammered out about 10 miles then turned around. Ran across CyLowe almost right at the turn around point. We talked for a bit and then he decided to ride the return leg back with me before continuing on his ride.

He's been in a leg burning mood lately so it was nice to make some good time back. For only being out an hour I got some good time in. Still slow, and a tad bit apprehensive about Elgin Crit this week.

Sent e-mails to the organizers so it looks like I will be in the Cat 5 race even though my ABR license says 4. Hopefully the day will be a safe one.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Oops. a mad rush to prove that I knew what I was doing with SQL I made a poorly researched update query on the database that runs our company's top staff level Sharepoint site. should have updated about 81 records.... updated over 1,600.


Site no longer functions.

I looked at the IT guy across the table.

"So how old is the last backup?"
" would only be the differential. Last full one would have been last Friday."
"OK, so it will take a while. Let's start with table xyz...."

"...uh....actually it didn't run last Friday. Actually I don't back up this guys said we were going to re-deploy Sharepoint so I didn't think anyone was using it."

At that moment it dawned on me that I had just destroyed 2 years of strategic work. Nice.

I will get it fixed, but it will require a manual reconstruction. That is the suck.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


I really haven't been paying attention to mileage much this year. Just kind of riding. I haven't even been keeping an excel log like I normally do. I have actually even gone on rides where my computer wasn't working and just ridden (did it Tuesday for the group ride as a matter of fact).

Don't get me wrong, I'm an engineer at heart so data is what I live for, but I just have more passion in measuring the pain instead of the distance this year.

That being said I did notice tonight that my total mileage for the year crossed 2,000 today. Not a killer year yet, but it is slightly different than years past. First these are road only - no trainer. I usually don't get here until about August or September.

I usually start to lose my drive in July after RAIN and after watching the Tour so much. I kind of go into overload and find I am left with no goals until the following year. This year I have had some racing goals for late season to keep me going. I also haven't spent a ton of time watching the Tour. Really hitting the fast forward buttons on the DVR when I finally do check it out.

Speaking of the tour...I am a few stages behind (Cadel is still in yellow in my world), but a lot of the fun really has finally been stripped out of it. Last year you knew there were still dopers and it would be a mess, but this year I was hoping to see some good racing between some young guns that would actually develop into tomorrow's GC riders.

When I saw Ricco climbing the way he was....eerily reminiciant of the Chicken last year and Contrador...which...let's all face probably one of the biggest dopers around...I just thought to myself, "doper." I haven't really said that about any rider for a while. Last time was when Landis won Paris-Nice after winning Georgia the year he went on to win the Tour and start the total tearing apart of the sport I loved. Thanks Landis. Kind of proud I called that one here in this thread (post 21 on 3/8/06).

As most of you know it turned out Ricco and Sunny D were doped to the gills.


So here I am tired as heck after putting in 3 hard days of riding with little sleep. I hurt all over. Everything. Today one of my knuckles swelled up from the vibrations on the bars. I figure that's what arthritis feels like. I don't like it.

I am contemplating putting in 3 more commute legs this week still. Mainly just to do it. Then taper a little (after the group ride Tuesday) next week for the Elgin crit. I think I need a rest day.

Group Ride

Last night's group ride was sweet. CyLowe got a case of the weirds from it though. I was feeling quite good and was able to pretty easily hold on to the pack for 95% of the ride. I gave up my usual ground on some of the hills, but I did actually finish the first one 2nd wheel - big accomplishment for a short fat guy.

There were a lot of new faces on the ride last night. Some were old regulars that many knew. The quick road nazi assessment was indicating that the fred level was rising slightly.

OK - my take on Freds...unlike many other elitist road weenies I tend to actually like Freds. This is mainly because I honestly feel a kinship of sorts with anyone who throws their leg over a bicycle (this obviously removes recumbent riders - which I will now refer to as recumbulators as picked up in the Two Johns Podcast - from my feeling of kinship.) I generally like them.

The ones I don't like are the activist, self appointed safety monitor, retro-grouches that feel the need to spend the whole ride barking at people or trying to convince us that a 5 speed freewheel with friction bar ends is "where it's at". That ship sailed in 1986.

While I am on the topic I feel the need to lob a grenade at a local team. They are on the opposite end of the spectrum but just as annoying. I hate it because they are the closest team to my house and doing their rides would work into my schedule and I do know at least one of their riders, but they are just too freeking uptight. They gives enthuiasts and racers a bad name. They totally eliminate the joy out of riding and make it a task instead of an adventure. Total road nerds.

These are the kind of guys that will bark at everyone, insist that no new riders join up until they have passed some sort of 20 point inspection of riding skills and abilities complete with clinic, ride rigid pacelines with over the top protocols on their normal group rides, and eat their young. They look like a wannabe pro team when heading out on local century rides for Pete's sake. Our buddy on the team skipped one of the best rides we put together all year just because the century ride....CENTURY RIDE that all of us were doign the next day he was going to be doing with this team and had to be able to perform at his best.

Despite all of this they basically suck in every race I have ever seen any of them do. Maybe it's just something about them that ticks me off and I am being too harsh on them, but I don't think I am alone. If you check their site it seems like no one is really active on it anymore and I really haven't seen them at any local races this year. I have to think their membership has to be suffering because they simply found a way of sucking the joy out of one of the most joyous things one can do....ride a bike.

I won't mention the name, but let's just say they all supposedly have a phd.

So where was I......oh yeah the group ride. Fred Factor. The nice thing is that we rolled out uber slow. It was a nice change for me and I think it allowed me to actually warm up before hitting it hard. We did lose patience by the time we turned North. I took a flyer off the front. by the time I turned around we had basically halved the group.

So we get to a road closure. We all kind of knew it was there, but didn't make the necessary arrangements to change the route before actually hitting the closure. So there we are...staring at the construction equipment. Some want to go back up the big hill we just came down. Others want to cross the construction site and keep riding.

hating hills I quickly joined the "let's cross this thing" club. So we did....and ended up doing a little cyclocross. OK...more than a little. Jumping from one submerged rock to the next in a flowing creek with road shoes on is a little dicey to say the least....but it got me out of another climb.

The rest of the ride was fun. Fast and furious. I had brought along another new rider from Bike Forums that I had met during a race in Bensenville last week. Turns out he had a cleat problem right after the cyclocross adventure. By the time I realized he was not in the group it must have been 5 miles or more later. When I asked around no one had seen him since the crossing. I felt like an a-hole for not noticing sooner, providing a route map, and for not going back to find him, but he had said enough on the way up to imply that he was pretty familiar with the area.

Turns out he had an adventure finding the way back to the car, but by the time we rolled in he was there. I promise I'll get him a map by next least of the normal route....sans closure.

So...commute on Monday. Group ride on Tuesday. Commute this morning. Hopefully a commute tomorrow. Even a possibility of a 1/2 commute on Friday. If all of that comes off without a hitch then I will be enjoying the long weekend at the wedding that my wife and I have planned.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Knobbies Suck.....kinda

So I finally got around to doing what I had intended on doing since I bought my cyclocross bike to use as a commuter...I put regular tires on it.

My intention was to keep the cross tires for possible cross races in the fall and put regular road tires on the bike for commuting. I have had a wonderfully new pair of Michelin ProRace 2s sitting around forever because at a 25mm size they were huge on a normal road bike and actually wouldn't clear any frames I put them on. They're like balloon tire huge.

A long spring, followed by lots of rain and then the eventual trail construction led to me just never getting around to switching out the knobbies. Well I finally did. This morning was the first time on the bike with "real" tires on it. Nice. It rides much better (in my opinion) and was noticibly faster. I felt so much better riding them.

The whole way in I kept thinking "I'm going to blog or post about this. I am so much faster with the regular tires on, it makes a HUGE difference. I mean I knew it made a difference, but come on...."

Then I got in and realized that I had the same time as just about any other time I have ridden in on that bike. Huh???!! Oh well. I guess I can chalk it up to the rain that decided to accompany me this morning.

Time will tell, but for now I am still glad I am off of knobbies.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Mrs. P

I wanted to take a moment and formally thank my wife for driving SAG on the RAIN ride. It is a thankless job, and I know it was at times very challanging at times.

She even took the time to prepare little gift packs for everyone on the trip. She stayed up late the night before hand painting the gift bags, etc. Gave everyone a package of corn seed as a momento of their trip across Indiana, etc.

It's this kind of stuff that made me fall in love with her in the first place. I remember I was changing an alternator on my POS 1988 Ford Rustang when it dawned on me that she was there "helping" through the whole process. Not really interested in what was going on, just knew it was important and interesting to me and wanting to be a part of that.

Over the years between the many moves I have put her through, child rearing, etc. she no longer feels the need to hide her disinterest in all things mechanical, but taking the time to jump in for SAG support achieved the same effect.

Thanks babe.
(BTW - the foggyness of the picture isn't because the camera was in the car in the a/c and outside was extremely hot and's because my wife is so hot she steamed up the lens)

Also...thanks little p. Just for being a good sport I am posting this picture of you for the world to see....

Check out the quads. He'll be a sprinter for sure.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I don't run.

...but today I ran a 5k during lunch. I sometimes run on days when I can't really get out and ride.
I kind of felt like I had pent up energy from yesterday's races. The efforts yesterday were high, but relatively short compared to what I am used to. I even went on a trail ride hauling the trailer with little p last night. That was mainly to get little p outside, but burning extra energy helped.
So I decide to run today. I was feeling spunky so after a few minutes of walking I turned on the ipod - Green Day. I love Green Day. I took off.
I ran faster than I normally do for a few minutes. Then I settled into a nice pace. I really don't like running, but I believe you get a better health benefit from a shorter duration than you do from cycling. If you want to get lean and mean you just can't get around doing some running.
I used the moment as an opportunity to push myself mentally - work through pain.
Pretty soon I noticed I was on track to do some good time (for me). I finished in 26:54. I don't know how that stands up, but for me...a guy who just doesn't run, and can list the number of times I have run over 2 miles at a time on one hand...I don't think that's bad.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Rain Pictures

Aham on the way down.
Your pilot on Starship Psimet
Voldemort and Scummer
Is it a gas station? Is it a firworks shop? Is it a scooter dealership? Don't light a match.
Little p-man enjoying the ride company in HIS car.
Mrs. P. Hero of the day
aham getting ready - "Hey psimet....those skies look nasty. Look at the lightning. "Eat, Drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die...." I really need to do this? that a rain cape in the top of your bag? Oh ye of little faith...
Ooops...I think I crapped my pants
We get extra credit for this right?

Finally decided it would be good to get some RAIN pictures up.

This just in....

...I suck at racing. I was happy with my performance today, but in the big picture I was a giant heaping pile of suck. The races were fast. I knew they would be...come is a race, but they were faster than what I would even expect.

The course is super flat and in the morning there was a tailwind down the longest straight. I held on the the CAT 4/5 for about 5 laps. Then when I was OTB I ended up trying to work with a guy. He was just barely hanging on and I ended up doing most of the work. He was tiny too so even when he was in front I was getting nothing.

Just before we were about to get lapped I took off trying to hold the pack off. It was a pretty impressive effort if I do say so myself. It delayed the inevitable for another lap. We got lapped a seond time with 3 to go. Picked up a xXx rider who kind of worked with us - when he wasn't busy trying to tell us what to do (is there a rolleyes smiley on here?).

The Masters 4/5 was faster. It was brutal. Actually it probably wasn't, but the morning's race had taken a lot out of me. I did manage to stay in the front for a while. I was even in front going over the line one lap. I actually think I was in a 3 man break off the second lap or so, but I was going hard enough that I couldn't see. One guy came flying up and wanted me and the first guy to work with him. We put out heads down and I hammered for a bit. The second lap of that was obvious we were fading.

Pretty soon I did my usual OTB and just tried to hold on. The sun was intense and it is really hot out there today. After getting lapped a second time with only 6 or 7 laps left I decided to call it a day. I shouldn't have because it was then that riders were starting to get shelled and I could have found people to work with, but the gas tank was on "E" and the pounding headache was signaling dehydration.


Rule 5,246 about racing: "Don't expect to ony go out a couple of times a year for races and still do OK."

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Stupid Weak...and Aero

So...I'm sitting around after the horrible experience this morning and wanting to totally unload my guads (yes I know it's's a bike forums thing...crazy internet). I had borrowed a set of Zipp 404s from a friend and co-worker (also relative by marriage) for the TT that I didn't end up doing. They were in the car ready to return and I just thought maybe I should give them a test ride.

With my fatherly responsibilities in play for this evening I knew I wasn't going to be able to go on the Tuesday Night ride, but figured I could make it out on the route during the day. For those of you who don't know Zipp 404s are the hottest wheelset on the domestic poseur scene. They are insanely light, aerodynamic, made of carbon and $$$$$$$$$$.

They basically run $2,100 for the set. Seriously. I normally build wheels for around $400 a set. I wanted to experience them.

So I geared up and headed out. I got most of the way there before I realized I hadn't yet swapped out my mtn shoe for the correct road shoe yet. (Stupid!)

Once there I suited up and headed out. Now I said before that the 404s are a primo poseur wheel. I felt obligated to complete the total image - that or the fact that I was wearing bland no-name kit all morning "at the race" - so I donned a 2007 CSC jersey that I received as a gift from a different relative by marriage who happens to work for them. It's Euro and nice and tight. Think I blogged about it before, but it fits nicer now.

So there I am: Carbon Giant TCR with Dura-Ace, Zipp 404 wheels, wearing a CSC team jersey. I was all set to go out and be mediocre.

OK - serious part - the wheel review. I noticed a definite change from before. The bike didn't seem to lurch back in between pedal strokes (yes, I have a crappy spin). They seemed more jittery if that makes sense. The big thing was that I really didn't notice any real benefit....

...until I got them over 20 mph or pointed them downhill. I NEVER run my 12t cog on this course even with a group. I found myself in it every single time I had even a small downhill. It just kept going and going.

Climbing was...meh. I like my wheels better for climbing. My wheels are stiffer than these. The 404s kind of felt mushy at times. For the record I am 179 and can be brutal on my wheels...I took it easy on these. Climbing Braeburn did go extremely well though.

So even though I was going around this course solo I figured I would be matching or even bettering some of my normal times around it OTB. Wasn't far off. I really wasn't pounding it, but I ended up with the same speeds as normal.

You mean the wheels didn't make me fast??!!!!

Go figure.

Final assessment: If you have access to these for TTs then without a doubt use them. Will they make you faster in general? Not really. You can't buy speed. I think they are overkill for crits plain and simple. Road races...OK. Group ride domination...absolutely.

If you have the $$ burning a hole in your pocket and hate helping others with donations to charity then by all means add them to your arsenal (get it....Zipp Speed Weaponry?). If it's going on your credit card and you hope the monthly payments will still allow you to eat Ramen Noodles and occasionally drink a beer with the left over small change....then snap out of it. Stick with quality custom pre-builts.

If you're a "try"-athlete who thinks they need every single edge they can get in a race - so much so that you insist on climbing while in a full aero position - even though you are neglecting the fact that you are 50 lbs overweight....then please walk to your garage and package up your set and give them to a starving College Cat3 or 4 who could use kick my butt.

...or just polish them with a diaper and set a place of honor for them at the table.

Stupid Week

So I forgot my license on the way to the races today in Bensenville. So I went back from Bensenville to Elgin and got it. Then when I finally got to the race I went to go register and realized that I had 2 different shoes.

Yes one was right and one was left, but one was a mtn bike shoe and one was a road shoe. 2 different cleats. One that would work with my pedals.....the other wouldn't.

I took the start of the 4/5 race anyway. I just pretended I was having pedal problems. I took a lap and according to the official at the start I will be placed. Boo.


Really stupid.

When you race, or go to any event there are a few things you check and check and check again.
  1. Helmet
  2. Shoes
  3. Bike
  4. Gloves
  5. Water Bottle
  6. Pump
  7. EDIT - Even here I forgot to put "License".

Everything else is extra. Today I get an F. Still....I did take the start so the day wasn't a total loss.

Monday, July 14, 2008

RAIN...with rain.'s done. Not my best year by far. It started raining on us before we even started and continued for 20-30-ish miles. Lots of mahem in the front group. Tires were going like fireworks on the 4th of July.

In between the unexplained slow downs and general squirrells out there I ended up t-boning a dropped bottle. Popped it open and covered myself in the brownish contents....most likely Hammer's Perpetuem. Nice.

I was hauling butt then I flatted about 17 miles in. Then I hauled butt again to almost the first stop. The sun came out and everything turned into that oh too familiar Indiana mid-July pressure cooker. Easy to do when everything is covered in water from the rain.

On the South side of Indy dehydration set in. That coupled with poor nutrition made me start to question what I was doing. I was thinking: "I have already done this thing 3 times. I will not be setting a record of any kind this year. What do I have to prove to anyone? " I called for SAG to meet me where we re-join 40 on the East side of Indy.

I figured I would see how things went while filling bottles and cooling off in the car. Well....I popped some gels, refilled and hit the road. With a gel every 30 minutes towards the end I ended up finishing strong.

Actual saddle/ride time was decent, but the extra needed stopping put a cramp in my overall time. Took 11:05. Ride time of 8:44. 160.7 miles at 18.4 mph. Boo...

Highlights of the day were people recognizing me from the jersey. 2 people came up and said something adding the "hey psimet" in there. I have fans ;).

I skipped the TT on Sunday because we got back to Chicago so late (1:00am by the time I got home). Too bad too because the Zipps I borrowed looked absolutely delicious.

Pics to follow. Now I just have 2 races tomorrow morning. :(

- need to work on my setup. With lost weight this season and the attempt at using non-worn out pedals I realized that my saddle is still too low and I really need to work on position. Staying away from the ultra long events will help me change positions more effectively.

EDIT: Finished 447/911 Boo. That puts me at 49% of finishing field. Not my best, but actually second best. Past history:
2005: 74.9% of field
2006: 69.5% of field
2007: 32.9% of field
2008: 49.1% of field

Thursday, July 10, 2008


It is upon us again. One day, One way, 160 miles. Ride Across INdiana. We roll out tomorrow.

So far it appears like we might be getting wet as we roll across the state. Boo. But at least we might have a tailwind. Something tells me that this one will be epic. That cycling "spider sense" is tingling.

Epic not in a good way, but in like a "hey I'm going to have a 4 hour story to tell about this one" way.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Crisis of Faith last night after the group decided to slow up to wait for me I remembered something I tend to forget every now and then....I suck.

Then it dawned on me: I signed up for 4 races next week alone. 2 of those are with packs of 19 to early 20 somethings who do nothing more than ride their bike all day. My "goals" or rather "intent" had been to be able to pack finish at least one race next week. I will still stick to that, but absolutely no promises (you hear me empty world we call the internet!).

Why was I thinking about cat'n up? I'm an idiot. At this point I wish the USAC system was set up a little differently. You come in as a 5 and race 10 mass starts. If you don't pack finish any of them then you are cat'd DOWN to a cat 6. When you start turning consistant results then you can go to Cat 4. that will ever happen. USAC is filled with fellow weenies that can actually ride hard and tend to forget about the whole cat 5 thing because it's only temporary. Good riders scream through and forget. Bad ones suffer and quit.

It seems like many organizers have tried over the years to address the people in my position with mediocre success. Wisports series comes to mind. Meh.

The general line of thinking is HTFU. If you don't know what thay means I'll just say that parts of it are: Harden The ____ Up. To which I respond:

I suck.I suck.I suck.I suck.I suck.I suck.I suck.I suck.I suck.I suck.I suck.I suck.I suck.I suck.I suck.I suck.I suck.I suck.I suck.I suck.I suck.I suck.I suck.I suck.I suck.I suck.I suck.I suck.I suck.I suck.I suck.I suck.I suck.I suck.I suck.I suck.I suck.I suck.I suck.I suck.I suck.I suck.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Satan invented the scale

The last day of vacation I was feeling pretty trim. Almost as though I had actually lost weight during the trip. I knew that was impossible but I figured maybe I had at least minimized the damage.

The timing of the trip was kind of bad as far as my weight goes. I had just broken the 180 barrier that I seem to bottom out at every year. From what I know about those weights your body levels out at if you can actually get past them then the weight just sheds off to the next bottoming. I was hoping to start seeing that...then the trip came.

I took it all in stride and hoped for the best. The 2 days of car travel and chain fried food hell on the way back put some hurt on me. I got on the scale when I got back...187. I was pretty dissappointed. I knew that it was reading high and that most of that would come off in a few days so I tried to keep a positive outlook.

The next morning it read 185.5

Yesterday it read 183.

Today in the morning it read 182.

After the ride tonight it read 179.5. That's mostly water loss I know, but it still makes me feel good. I still have a pipedream of 165 sometime this year, but I would definitely settle for a mid 170's or low 170's that is sustainable. It's a lot easier to try to only lose 5-8 lbs next year.

I have said it before and I will say it again. If I can get to 165 the right way (not losing muscle, gradual loss through proper diet/blood sugar level control, etc) then I will be on fire on the bike.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Superweek Registration

nothing like registering for Superweek before they even have their rider bible published. I signed up for 4 events next week. The Bensenville races on the 15th and 16th. Both days I am attempting Cat 4/5 and Masters 4/5.

4 races in 2 days and I will be 1/2 way to my "modern" cat up....not that I actually want to cat up, but having that 5 on there right next to the "member since 01/01/1993" is kind of pathetic.

If all goes well I might take another day or so and try to get in on another day or two of racing during superweek. With this and 2 races on Elgin's race day I could cat up quickly.

I always needed something to hold as a goal after RAIN during my seasons....this looks like it will be it.

Vacation is over

So I am back at work. Moustache is gone. It was starting to come in nicely, but the wife didn't see anything other than White Trash-ness to it. No humor ...

Trying to piece together some upcoming plans:
  • Tonight - Possible wrenching in the shop - Voldemort
  • Tuesday - Group Ride
  • Wednesday - Possible wrenching in the shop - Voldemort
  • Thursday - Possible Commute
  • Friday - Possible 1/2 commute then leave for RAIN
  • Saturday - Ride RAIN and return to Chicago - and convert bike over to TT setup *pain*
  • Sunday - Possible Hampshire TT
  • Next Tues - Bensenville Races for Superweek
  • Next Wednesday - Bensenville Races for Superweek
  • Week off - wife working on the weekend so no rides
  • Another TT the following weekend - OR - my boss's son's wedding (also my wife's cousin...long story)
  • Melon Metric/Chicago Criterium/Oswego Century the next day(?)
  • Elgin Crit the next saturday.

Feeling a little overwhelmed....and excited. I wish there was more time for an escape to Wisconsin mixed in there. Might have to take a 1/2 day and head up there sometime. Part of the wellness program....

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Elgin Crit 2008 Course

I took the time to map the course for the 2008 Elgin Criterium. I think I'll race Cat5 and Masters 30-39 that day. Should be fun!

Flyer can be found here:

Almost out

I am almost out of the South. Time to rant again. People in the South drive slow, work slow, and seemingly think slowly as well. We made it to Somewhere, KY.

Part of me wishes I was back in Chicago and racing this weekend or at least riding in Wisconsin. With all of the riding I was able to pile on during vacation I think I was able to keep a lot of the normal vacation weight gain at bay. I haven't been on a scale, but I am feeling just as good as when I left. I think the 210-ish miles helped.

Superweek is coming up. I was hoping to put in for the Bensenville race(s). Only working 4 1/2 days this week because of RAIN next weekend. I realized today that I will have spent 3 weekends in a row crossing Indiana. Twice along the North-South route, and twice East-West.

Before I know it the Elgin crit will be here. I also wanted to get my TT setup rolling right and do more of the Chicago TT series. Summer is going by real fast. So fast I forgot that the tour was/is starting.

I can go on about the tour forever, but I am feeling like I don't care about this year's. I'll leave it at that.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Space Signals

Last ride for this vacation is in the books. I tried to make it a longer one. I got over 50 miles in, but the heat was absolutely brutal. This was, by far, the hottest ride of the week.

I went through 5 of the 24 ounce water bottles (the big ones) in just under 3 hrs.

I also realized today that when a cyclist takes off his shirt at a beach that their pasty white chest could be used to send signals to space. Again I was the weirdest looking dude on the beach.

The 'stache helped them all to realize I was cool though....

I feeling a little...flat

I was climbing the walls yesterday. The "Vacation" has been dragging a bit and it was time for a change. We promised not to ride so we went and did something as a family....then when we got back....I went on a ride.

Part of the bargain was that I had to be out and back in an hour. I decided to push myself by making the flatness doing intervals. 2 minute on 1 minute off. It really made the mileage go by.

Everything was going well - well over 20mph during the on. Then...the inevitable happened. Just as I was hammering home I started to feel the rear tire getting soft.



First one in a few years. Fished out a piece of glass on the side of the road. Luckily I was able to find a tiny bit of shade. It was hot the devil had a hard time keeping his car from melting kind of hot.

I got dehydrated - even in just an hour. It is brutal down here.

Moustache check:

Thursday, July 3, 2008


No...not the name of some middle-eastern special agent....rather it is what I decided to grow to entertain myself while on vacation.

Taking a line from David Zabriskie and Steve Cozza I decided to grow the latest in cycling accessories.

Zabriskie - Who every American man wishes he was.

Cozza on Right with Dr. Lim on Left I believe.

The beginnings of mine. 2 days worth. Sad I know....

So I went on a bike ride and a shooting broke out.

I was riding today and got to a 1/2 way point and had to dodge all of the police and ambulances heading back towards the direction I came from. On the way back the road was closed and there was a helicopter taking off in the middle of the bike path.

Locals I guess. Surprising too considering the amount of vacationers here you would think one of them just got too sick of their in-laws.

I'm not saying, I'm just saying.

Not awesome.

The ride was OK. The lack of hills is really ragging on me. The long flatness is sad. Riding the same road for 30 miles of every ride get super old.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Gone fishing

Today was a "rest" day. Fishing. We went into the gulf about 50 miles and dropped lines. Fish tacos for everyone.

Good stuff.

For the fish it was the suck.