Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fall Fling TT Route

I mapped out what I believe to be the course based on what ABD had listed on their website. for some reason whenever I try to embed MapMyRide routes into my blog now it bombs out so you'll have to follow the link.

Basic stats: 9.25 miles with approx 210ft of climbing (I don't like how you have to calculate their elevation so don't rely on it). Basically fast and flat. Wicked fast and flat. You head out going East and then turn North. You do shortened legs back South and West....meaning if the wind is from the South or West like it always seems to be around Maple Park then you will have a tailwind for ove 1/2 of the route. If its coming out of the Southwest it will be a huge help.

That does leave finishing into the wind though....

I'm trying to get my hands on a disk wheel for the event and depending on the weather outlook (wind speed) I might try to land an 808 or better on the front. As a "fallback" I have inputflangeman's 404's - thank you baby jesus.

RJBTrek mentioned that 24.something took it last year. I am hoping for the best.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Fall Fling Overall Standings - Cat 5 - Citizens

Some discussion over at BF had me going back to the results to complile my own version of the overall scoring for the Cat 5/Citizens field for Fall Fling. I have run three scenarios with the following assumptions:

1 - Includes all points scored to date with no regard to whether both races were raced or not.

2 - Includes everyone who raced both races (Green) or has personally stated to me that they will race at least 3 races to qualify for the overall. This also includes Yellow - individuals who did not race the road race but did do the crit. This one eliminates those in red - individuals that did not race the crit or told me they wouldn't be doing at least 3 races. My rationale is that you must race at least 3 events and if you skipped this crit the odds of you doing both the TT and the last crit are pretty low. The yellows I left thinking maybe they just don't like Road Races.

3 - Green includes everyone that has done both races or stated intent to do at least 3 overall stages. The odds of everyone in this list getting the 3 events in for the series is very high to almost definite. All of these riders could ignore the TT and still get 3 in by doing the final crit (except Riccio who told me he was definitely doign the TT and crit).

So...still too early to play numbers games...can't realy do that until after the TT. The TT will pretty much set the final standings. At that point we will know who is in and who is out of the overall as well as what is even feasible during the final crit.

Why is this important to me? Who knows. I find it immensely interesting. The tactics involved in trying to position overall are far more interesting than just going out and hammering yourself, doing poorly then sulking for the rest of the day.

I have TT experience (well 3 TT's this season). I am by far not a very good TT'r, but I look at it this way....I have gotten faster in every TT I have done. My general form is about at a peak. I have a more dialed in TT position than I have ever had before (still lacks). I will be pre-riding the TT course on Thursday night after work IN my TT setup....a first for me. It's the SHORTEST TT I have ever done. I know better how to embrace the pain that is a TT where a lot of these guys have never done it before.....

....in other words I hope to make up in experience what I lack in talent. My hope for overall was top 10. So far it looks to be something within reach.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Fall Fling Stage #2 - Redemption

OK...so crits are my thing. The Wood Dale course is great. Fast, short and relatively flat.

Got there early enough. Little P and Nana were on board to provide support. MJH2 and RR were there from the team. Parked next to RJBTrek as well. Some great riders in our group...we're the "old men".

Much colder. Little P was in jacket and looking very "fall-ish". MJH2 gave Little P a cowbell he got at a race. Awesome. Seriously awesome. That bell combined with the fact that we were right next to Ohare (within a couple of miles of one of the plants I helped shut down) with planes coming over every 30 seconds meant he was in heaven. The bicycle racing thing was just some icing on top of the cake (right now aham is thinking, "did that say cake? I love me some cake. I could do with some cake right now.")

With it taking so long for my engine to get running yesterday I knew I needed a good warmup. Doing some pre-laps a couple of things stood out:
  1. Turn 2 was going to be a killer for a lot of guys that can't handle their rig. It was a downhill 90degree - off camber that was going to be wicked fast. One of those corners that I love.
  2. There was a wicked tailwind right after that corner along relatively flat terrain. = F'n FAST.
  3. The sweeping uphill was into the wind and just steep enough that everyone would be hurting, but no one was going to clear from the field on it.
  4. The rolling front straight was going to be where someone would go - still hard and right after the hill when everyone will be looking to recover.
  5. This was going to be hard and fast.

I knew I should hit the trainer, but I just hate doing that. So...I just kept riding laps making sure I was pushing that hill hard to work up a sweat and get the lungs taxed.

Even doing that we lined up early enough that I was cold when we started. Total suck. We ended up 1 and 2 again right off the start. It was fast and furious. People were shelled right off the start.

It took me about 3-4 laps to really get warmed up. I floated around 4-8th position mostly. There are really some squirrelly guys in that group. I found myself yelling a lot. Not like me. I yelled at a few guys to hold their lines. We started lapping guys when we were only about 3-4 laps in. It was unreal. A lot of the lapped traffic was riding all over.

If you don't know this already I'll chime in...if you are thinking of racing you will get passed. Not only that but you will be lapped if you are doing a crit. WHEN you get dropped (fall off the back - definitions for GL Runner) form the pack then immediately start creating an awareness of what is going on behind you. The pack will catch you quicker that you ever thought possible - remember...10-20 of the strongest guys sharing pulls and able to recover out of the wind will always greatly outpace the single weaker rider trying to TT (Time Trial - ride hard alone GL Runner...) their way along.

So WHEN you find yourself in this situation....MOVE TO THE OUTSIDE! Take the wide outside line on every turn. Here's the thing...you're dropped and you're not coming back alone. You are not doing anyone a favor by taking an inside line around a turn and you WILL get in the way.

Passing lapped traffic when your on the limit is like playing a high speed version of frogger. To make it better the guy getting passed is usually not as sure with handling, and still hasn't figured out how to look over their shoulder without swerving. So we start yelling, they turn, swerve, more yelling, they freak, sometimes hit brakes....good times...

I yelled a lot. It was good. I was an a-hole, but I was feeling good.

I was right about the read of the course. One of the Spider Monkey (EDIT: TATI not Spider Monkey) crew (god they all look like they're 12 or 13. I know they're early 20's.) hit the gas right after the hill. No one chased. None of us really could. Well I think we could have, but we decided not to.

After that we just kept it pegged. I was right about the corners. I carried the nasty corner faster than even I thought I could. I had to be careful about pedal strikes (GL - hitting the pedal on the ground as you corner because you are leaning over so far) 2 times. Those of us who could carry the corner well seemed to fade as the tempo maxed on the back. While those that didn't carry the corner would pound it hard on the following straight.

The hill was bad after a while, but they guys were really taking it easy at times. I ended up flying to the front one lap because everyone slowed down and I didn't feel like slowing on and losing that speed my pain had just purchased.

Before I knew it I was thinking to myself along the back "how many laps has it been?" I was afraid I had missed the bell (you can't hear anything when your heart is beating in your ears". So I resolved to pay attention across the line. I was about 6th wheel coming across when I noticed that the lap counter said "1" and could actually hear a bell.

From then it was like a time warp. I think I had visions. The surge came. I knew it would. It hurt. It was enough that I left a small gap going into 1. This fredly spiderman swung around and cut me off in the turn. Bad. Dude should have held his line. I couldn't even yell. I had not yell left.

I carried the fast corner, but had no gas to hold on down the back. They only had a small gap, but I knew I couldn't hold up the hill and into the sprint. I sat up on the main stretch. I even rode no-handed before realizing that would be frowned on and that they wouldn't be able to read my number on the line.

I finished well. I did much better than I think I ever have during a crit. I could have gone longer - assuming everyone else would have been hurting just as much.

The lone guy off the front stayed away. Impressive. I came in 10th. So only 8 guys in the main pack got away from me (I don't count the flyer who beat everyone). Thirty-some started (34 or so).

Stage 3 is a 10 mile TT (can I get a "hell yes!") and then we have another crit in Wood Dale. I am ready. I am feeling good. I have 10 or 11 points in the series. I might get in the top 10 overall because a lot of guys won't do all of the events and I think I can do a top 10 for the crit.

Fun. Too bad this is September.

Saw Alien2 yesterday and today. He's riding well. Got 10th yesterday. Not looking forward to today's race. He's racing with the 1s and 2s. Scored separate, but how would you like to ride in packs with some of the fastest guys in the area....no thank you....

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Fall Fling Stage #1

Road Race in Westlake Village outside of Rockford.

Citizens/Cat 5 <- sad I know.

Things went well early on. I ended up in the front of the field right off the line AGAIN. I rode slow as crap hoping others would come around and no one did. I take corners well/fast and tookt he first one in front.

I heard MJH2 come along side and say, "no one's coming. Screw 'em. Let's go!" I turned and saw a decent gap that we had ont he field. :wtf: I did not expect that. We gave it a half-assed go and were quickly caught.

From there I found I ended up in 1st or second position. RJBTrek and I were trading up front quite a bit. We were both looking for others to take over. MJH2 later pointed out that everyone must have read online that they were not supposed to work ever so none of them were. I have to agree.

Inputflangeman had decided to join in for today's race. Those of you who have ridden with him know he's a triathlete with a great diesel engine. We "advised" him before the race that it might be a good idea for him to go up front and ride his pace due to his background. He did just that. He went up front and worked hard enough to keep people from coming around, but not hard enough to kill us.

Everything was great....then we got close to the line to start the second lap (7.5mile laps). I heard a guy sprinting by. Started calling out "Left-side!" Then looked and saw it wasn't just one or two or three guys, but a train...and it was trucking. The speed went up drastically and a few of the lesser experienced riders in front on me and MJH2 started popping and getting squirrelly. We both got boxed in....

SUCK! I felt like bumping them out of the way, but just worked with it. We got gapped enough that we had to go nuclear to get back on. That's when I popped. I just couldn't do that effort and recover quick enough.

I dropped like a rock through most of the pack and then solo TT'd the rest of the ride. Picked up a wheel sucker for a while. He didn't understand how to work together. Happens all the freeking time to me during races.

There was no one to sprint when I finished. :( Sucked. I was feeling great today. I had tons of power at the end. I could have ridden really well, but just screwed up the read of the race and couldn't cover that move.

Tomorrow is stage 2 - a crit. I know it will be fast. Don't know how I will do. I guess I will find out. Not nearly as happy tonight as I thought I would be. Oh well. One day I will do well in a race.

I suck.

Friday, September 26, 2008

3rd Annual Psimet Invitational Ride Report

OK...I guess I should finally write this....

I was actually running a bit late this year and by the time I got to the preserve there were already many cars there. I proceeded to drive in with the annoying Flobots "handlebars" song playing. I also got straight out of the car and....

...I dropped the hammer. Well hammers really. I figured it would help set a tone for the ride. Oh and in BF talk that's "drope the hamer" (Droh-puh thuh hahm-ur).

The usual suspects were there:

Colorchange talking to MJH2 - convincing him that we should take it easy...like only 300W until after 2 loops then we can dial it to 500W.... "Seriously guys I think we can do a 4:30 century. I even brought my helmet to do it. Anyone??? Anyone?? Bueller?"
shider - wondering why he still decides to go slumming with the BF'ers
CyLowe97 - busy thinking about Wisconsin, how much he'd rather be living there, and cheese.

Murderer's row - L to R: New daddy nietsmas, shider in Great Lakes BF kit, aham23 in SoCal BF Kit, Colorchange in Rock Racing kit

MJH2 on Right and New Guy on Left. New Guy had a blast. MJH2 is feeling a distrubance in the force.
The first loop group L to R: New Guy, RJBTrek's Friend, Footballer, Voldemort, RJBTrek, CyLowe97, nietsmas, MJH2, iab, shider, aham23, colorchange, JT1.

iab with footballer in the background.

So we got the group together and decided to roll out on the first loop. As usual I led things off out of the parking lot. This is my way of making sure the group stays together to at least the first turn....about 50 ft down the road.

After the first turn I back up down the line and watched the greyhounds take off after the invisible rabbit. This year I didn't feel as back knowing that we were going to blow people off the back. I think more were well aware of what was coming.

We were rolling well. By well I mean fast. Everything was meshing well. People were talking, we were running a double paceline, the mood was good, etc. We were on Brier Hill rd which I had driven in my car the day before. I remembered there were some nasty holes and was about to announce to the group to be on the lookout when I heard yelling and saw some movement in the line.

Yup...shider had ridden around the hole without mentioning it, general mayhem ensued. I swore I heard CyLowe do one of his patented, "you think you'd point out..." quips. There was jumping, swerving, swearing, etc. I made it by with no issues. Everything was good until I heard:


There is no mistaking the sound of lead-assing a hole or the subsequent flat that erupts thereafter. Classic pinch flat. I yelled, "FLAT!!!!" as is customary in these situations. I also pulled to the side to help out...it was MJH2 - can't leave a teamate behind right?

A few other guys stopped as well (Nothingman, New Guy). I'm trying to do the 2 minute tube swap I know lives inside of me (think cycling version of the tire changing in Christmas Story), but MJH2 never put baby powder on his tubes before mounting them...they had basically vulcanized themselves to the tire casing.

At this point the "B" group we had so flippantly thrown off the back came rolling by....with smiles. Soon enough we were back on and rolling. I figured the A group had left us, but it turns out they were just on the otherside of the next roller....nietsmas had flatted as well.

So we start rolling...with real rabbits to catch. Then there was another flat....seriously. MJH2 had a slower leak from the rear that none of us caught the first time. We were under 10 miles and already digging into the reserves of tubes and CO2.

As we begun rolling again I was with aham23 who looked at me and said, "man I love this interval stuff we're doing". Seriously....it was tough...hot/cold/hot/cold. Did not bode well for a day of hard riding.

The rabbit chase was on. I was holding my own about mid-pack. Feeling great. With my Garmin on the fritz I had to keep pulling the map from the back to check it out. I keep forgetting that I could just put it up the leg of my shorts for easy access. Well, I went to grab the map and was getting my bearings around a turn on to Harmony. When checking the map you keep you distance to the wheel in front of you. Well...the wheel in front of me left a gap. By the time I looked up the front end of the line had a pretty serious gap on us.

I was still half torn between riding hard to get up to the front or hanging with the "A-" group. *editor's note - I at this point while writing this because we had a tool explode at work. i am now returning to finish after 5 hours...*

I wanted to stay in the front group I decided. At this point my decision was coming kind of late. They had a huge gap on me (1/8 - 1/4 mile at least). I solo TT'd and was able to hold the gap where it was....then whenever I backed off a tad I would lose ground. I had my computer in my back pocket, but I know I was going hard (23-ish - maybe even more). I kept sitting up going, "I'm not going to catch them...just wait." Then I would change my mind and hammer even after losing more ground.

I finally gave up when I had my saddle tilt back on me. If you've never had your saddle tilt back on you let me try to explain what it feels like. Take a few fingers, stick them up your butt and try to pull your cell phone out of your front pocket with them. So I stopped and adjusted the saddle and waited.

We had a decent "A-" group. We stopped quite a few times for me to adjust my saddle, to wait up, etc. We made it up to the KOR section (King of the Rollers). This is kinid of my version of the Tour's King of the Mountains, but more specific to the flat lands that are Illinois. First one over is King of the Rollers. There were already 2 groups through (B's and A+'s) so there was no chance of any of us being first over.....

....but I also have a "Queen of the Rollers" competition as well. While always a runner-up I have never taken that prize which goes to the girlish sap that is last over the hill. I actually went over first in the A- group. Felt good.

After that we blew throught the stop figuring that the other groups had skipped it. We were soon stopped while I was fixing my saddle again when CyLowe called asking us where we were. They had decided to stop and wait for us. Ooops. So we waited for them to catch up to where we were. As shider came into sight I told everyone, "you might as well start rolling because shider isn't going to stop as he comes through here." He didn't. From there it was a race back to the start.

I found myself 2nd group again. nietsmas and I started running a decent paceline with footballer. We started a rotation. He knew what the deal was. He got in front and started to do the popcorn dance. You know...where you're all over the machine digging deep for the speed while looking over your shoulder every 5 seconds to make sure you're not being overtaken and/or leaving everyone behind? That dance. I was about to say, "ride within yourself. Don't make yourself pop. You're no good to us off the back." when he flicked and pulled to the side.

I held pace and looked back in about a minute to see him off the back. "DAMNIT!" I looked at nietsmas, "Should we wait up for him or keep going?" "Might as well [keep going]. We finally have a good rythum going." Sorry footballer...:(

In short order nietsmas popped as well. He's a new dad and really hasn't been on the bike a lot lately. He was pretty sure he was going to pop and called it out beforehand, but still sucks to see him blow. He's like a diesel engine that just cranks along and then when he pops he pops. No real chance for recovery.

We came in from the first loop and he packed it in for the day - (I'll add picture later).

Footballer had a clipless fall down in the parking lot that I was able to catch with my camera:

MJH2 received the first boobie prize as well....flattie. It's a tire patch kit along with an extra tube.

Stats loop 1: 37.88 miles, 1:57:09 time, Avg speed of 19.4mph with approx 1,500 ft of climbing. Spicy, but not leg killer by any means.

Loop 2 is where my camera died. Recursive showed up. He's a Cat 3 cheese headed racer that graces us with his presence quite often. We all like seeing him and he's always pretty good at humoring our slow asses. smokinmiles showed up to lay the energizer bunny routine on all of us (she never stops at stops...seriously). timmyquest showed as well too. You might remember him from the "I don't have any shoes" saga from either last year or the year before.

I hate the route on loop 2. It just sucks. It's a West-East out and back for the most part. It's on extremely flat roads with really nothing to look at. The killer is if there is a wind. It will almost always be a headwind on this leg. Luckily there was no wind. We all kept together too. Some of the riders in the rear would open a gap up in front of them as we came floating back to allow us back in front of them in the rotation. It kept the stronger riders riding hard at the front and allowed the ones working harder enough of a break to hold the group together. Worked great...

Ran across a road that had fresh gravel spread on it - waiting for oil. While everyone pondered what we were to do I yelled, "keep going straight" and kept riding. I was taking it easy until I heard colorchange yell, "it's a breakaway. GET HIM!" He joined me. We looked back and no one was really going hard after us....so we hit the gas. Recursive was with us at this point and went to the front....and turned it up. I held for what I could. We were going fast. Really fast. Ludicrous speed in fact. I popped soon after I heard colorchange yell, "go hard, but not frickin 30+ mph!"

We rolled into the stop in Genoa and made all the locals think that some weird mix of superheros had taken over their town. On the way out of town the next King of the Rollers section was to be had. CyLowe went with the main group challenging it and then popped. Self-admittedly his day was done from that point on.

Right after that we got into some gravel roads. Seems the county didn't check with me regarding my century route before deciding to spread the gravel. There was no turning back to we did our own Paris-Roubaix. If you don't know what Parix Roubaix is then Google it....good shiz.

Everything was going fine until we hit a 90 degree turn. I can corner fairly well so I feathered the brakes and made it around only partially sliding. Everyone else made it through OK as well....everyone except Voldemort. He overcooked it and ended up in the corn field with some nasty souvineirs. So - for those of you keeping score that's - 3 flats, clipless fall, 2 gravel roads, and a rider hitting the turf.

We made it back to end the loop with the following: 29.34 miles, 1:27:34 time, 20.1mph avg with 837ft of climbing.

At this point aham and cylowe ditched out. Only a few of us were left to do the whole deal: Voldemort, JT1, colorchange, shider and myself. I think I missed someone... Shiders family (son and wife) joined up for the last leg. We rolled out fast. No pretense at all.

The route was fast, but then I bonked. Bad. If you look at my speed file you can see it just drifting down. Same bonk that I got during the RAIN ride so I could recognize it coming on. I forced gels and prayed I'd get to the stop where I could get water. I gassed up at the stop and was ready to roll....with only 6 miles left :(.

I rolled the last bit with Shider's son. Good rider. Seemed a little uncomfortable with riding in a group, but recursive and I rode right in front and behind him all the way in to keep an eye on him. It's moments like that which make the rides fun. He'll be tearing legs off in short order. Nice natural talent.

Leg 3 stats: 32.39 miles, 1:42:41 Time, 18.9mph avg speed :(, with 951 ft of climbing for a grand total of...

Time: 5:07:24 <---Sooo close to a 5 hr century without trying. This could have been a sub 5 easy.

Mileage: 99.51 <- lost some ground with the first detour.

Avg Speed: 19.4 mph. - meh.

Great turnout. Everyone had fun. We drank a bit in the parking lot on our return and swapped stories. I handed out the rest of the boobie prizes:

Smokinmiles - latern rouge (last place, she rode in with shider's wife keeping her company. It was a reward for that move) - she received a red blinkie. A USED red blinkie.

JT1 - Chatty cathy - self explanatory

Colorchange - hammertime - gift hammer for dropping the hammer most often adn with much fury.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


I have been postponing my Psimet Invitational ride report. Don't know why. Just tired I guess. It seems like a monumental task. I know it doesn't have to be, but just doesn't seem right if I don't do it up right.

So...it's coming...

Right now just trying to enjoy the winding down of the road season. Last night's group ride was fun. Colorchange attacked on a downhill before the big climbing sections. I followed mainly because any advantage I can get for climbing will help me stay even. The attack was on a long slight downhill so it didn't cost me anything energy wise to go there. I usually spend my time on and off the brakes through there anyway.

I hit the first climb behind colorchange, but he slowed at the top kind of waiting for the group. I yelled I was on him and we went. We traded on the other climbs and really pushed it for a bit once we realized we were gone. Worked it a bit like a race. Felt like it. Was fun and a nice preview for this weekend.

We ended up passing alien2 who had come out later and was riding the course backwards to find us. We slowed up for a while to let him swing around and catch up. Then we started shooting the crap about the race he did this last weekend. It's on the same course as my race on Saturday. We slowed enough that it was definitely the end of the break by the time we turned South off of the hilly leg.

I felt good. I am not in as good of form as I was a few weeks back. Little P has been sidelined with a massive fever/ear infection. Others around me have been really sick as well. I had a small fever for a little bit before the ride. I just hope I don't go into full sick mode before during or after the races this weekend. A 4 stage race split over 2 consecutive weekends at the beginning of fall gives you tons of risk for getting sick.

In general I would be really happy with a top 10 overall for the series. That will most assuredly require a top 10 for the road race - which is double points. I don't know if I can do it, but what can I do but try. The TT and the crits don't bother me.

The TT is 10 miles. It will take at least a 25mph TT to take the top spot I am guessing. I don't have that in me, but I have done some near 23 mph ones...I might be able to do a 24 mph one if the wind cooperates and if I can borrow some Zipps (last TT I did a borderline 23 in the pouring rain with regular box section wheels on. Sat up in every turn and slowed to a crawl to stay upright....and it was 24-ish miles long).

The crits are like 8 miles long unless they make a last minute change. It will take like 15-20 minutes. I can ride at killer speeds for that amount of time. MJH2 has already decided to try to make it fun, and I am with him...especially if I screw the road race the day before.

I won't win anything (especially if I think this way). I might have a chance if it comes down to a sprint and I am in position, but the odds of that are pretty slim. I also think it there won't be a ton of riders doing all 4 events so that may give me a slight advantage.

Like I said....I would be extremely happy with a top 10.

...then it's on to learning how to cross race. This would be the equivalent of a runner trying to learn how to swin in order to do "try"-athlons. Knobbies and mud....ewww. So NOT me, but they are still mostly road bikes and the bikes look HAWT.

Besides...Carpentersville will have beer this year.....

Friday, September 19, 2008

8 Hrs

8 Hrs till we roll for the 3rd annual Psimet Invitational. The hammers are all packed away...ready to be dropped. The sandbags are all sleeping. The kit is laid out and the bottles are all mixed.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Why do cyclists love sandbags so much?

We're a funny bunch...while others may view a sandbag as a way to save their house from a flood, or prevent a bullet from killing them, we cyclists view a sandbag as a weapon of misery.

You see....cycling is all about fear. You are in constant fear that the other riders you will be riding with are better, faster, lighter, etc. You just know the other guy spent every waking minute on his bike putting in the quality time you don't have to get into form. You just know that everyone else may have an understanding famile, easy job, whatever it takes in order to get better....

....so....you're left with fear. Fear that you won't be fast enough. Fear that everyone will drop you. Fear that you'll never be good enough to hang.

The only way to handle it, you find out, is to greatly underplay your current fitness and abilities or in other words...sandbag. In reality you are trying to be truthful about your perceived limitations, but what normally happens is that you end up showing up and dominating. This is seen as bad. This is seen as sandbagging.

We live by sandbagging. We throw sandbags around like waterbottles at a French protester at the Tour.

"I have been sick/getting over a cold."

"I haven't been on my bike in "

"Something is wrong with my bike."

"I'm just out to ride today...nothing serious."

"I suck."

Sandbagging sucks when you are indeed the one that is on the bad receiving end. "I thought everyone was going to ride slow??!!" It's kind of cool when you're on the good end,

"dude, I thought you were sick??!!"

*shrug* "I must have gotten better...must tell the doc that riding might be a possible cure."

I have not been sandbagging as much as I used to. I think that's because my form has gotten a lot better and I don't really know where I stack up anymore. I don't want to be that guy and with my form where it is I would definitely be that guy if I started throwing out excuses.

I still know I am not the fastest out there....so I am just cruising along. Saying nothing. It seems to un-nerve aham...

So...thanks for hte no help with the boobie prizes....I will have to come up with something on my own....shucks... The Psimet Invitational is tomorrow. Over 22 riders committed. More will show. They always do. I am excited. I love this ride. Time to reconnect with the love of the century and riding with new riders.

Mmmmm, chicken.

Something I have wanted to do for a while is use this for posting recipes. Seriously. I have lost a lot of weight in the last few years and most recently my progress has been because of the extensive use of specific recipes. I got them from a source I can not name, but here's my problem - I only use about 4-5 consistently my wonderfully understanding family is tired of them.

So...I will share recipes on here. Send (e-mail) or post yours as comments. I am looking for lean, protein heavy meals. I love the following ingredients: Chicken, rice, black beans, garlic, olive oil, peas. My wife is sick of: Chicken, rice, black beans, and PEAS! My son has none of it and basically eats Oreos, candy, etc...while looking at me and smiling. I'll remember that.

First one. It's one of my favorites. It's a 1 disher - like most good ones - and can be used as leftovers for days. I'll call it Southwest Chicken Medley....

1 package of chicken cutlets/tenders/breast cut into small pieces
1 Green Pepper
1 Red Pepper
Olive Oil
1 Small to Med Onion (your preference)
1 package of Vigo yellow rice
1 can of organic black beans
1 small package of peas
shredded Mexican cheese - up to you how much. The more the better it tastes, but the higher the fat content.

Prepare the rice according to the instructions on the side of the package. I use a rice cooker which is a godsend for as much rice as I eat. Make sure to use Olive oil instead of the margarine/butter.

Dice the peppers and onion. Put into large skillet along with chicken and 2 tbl of olive oil (helps to preheat the oil a bit before adding everything). Saute over med heat until chicken is fully cooked and onions are completely transparent. I tend to err on the side of overcooking here. I basically go until almost all of the juices and oil have been cooked off and/or absorbed. Don't let it completely dry out.

By now the rice should almost be done or already complete. Cook the peas (I use those microwave bags). Add the peas and the beans to the rice in a casserole dish. Stir together. Add the chicken, pepper, and onions mixture. Add in cheese to preference. Stir together until cheese melts.

Plate and serve with low fat sour cream. Some may like some organic salsa on top or chopped green onions for garnish. I love this dish. Perfect for dinner and lunch the following day. Great energy meal with tons of fiber and protein. Most of the fat content is good fat content. It can be made leaner or fatter depending on your mood/tastes.

try it and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Psimet invitational time people. I am looking for boobie prize ideas....clean ones at least.

Converted my rig back to a road setup from the TT setup for the gourp ride last night. This time it included swapping cranks and chain as well. I am down to 1 hr for the swap. I told you...I'm Batman.

Trying to convert my Cyclocross bike from it's commuting configuration. If you're not familiar with the sport of Cyclocross let me explain it this way: It's when a bunch of cyclists decide that because it's winter they need to do something different...so they go for a run in the woods...but just can't leave their bikes at home. Seems we're not too bright when it comes to this whole running thing...

As mentioned I use the cross bike as my commuter normally. I have never raced it to date. I will be racing it shortly and figure I need to work out how to dismount and run with it, etc. That means pulling off the rack and fenders, etc....means that commutes will be very difficult at best. Considering the light is bad and my main commuting route looks like this....

I am not too worried about it not having my bike in commute mode...

Monday, September 15, 2008

5 more days...

Good people. Good times. Good riding. Good stories. Good cookies. Good beer. The 2008 Psimet Invitational is coming....are you?

Saturday, September 13, 2008


I scored some hardware at today's epic TT. I didn't ride as well as I could have, but I did a good job I believe. I came in 3rd out of 4 in the 30+ category. 1:04:48 seconds for 23.75 miles - about 22mph average.

I say epic because it was a downpour for the whole route. I couldn't see anything through my glasses so I rode looking over them. If I had my head up the rain was so heavy it would sting my eyes.

Standing there getting drenched while in the start house I looked around at a few of the other guys and just had to say it, "you know...we're some pretty messed up guys for coming out here in the rain to put ourselves through the torture that is a TT. We could all be in bed or eating a nice breakfast. We're idiots." I got the obligatory laugh or two, but everyone was thinking, "you wussy. I do it so that I can kick bike weenie ass. Get in line for your ass kickin you weenie."

"30 seconds"

I noticed that my heart rate goes from 50-60 just standing around to in the mid 90s when I get into the start house. Crazy. You want to pee, crap yourself, throw-up, fall over into a fetal position, etc. You know the pain that is coming and you know the little guy with the clipboard isn't going to save you or make the pain stop. He's going to enjoy every minute of it.

"Rider ready. 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, GO!"

I don't care how much you warm up, if you are not feeling like you just got hit by a Mack truck within the first 30 seconds to a minut of a TT then you're doing it wrong.

Pain is like crack. Beating someone is like heroin.

I wasn't expecting much and did nothing to prepare for this other than switch my bike over. I think I did OK. This is the first piece of hardware I have ever received from a competitive cycling event. Sure it's no big deal and doesn't mean anything with such a small field on such a crappy day, but it's a medal. I will take it.

Colorchange pulled a 1:00:03<--missed the hour by 3 seconds. Awesome job. He pulled first place in Cat 5. Alien2 was there to finish the series. He placed 2nd overall in the series as well as second today. This is in Cat 3. He's a fast dude. It shows on Tuesday nights. He did the route in something like 56 or 58 minutes. Hella-fast.

Fall fling is coming and I am hoping I can do good things there. The TT is half the distance so I will need to really hammer it out in order to be able to do anything.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

More Big Boys

Thought I would share some pictures I found to help give everyone an idea of what I was talking about....

So...manufacturing is in the toilet you say???

These are the big boys. I'm usually the guy in the 1-2 o'clock position. I know all the roles just looking at thse guys. Guy on left is a distributor/machine builder (seller). on his left is his lackey/errand boy for the sale. To his left is the money guy. Next to him (my usual position) is the thinker that the money guy likes to bring to the table to make sure no one loses sight of the big picture. Next to him is the engineer that is having to place the specific terms on the technical side. Next to the engineer is his boss - or basically the guy who is having the money come out of his budget. I am sure the lackey has asked everyone about 1,000 times if they want a coffee or if they have seen the girls over at the "XYZ" booth...

Exhibit B - All the engineers crowded around the machine's control while the manufacturer's engineer shows them "what this baby can do." Funny thing about this shot is that I can read one of the logos on one of the audience's shirt and he is from the company I used to work for....poor bastard. Also note the money men are in the back trying to figure out which one of the engineers is the one that is really going to be the one to make the decision.

This gigantic robot was a part of the Fanuc display. Awesome. We make extensive use of Fanuc robotics in our heavy automation. What he is holding (yes, I have a habit of calling robots "he" and "she" - it keeps me warm at night) is a chasis for a tractor. Supposedly a CAT one not actually manufactured by CAT (at least according to the CAT engineer standing next to me at the display). To the right of the shot you can just see 2 other smaller robots. There was something like 6 others total of that smaller size that all had welding arms. They were all coreographed in an intricate display of capabilities. That big guy would lift the chasis straight vertical and seem like it was about to touch the ceiling.

This is where I hung out. Building F (West). Tooling. The yellow lab coats and yellow bags are Sandvik. They got the spot right at the door and handed out 30,000 of those bags on Tuesday alone. 30,000. Seriously folks. BTW - the string trio's stage was on the right hand side of this shot. Also the girls at that booth across the way - uh....ISCAR - were very professional looking up top as you can see. What you can't see is that their skirts came about 3 inches below their crotch and that they were actually just models handing out bags. Also I think I know a dude in this shot.

These next two show the scultor at work. This was on Tuesday when she was making a version of the "Thinker". She was awesome to talk to. I spent a bit of time doing exactly what those guys int he shot are doing. You'd ask a question - feeling bad about interrupting her - and she would stop and just go on about everything. The guy with the napkin in his hand actually is drinking out of one of the ice glasses served at the ice bar...which is on the left of the shot out of frame. You can see the grating that the ice block bar was sitting on.

My people.
It dawned on me during the show that these are my people - or at least they should be. Back in college I was guestioning my major and I remember my fraternity advisor asking me, "do you like the people you are in class with?" I said that they were a little too nerdy for me. He said, "you should make sure you like them because you are going to spend the rest of your life working with them."
That stuck with me and I use it as a litmus test every now and then. Sometimes I think I should concentrate in material/supply chain because of my experience, but then I realize I don't really like supply chain people. Well I noticed while walking around IMTS that a lot of the people there were not really "my people." Then I thought about how I would feel at a convention like Interbike....and I realized that THOSE would be my people.
Now I just have to take the time and do the patent searches and actually get around to making some of the prototype bike components I have dreamed up. Some day my company may be in that industry and then I can justify going to Interbike....to be with my people.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Hanging with the big boys...

No. This is not about cycling - shocker I know. This is about where I have been spending my time - hanging with the big boys.


International Manufacturing Technology Show.

This is the largest (that I know of) show for manufacturing. It is a strange mix of old and new. Those of you not familiar with manufacturing let me just tell you that the machine tools available today are nothing like your father's South Bend lathe. The technology is totally over the top and exploding at a rate not seen since probably WWII.

The there is the old side of it. It still smacks of a 1970's convention full of scantily clad models hocking tooling wearing things like shirts that say "big ones" across the chest in reference to the company's new big tooling. One poor model was paid to stand outside of the booth and ask everyone in a conversational voice, "would you like to touch them?" to which everyone responded, "whaaaa??!!", and she would follow with, "do you want to touch the new tools from company XYZ???"

There was even a bearded lady at one booth. Seriously. This is an example of marketing gone wrong. Everyone remembers the bearded lady. It was a side-show theme. Everyone remembers that....but no one remembers what company it was or what they were selling. I remember it had something to do with drilling becaus eht bearded lady was handing out condoms and putting them on the drills....seriously folks. You can't make this crap up.

I mostly hung out around tooling because those are "my people", but the big boys (machine builders) are like the big auto guys in terms of what they are capable of. All of the auto guys go to the same machine builders....and so does everyone else who makes anything. They are the real powerhouse of every economy. I hear storys about what it used to be like before they cleaned the show up - back rooms where machine deals were closed/signed.....on certain body parts of the "models" involved....seriously.

I kind of walked around in shock until I realized these guys just know their audience. They have cleaned it up, but the efforts are thinly veiled. One company had a string trio play - wonderfully talented - every hour....stopped traffic cold....but that's because the entire trio was a collection of drop dead beautiful blondes.

I was hosted by Sandvik over the last 2 days. They do an amazing job and everyone else in that building was jealous of them. Sandvik is a Sweedish company that makes the majority of our cutting tools (carbide). Building on the Sweedish theme they bring in a lot of ice from some pure river in Sweeden and brought in an ice bar from the "ice bar" in Sweeden. We drank drinks from glasses made of ice and watched a true artisan sculpt ice into amazing forms.

Well this turned into a longer post than I meant to....I am fryed. I will take a day off of the show and head back to work tomorrow. Hopefull the excessive standing and walking for the last two days won't wipe me out for the BH ride tomorrow.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Harmon Hundred

From my post on BF:
"Great century. I love this one. It is "hilly" - meaning beautifully rolling. I recovered really well from the day before. Colorchange and I both trew some sandbags around in the parking lot:

"I'm pretty beat."
"I don't think I want to ride that hard."
"I'll probably pop pretty early on."
"Don't know if I can make the century...."

You get the picture.

About 3-4 miles out of the parking lot someone lit the rocket. Took me a while to warm up, but then I got rolling smooth. My Garmin shuts off over bumps anymore so I just ride with it in my back pocket. That meant I had no idea what numbers we were doing. I ended up going to the front and ramping it up without realizing it quite a bit.

We did loop B first out of the main stop. Really challenging loop and very "scenic". By the time we had gotten back to the main stop with roughly 50 miles in I was starting to feel some dead legs. Colorchange was looking to get back for his obligation.

New dad nietsmas revealed he hadn't been on the bike in 2 weeks and was staring deep into the pit of emptyness that was now his legs. JT1 and our recent pick ups of "bells" and "Big Spinner" were definitely going the extra loop for the full century.

I debated it greatly. I figured I could go back and hammer and be done at 75, or get a full century in...I mean what else did I have to do right? Well....I had to flip a gel to decide. It landed front side up - I was in for the century.

Started second guessing myself right out of the stop...and then everything clicked.

I felt awesome. Every hill we hit I found myself mid-hill doing my whole "I don't know if I can do this" then something would make me snap out of it and actually upshift and accelerate. it was awesome. Best climbing I have ever done.I also replaced my 27 cog/cassette with a 25 a few weeks back. Makes climbing a whole lot faster when you can't bailout.

I honestly kept getting stronger as we went. With the computer in the back pocket I had no idea how far was left or anything. Ended up in the parking lot before I knew it. I feel like going out and doing it again today.

Good stuff. Hope I can keep cranking this up at my current rate of improvement through the Fall Fling.

Great seeing nietsmas, JT1, colorchange, wireless. See you all again at my century!

Brief stats...
100.0 miles (rode the parking lot to round it out).
5:24:34 ride time
5,032 ft of climbing
18.5 avg speed.
4-5 gels consumed
many hammers dropped.

Saturday, September 6, 2008


That was one spicy ride this morning. It took a while to get over the facts that I didn't get to bed until 1:30-2:00am ...because I was working on the long overdue wheels de aham. 5:00 came awful quick.

It was a ride with colorchange's club. He was there as well as aham (really just there to pick up wheels, but decided to ride...since he was already there and all) and about 7-ish other Spin Doctors riders.

I was wearing arm warmers, knee warmers (which on someone my height with my short legs really qualifies them as full leg warmers or something out of flashdance), vest, and was contemplating toe covers. It was COLD! Too freeking cold for this early in September. When I got home my trainer said...."see....you'll love me again someday soon. You'll see." *shiver*

The ride was 'brisk'. They usually start slow (so I was told), but I think aham and I helped push it a bit. There was no wind. Freeky fog, etc. By the time we got to the point where they normally take a natural (that's biker talk for peeing in a field - I do it while rolling) they were all saying it was the fastest they had ridden that route...ever.

I was just rolling along. The route is my kind of flat on roads I have ridden a ton so I knew where the features were, etc. I took short token pulls up front mainly due to not knowing the route and not knowing how high they were going to dial it up to later. Aham was riding well too.

Up Allen rd near Hampshire one of their guys started to do some attacking. That hurt. Later a lot of us admitted we were either getting light headed, dizzy or seeing spots there. "On the rivet" so to speak. From there it was "attack, bridge, repeat" for most of the rest of the ride. By the time we got back they all made it official...fastest ride on that loop...ever for most of them.

There was climbing, but only like 1,500 over 50 miles so needless to say I was there and hanging well for 99.9% of the ride. Knowing more of what to expect I could go back and do more work. So where does this ride rank for me?

  • Bicycle Heaven (Cat 1,2,3 sharks in chummed water - total class of their own)
  • Racing
  • Penny Rd (Cat 3,4,5 Fast and climby)
  • Spin Doctors (Cat 3,4,5 Faster but flat with attacking)
  • Century riding
  • Village Pedaler (Saturday ride with some friends)
  • Trail ride solo
  • Trail ride with the family


Tomorrow is the Harmon Hundred. Looks like we might get wet. I am on form and liking it. I have not been there all year. I hope to push it into overdrive for Fall Fling.

Scale said 172 last night.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Bachelor Weekend

Mrs. P and Little P are out of town visiting MY parents in Indy. So I have been alone for 2 nights now. I have to admit I likes me some alone time. I need it every now and then. Last night I made myself some great food and didn't even clean up.

I went for a ride tonight after work....

I will be riding tomorrow....

Oh...and a century on Sunday.

aham's wheels. Finishing them up. It is tedious work so I have to work on it for 20 minutes then walk away for a while....recharge and go back. I am on a break right now.

aham is coming up for a ride together on a group ride tomorrow morning. The plan is to give him his wheels when he shows. Finally....he has been waiting for a while. That's what happens when you're building with paired dogbone drilling on flanges......total PITA. Changed spoking patterns...re-ordered spokes twice for 3 sets. :(

Hope you're enjoying your weekend.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

In the shop

Now that I've completely bored everyone with my excessive posting (again) I've decided to start dedicating some of these to the rigs I currently have in my shop from time to time. Right now I have the following:

2008 BMC SLC01 - Full carbon frame running SRAM Red drivetrain (Ultegra 11-23 cassette). Compact crank. Wheels are HED Jet 50 rims. I'm not familiar with them, but they appear to be an aluminum clincher with a carbon fairing over them. Interesting. Also the rear is built up over a Powertap Wireless hub.

Based on the shop time and some time spent riding it around (along with other experiences) I have mixed feelings about Red. I do not like Doubletap. I do not like the hoods/levers. I do like some of the feel. I LOVE the rear derail.

The brake calipers are much better than I thought they would be as well. As shown the rig weighs in at 17.5 #'s. My guess is that in a racing configuration for me it would come in around 16 and some change or about 1 pound lighter than my current rig.

The day in psimetville....

Group ride last night = good. Stayed on the whole way. Outclimbed a lot of people (even a few on Braeburn - wtf). Won final sprint - well accepted it when it was given over by the alien.

I was feeling good and can only chalk it up to finally being able to string 2-3 days of riding together - total shocker, but looking at my logs I haven't ridden on 2 consecutive days in a LONG TIME before now.

Thursday is BH ride.

I am winning the battle of the scale. Consistantly says 175 now. Been seeing some 173 and 174's. Still have my fat belly, but I am starting to think that will never go away. I felt the lighter weight on the bike too. Strength has been increasing so I feel like the loss has not been at the expense of muscle.

I had another meeting with the man to continue our discussion from last week. Didn't see the point and know it's just one of those "methods" for handling conflict situations that he most likely learned in a seminar. "Confront the issue head on and then give them a week for reflection then revisit the issue." I'm good in negotiations because I know when I am being played. What sucks is knowing that I am being played, not wanting to stoop to the level of playing along, and knowing that if you don't play along then no good can possibly come of that.

If de-motivation was a food, I would now be fat(er).

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

2008 Psimet Invitational - The Call is Out

Various riding options. Various routes. Good riding and good people. I just posted the invite to my 2008 invitational ride. Get your maps out, find a hotel (or bug a BFNIC'r for floor space), and turn the cranks.

Your invitation

I mean who can turn down a ride that has booby prizes??!!