Friday, October 31, 2008

Running part deux

So...what's a boy to do when the regular cycling season has drawn to a close and the daylight hours have disappeared and yet he still wants to be in decent shape for cross races every single weekend?

...he runs. Did another outside run yesterday. 5k. Doing better. Took 3 minutes off of my time. I still suck I am sure, but I dropped a 25 minute 5k. Made me happy.

I hurt now. Leaving work early for Halloween. Going to put in a 40-50 miler before hanging with the little monkey (little P as Curious George). Then tomorrow riding a few huors with the bunch on the road.

Sunday is the cross race in St Chucks. My shop is putting it on. Rob Kelley from our team has done it all it seems. He said he put some killer hills in it. Boo.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Cooking with gas. dawned on me that there was some money in my paypal account left over from the wheel builds for Alien and aham. I had been wanting 2 things this winter. I scoured ebay and found and won one of them...

Powertap laced to a Zipp 404 tubular. Old model of both the powertap and the rim, but I got it for $610+$25 for shipping -10% for a coupon I had from Paypal....making it come in at my door for $575-ish.

I don't need the tubular rim and will relace this to a Niobium 30 rim. I will either sell the Zipp rim or put it on a cheap front hub and use it for TT's with a wheel cover on the rear. If I sell it I could possibly get $150-$200 for the rim. That would net me a powertap for $375. Not bad considering the model I wanted I could get on deal for $1,200 and this model sells new for over $800.

Now I am cooking with gas.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Bartlett Pictures

Found a good photoset from the race...

Lots of good ones of me. Can't miss me. Flying remount on one. Not exactly smooth, but it is what it is.

Here's a sample - click on the link to see and purchase....;)

Bartlett Cross Race

So...I came back for more. I think I pissed someone off by doing it. How else can anyone explain the "act of god" level of weather we had?

I got there in the morning and MJH2 offered to watch little P (Mrs. P was working all weekend) while I took a practice lap. It was cold-ish, but right in that middle range between warmers and a parka. I figured it would be warmer as the day went on.

The course was ....interesting. I think I liked it, but I am not sure. It had a lot of open sections that you could really gain some speed on. The technical sections were pretty technical at times, but could be ridden really easily if everything went right. I was kind of hoping for more off-camber stuff which I seem to do well. Best part? No sand. Interesting part? "Mud".

When I got back to the course later in the day I made it in time to see a few of our Cat 1,2 teammates flying around the course. It was cold and the wind was cranking around non-stop. I was up to 4 layers on top - base layer, jersey, vest, winter riding jacket and I was still cold.

Last week surprised me. I actually did better than I had imagined I would. I intentionally started near the back and didn't fight for position in the first few turns and ended up finding I could out-ride a lot of those guys as the race went on. So this week I decided to "try" to see how well I could do.

With that in mind I was getting nervous. With my wife being a nurse and my son in daycare the illnesses have been flying around the house. In general I have been feeling "empty" when it comes to riding. I was feeling that way coming up to the race. MJH2 was trying to warm up for this one. He too was trying to see how well he could do. More than myself in fact.

I just didn't have it in me to warm up, but knew I should. He was riding, it was close by, and I was freezing so I decided to give it a shot. It wasn't like a normal road race warmup or anything, but it did help to get me breathing and helped keep the cold off. no sweat was ever developed though.

Around this time you could see a wicked storm front moving in fast. It looked like we were going to get rain. Then the wind kicked up, temp dropped further, and we started getting dropps of rain, sleet, hail, whatever. I was thinking "this will be epic." I was also getting more excited.

MJH2 heard another one of our teammates sum it up this way, "everyone is miserable and hurting. You just have to be miserable, hurting and angry." That's the only way to sum it up. Everyone is suffering. I will do whatever I can to avoid bad riding weather conditions, but if I am kitted up, on the bike, already outside and committed to doing what I have planned and THEN the coniditons get bad....I embrace them. Honestly I think it gives me an edge sometimes.

Well the rain held off turning on full blast and we ended up getting to the line. MJH2 and I lined up dead center on the front. They do a callup for the series leaders to get them to the front, which we knew, before letting us line up again behind them. The field wasn't as deep as the last race, but MJH2 claimed he saw a 390-something meaning there were at least 40 who had registered. looked like 30-40-something at the line. Maybe more. Hard to tell.

There were some brief words at the start. "Be careful. I know it's windy. I would post your results, but they took down the board so..." Then we got a last minute slap in the face from the official, "blah, blah, blah, Hey...guys...this is cross weather.....Riders Ready...."

We were off. Heading into the first corner, which was too close to the line, it was once again like pushing 5,000,000 gallons of water through a 1" nozzle. I head a sound not unlike football players bouncing off of each others pads as riders tangled in the corner. MJH2 got a pretty clean shot through the corner and was off - somewhere in the top 7 or so.

I lost some ground in the first corner. We were then on to the first barrier. This one was dicey. Barrier, run-up steep hill afterwards, quick remount to a 90-deg turn at the base, followed by a quick 180/switchback back up the hill into another 180/switchback down and into an off camber 90 followed by another 90 and another 90 all within a few seconds of each other. Needless to say this was worse than the "sandpit" of last week.

I made it off the bike and up the hill OK. I had a little stutter step at the top to remount. Couldn't find the pedals quickly and by the time I was locked in I was at the 90 deg turn into the uphill. At this point that section was like a line at Disney and no one was moving. I came flying in at high speed recently secured in my pedals....I just about impaled 3-4 riders. So...I guess we're running this one too...

Luckily at the top I got around a lot of riders and remounted on the downhill. My rear wheel went up in the air on the way down (I assume I was tagged by someone), but I managed to hold on to the course and stayed on through the next few turns.

After this I basically got into a tempo. What that means is that I was breathing hard enough to be heard 3 counties away and I felt like dying. That's my regular racing routine. I lost ground to a few people early on - one passing as we went into the woods, but also found I was passing people at a pretty steady cadence. I had been gapped by MJH2 pretty well at the beginning and could just make him out passing me going the other way after each turn.

In the back section- after the woods - people were just really dogging it. There was soft soil ("mud") and wind that I think zapped a lot of people. It was hard, but I found I had enough oomph to just keep swimming along. I found I passed people right after the mud on the uphill. Around a few corners and there was little P and Nana and Sarge cheering.

It's hard to focus on anything other than pain when racing, but I was able to see little P's face and the smile he had on it. Priceless. It's like a shot of O2 and 5 gels all at once.

After the back section there was a long "paved" section consisting of a bike trail. I was big ring-ing it and putting some hurt on - well at least hurting myself. After that was a 3 part barrier/run-up section with a remount on a hill with some off camber down to uphill turning, etc. before the final straight.

At the end of the first lap I was done. At least that's what I had hoped.

Well the second lap started going a little bit better. I tanked the first run-up and remount and caused some mayhem in the corners. I bit it a little in a corner - something is up with the geometry of this rig like it's too high and too short...just doesn't turn the way I would expect it to and you can't seem to hammer the turns.

In the woods I started to see what looked like MJH2 in front of me. Now I had been picking up ground for a while and I had been passing quite a few people, but I did not expect to see MJH2. I knew 1 of 2 things was happening, 1. I was doing well. 2. He was having a bad day. I was hoping it was 1, but had a feeling it was 2. Turns out it was a little of both I think.

On my way to catch MJH2 I passed supergirl right after the mud. I think supergirl is on BikeForums so actually I just wanted to say "hi", but figured that could wait until after the race. Supergirl has seemed to finish fairly well at every event and was quite a ways in front of me at the last event so I figured that i must be doing well.

Right after supergirl was MJH2. I yelled at him to hopefully inspire him and so we could work together a bit. He turned and basically said something inspirational and followed it with something to the effect that he was cooked. The sun had come out and despite the wind our choices of putting on wind vests came back to haunt us as I began trying to cook myself alive from the ehat I was producing.

From that point on I was all about trying to do well. It became painful. The closest thing I have experienced is TT's. What makes it different is places to recover. For the last 2 laps I was in a battle with a few guys. 3 or so. We kept swapping places, but mostly I was in front just trying to not lose position in the run-ups.

One of the guys was "Bob". I think he was on Beverly. He has supporters at seemingly every turn who were telling him how he should be attacking me, etc. What they didn't know is that there are some who call me Bob as well so they were really cheering me on. Then on the 3rd lap in the fast road section a rider came flying past me towards the end. I thought I was never going to see the guy again. Then at the end of that straight we had to run back into the killer wind uphill. He would fade on that uphill with me just wheel sucking for lack of a place to pass.

On the last lap I was in front of Bob and Kevin (found out later) only to have Kevin go for that same move in the same spot. I had to let him take it because I had no energy, but I knew he would fade on the uphill and if I could hold position through the barriers after that I would be able to hold him and Bob off at the line.

So when we turned uphill I jammed it. I passed him as we headed towards the run-ups and we were side-by-side through the barriers jumping each one at the same time. Right behind us was Bob with his yelling fans breathing down our necks.

I remounted sooner than most coming out of there and just jammed the hill. it was killing me. I had figured out what gear to be in coming out of the barriers on previous laps and had put myself in it this time, but looked to find that I was actually still in my big ring. ...and I was still hammering up that hill. I was surprising even myself.

I got it into the small ring for the last bit and then came the final straight. I started to accelerate and went for my big wouldn't shift.....seriously.

OK I pride myself on my mechanical abilities and have been working on bikes for a long time (20+ years) have a mechanical for me is simply unimaginable. I lost a few seconds trying to shift. I even downshifted and back up again trying to get it to go and it wouldn't. Finally I threw the front derail back to the low ring and jumped tapping my rear shifter every few pedal strokes.

I was on overload. I could feel the riders behind me. I gave it what I had and could tell I was in a place I have either never been before or have forgotten in a similar way to how mothers forget the pain of chilbirth. When I couldn't go anymore I looked over my shoulder to see that I had an insurmountable gap....I coasted across the line.

All 3 of us fell into heaps after the line and quickly followed with gasps of, "good race", "nice job", "I thought you had me", introductions and hand shakes. It was awesome.

MJH2 was a ways back. He had imploded. I was shocked. I have never actually seen him implode in a race. He's a strong rider a could have definitely done well here if everything had gone right. he says his back gave out on him and later on text messaged me to let me know his cross setup/stem is 2 inches shorter than his road one.....Ouch... that's like runners wearing a shoe that's 2 sizes too small.

There was a storm front coming in fast and we were going to get drenched. the crews were tearing everything down because we were the last race and they wanted out of there. I never caught the posting of results. I feel like I was easily in the top 20 and hope I was around 15th or higher. That would make my week.

I had fun. Next up is the Campton Cross event that is actually put on by my team. I'm not hooked on cross yet by any means, but it is fun. I would rather be road racing, but this is a nice diversion. Best part is you get to race every single weekend and all of them have been close enough to home that I can register/pre-ride, go home, get stuff done then drive back in time.

Sorry about the long report and the lack of pictures, but Mrs. P was working. Hopefully we'll have some stellar shots next week.

Shoutout to my blog fan from Peoria! It was nice meeting you! Drop me a comment on here. I still don't think I caught your name completely. Send me some links to some of the other area cross blogs as well!

EDIT: This just results are listed on USA Cycling...17th out of 45. Yeah baby.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


OK...not a surprise here but I just wanted to go on the record (again) stating that I ma not a fan of running. It's a long story, but running is the cause of one of my life changing injuries at a young age. As a result I tend to avoid it like the plague.

Fact is you really can't get the kind of workouts I am trying to get in such a short period of time without running though. I also tend to think that running does more for the overall body and core than anything else short of core work.

Factor in that running is actually a part of cross races and you guessed it....I've put it on the front burner.

Went outside and ran. BTW - I NEVER do that. I always do a dreadmill. I found while on the dreadmill yesterday in an attempt to do speed work that it really limits me. It's like riding a fixed gear....just along for the ride a lot of the time.

So I hit the streets with my Garmin and did 5k. First thing I noticed is how much more painful running in the real world is. I also noticed how much faster I am. If it weren't for the pain from impact I could have gone much harder/faster.

Now I have a loop and feel better about doing it so I see more lunch running outside in my future.

....don't know if I'm happy about that...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Chicken has been served

2008 Carpentersville Cross Race 069 (Medium)

So I decided that today would be the day and I took the plunge. No more chicken for me. I decided it was time to try my hand at cyclocross. The event was the Carpentersville Race #4 on the Chicago Cyclocross Cup series.

I arrived early at 8:30ish to pre-ride the course and register. I was met by some cold weather. Tights, long gloves, winter vest, cap type of cold weather. I am firmly convinced the biting cold was mother nature's way of say, "HEY YOU KIDS! STOP MESSING UP MY PARKS!"

I met up with teammate MJH2 and we pre-rode the course. In short order we were wondering why we were doing this. Specifically we took issue with the following:
  1. It's hard. Like, "OMG! Is daddy going to die mommy? Why can't he breathe?" kind of hard.

  2. It takes place on this substance called "off-road". Apparantly this substance is filled with ruts, holes, is not consistant in texture or hardness, and generall means you will not be able to change you hand position for the duration for fear that you will die if you try.

  3. They let locals place big barriers (big wooden boards) across the trail. This means you must get off your bike....I know...WTF right?! I heard one local describe it as such, "if they're going to come into our park wearing lycra and (literally) dress like superheros and tear up our park then I want to see carnage. Blood will work.

  4. They thought it would be cool to make you ride through a sand pit. Like sandbox, playground sand. No...beach sand. Ever ride a bike on a beach? How'd that work for you? Thought so.

  5. Sometimes the slower you go, the faster you are. See? I told you...these off-road types smoke lots of dope.

Generally we felt like we were going to learn a few things. With a few practice laps behind us we each took off. 4B was our category (beginner) and our category's race was at 3:00pm - last race.

I came back in time to catch part of the Cat 1,2,3 race. Bicycle Heaven (my team) had 3 guys in The 1,2,3 race. It was intense to see those guys so gassed.

We did our typical "no warm up" warmup and went to toe the line. The organizers gave us a thumbs up to pre-ride a lap so I headed out right behind our new teammate JAnd. It started to feel good to have everyone behind me on that lap. Started to get my mind into competition mode.

2008 Carpentersville Cross Race 012 (Medium)
Pre-race lap.
I ended up going through the sand pit when I noticed that there were a lot of guys lining up at the start. Then I noticed that there was no one behind me. Ooops. I guess they didn't really mean, "take a lap". What was I thinking....:(

2008 Carpentersville Cross Race 016 (Medium)
The 4 b field. There are 67 riders in there...obviously the picture doesn't display the width of the field. It was big.
We sat at the start for a bunch of time. I started with the typical pre-race jokes about how bad I am going to suck and how I just want to get through it, etc. It's my way of getting my game face on.

"Riders Ready"-whistle!

Just like a crit. I took it easy right at the start and didn't push for position. I figured why should I when all I was trying to do was get around the course. I even took it easy enough that MJH2, myself and a rider from xXx were chit-chatting through the first few turns.

My first impressions have stuck with me. The first turn was like a crit in bad weather. To give you an idea what I mean imagine taking a handful of forks and knives and stand holding them just under your chin. Now drop them into an empty water bottle located on the floor between your feet....all at once. Did that hurt? Exactly.

After that each corner was like squeezing taffy out of a 50# bag through a 1/2" hole in the corner of it. The flow was slow and solid, but if you tried to push it you'd "break the bag" and end up with a mess on your hands.

After that the pain quickly settled in. I went anerobic in a hurry and stayed there for the duration. There were a lot of people biting it all over the place. Carnage. Feet, bodies, bikes, everywhere.

I made it over the first hurdle and lost a bunch of places remounting. I got gapped by MJH2 at that point as well. I never recovered that gap. Coming around to the sand pit I had 2 options: Ride it or Run it. I wanted to ride it, but just felt like I was going to do a header coming into it. Thing is it is kind of a good idea to know what you're going to do before you actually get to the pit. Sucks making a decision at high speed last second.

With the mass of humanity in the pit in front of me I decided I should run. I passed a ton of guys. Everyone getting jammed up, people falling, getting tangled. It felt like a football game and I had the ball.

2008 Carpentersville Cross Race 026 (Medium)
Giving it my "Oooo" face...

2008 Carpentersville Cross Race 028 (Medium)
Newly found teamate JAnd. Giving it his "Ooo" face...

2008 Carpentersville Cross Race 033 (Medium)
...Where are you going MJH2?? The trail is over there...
After that I barely remember the rest of the first lap. Pain set in. I was able to slam the flat and road sections. I did great on the technical sections which allowed me to stay on the bike. It was the dismounting and remounting that killed me. I knew it would though.
Passing the start finish on the first lap I looked at the officials and begged for them to spare my life. Turns out they don't pull people in cross.....

Second lap was more of the same. This time I was right behind a Tati rider Kyle or Kevin something. I only knew this because there was a Tati clan member on every corner yelling words of encouragement and support.

This was the guy that we had lapped during the first crit at Fall Fling. When we had lapped him we thought he was actually Brian Hague and stopped chasing as hard thinking we had reeled him back in. So....from this point forward he is now known to me as "Fake Hauge".
Anyway, I was riding behind him while totally gassed. I had it on the flats, but he'd smooth through the obsticles well. Finally I just started wheelsucking looking to pass time. It was the wrong move because we lost a ton of ground on the guys in front of us, but I was gassed and needed the recovery.

I started to notice he wasn't thinking about the terrain to come and shifting before getting to it so I started yelling out for him to. Not sure he knew who I was or that I was in just trying to help, but he did end up picking up some of what I was saying. No one likes unsolicited help during a race, but I was really just trying to help if you end up reading this....

2008 Carpentersville Cross Race 037 (Medium)
Our buddy J Bernaeyge in the Area 51 Tatoo jersey leading Super Girl out of the sand pit

2008 Carpentersville Cross Race 041 (Medium)
So this is running? This sucks...

In the shot above you can just barely make out that I have a spot of red on my left knee. Just before this section I hit a weird hole that came out of nowhere and twisted the front end up bad. The result is that somehow my kneecap smacked the back of the stem. it started swelling almost instantly and was almost an excuse for making the rest of the pain end by quitting.

2008 Carpentersville Cross Race 042 (Medium)

2008 Carpentersville Cross Race 043 (Medium)
Remounting isn't nearly as much fun as it sounds...

2008 Carpentersville Cross Race 044 (Medium)
Cottage of wattage...

2008 Carpentersville Cross Race 048 (Medium)
Who the F put boards across a perfectly good!!..."Fake Hauge" is next to me in the Orange.

2008 Carpentersville Cross Race 050 (Medium)
...again with the running....

2008 Carpentersville Cross Race 051 (Medium)
Bye-bye guys...

2008 Carpentersville Cross Race 052 (Medium)
Fly over this stuff already.

2008 Carpentersville Cross Race 074 (Medium)
2008 Carpentersville Cross Race 054 (Medium)
"Who's your daddy." MJH2 making the pit his bitch. I especially like the rooster tail.
2008 Carpentersville Cross Race 058 (Medium)
Me...not so much. You might notice in this shot that my chain is just dangling here. I forgot what I did to it but I basically kicked the crap out of the bike dismounting or lifting it and dropped the chain. At this point I was looking for someone to tell me I should just quit. Instead I calmly decided to fix it....out of the way of other traffic...calmly. That's what should be done after all...

2008 Carpentersville Cross Race 059 (Medium)
2008 Carpentersville Cross Race 060 (Medium)
2008 Carpentersville Cross Race 070 (Medium)
See these shots. Too fast for the camera to catch you.

2008 Carpentersville Cross Race 078 (Medium)
My shoulder is I know why.

2008 Carpentersville Cross Race 084 (Medium)
Again....see ya....whooooooooosh....

2008 Carpentersville Cross Race 085 (Medium)
"So...that sucked. Right? Wanna do it again? Yeah, me too."

2008 Carpentersville Cross Race 087 (Medium)
He may look like his mother, but bet you can't guess where he got his goofy grin and sense of humor from....

2008 Carpentersville Cross Race 088 (Medium)
Oh, and in good style the promoter had a real Cross beer garden. Seriously folks...where did you think I was going? MJH2 on left and JAnd on right. make an already long race report longer I'll just mention this:

  • One of the hardest things I have ever done on a bike
  • I loved it
  • I now have the following: a kneecap that is either cracked or heavily bruised, bruised shoulder, and a smile across my face.
  • Ara - the team/shop owner was hanging over the fence of the beer garden with a beer in hand yelling for me to pick it up at the end of the straight on one of the laps. I just about dismounted and jumped the fence for the beer.
  • Road is where it's at, but I can see how cross can become like that bad crack habit you don't like telling people about.
  • I still hate winter.

The best part of this madness though is that I get to do this every single weekend through December. You can't see me but I'm holding out devil horns and sticking my tounge out. It just might be allright to go slumming with the dirt crowd every now and then.

For the record they had me down as 40th out of 67. I think it's total crap. I passed a lot of guys and I was passing lapped traffic at the end. Lapped traffic always screws up the placings. One of the volunteers was encouraging me to protest, but here's the thing...what difference does it make?

Huge A++++++++ - thumbs up goes to Jeff and the crowd from Main Street Bicycles in Carpentersville for putting on an top shelf event. One of the best I have ever been to in any for of cycling. I have been around this race for 3 years and it just keeps getting better. Not enough can be said for the effort and planning that goes into this. It's a passion. Thanks Jeff.

Oh....and I discovered Supergirl's secret identity. I caught her unwinding in the beer garden....

Saturday, October 18, 2008

It's time.

Satan lives in Vegas.

Tomorrow. Cyclocross. Race.

A week in Vegas makes one a poor rider.

I will pay for my transgressions while out on the course tomorrow.

Pain is beautiful. Suffering is life.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Cluck, cluck....

No, that's not a typo rather it is the sound I was making all day yesterday. You see...I turned into a chicken. I woke up, did some quick math and decided that I was not going to do the Hawthorn Woods Cyclocross race.

Turns out I just can't get the whole remount thing dialed in. I went to a park to try for about 30 minutes and left feeling slightly better about it.

I went on a hard ride with colorchange to help rid myself of the weird desire to race. Then the family all went up to the race to watch the 4b group. Hmmmm....I should have raced. looked like a field of 40-50 riders of which about 10-15 were "riders" that I mean 130lb 20-somethings who look like they have had a cross bike over their should since they were 2.

The rest were regular overweight Cat "5" newbs. My people. The race included a great sled hill that they had to run up twice on each lap. It was right after the start so everyone got pretty gapped out pretty quick on the first lap.

Met a new teammate who was in this one. He came down the hill and got pushed out of the course - going through the tape. He called it a day at that point.

Mud, spills, no blood that I could see. All-in-all a good race. Supergirl showed up....

Crossers are weird people. I should be in for Carpentersville next weekend. I am going to Vegas today for the week on business so no training. I can only hope that running will keep some sort of form until then.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Cyclocross is hard.

Cyclocross is hard. Very hard. It makes crits look like 30 mile Sunday charity rides.

I am a wussy. I suck at this thing. I got dirty. I got cuts. I got bruised. I'm a roadie.

Don't know if I will do Hawthorne Woods race tomorrow. I might have to sleep on it.

Friday, October 10, 2008


Kind of hit a funk that came out of nowhere. Weird.

The racing last weekend was such a high and for some reason I have not really gotten excited about cyclocross yet. I will be attempting a cyclocross clinic tomorrow morning. If all goes well I will try my first race the next day....

Again...for those that know nothing about's apparantly what happens when cyclists try to just go out for a run.

For those running the Chicago insane-a-thon tomorrow...good luck.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Fall Fling Stage #4 - Final Crit - Citizens Men

Rolling out of bed this morning was a bit difficult to say the least. The continuing cold weather helped make the thought of riding a desperately short crit a thought filled with thick tasty pain. Kind of like a gel for life.

Even though the family left late we still ended up there early. I had no idea where the course was. I mean I knew it was in the same industrial park as the last one, but didn't know exactly where it was or where to park.

Then like magic everyone appeared seemingly out of nowhere...a traveling band of bike weenies and their support. Soon the parking lots were filled with sounds of pumps coming off tubes, freewheels, clipping in, and nervous story telling, and standings checking. This is the cyclist's equivalent of tailgating.

Soon it was time to warm up and check out the course.

RJBTrek - getting the engine warmed up.

Yours truly thinking about the hurt to come.

Sean giving me a hard time at the start.

A combine is born. Series #1 Brian Hague is on the left. Behind him is my teammate Robert. The announcer started talking about Hague and we started busting his balls. I started with a good "Cough, cough, cough, sandbagger, cough, cough..." I heard him say, "I'm a triathlete"....

...not what you say to a bunch of road weenies you've been trouncing. All of us on the right of that shot were talking about marking him and not letting any of his moves go. Kind of like a combine but not nearly as well organized.

I knew I wasn't going to put myself in any top spots with the amount of talent out there, but with the short duration of the event combined with my decent form meant I was going to be up in the I decided to just have some fun. Hang on. Chase when I could. Block when I could. Take at least one flyer. Generally have as much fun as possible in a 10 lap - 5 mile crit.

Right out of the gate Sean called it....I jumped into the least until Sean hit the NO2.

L to R: Tati rider that we mistook for Brian Hague when we reeled him in during the crit last week. Not Brian BTW....myself in Bicycle Heaven glory, and Sean Pedersen on the Cervelo sporting the Neon Oakleys

I mentioned something to Sean down the first downhill - can't remember what it was exactly, but it was something like "you sure you want to be up there?" Somewhere around there I decided to jump up front and do some work. Again...I was not looking to do anything big, and I just can't seem to hold off my nerves, adrenaline so I went to the front.

I strung it out on the first lap. Loving it.

Pic Above - Just past the start line starting lap #2- Myself up front followed by Sean Pedersen, Kyle Tabor, #61 - who likes my wheel, Not sure who is next, John Kaminski after that(?), Cezary Mudrewicz (WDT), Richard Lenski (Spin Doctors)

It was after that picture above where we were doign the next downhill leg where I had an incident. I was starting to throttle it back and recover a tad - slowly slipping through the group - when #61 - still don't know the name - must have decided there was room , or I was popping , or something. He hammered it around me, swerved completely into my line, and then came into the 1/2 a bike opening between me and the wheel I was following. Needless to say he clipped my front wheel.

I bounced my wheel off of his skewer and then dragged it off of his rim and tire. I thought I would end up on the deck for sure, but I kept it upright. I was livid. The guy didn't have the line or position....or the legs to stay up there.

I'd like to think it was an honest mistake. Maybe he was on the limit so bad and dying outside the draft that he saw what he thought was a gap and went for it thinking that it was his line...who knows. Right when it happened someone to my side said, "That wasn't very nice of him." I think I responded with something to the effect of, "not only wasn't that not very nice it was a total di**head move!"

I then proceeded to yell at #61 any chance I got to make sure he was holding his line. The next time around into the big turn at the bottom of the hill I took the time to say something like, "'s a turn. Where's 61?? Watch yourselves guys. Keep an eye on 61! Maybe he can hold a line this time." I didn't see him much after that, and I have to chalk it up to the tempo, but he could have been there and I just not realized it.

61 - if you're reading this, it could have been an honest mistake and I'm fine with that, but you should have come over and talked about it after the race. I never saw you afterwards, but wanted to make sure you knew that I was just pointing out a dangerous move...and that we've all been there.

At some point on one of the next few laps Hague made his move coming up from the back of our pack. He was a marked man, but most of the guys marking him were riding up front (*slaps forehead* - come on guys). I took it upon myself to shout the warning "HERE HE GOES! ON YOUR LEFT GUYS! LEFT SIDE!LEFT SIDE!LEFT SIDE!LEFT SIDE!GOGOGOGOGOGOGO!"

They were a little slow to react, but it was enough to drive 3-4 of the really fast guys off of the front of us. Enough to let us rest a bit. Kind of like, "well now that they're gone what do you guys want to do? Catch a movie? Call in for pizza? Beer? Wait....half of you aren't old enough....why am I doing this again?"...but I digress.

Around now there was a Prime announced that I know Hague got. That may have been the lap he attacked on. Not sure. I know when we were crossing the line it looked like Pedersen had sat up a bit and was actually applauding Hague's prime victory. Class move. 26+mph 2 handed clap. Nice.

More shots from around this time....Looks like Pedersen off front, Kyle Tabor next with a stream of us behind. My teammate Robert is in the BH kit with the black arm warmers. I am tucked in directly to the left of him. Looks like #61 was still in the mix at that point.

Mudrewicz, Hague(? or Andrew Dix), John Kaminski(?) , Myself, Ryan Austin(?)and so on down the line.

Little P holding down the start finish line cone.

Pedersen, Tabor, Tati rider (Dix or Hague), Austin, Myself, and teammate Riccio

It was about now that things started to shill out a bit. Coming down the hill again gave one time to look around and check the lay of the land. I saw Pedersen near the front with hague and Dix hanging about 1 or 2 wheels back from him kind of keeping an eye on him and Tabor.

I swung up to Pedersen to tell him to just sit in and not waste any energy. He looked at me and said something to the effect of "go to the front and drive the pace Rob". I had nothing else to do so I decided...WTF.

When I came around the front I was out of the saddle nailing it. I looked over at the first guy in line and let out a primal scream. It was like my version of a death cry. Not only was I burning a match, but I was trying to set fire to the whole neighborhood. It looked a little something like this:

Funny how no one chases you when: A- they know you suck and are not going anywhere. B- they think you are insane for yelling at everyone and screaming on lap 6 or 7 for no reason at all.

...but I f'n OWNED that straightaway....

After that I floated back through the front group trying to count the laps. Lenski (Spin Doctors) and I have ridden with each other more than once and as the main group floated up the road to contest the victory he was moving backwards in my direction. A quick look over the shoulder and he seemed to recognize it was me back there.

We both just fell in and started taking turns. he said something like, "these guys are fast." I said something like, "yeah and I've been racing against them for 2 weeks now. Wish you could have shared the pain."

Final sprint. Pedersen takes the win.

About now is when I remembered what my teammate MJH2 has been saying all season about Lenski. He always said that inevitably he would end up pulling on the last lap and Lenski would nab him at the line for the position. I had that in mind as I ratcheted up the pace on the hill coming into the straight. I also got out of the saddle and started a "sprint" much sooner than I ever normally would have.

Austin coming across the line Myself and Lenski fighting for position directly behind him. Guy on left is lap down I believe. If not I don't know who he is.

I gave a lot and ended up feeling lenski on my left as I went for the line. I actually had to throw the bike at the line. I mean total over the saddle throw. It ended up being close enought that the official had to go to the camera....seriously. I got him though. MJH2 was proud...wherever he was.

Posing with #2 overall and 4th stage winner Sean Pedersen after the torture.

Teammate Riccio joining in the posing.

All in all a great series. I'd like to thank the folks at ABD for putting on so many great races throughout the year. The citizen's crits were too short, but whatever...we still made them fun.

Great effort by Bicycle Heaven's lowly Cat 4/5 crew. MJH2 would have been in the top 10 if he could have raced either the crit or the TT. Riccio put in a killer series even having missed the RR finishing at 6th overall. I dropped in at 8th overall - made my goal of top 10 for the series.

I learned more about where my strengths are, how to yell better, what it's like to string a lot of races together in short succession outside of just doing the double, that while I still do suck I just might suck a little bit less, and finally that I might actually be better suited for TTs...shock to me.

I am sad to see the season go so early...just when I was getting warmed up. Oh well....I guess there is always cross...