Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Yeah I didn't finish the race wrapups yet but has to do this...I guess the men in celeste and blue dominated the slow group at matteson tonight. The team worked well together and helped drive Joel to 3 victories back to back.

Kudos everyone.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Monster Willys

Tough weekend.

Monsters of the Midway on the campus of University of Chicago. Fast, flat, windy and full of WTF moments. Followed on Sunday by Wheels on Willy racing around the capitol building in Madison, WI. Monsters promised to be my kind of race. Wide open flatland speed.

It ended up being everything I thought it would be. I was concerned I would be in rough shape with all of the flu going around the house, but the Tamiflu must have kicked in because I could kind of actually breathe. Before the start I was looking around thinking "man this is a big 4's field. then I rememebered it was ABR where categories are more of a recommendation than a classification.

I noticed Brian Hague of Tati - the man we marked during Fall Fling and who later lapped the 4's field during that series. I pointed him out to the rider next to me. Imagine my surprise when he said, "Honestly this is my first race. I mean I have raced mtb before but this is like...the real deal isn't it?"

Yeah. It is.

For the second time this season I found I couldn't move around at will but I was hanging at the middle of the pack. The field was OK but there were some weird moves. I am getting sick of the guys who constantly complain about how the squirrells ride ....all form the back of the pack. If you don't like it then go to the front.

Hague took off - turns out it was a prime. I saw him move and yelled out "that's hague off the front.....no one wants to chase the guy who can TT till the cows come home?" Some yahoo turned to me and said something like, "if you don't like it chase him"....so I did.

I filtered up to Mayo from South Chicago Wheelmen and pointed Hague out to him. More to take a break, but in some respects hoping he would chase with me. He was in good form though so I don't blame him for not following. I got on the back of what was probably 3 or 4 total riders working off the front by a tiny bit.

I really just wanted to sit in. It didn't even matter - we were caught within a lap. Namely the prime was over so Hague sat up. The rest of the race was kind of boring.

One dude locked up his brakes in between 1 and 2 and ended up popping his tubular. Silly beginners riding tubulars in a Chicago flat crit. He dumped it into the curb taking at least 1 other down with him. 2 more went down from locking it up in anticipation. They were right in front of me. I made it through...how I do not know. Shame on me for being behind that mess.

A few laps later I was struggling in the wind along the inside on the back stretch when I heard the middle of the pack start yelling. It was followed by the unmistakable sound of someone going down HARD. Nasty. It turned my stomach.

Turned out it was a South Chicago Wheelman. He got messed up. Was on the pavement for a long time. Winding up for the sprint I knew I had nothing but knew I could hang. Saw Mayo again and he was looking to see if we could go. I had nothing. I wanted to go with him but I just didn't have it. Chalk it up to the flu.

I "sprinted" in on the back of the lead pack for 23rd out of 100 ish that started (55 finished).

After JD mixed it up in the 1/2 race we had the cat 5 race. We had a ton of riders in it. It was exciting. Even with all of the fans coming by to see Joel ;) I was able to tell him what I thought about what he should do. He doesn't need that, but it makes me feel good to think maybe it helps :D

Hague was in the group again - racing 4's and 5's.....WRONG. J...I don't care what your explanation is...you don't race 4's and 5's on the same day. Period. None of us did it. Plenty of us could have....just sayin. Listen...it's late. I have to draw a line. I will continue this later, but here's a sneek peak....

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What the flu?

So...Mrs. P is sick and odds are she has some form of the flu. Had to happen. She's a nurse and all that swine flu panic had her seeing a ton of patients daily. Now she has a fever and feels like "poop" - her words. Little P is in and out of a fever and I have had chest congestion starting to creep in while riding.

So...I hope everyone gets better soon. Being sick sucks.

This weekend is Monsters and Wheels on Willy (Madison). We have a solid 5's crew going for Monsters. They are hungry. They know who to mark and what to do. They're strong and a little crazy. You'd have to be in order to toe the line with 100 cat 5's in 1 pack. Everyone is going to be so afraid of wrecks that they'll all be pushing to get to the front....leading to wrecks....

Kind of glad I'm a 4 at this point.

Thanks to some great name dropping over at Bike Forums I have been SLAMMED with quotes for bike parts from my commercial site. I've got some great pricing on some niche stuff but I think some people are thinking I am going to like sell stuff below cost. I think everyone is just so used to getting great deals they have no appreciation for how good the deals really are sometimes. Some of the sales are coming through though. Good thing this is just a hobby for me.

Tueesday's group ride out of Penny rd was crazy. It was just weird. We have always passed a lot of team and club riders while riding out there but this week everyone ended up along the same path at the same time going in the same direction. There ended up being about 20-40 riders at different times representing: Village Cyclesport, Verdigris, BBC, Wheel Werks, Spin Doctors, Our precious Bicycle Heaven, Project 5, Chronometro (I think), xXx, ABD, and even a Mack rider I believe. Our shop rides in Geneva/St Charles are pretty well known for drawing a crowd but this was on par. Slower but on par. It was like an underground crit were everyone just met up and decided that it was time to race.

It was fun.

Keep the rubber side down and keep hammering.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

2009 Muskego Park Crit

OK....Being mothers day weekend it meant, of course, that Mrs. P had to work. That means it was me and little P for the whole weekend. Fatherhood bliss.

Then Joel pointed out that there was a crit in Wisconsin on Saturday. That started with, "no I am spending time with little P.", moved to "he and I can go up there with you guys and cheer you on", to "OK so if someone watches little P I can race the first race but that means we'll have to leave at 5:30am."

Yeah. Father of the year....right here.

Matt, Riccio and I rolled out of my house at 5:40ish with little P along for comic relief. The trip was long and we just barely made it there in time to register, gear up and put in two laps for "warmup". The course had what those cheeseheads call "hills". There was about 100 ft of climbing per lap. The grades weren't steep but they got to you after a while.

It was raining and FREEZING. I came up there with shorts and mostly summer gear. I had thin socks and no toe covers. No long finger glooves, etc. It sucked. I was freezing and soaking wett within a few minutes.

In general the race was really slow but grinding. There was only really one corner and it could have been taken at speed but there was standing water in the middle of it. Everyone took it slow and then accelerated out of the corner then into the hill. It got old quick.

I feel like I have chest congestion - let's face it Mrs. P has been exposed to all sorts of stuff including swine flu (I am sure) at work. I am feeling the effects of something. The cold and wet conditions didn't help. I ended up coming unhooked on the last lap. I struggled back up and finished on the back of the pack for 20th place out of 25. Boo, but I'll take it. I wasn't even sure I was going to be able to race until I pinned my number on.

Can't see it too well in that pic, but we and the bikes were just coated with sand and crap.

After that Matt raced the 3/4 masters. I Opted out of this one. I was beat and really not feeling it. That and I didn't want to wait around in soaking wet clothes for an hour between races.

Matt looked like he was done about half way through the race but ended up finding something inside to keep going. He said the race was much smoother and faster than the first one. He did great and tied for 17th.

After that Joel showed up. The last race of the day was the one that Riccio, Joel and Matt were doing. We went out in full spandex wonder to a local hole int he wall diner for lunch. Matt talked Joel into trying the Chedderwurst - Ugh.

Back in time for these guys to warm up and get ready to race. Joel held his own. There were a couple of early attacks and just like a dog looking to run outside through a screen door he went after them. He got into one only 16 minutes into the race. It was a 45 minute hilly crit. Too early.

They got caught a couple of laps later. I started yelling at him every lap. Nothing very helpful but stuff like, "great position", "too early", "3 laps left - follow your gut", etc...

He ended up sprinting in the end and his position wasn't great but he had an open line to the finish. He was hurting. He has a dead elvis face. Saw it this race for the first time really. I started yelling and he came up with some more kick. He ended up in 2nd place. Nice.

....time for an upgrade.

Before the race.

Joel's dead elvis.

Little P having a blast. "I wanna watch the bike race!!!"

Monday, May 4, 2009

2009 Vernon Hills GP

Where do I start?

OK I tried to start this report like 10 times. Honestly I think I was intimidated by the sheer number of pictures I have to post. Lots of coding. So....this is Vernon Hills 2009.

Enough said. No seriously....there is more but that's the just of what happened that day. Bicycle Heaven came out with a decent sized group finally. All sorts of jokers. MJH2, RR, RA, JAnd, JF, BF, etc....OK time to ditch the abbreviations. Time for real names. Ugh. Sorry guys.

We had a crew for sure. A mix of 4's and 5's. The first target was the cat 5 race. We had Joel, Bryan, Ryan, Don and Justin all set to roll. I don't think anyone was expecting much except for Joel. Justin and Bryan went OTB pretty early on. What sucked is that they both got faster as they went throughout the race. Key sign that the warmup wasn't hard enough.

Matt, Rob and I all felt like proud papas on the sidelines, yelling advise at every opportunity regardless of how good it was. Our main concern was trying to make sure Joel didn't go too early. Funny I am sure he's had that same concern his whole life....

....sorry watching a Meg Ryan film. They affect me.

ANYWAY...we kept yelling at him to take it easy. He kept wanting to chase everything like a hungry dog staring at a pile of discarded dinner bones. "Joel! Get off the front! WAIT!" we yelled time and time again. The whole time we had Bryan early on and then Ryan trying to mark and chase some guys that I had pointed out beforehand. As a result they were fried coming into the final laps. A ,istake on our part, but not to worry.

So with 3 laps left they announce a prime. This is a common tactic in cat 5 races to call a prime with a few laps left. What it does is it causes they fast guys to go earlier than they would have and it strings everyone else out. net result is that there are fewer cat 5's sprinting and presumably it is a safer sprint in the end. It wasn't until after they were past that it dawned on us that Joel would have no idea what a prime was.

This means that all Joel would see would be a guy going off the front as they came around again. He would no doubt chase for sure. Then he'd be stuck out in front in the wind and slowly wilt. Yeah right....

Well when the pack came around there was a tri-chi rider off the front going for the priime and....Joel right behind him. We yelled at him to hold up as he went by. really all that did was confuse him. As they crossed the line the guy in front slowed up (having won the prime) and Joel looked around like "WTF??!" He was trying to figure out who was going to work with him.

It took the better part of a quarter lap before he realized he had a gap and should do it alone. He had to hold the pack off for 2 laps. In a harsh Chicago wind (that's hurricane wind in other places). When he came by the first time he had opened up a gap.


As he came around again he emerged from the lapped traffic with a defiant fist pump. The whole time all I could think was, "don't take your hands off the bars or they'll disqualify you!" Somehow he sensed it and made it a 1 handed victory.

OK, OK...then on to the 4/5 Masters race. We got an opportunity to work for Jason. It's just what Matt and I needed. Matt worked his ass off early on and was in good position when they called a prime. He couldn't resist. He looked back and asked me if I was feeling like I could go. I said yes. He said, "Good....go" and then took off. He knew I knew he meant after the prime. He went for it. He won it.

After he took it I moved to the front and put some work in. Looking at my lap times from the Garmin after the fact I pulled the pace up 2mph to 26mph. It was working well and Jason was tucked in nicely.

Then on the second to last corner where people had been getting pinched (FWIW I was bumped and hit about 4 or 5 times throughout the race. One time I actually get a "NICE SAVE!") the guy on the inside of me came out. I went out in response. The whole time everyone behind me was yelling but there was nowhere for me to go. It sucked. I could hear them pile into the curb behind me. I looked quickly once I was free and saw a guy had jumped the curb. Yuck.

I had to sprint to get back on the back of the front pack and burned up enough that I had no real kick for the end. I did what I could. They placed me 12th but it was more like 18th. The starting field was close to 75 so I took it as a victory.

We put Jason on the 30+ podium in 3rd.

After that we hung around for the rest of the day to see the pro/1/2 field. Ara, Rob, and Rich took the P/1/2 race. It was a blast watching them. Puts it all into perspective.

Now for the pictures:

Many pictures from www.180pics.com

Saturday, May 2, 2009


Did a TT today. A short 8 miler. Same basic route as the fall fling TT (the one I placed 5th in last season). Well...I have cat'd up since then.

Last fall I averaged something like 22mph. Today I averaged 24mph. I hauled ass. I felt good and I looked good. They were doing 30 seconds between riders. I ended up passing 5 guys in front of me.

Ranking wise I tied for 10th in my cat. Boo. This was the last race inthe series. I ended up 7th overall in cat4. Not bad. Out of 14 who completed enough races to be considered. Meh. Not so impressive. Mid pack again.

It was really nice having the tailwind today. I was in my 53x11 and cruising over 30mph. Bliss. Felt like puking at the end so I must have done it right.

Tomorrow is Vernon Hills. we have a lot of bodies going to this one. Should be fun.