Thursday, December 27, 2007

Pakistan's Bhutto assassinated

It's a dark day.

Pakistan's Bhutto assassinated: "Pakistan opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated by a suicide bomber on Thursday, plunging the nuclear-armed country into one of the worst crises in its 60-year history."

Settlers of Catan

FINALLY.... despite their perpetual collusion, I was able to serve up a crushing victory this morning. Ha!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Wow! Journal Star features cycling twice in the last week!

Loved reading about Matt Baumeister's touring. In fact, that's what I started off thinking I would go do, at least until I tried racing, but it's still on the list.

And Mom and I made today's sports page...
For the record, it's probably not good to do a phone interview with a cold, because if I were and institutional designer, instead of an instructional, one, I just don't know what I'd come up with. :D

In any case, I hope both articles get folks to thinking about their bikes and what they could do beyond letting them gather dust in the garage.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Family happenings

Pretty laid back Christmas around here... went to my folks' place for xmas eve where much fun was had with shock tanks and white elephant gifts like the genuine Calahan photo and fake snakes for my pop.

Of course, Erik got the tough guy award for playing tanks with his hands duct taped to the controller from start to finish. I played it sorta safe by going no tape the first time and then taping in for the next. Nick couldn't handle any taping. Said his pinkies were claustrophobic. Go figure.

My cold is fading fast, the wrist is healing, and after a full week completely off the bike, I'm getting excited to get back to it -- especially since I did the first draft of my '08 objectives yesterday. You got yours? :D Just joking. I'm a kind of person who needs an energy burning mission so as to avoid getting cantankerous, mopey or rendering life unpleasant for those nearest and dearest. My dad's kind of the same way and after 'vacationing' for maybe an evening and a morning he claimed to be struck with cabin fever.

-------------- From Pop --------------
Thanks for a fun Christmas eve. And tell them hammerheads I found the one snake in me bed with no excitement spent,'cause I ain't all dumb; but the one under my sweatshirt nearly cardiaced me this morning when I picked up the sweatshirt. Reckon my heart rate made the 150 bpm for a moment, but that merely furnishes extra blood to the long term memory system...*S* Woe be unto such rascals...
I just got to learn how to be old, you know, learn to lay 'round the house and flip aimlessly up and down the 90+/- tv channels full of drivel and convince myself I'm accomplishing something worthwhile. Twixt Christmas eve and Christmas morn, 'bout 18 hours including sleep time, I caught me a bad dose of cabin fever. Only antidote for cabin fever I know is fresh air and excitment; so I decided that since the sun was shining, the temp above freezing by a few degrees, and the north--south roads were mostly free of ice I'd get out ole Bridgestone and go for a ride. I led ole Bridge down our ice-laden drive to the county road, mounted and headed toward town and Hwy 43. Well sir, I knew the corner and up the hill for to 43 would be as ice packed as our driveway, and I dismounted and led ole Bridge till I see some road that is white with limestone dust, stopped, rolled the pedal round, mounted and headed up the steepest part of the hill...turns out that beneath that limestone dust is a layer of ice and when I put the torque to the rear tire, ole Bridge lost his footing and smack, I'm face down with Momma Earth, kissing up like a long lost lover fresh found. Now for all you greenies out there, and for Mr. Gore in particular, trust me to confide that gravity is still working, and Momma Earth ain't warm here in Huskerland!
Anyway, got the cabin fever cured and only had one other minor crash on the pavement. What a great way to enjoy a part of Christmas day. A Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year to y'all. Anyway, the Lord willing and the creek don't rise, and ole Bridgestone takes a likin' to me, I'll see you all down the road when the weather gets better....Dad

Anyway, after approaching the holiday season with some dread, it turned out to be fun as always.

The great attitude my brother-in-law has was made completely apparent when his gun-toting pirate 3-year-old son individually thanked each of us for our gifts, then went off to bed after saying to his dad, "Tell Santa I have enough presents."

My mom's seemingly effortless ability to create a beautiful, yet unpretentious and comfortable ambiance was in full swing with Christmas in every room and real candles with real flamage on the tree. They've special holders and she lights them on Christmas eve and it's gorgeous.

My overworked sis somehow found time to sneak around and make a photo album of my race pix.

My o
phidiophobic father good humoredly put up with the grandkids' jokes and even baked the cinnamon rolls and made tortilla soup. It was alleged he volunteered for the duty in order to avoid a church service, but I like to think he's coming around to enjoy a little "women's work" from time to time. ;)

The Boys, like exuberant overgrown labrador puppies, kept things lively. My younger is rapidly exchanging his prepubescent stringiness for the full power of his masculinity. Consequently, one must constantly guard against getting caught in the fray when nearly 400 pounds of vicious swings and bone crushing tackles spontaneously erupt as the younger challenges the elder for supremacy, or the latter tries to cement his stronghold. Thankfully, my cousin Kyle, the youngest of my three boys, stays out of it so far. Maybe he's got some sense after all. And speaking of that kid, I so appreciate how willing he is to play with the little kids and they love him for it.

That's all I got for now. I hope your holiday was as pleasant as mine.

Friday, December 21, 2007


I hab a code. <sniffle>

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Wrist surgery

Wrist surgery
Originally uploaded by sydney_b.
Got a ganglian cyst removed this morning. Right hand offline for a few days.


Monday, December 17, 2007

Cross Natz Elite Race

Wow. In short, upon pre-riding the course, I completely ratcheted my goals down to surviving without busting up myself or my bike -- completely. I'm not sure words really do the course justice, but I'll give it a go.

One man at the hotel said, "It's like busted up frozen concrete." And, when I saw it, I thought the same thing and then by our race there was just enough melting on the top that it was slick to boot. In several places there were deep, and I mean 4-8 inches deep frozen ruts, waiting to catch your tire. This along with the rest of the 1-3" ruts throughout the rest of the course rendered most of it single-track. There were hundreds of wrecks. At one point the announcer figured the average for each rider was running 3 spills every 10 minutes. Forks were broken, wheels flew off and it was just quite the eye opener for yours truly. In fact, the race winners were those who were able to keep the tire side down the most.

So, after the goal adjustment, I rode and tried to get the hang of going over the ruts. As it turns out, it's like a rock garden. You have to maintain momentum, even though it seems entirely counter-intuitive, and you have to keep the weight of the front of the bike. I practiced that before the race and throughout the race. Consequently, next time I face something like that, I think I'll do much better. I ended up 41st but didn't get lapped by Compton and with another year of riding experience to improve my handling skills, I think I can crack the top 25 next year.

The race itself went like this for me:
Missed my clip-in. (note to self - clean out cleats before race start), but still wasn't in awful position but the rutted right turn onto the ice/grass track was a near crash and I had to restart my momentum. I made up time and started moving up, only to be taken out by another crash, which I wasn't even really upset about. Everyone was trying to do their best and although it was frustrating, mostly I didn't want to get hurt or see anyone else get smashed up. So more than once another rider and I untangled our bikes and wound it up again.

The run-ups were good for me, and I ran that whole section because I was quite sure I wouldn't be able to clean the rutty section preceding the hill down to the asphalt and on nearly every lap I caught 1-3 women with that strategy.

On the last lap, I heard something amiss with my front wheel. I didn't know what, but when I leaped to my bike to go down the final hill and wind it up on the asphalt, I realized I wasn't going anywhere fast with a flat front tire probably due to my broken spoke. At first I thought I could ride the carbon rim, but the attempt was brief. So, after working so hard 3 times to move up after minor disasters I had to get off and jog up the hill and across the line. It hurt, but you know, that's what I like most about 'cross -- the drama.

In most every race, for most every rider, there's a full range of emotions when you mix it up with the other riders and the spectators. There's comedy, triumph, tragedy -- all of it -- and because there's not a pack or tricky drafting strategies, you pretty much get to witness and experience a fight whether you're at the front, struggling through the middle, or valiantly bringing up the tail end. And on that note, I'd like to give every single rider who faced that course this weekend in the mud and the bitter cold a giant gold star -- especially the kids out there. Man, if any of 'em were mine, I'd make 'em pancakes for breakfast for a week. :)

Hurrah for 'cross! Huzzah for the '08 season!

Friday, December 14, 2007

One of the run ups

One of the run ups
Originally uploaded by sydney_b.
Mudfest. Wish u were here.

Second place finish

Definitely the most difficult terrain ever for me. Went down 4 times but still managed to get 2nd behind sue butler of portland. So feel pretty good about that. THANKS to all of u who sent the good vibes round 2. I thot about that while I was out in the muck and it made me stronger. More later.


Mixin' it up for the women's master titles @ 1 and 2pm

My mom will be riding the women's 60+ race at 1pm and I'll be mixing it up with the 35 to 40-year olds come 2pm. Interestingly enough, there's 8 to 10 of the women in my group who are also registered for the elite race Sunday, including Sue Butler who beat me at Jingle Cross and Linda Sone, so right there you know there's gonna be some good racin' this afternoon. I'll let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

So whaddya think?

And you don't have to be a racer to do so. Many perspectives need to be heard.

Issue in short:

Elk Grove, a rich Chicago crit, announced a hugely cut prize list for the women's race as well as dropping one of the women's races for want of attendance. One of my teammates, Chris, activated and ended up talking to both the promoter and the mayor and was asked to present some alternatives. Consequently, we'd like to hear what you think, so I'd really appreciate it if you'd check it out and put your 2 cents out there.

"...frustrated with Elk Grove's decisions because I felt like they made drastic changes without really asking a broad group of women and teams what their incentives were. I complained that, while increasing the prize money, they REMOVED a race from the weekend event; which sometimes is critical in the travel decision-making." [explaining partial reason for lack of attendance]

It should also be noted that Cheerwine, the only PRO squad to show (other pros came and raced individually) won over 10K. If the same purse was offered in the 08 season, do you think those other teams are going to let that happen again? [We'd like to have the promoters give the event some time to grow instead of changing it every year in its 3 year life]

Sydney Brown | Team Revolution |

Monday, December 10, 2007


This is really kinda cool. Who would have thought KC could draw more entrants than the coast?  I guess it just goes to show how much 'cross is growing!!!

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: U.S National Cyclocross Press Office <>
Date: Dec 10, 2007 12:30 AM

For Immediate Release

Kansas City, Kan. (Dec. 9, 2007) - A record number of registrants have signed up to race in the 2007 USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships in Kansas City, Kan.

A total of 2,045 entries were received for the nearly 40 races that will take place between Thursday and Sunday, Dec. 13-16. at Wyandotte County Park.

Last year, 1,940 entrants took part in the championships in Providence, R.I. The last time the national championships were held in Kansas City, in 2000, only 600 riders participated.

"We've achieved our first goal - which was to better last year's total," said Race Director Bill Marshall of KLM Marketing Solutions. "Our next goal is to make sure that every racer comes away from the event with a positive experience."

The athletes competing in this year's championships come from 45 states, plus the District of Columbia. California will have the most representatives - 109 - followed by Kansas with 80 and Missouri with 79. The average age of a competitor is 32 years old.

The Masters Men's 35-39 category has the most entries - 171 - followed closely by Elite men, which has 167 athletes registered, and Masters Men's 40-44 division, which has 161. 

Non-championship and beginner-level races are scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 13. Age group national championship races are Friday and Saturday, Dec. 14-15.  Collegiate and elite races will take place Sunday, Dec. 16.  Admission is free and there is no charge for parking.

All competitors will receive a gift bag filled with merchandise from some of the more than 15 official event sponsors. Included will be an invitation to the post-event party Sunday at Dave and Buster's at Village West in Kansas City. Racers will also receive a $5 game card to redeem at Dave and Busters.

Course and parking maps, and the opportunity to purchase official race apparel, are available at
About the USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships
The best racers in American cyclocross will fight for the right to wear this year's stars and stripes jersey at the USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships December 13-16, 2007 in Kansas City, Kan. Four days of epic racing will take place on a technical, challenging and fast course for junior, collegiate, master and elite athletes from all over the country. The event venue will offer spectators multiple vantage points on the action, an Expo area, kids activities and beer garden. The event is sanctioned by USA Cycling and hosted by KLM Marketing Solutions.
KCCX Official Event Sponsors
Media Contact
Jodi Hall
Media Contact
Sean Weide
Trailhead Marketing | 215 W. Frankin St. Suite 214 | Monterey | CA | 93940

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Death Proof

Two thumbs up for this chick flick, and the big black needs a rumble. I'm all infatuated with muscle cars now. Hope it wears off soon as I need to save my $ for racin' next season. Preview below.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

New York Times reports on a little 'cross

Cyclocross: Mud, Sweat and Gears - New York Times: "And in the United States, a longtime dead zone for cyclocross, the sport has recently caught fire. “We’re seeing a cyclocross phenomenon of sorts in this country,” said Stuart Thorne, a former professional cyclocross rider from Wenham, Mass., who now runs the online publication “A race in Oregon last month drew nearly 1,000 cyclocross racers, which was one of the biggest showings ever.”"

Wonder if the LJS or the OWH could use this?

Bike Snob NYC: The Genuine Article: Reporting on the Fixed-Gear Phenomenon: "I've decided to save America's journalists the trouble by creating a template for future articles. If you're a journalist in a smaller city that hasn't yet reported on the fixed-gear trend, please feel free to use the article below in its entirety. Simply cut and paste, fill in the blanks, put your feet up on your desk, and cruise on up to that deadline!"

Monday, December 03, 2007

Trainer Time

Spent a couple of days on the trainer this weekend and it wasn't as bad as I was thinking it would be. The trick is to have a specific workout you're doing and have some good tunes. On Saturday, I'd embedded cues to power changes into the audio tracks, so it was a lot easier to hit the marks. The other thing I like about the trainer and on which I'll probably focus this winter is the ability to keep a constant eye on the power meter and work on smoothing my spin and learning which body positions and cadences produce the most power for the least perceived effort. Got a little clue-in yesterday, so I think it'll be a good way to spend my time. Starting to think about the road racin' next year. Oh yeah! (Don't worry, I'm not forgetting about Cross Natz this month, but I am starting to remember how fun it is to zip down the asphalt on skinnies.)

Friday, November 30, 2007

A grin or 5 for Friday

Lifted from CTodd:

What is cyclocross?

and if that doesn't make u laugh, try this:
Cycling Sweatshirts

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Oh, and BTW......

Don't remember the date, but I recall it was this week, no?

Cold weather commute

Cold weather commute
Originally uploaded by sydney_b.
Yep, its that time again. Several layers will keep u right for getting to work, training over lunch and returning home.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Public Transportation Day a Success

I took off yesterday and pulled the two younger boys out of school for a public transportation day. See, Lincoln is not only bike friendly by and large, but also has a fairly decent bus system for a city of its size, not that I've really researched other cities, but I have made a point to always live on a route. Not only does it ensure prompt snow removal in the winter, but should I ever opt not to ride my bike, I could easily grab the bus. Up until recently, I couldn't understand why the boys didn't take the bus to go see movies and whatnot. They'd complain of 'nothing to do' but make no effort to go do anything. Weird. Finally, it occurred to me that the process might seem a little intimidating and that perhaps I needed to ride with them once to get 'em going, so "Public Transit Day" was planned and executed. We started with a taxi ride, the cost of which quickly made it obvious why people opt for their own cars, and why one would want to be especially careful NOT to miss one's bus. So, good initial lesson.

We made it to Kyle's eye appointment on time and after verifying the last two downtown departures of our bus, we walked across campus to make use of the basketball courts and climbing wall. A couple hours later, we headed for the main bus stop. Finding ourselves early, we dropped into a nearby coffee shop for mochas and pastries, then grabbed the bus on home. I think the boys enjoyed it and one of them is going to try it by himself today.

See, I don't really care if the boys ever race bikes, but I do want them to understand first and foremost I AM NOT A CHAUFFEUR and that a car is rarely something you absolutely NEED -- that it's more of a want or a convenience. Even for me. I've often wondered if it might be less expensive to simply rent a car to go to bike races, but I don't make that change, b/c I also like my car for zipping out to my folks with the boys. Is it worth the payment and the insurance??? I guess so. Also, if I rented a car... probably get bike grease all over it and that would be a problem, I'm sure.


Originally uploaded by sydney_b.
Erik on the wall

Monday, November 26, 2007

Jingle Cross Race Report 2007

Jingle Cross was worth going to once again. Ferocious run ups both days and for that I was thankful because I count such horrors in my strengths department. (A big thank you to my local Ace hardware store for the M5 .8 pitch bolts I used Saturday instead of Sidi brand spikes. They worked like a charm and not a single time did I slip on that muddy climb.) Another huge thank you to everyone who hollered and helped me push on. It's pavlovian (sp?) the way the cheers and bells help me find just a little more juice. It was also a pleasure to get my butt whooped by Sue Butler and Wendy Williams of River City Cycles.

Talk about inspiration - I had been suffering a case of wussitis and a side of blah, but after losing the wheels of these two I have an entirely rejuvenated spirit. Gonna work on my weaknesses and use my strengths and maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to hold your wheel a little longer next time. Three weeks to nationals and I'm feelin' good.

Here's a good vid of Saturday's run-up. I believe these are the 3/4 men on their first lap.
Punk Rock Cycling chix were great to meet and get to hang with. Here be their pix. More pix as they get posted. I didn't take any. :( Just plain forgot in my focus on racing.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Originally uploaded by sydney_b.
Yep. You're readin' right. I'm gonna give this transiowa thing a go. There's a coupla other women already on the list, so I guess it'll be a race stead of a group ride. :)

Sydney Brown - sent from a mobile device

Monday, November 19, 2007

whaddahoot: The Man In The Tree

If you're a parent, or ever plannin' on being one, you should read this:
whaddahoot: The Man In The Tree: "The Man In The Tree"

No Fear/Sobe X Weekend in Lincoln

Hooligan Hill was great. The course was great. The weather couldn't have been better. I don't care how "not real cross" fair skies and firm turf is, I still dig it.

Saturday I signed up for the masters men so that I could leave early and take care of some stuff. Unfortunately, I caught the tip of my toe on the UCI regulation height barriers by the main tent and absolutely buried my head and left shoulder into the ground. After impact, checking for teeth, and broken bones, I withdrew to clear the stars my vision and later raced with the 1/2/3 men at the end of the day. I ended up 15th out of 21 starters and wasn't disappointed with that all things considered. The coolest thing was using the lap timer dealies that made it possible to see all our lap times and even compare our racing with the others in the field. Here's a link to mine. My first and last laps were my fastest and the ability to compare my times with the rest of the field confirmed what I've been suspecting lately, which is that I'm too conservative in the first laps. In viewing the top 10 men, I noticed all their laps got progressively slower and that I need to be more aggressive and not allow gaps during the first couple of laps. Period. Of course, I don't think I can do that in the men's 1/2/3, but I do think I could move up a few placings there and definitely improve my performance in the men's 3/4 and women's fields. So, consider the lesson learned. :)

Sunday, I was so sore from Saturday's fall that I just rode the women's race and took it about as easy as is allowable and despite doing that still rolled a tire. Sheesh. I have to improve my glue technique.

My mom, Nancy Brown, finished her first complete 'cross race and did so with good speed. Now, it's back to work, prepping for Jingle Cross this next weekend, and on to nationals!

(thx to lincoln-roadies for the pics)

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Man vs Wild

Man vs Wild
Originally uploaded by sydney_b.
After cake and ice cream, we digest our delicious dinner while watching a dude eat desert bugs and raw goat testicals. There was also a couple of good fights tween erik and nick. To erik's surprise his big bro can still whup up on him. All the kids got measured too and there was much comparision. Erik will outgrow nick in approximately 6 to 8 weeks. Happy 14th, Erik!

Friday, November 16, 2007

I know who I'm gonna be cheering for...SLIPSTREAM

<< Learning To Accept
Jonathan Vaughters revealed the secret weapon in Slipstream’s approach to ensure clean riding on their team - changing the context of the sport from “win at all costs” to accepting defeat and embracing humanity, then racing and winning as much as possible. And from what was presented, everyone from the Sponsors, to the riders, to the staff and management have aligned to his vision - we all have to accept the limits of what human beings can do, which will often result in defeat, in order to savor the victories with integrity and rid the sport of doping. >> Read the whole thing.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

No way.... do people really buy this?

Mechanical Mustang Riding Horse No way. My friend June over at No Free Laps tipped me off on this, uh....., doohicky.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Silent auction to benefit local cyclist hit by a car - John Andrews

All, remember to be careful out there. I got my first car thump yesterday on 19th and R streets. Fortunately, despite the speed of the driver, I and my bike were easily mended. John Andrews was not so lucky and suffered severe injuries. If you have some items you're willing to donate to a silent auction being held later this month, please get a hold of one of the folks listed at the bottom of this post.


Originally posted on Folks From Lincoln by CVO
here's the deal- there is going to be a benefit silent auction for the family on the 20th of this month. I know it's short notice but PLEASE mark your calendars for this. We all have to do holiday shopping anyway, and there is no better way to give thanks for all we have than to help a friend who is truly in need. Here are the details:

PLACE: 3701 O St. Suite. 202 Lower Level of Sandquist Construction Group's Offices Parking around back. Scott and Amy, you are awesome.

DATE: Tuesday, November 20th, 2007

TIME: 5 to 9 PM. Auction ends at 8PM. Need not be present to win.

Good things to eat, good things to drink, some music, a little comedy, cool things to bid on, and a really good cause.

We already have many very cool things that people have donated, but we need more. If you have anything to donate, it will help. Let one of these people know what you have:
Eric Pavey
Cheryl Pavey 402-429-9294
Amy Sandquist 402-499-9706
Ross and Barb Brockley

Monday, November 12, 2007

Gotta stick to more conventional ways of meeting people

Met a young woman today. She's nice, says she's very competitive and interested in racing her bike. I'd say she could probably do NASCAR being as I met her because she hit me with her car snaking round a corner at high speed. It was rather alarming for both of us, but fortunately my number wasn't up today. Instead of hood ornamentation, I t-boned the side. (Also very glad I was being attentive to my recovery day and not zipping down R street at my usual pace.) Have a sore wrist and the Badger is in for evaluation, but hopefully Brandi will come out and race her bike, then start riding it instead of driving. :)

Friday, November 09, 2007

Afternoon adrenaline pump

Just watching a race and thinking about these racers coming to KC in December gets my heart to pumping. Gotta knock out the work and get on my bike. After a short promo, you'll see the video highlights from the women's Grand Prix race in Kentucky.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Why ride for Team Revolution?

It's a no brainer. Capt'n Carrie Cash is about the coolest person I know. Check these out.

This is so funny.....

Bike Snob NYC: 'Cross My Heart and Hope to Die: A BSNYC Cyclocross Primer: "I’ve learned some tips for dealing with that nasty in-between part, which I present to you herewith. I won’t say they’ll make you a better racer--the way I race puts the “can’t” back in “cantis”--but I guarantee they’ll make you a better loser:"

Big thanks to June for popping me this link. Laughed till the tears ran.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

R-E-S-P-E-C-T the chill

Boy o boy, did I pull a dumb one last nite. I went to do my intervals and didn't put on shoe covers or grab my winter grade gloves. Don't know what I was thinking, but it was a big MISTAKE cuz by the time I was heading back towards town it was nearing 30 degrees F. I was switching hands on and off the bars and blowing into them to warm them enough to keep them from going completely numb. My feet were stinging. When I got home and they began to thaw every single nerve ending started pulsating. It was an exquisite level of pain nearly sufficient to have me vomiting. So, let my lesson be sufficient for you. Break out your cold weather gear. The time has come.

Sunday, November 04, 2007


Originally uploaded by sydney_b.
Erik did a lot of climbing. Hard to watch but he's pretty skillful.


Friday, November 02, 2007

Tired of changing flats? How about a horse instead?

If you're in the market for a mighty fine quarter horse with a little hot thoroughbred running through him, my dad's got a couple more he's putting on the market.

Chipper, a sorrel, handles like a sports car with an engine to match.

Prefer something in true black? Lil' Joe is coming right along. Not as finished as his half bro just yet, but it won't be long.

Yeppers.... Helped Dad with his colts last night. He's been selling them on As much as I wanted to lope circles and ride more, I couldn't help remember the last time I did that and how sore I was. It's amazing. You wouldn't think the muscles used would be that different, but they are and if you ride a horse hard, with your legs like you should, your bike peddling is gonna suffer for a while. With the Riverside weekend on the horizon, I played it safe and stuck with just enough riding to do the job. Check out the Riverside flyer for more info.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Testing picture upload

Testing picture upload
Originally uploaded by sydney_b.
I hope this goes thru

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Testing ppc post

This is a test of my new mobile.

wouldn't this be fun ....

Thx to Kelly S. for finding this vid.

Monday, October 29, 2007

!!! You're supposed to drink it!

!!! You're supposed to drink it!
Originally uploaded by sydney_b.
Post race hill run-ups and hand-offs.

Capital Cross & Boulevard Cup: The lowdown

So, the Capital Cup was Saturday in Topeka. Good course, maybe a little long, but should have been a good one for me and I was looking forward to laying it down. Was also excited because it was a large women's field and Catherine Walberg was there. You gotta understand that last year was my first 'cross season and Catherine handed me seconds by large margins the WHOLE time. So, as much as I like Catherine, I was really wanting to win one.

On the second lap I was leading and trying to lay on the power and I focused on the wrong tree or cones or something and in an instant I heard my name being yelled in a non-cheering fashion. I look around, realize what's going on and Catherine waves me back to course. I circle back and get on track, but my concentration is blown and I can't get my mental game initiated for the self flagellation. Catherine, on the other hand, seemed to jump right back into the race full bore and dropped me like a sack of potatoes. :( So, after the race, I tried to focus on what went right. I felt strong. The first tubular I'd ever glued stayed on. My barriers were good. So later, feeling determined to do better the next day, I was standing by Catherine and jokingly told her I was coming for her on Sunday.

(Will I ever learn to keep my mouth shut? Why in the world would I want to prompt my strongest competitor to bring her A game? Sheesh. Oh well, once it leaves your mouth, you just got to suck it up and deliver, so it was water and an early to bed for me.)

Sunday's race I had planned to get there early and ride the course so as to control what I could. You know, learn the course, warm up properly and all that. However, being directionally challenged, I drove my sleeping companion south instead of north at a critical juncture and we were late, missing the masters race and leaving me with only 20 minutes to warm up. But...all that really means in 'cross is that the first lap will be a doozy. So what. Harden the **** up, right?

Our race was a mere 3 laps, or roughly 30 minutes, and my original plan was to take Michelle's advice and follow Catherine and Jen around the first lap to learn the course. Unfortunately, or not, I'm not sure... I got a great start (thx coach) and popped right into the lead. Of course, all this meant was that took the first turn and promply blew through the wrong cones. (I'm tellin' you, the life of the directionally challenged can be frustrating.) I circle back and catch back on behind Catherine and Jen. At least I'm in the position I originally wanted. The pace is fast but we're hanging together and I had a few more foibles, one of which opened quite a gap between me and two on the front. Upon seeing this, however, my two friends Jen and Michelle, who are also in the race and never hesitate to give me advice, holler at me to close it up. When I'm hammering, I'm pretty focused, but a direct order like that seems to automatically trigger the correct response and I quickly closed the gap. Not long after, smarty Catherine kinda sits up and I jump to the fore again. It was a good move on her part because she knew at that point it was just the 3 of us and if I was on the front, I would have to worry about attacks from her and Jen and that they would be able to see when I shifted or tried to make a move to ride 'em off my wheel.

However, I knew there were only 3 laps and the last thing I wanted was to slow the pace at all and let the two of them get any rest or gang up on me by launching attacks and counter attacks.

So, I tried to just dig in, hammer, and keep the pace high enough that any attack would be prohibitively expensive in terms of energy. I also focused on the barriers which seemed to be my advantage yesterday afternoon.

The start/finish is uphill on pavement, so by the time I came down off the grass and hit the road, I had my big ring spun up and was poppin' gears. This is the point where the drills Marc had me do really paid off. Not only have they given me good starts, but when the time came to finish strong, my body knew what to do without too much brain input, and I powered up the hill and crossed the line first. Then, in proper 'cross fashion, couldn't breath, wanted to fall over and puke. That's 'cross. It's fun. Trust me.

Later, Catherine gave me some tips regarding my tires. I guess I was running them way too hard and that was contributing to skipping around in the corners and across the bumps. As I understand it, if you use a lower pressure, the bike will get less "air time" and more power will be delivered to moving it forward. Makes sense. I'll give it a try. I also think this demonstrates what a fine competitor she is. I mean, giving tips to a rival to up the game isn't something everyone would do. But, like she said on Saturday... "When I saw you were here, I knew it was gonna be a race." And on my part, I had originally planned to do both the women's and men's that day, but when I saw Catherine was there, I knew I'd only need the one.

I think we'll be layin' it down at Riverside next weekend. That's a fun one with a big @$$ sand pit along with a sandy run-up, unless they changed the course. It's a real spectator friendly one too. Come on out! Bring yer bells!

Where the steps will be

There are two run-ups on this hill. Yesterday a single barrier was used to force the run-up, but at nationals there will be two flights of railroad tie stairs. Best learn to shoulder your bike and run.

If you missed the Boulevard Cup...

You missed seeing this live. You missed the best food spread all season. You missed the band and the beer and the raffle. In short, you missed a GREAT time. Oh, I did I mention this is the nationals course... and if you missed your chance to practice it on a nice sunny day... I think you're going to regret it. :)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Taking my own advice

Last weekend I was talking to a young woman about racing Jingle Cross and she was wondering if she ought to through in with the elites as well as her own race. I told her yes, because the best way to get faster is to start riding with those who are faster than you. So, this weekend, I took my own advice and raced with the men 1/2/3 at the Nebraska cross series #1 and #2. Saturday I got 10th out of ~25, and today, well, I was much weaker sauce, ending up 14th out of roughly 20 starters. Nonetheless, I considered both finishes to be solid successes for a couple of reasons. First, one focus was to be aggressive in my cornering. Second, I was put in the position of needing to give everything I had or risk being last. Talk about motivation. ;) Consequently, both aims were met.

I suffered two mishaps. On Saturday, I dropped a chain and that cost me big time, then today I took a spill and ended up placing behind the Cornbread who caught me while I was shaking the stars from my head and locating my bike. Didn't matter. I accomplished what I set out to do and after a couple of rest days expect to be stronger for the experience. Next week will find me down in Kansas for the Capital Cup in Topeka and Boulevard Cup in KC.

The highlight of the weekend though was getting to watch my mom's first 'cross race. She did great and I'm so very proud that she went out there and rode it. Twas a tough course to start this sport on, but I think she'll do great and be even stronger for #3 & #4 in this series. My friends Christine and Nicole also gave 'cross their first go's. Nicole won on Saturday and Christine was second.

Janna Vavra won the women's open both days, despite running way too big of a gear on her single-speed. I'm hoping she gets that gearing figured out and secures some options, then goes with me to Jingle Cross...which reminds me.... I need to get registered.

Friday, October 19, 2007

One way to meet men

Have a brake failure and land in their arms. Criminey. As if having some strange sound coming from my crank wasn't embarrassing enough this morning.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Boulevard Cup

Word has it the Boulevard Cup is going to use the same course as the nationals. I'm gonna get my heiney down there and see what it's like. No point in not making the most of the home court opportunities! (I'm prolly the last to know this,but in case I'm only 2nd to last, I've posted this.)

Check it out....

Marc sported his new kit for the first time at Spooky Cross. Looks as good in orange and he did in blue. Fryguyimages for Spooky Cross.

Monday, October 15, 2007

What's not to love about 'cross?

The walls of the pain cave drip with black Iowa mud.
(thx to Corey and Marc for the pix)
Check Lincoln Ve-Low for Cornbread's take sometime soon.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Outta the money in the men's race. Won women's. Total mudfest. Exhausted. Need help with laundry :)
Spooky cross is gonna b super slimey cross. So wet it won't matter if u slide into the lake at the bottom of the hill.
Thunder and lightening and lotsa rain.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

4th out of 20 in the men's 3 4. First in the women's outa 9. Back to back i'm zapped

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Had some 'cross fun last night

Cross practice was a blast. I hope henceforth upon the autumnal equinox Wednesday Worlds transforms into 'Cross nite. Was super cool to see folks from all the different riding groups. Everyone can mix it up to their hearts content and no one gets dropped. Heck, there was even a picnic table near the barriers for spectators to practice their spectatin' and get a front row view of the crashes! (Thanks Troy and John for the entertainment.) The only thing missing was hot cocoa afterwards. :D Can't wait to do it again next week! Check out some of the other pix over on FFL.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I didn't know they made 'em this big

I'm not usually one to get squeamish, but this wigged me... ( "Coconut Crab That fellow is a coconut crab and not, as you might initially suspect, a rubber B-movie prop."

Which one is not like the others?

Prolly don't have to pay for this parking spot.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Automated phone routing systems

I just hate 'em these days and I'm not alone. In fact, others must be more fed up than me as I came across this "GetHuman" database today on 43Folders. Lists 500 companies and how to get a person on the line and Alltel is on the list, heh heh.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Cross practice in the park

Went out to Pioneers Park and used the cross country runner's loop for a cross course. Had a real fast start, then shortly had to dodge geese, ride through mud and back around again. While I was getting ready for the 2nd lap I see a couple of other 'crossers coming up the way - Nate and Jesse. We rode down to see if last year's course was rideable, but the grass is about a foot high and we settled for running hooligan's hill then returning to the runner's loop, where we did a couple more hot laps and called it good. Twas nice to have some company to help push my pace. I was a little down and sore in the quads and wasn't hitting it at race pace.

Prolly more valuable is riding behind either of these two and seeing how the technical hotshots handle the corners. Was fun.

This pic is from 2004. Last year the weather was perfect. Tony's in the red.

"If we're gonna use this course this year, they oughta start mowing now, tho, or we'll be calling it 'jungle cross'"(jesse)

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Surprises in the land o small trees

My sleep was interrupted last night just shy of 3 am.

"Oh my god! Oh my god! Jess! I'm so naked!"

This sounds like its right outside my window despite living on the third floor, so naturally, being the sort that always has to go see... I get up and peer out the window. Sure enough, crouched by a small wrought iron gate are three figures, one still wrestling with a shirt.

Amused and wondering if this performance is perhaps for my eldest son's benefit, I relocate to the deck for a clearer view of the proceedings.

Shortly thereafter, "Omigod! Omigod! Omigod!" cuts through the silence. Immediately followed by shrieks and the flapping of bare feet on the sidewalk. Three naked rubenesque girls jiggle their way as fast as they can for about a fifth of a block.

Headlights appear on the horizon. The girls crouch along the fence behind a tree with a 4 inch trunk diameter. I wonder if they can hear me laughing.

They make their way back to the starting position, gather their things and make their way, still naked across towards my building. As they near my deck, I call down, "Very entertaining."

Silence. They run to the darkest shadow of the building, dress without speaking and disappear. I tell ya, you just never know what might happen out here where the trees are small, the shrubbery meatball shaped and the grass -- astroturf perfect.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Prepping to race like a dang slider puzzle lately

So.... Rob sends me up a beautiful bike. No problem right? It's designed to accept both mtb and road wheels, so I get it set up and it shifts horribly. This on top of discovering how out of true and loose spoked my front wheel is sends me down to the shop where we determine to try a rear mtb wheel and see if that makes any difference. Reluctant to purchase anything, I tear down the tubeless I9's and conclude the day with 3 out of 4 bikes dismantled, "Stans" all over the kitchen floor, and still afoot as I was unable to get the cross tires inflated tubeless style. (Yeah, I know. Put tubes in, but I wanted to run them tubeless and got stuck on that.)

Awaken and take the bike, wheels, and tires to the shop. Maybe using their compressor I can get the tires right. Nope. I finally relent and add tubes. Tires are fine now, but despite adjustments, it still shifts poorly. Then, Eric solves the problem.

Turns out there's a little tab where the cable goes into the derailleur that MUST be positioned so that it is towards the back. If turned any other way, then it bumps a thing and ruins the shifting.

Woo hoo! Maybe my original plan of training on the tap and racing with my carbons will still come together. All I have to do is switch the tires and wheels all around again. Gah! Tinkering rates somewhere just above having my toe stubbed on the fun list. Oh well, racing in two weeks, you do what you gotta do, no? Figure I'll do it on my Monday rest day after hot laps on Sunday.

Towards the end of my workout on the home course, I run over the end of a wire and pop it exactly up into the derailleur cracking one dura-ace rear unit and bending the hangar way out. CRAP!!! I feel sick and contingency plans are in short supply.

Back to my local bike shop heroes. Nate has some special tools and after warning me several times it probably wouldn't work and all that, he gets it back in line and lo and behold the derailleur off my road bike works great. He then points out that my mtb wheels are so out of true that I really ought to do something about it. So, the tire slider game begins anew. Finally, as of yesterday, the bike is all together, two sets of wheel are true and I just have to put the mtb bike back together. Oh, I guess there's one more thing.....

Take the road tubulars off and put the Grifo Challengers on my carbons. Solvent, glue -- I'm sure it'll be an education. Oh, and did I mention I cracked the LED on my powertap computer and messed up my phone when they both slipped off my lap while sitting in the car?

(Now you know why my posts have sparse of late)

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Folks must have a lot of $ to buy this stuff

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Wow. The things people spend money on.  Click and feel smarter.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

2007 'cross debut will be .... Spooky Cross

Spooky 'Cross 2007: Home

A New Fall Cyclocross Classic ------------- Last year I tried 'cross for the first time at Chris Cross down in Kansas and I'd like to return to that course, but the payouts at Spooky Cross and the opportunity to see some of my Iowa friends is gonna send me east instead of south this year.   Get yer cross on!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

FEB '07 -- but read it anyway - the world centre of cycling

The US Cyclo-cross team stunned the world by taking three silver medals at the world championships this year. While remarkable, the medals won in this year's 'cross worlds weren't the first big results for the US in cyclo-cross. In 1999, Matthew Kelly won the gold in the junior men's race and Tim Johnson took bronze in the Espoirs. The next year Walker Ferguson took silver in the juniors, and the women have been competitive for years - Alison Dunlap and Ann Knapp scored top ten finishes for several years. Does this year's haul signal a new era in American cyclo-cross? Racer and writer, Peter Hymas, explores the potential for a US 'cross explosion.

Racers under pristine New England weather.

Photo ©: Russ & Nancy Wright
(Click for larger image)

Thanks. I needed that.

Drive or ride? That was the question this morning as I filled my bag. Laptop, lunch.... uh... yep, extra clothes. Hell, I'm gonna ride and I'm takin' the fenderless Badger to boot. Can't get any surlier, so might as well take some grump out on the weather. Sheets of water sting my eyes. Tires slip on the paint strips. Puddles deep enough to swamp my shoes. Comedian cagers aim their tire splash -- as if I can get any wetter. I wonder if I should've double-bagged the laptop.

Two miles later, I cut across the grass grinning and toss a "good morning" at a momma with a rain cover on her baby carriage and a dog leash in the other hand. Another woman zips by on her scooter. I'm starting to feel pretty good. A little cheeky even. What a difference some adventure and an elevated heart rate can make. Ride your bike. Good for your mental health.

Oh, and better yet... someone had made coffee and left cinnamon rolls at the office. Not the cheapo ones either - authentic , classic Miller & Paine ones. Yum.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Carrie Cash takes 11th in Vegas

Pleased as punch to announce my teamie, Carrie Cash (
XPLANE - Team Revolution), took 11th at the inaugural world crit champs in Las Vegas despite lacking teammates to do some work for her.

Congrats also to Samantha Schneider (Mesa Cycles) 6th, and Kelly Benjamin (UCI Cheerwine)5th.

Official Results

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Sept. 26, 1983: The Man Who Saved the World by Doing ... Nothing

This is a great example of why the front line of any organization needs to be empowered to make some decisions.

Sept. 26, 1983: The Man Who Saved the World by Doing ... Nothing: "Sept. 26, 1983: The Man Who Saved the World by Doing ... Nothing"

Monday, September 24, 2007

1st Annual Farm Cross Clinic

Well, the course is a good one and once the corn is down, we're going to smooth out the roughest spots a bit, put a little more room into the tighest corners, and then it'll be fast fast fast.

We had about 10 folks out yesterday with three of those being beginners. While the others rode the course and wore it down a bit, we worked on our dismounts, barriers and remounts. Later, there was focus on going over smaller obstacles like a curb-sized log without dismounting. Next time we meet we'll cement those skills further and add additional ones. We had a few crashes with one persistent rider who shall be named - Kelly - insisting on a grand total of 5 or 6 endos. Sheesh. She says she's not scared of falling now tho. My mom did a great job with her dismounts and only had one accident when her fender stay thing caught and tripped up the program. Needless to say, the fenders and the rack came off her ride mighty quick. In fact, she's signed up for nationals and hitting the training. Methinks she might have a championship before me. :)

A huge thanks to everyone who made time to come out and give the course a go and sharing their suggestions for improvement. I think having a course or two to actually train on is going to make a big difference in my performance this season. Mom and Dad said we could use it any time, so watch your email and this blog for practice opportunities. Who knows... once the PCL gets wind....

Oh, and there's no pictures because everyone was having too much fun riding their bikes, so you're gonna have to come see it for yourself.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Get yer (farm) cross on....Sunday.

Yeah, I have the coolest mom, ever.

I call her today to see if it's ok if I come out and try and map out a cross course, and you know what? She already made one. It's 1.1 miles, runs around the farm with some good long straight bits, curves, barriers, grass, gravel, and who knows what else. Plannin' on giving it a thorough test run Sunday afternoon 'tween 2 and 5pm. They're located out by Bennet, so you can ride out. If you're interested in attendin' email me and I'll hook you up with more details. That's .... sydney dot e dot brown at gmail dot com.

Oh, and bring the kids if you like. There's a trampoline to break their necks, a hayloft with a rope to break their legs, cats to scratch 'em, 'lectric fences to shock and thrill, some horses to ogle and even a stinky dog.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

NonConform Weekend

This weekend found me and my son, Erik, and his best buddy, Eric, in Cedar Rapids for an HPV (Human Powered Vehicle) Race. Although I was totally out of my league geekwise - these folks are ingenious - I had a good time and the boys did too.

We arrived late Saturday and Dennis hustled me up and got me in a race before I could say yeah or nay. Unfortunately, the low racer had taken a beating since the Wednesday we learned to ride it and I had scads of tech problems and came in last among the women with several chain drops and high speed runaways into the grass-filled center field of the race track. No wrecks tho.

The next day, however, Dennis and his buddy Rick, who had brought low racers for the boys, had my low racer dialed in a lot better and I only had two chain drops, no grabbing brakes, and a solid steering column, so I was able to crank up the speed a bit. And, I guess that's the coolest thing about these to me. You're down low to the ground with 30 mph easy to attain and boy o boy does it feel fast. Occasionally it sneaks into my mind just how much skin would come off if I were to screw it up, but then I just relax, look where I want to go, and give it a bit more power. After all, speed is your friend. It's momentum keeps the bike up, right? ;)

In other news, my Erik said he figured he actually did have the family competitive spirit since it bugged him so much when people passed him. On Sunday, Mr. High Speed even drafted and was completely annoyed and may have even cussed when he skidded out on a turn and had to chase down folks he had been just about ready to pass.

His buddy, Eric, also did really well considering he learned to ride the bike the night before and was in a race the next afternoon. He also had a crash into the tires and hurt his ankle a bit, but I think he'll be fine. Didn't seem to dim his enthusiasm for the machines.

A huge thanks to the HPV community for letting us newbies come out and play, sharing their gear, and telling us about their vehicles. An even bigger thanks goes out to Dennis and his mom and dad. Dennis for making it possible to participate and perhaps finally getting my boys turned on to the beauty of two-wheeled conveyances, and his mom for the most delicious baked goods... which is why Dennis has to ride bikes so much. If he didn't, I don't see how one would avoid becoming a 500 pounder. Both Dennis's folks are so nice and without them the race wouldn't have been half as fun. Thank you! I'm sure you'll see us non-conforming again.

Prolly won't be the first time this kid has a lead on his ol' mom...