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...

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Cooperative spiders -- ick.

Discovery Channel :: News - Animals :: Giant Spiderweb Persists Despite Storms

A variety of spider species built on one another's work to create a sprawling web that blanketed hundreds of yards of trees and shrubs at a north Texas park, according to entomologi

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Learning to ride all over again

It seems a little strange... there we were, barely able to go two feet without falling over onto the asphalt and the solution we came up with was "gimme the gloves and go faster." Smarties at work me thinks. Not too much later, comments like these were flowing:

"If I had a bike like this, I'd ride it all the time." -- Nick
"This is the coolest -- ever." --Erik

And... It is a really fun ride, not that I got much time on it. The boys bickered back and forth about who got to be next. I could barely believe my ears... bickering over who got to ride a bike. (It should be said though, that Nick is seeking a new set of wheels. His honda died and went to honda heaven last night. I guess some part rusted through and the repair would have been double the car's value.)

There were a few crashes, but we only broke the rear brake cable and we're not worried about any endos on this baby.

Wish my phone did better video, but you can kind of get a sense of our difficulties.

We finally get to cruising. By dark, all three of us can speed around the giant parking lot, shift gears, run the brake and Nick even practices waving - a one man parade.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Cyclocross Calendars and Flyers

Here I am, trying to plan my 'cross season
and having a heck of a time -especially locating races in Kansas.
When's the Boulevard Cup? What's going on in MN? What all does IA have?
Why aren't there flyers? I know. Whine. Whine. Whaaaaah. Got links?
Please post.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Gateway Cup
Twelve months ago.... I was just catt'ed up to a 3 after significant cat 4 wins at the Tour of KC. When I pulled up to the line, someone asked me, "you racing with the 4's." I answered no, I was going with the 1/2/3s and she said, "you picked a helluva introduction." My stomach was in a knot. The race started and it was fast. So fast I was dropped and puking by a tree the end of the 2nd lap.

Last Friday, I was again on the line under the lights. But, although pre-race anticipation was high, there was no fear. Only a quiet voice in my head. "Slow down and be fast. Your legs feel good and you're strong. Take your time and strike hard when you do." The race starts and I make sure I get my pedal and after the first corner I'm towards the rear of the pack. A fleeting flashback, then confidence as I apply power as move up the outside to the front quarter of racers. The attacks come hard and fast, but pretty soon the XPLANE women are making themselves felt by not only reacting to attacks, but firing several of our own. Eventually a counter gets me off the front and away eventually yielding a 2nd place finish.

Carrie Cash (5th), Megan (3rd), Kelly Benjamin (1st), Samantha Schneider (2nd), me. I have to keep those thick soled flip flops... I think they give me an extra 2" of height. :)
The goal I had going into the Cup was to finish at least once in the top 5. The outcome was a top five finish in 3 out of 4 races which yielded a 4th place finish in the overall. So, of course I was pleased, but have since identified several errors which had they not been made, might have resulted in an even better finish. For example, in the non-top 5 finish Washington Ave. race, I worked hard trying to get away and really spent some matches in order to take a $50 prime. The result of this was not having the legs to sprint up the hill at the end. That being said, perhaps a stronger mental focus on what I was in the race to achieve might have given me the mental strength to drive my legs and hang onto someone's wheel.

Because breakaways are my thing, I did a lot of attacking and counter attacking with my teammate, Katie Weber. This led to two successful escapes. In the first, Friday night, Katie had been off the front with a group of 4 for three or four laps and it seemed like maybe they'd stay away, but eventually the field pulled them in just before the 4th corner. At that point, K. Benjamin, prepared for my counter, immediately looked to see where I was at, so I didn't move. Instead, I drifted back a bit and came around the corner, then hit the gas up the inside. Shortly, Rene from Vitamin Cottage in CO and I were away and putting time on the field. I might have pulled too much though, but I was desperate not to get caught. In my opinion, 2nd was a better finish than letting the sprinters back in the game. Of course, what I did wrong, was to not attack Rene in the last two laps. I should have attacked and just ripped the corners. Maybe I could have won it then. Who knows? But, the lesson was drilled home and future breakaway partners should take note. ;)

The 2nd successful breakaway was the last day and the unfortunate aspect was that two of the toughest sprinters (Benjamin and Schneider) were in it. Consequently, Megan (Vitamin Cottage) and I did a lot of the work and I really pulled the last couple of laps. We had a 20 second gap, so I suppose there was time to play games and try and get at least one to come around so I didn't lead everyone out, but I really didn't want to risk a secure 3rd or 4th place finish for a field sprint after working the breakaway. As a team we had a goal of finishing two of us in the top five and with me in the break with the only two sprinters who might be able to beat my teamie, Carrie Cash, we had that goal on target, so I just went for it and ended up fourth. Had I been thinking more clearly (and will next time), not only will start the sprint a little early, but I *will* pop back around and catch someone's wheel.

The highlights were twofold.

First, working with the my XPLANE/Team Revolution teammates was so much fun and I'm excited about next season and our further refinement in how we employ everyone's strengths. Second, the Gateway Cup was evidence of what determined goal setting, training, and support can yield. When my coach and I drew up the season's goals way back in November, the once in the top five finish seemed overly ambitious to me, but Marc said it was perfectly reasonable and maybe I should even aim to win one. Friday night when I picked up my check and medal, it occurred to me how critical it had been to have someone help equip me, train, and to help build my confidence. So, thanks, Marc for everything you do. Another huge thank you goes out to my family. Without their support there is no way I could train enough or race enough to get the fitness and experience that leads to maximizing potential. Finally, to each and every spectator and friend who hollers... you cannot imagine how important that is. When my legs are tired and spirit is fading, to hear your voice is like a powerful tonic. Thank you for coming out and making the race so exciting.

See you next year, St. Louis!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

I thought it would take them longer....

Junebug, of No Free Laps, brought this important news to my attention:

Non-Doping Cyclists Finish Tour De France

PARIS—A small but enthusiastic crowd of several dozen was on hand at the Tour de France's finish line on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées Tuesday to applaud the efforts of the 28 cyclists who completed the grueling 20-stage, 2,208.3-mile race without the aid of performance-enhancing drugs.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Gateway Cup: Tour de Lafayette Square
XPLANE/Team Revolution takes 4 top 10 spots

2nd Sydney, 5th Mindy, 6th Carrie, 8th Katie
Team repeated attacks pays off. Katie gets the ball rolling and is away for 4 laps with a 3 other riders. When the break was caught, I attacked and came away with one other rider. We managed to stay away to the end. If I'd been smart, I would have been more aggressive and attacked my partner a few times and maybe been able to come away with a win. Oh well, try to remember for the next time.

Janna (TeamFIRE) takes 8th in the cat 4 even with her head cold!

Not as bad as it looked

Originally uploaded by sydney_b.
This spins all the ways it's possible to spin. Feeling queasy with remembering.

State Fair

Originally uploaded by sydney_b.
Erik, Kyle, and I headed out to the State Fair. They were gonna take friends, but their buddies got grounded, so I had to ride all the rides. Because we're smart, we ate first. The boys had their annual smoked turkey legs and I opted for a proper Polish braut with kraut and the works. Nobody puked, but it wasn't for lack of effort.