Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Lining up with some of the nation's finest this weekend

Alrighty, Saturday and Sunday mark my first major NRC races and I'll be lining up with the likes of Tina Pic and Laura Van Gilder. Holy moly, huh?! But, methinks Carrie, Bri and Julie are going to make for some good company. Rock and roll.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Yes, Pam, my needles were sharp

A big thanks to ProPam and her Knitting Circle for the reminder to sharpen my needles. (And if you don't understand that, that's ok, I'll try and explain another time. Who knows, perhaps I have yet to fully grasp the concept).

I arrive at the race late and with a loose headset. A couple of very nice mechanics helped me tighten it to a safe level for the race while my field waited for me to get to the line. Arriving at the line, we started. After getting a little warmed up, I tried to drive the pace, figuring if a few of us did that we could promptly halve the field. Unfortunately, there was a lack of enthusiasm, probably due to the incredibly high winds, and after reminding myself not to work too much more than anyone else, the pace slowed way down and we knitted. This was boring and frustrating, but I knew that in order to attack effectively I had to somehow slide back a bit, so I peddled lightly and sat in rounding the first lap closer to the middle of the pack than the front.

As we started up the big hill, I began moving to the front and caught myself, slowed down and prepared to launch. It was a lap sooner than I had planned, but I figured I was fully warmed up and it was time to have a little fun. I launched and by the time I checked my wheel it was clear. Somewhat alarmed and concerned the 4 Kenda riders had decided to let me hang in the wind alone instead of sending someone with me, I sat up and turned round. Thank goodness. There was Kristen and a collegiate rider, Stephanie, with the Gophers. We pulled together, immediately organized and drove the pace hard along the tailwind section, knowing the size of the chase group wouldn't matter with a tailwind of the magnitude available. I knew if we could haul ass through that tailwind section and get across the backside not only would we be out of sight, but the crosswind and subsequent headwind would likely make 4th place look pretty good.

When we turned into the crosswind, our collegiate companion was nearly blown off her bike and I passed her as she worked to regain composure. Kristen and I hit the hill hard and didn't wait for Stephanie when we got to the top. We were now two and figured the chase group, if there was one formed was approaching or may have reached the corner, so we went to solid 30 second pulls and boy o boy did we work as regular as a clock. Neither of us wanted to burn matches like that for nothing and we kept it up till we won the race one two.

I won the Old Capital Crit last year and wanted a decisive repeat this year pretty bad, so I was a little concerned about women with fresh legs showing up and rather alarmed when I missed my pedal at the start, but no one took advantage and I was able to secure my preferred position towards the front of the field before the first time up the hill.

Now this hill is steep, but not too long. It's a power hill that wears people down over time and just long enough and steep enough that many women drop to their little ring. I did not, however, preferring the anaerobic suffering at the top over risking a chain drop. I figured there was plenty of recovery time as there's a slight downhill to the other corner of the course before you come into the start/finish line. Plus, the hill is the only good place to really attack and to make it stick you've got to be ready to fly when you come over the crest, and since it's a downhill grade, you're gonna need the big ring.

Once I was at the front, I tried to drive the pace and Kristen came and helped. In a mere 4 laps, we'd managed to drop the field with only Megan Elliot hanging on. After we'd climbed the hill and I'd noticed we were three alone, I invited Megan to come pull.

"No thanks," she said.

Hmm. That was too bad, because after the Altoona, IA weekend, I terminated my free ride program. I figured Kristin was as annoyed by the freeloader as much as me and would start her attacks as well and we would free ourselves eventually.

So, next time up the hill, I attacked hard. Surprisingly enough when I came off the hill, my wheel was clear despite having launched off the front. Delighted, yet a little apprehensive since 15 laps isn't easy to hold alone, I hit the gas. The corners were wide and I had picked lines I could pedal through, so I was able to keep the speed high. If Megan decided to work and they came after me, I wanted a good head start, so I settled in and found my rhythm. In short order, I started picking up riders who had dropped off the field. With five laps to go or something like that, I lapped what was left of the main group and a Kenda rider attached herself to my wheel. I thought about fighting that, but aside from the cool points of coming across the line completely alone, there was nothing to be gained and after Kristen's tremendous work the previous day I was feeling Kenda friendly, so I just maintained my pace to the win and I believe the Kenda rider was able to get a preem by using me as a leadout.

It was a great event as usual and a huge THANK YOU...
+ to my bike sponsor, Trek Stores of St. Louis, Kansas City, and Omaha, who not only replaced my cracked frame, but built up my bike with only 1.5 days notice. This is incredible support for my level of racing.
+ to my coach for ensuring I had the requisite fitness and power to execute tactics
+ to the race sponsors and promoters for putting on these great races
+ to Kim and all the folks who hollared on the hill and made the race that much more fun
+ to the guys who worked on my headset and freed me from worrying about my bike
+ to all the many well wishers whose support never ceases to make me dig a little deeper
+ to my parents for hosting my boys over the weekend and letting them beat on each other with wooden swords
+ to Ron and his gift of rollers, the riding of which have made me a much smoother and confident rider
+ to the guys who make me work so hard Wednesday nights
+ to Revolution Wraps whose auto transformation has really put some umph in my training interest. I mean, driving that thing around is a little like painting a "come kick my butt if you can"sign on your back. Gotta be fast. :)

I'm feeling good and really excited to go ride with the pro gals in our first NRC level crits this coming weekend. Although we're the underdogs by quite a bit, we do have some strong women aggressive women and we're looking forward to the opportunity to measure ourselves. Stay tuned. Hurrah! The season is coming hard and fast now.

Iowa City Road Race and Old Capital Crit

More details later, but in short... I had two good races yielding two solid wins and my second Old Capital Crit trophy -- my kind of dustible.

A huge thank you to everyone who put these races on. I hope next year we can rally an even bigger turnout. The courses make you dig and a finish is something you earn win or not.

Sure love any links to pix. I very much need a new one for this blog. :)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Wanna see? Wanna see?

Head on over to the team site for the latest look at the team car.

No more sneaking into the parking lot

Well, I guess The Big Black wasn't really subtle to begin with... but this, this is over the top I think. No wait. Over top is when I have a P.A. system. No, I'm not joking.

Punk Rock Cycling talkin' smack

Game on, Sweet Jane.
(See comments on "Update on Kelli" post)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

oh yeah.... Revolution Wraps is Rockin my world this week

Revolution Wraps, which is rapidly spreading across the midwest, has graciously opted to give The Big Black a facelift and it's gonna be cool. The Iweegin's are gonna get to check it out in person this weekend at the Iowa City Road Race and Old Capital Crit.

This is gonna be cool

This is gonna be cool
Originally uploaded by sydney_b.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Ga. Program Pays Low-Income Students to Study : NPR

Ga. Program Pays Low-Income Students to Study : NPR: "Morning Edition, April 22, 2008 · Some kids in Fulton County, Ga., are earning a paycheck just for doing their homework. A pilot project sponsored by a local foundation is offering a group of low-income students $8 an hour to go to after-school study sessions twice a week."

Some folks don't like this idea, but in all honesty, I'd put money towards it provided students were paid for performance. Show up on time. Turn your work in, etc. I know I've emphasized to my boys many times that school was their job and they needed to treat it with that level of importance. Heck, I'd support money to pay for academic performance before many of the high-tech enhancements - like laptops for every kid (which, btw, is just dumb and I say this as a bit of a technophile).

Thx Zeke... Need some humor

My buddy Zeke turned me on to Yehuda Moon and the Kickstand Cyclery. Made me laugh on day circumstances aren't too funny - more details on that later - perhaps. It's still before noon, maybe things will work out yet.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

You just gotta read this...

So I was reading "How to avoid the bummer life" and check the link to this Sports Illustrated article. And I gotta tell you, it's worth the few minutes it'll take to read it. It's got it all - a relentless villian, tragedy, heroics and hope. Kind of made my eyes well up and that doesn't happen all that often. - Olympics - Austin Murphy: Life Cycles - Tuesday April 1, 2008 2:11PM: "The son of two of America's most decorated riders, 17-year-old Taylor Phinney has emerged as the next great U.S. prospect -- and a source of inspiration to his father, who is battling Parkinson's"

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

VeloNews | Battling the compassion clause | The Journal of Competitive Cycling

Making American women's racing better...
VeloNews Battling the compassion clause The Journal of Competitive Cycling: "Racing in California in March and April is not always the best preparation for Europe. It makes you soft. Nice weather, wide open roads, and a small, non-aggressive women's peloton — it’s a pampered life, including host housing that is comparable to living in 'Pleasantville.”"

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Mostly Reverend Grampa Kim's Cycling Show kicks off Sunday

Let it be known far and wide that Iowa's finest cycling-oriented coffee brewing know-a-bunch-about-alotta-things racing reverend has cooked up a radio show for cyclists. It'll be loosed upon a mostly as yet unsuspecting world Sunday evenings 6pm CST. Yours truly has landed a fortunate, or now that I have some idea of the quality guest list, completely intimidating spot as a reoccuring visitor. Nope. No more details for now. Visit Kim's KXNO page to read more and to subscribe. It'll be available as a podcast if you miss the live portion.

PezCycling News - What's Cool In Pro Cycling

PezCycling News - What's Cool In Pro Cycling: "In last month’s Sport Psychology column, I continued our series on Integral Elements, the building blocks of the mentally fit cyclist’s five core skills, by describing how increasing your Self-Awareness can help you improve your mental fitness. This month, I explore how your cycling can improve when you effectively manage your will to succeed."

Monday, April 14, 2008

"More cowbell."
"That's it. If you don't know the answer. More cowbell and you'll be spot on."
"No, mom. No cowbell. That's stupid. In fact, that's the worst idea I've ever heard. Cowbells are never the answer."

Pestering teen leaves space annoyed.

Hmm. Seemed to work for me. :)

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Congestion and infection yields DNF

Got massively dropped by the women, masters, and cat 4s today. Felt fine this morning, but simply couldn't breath. Finally just DNF'd. Arriving back at the parking lot, I spoke with my folks between coughs. Mom recommended I go to LincCare and I'm sure glad I took her advice. Diagnosis: infected congestion in lungs, nose and ears. If I hadn't listened to her, I'd probably have been really miserable by Wednesday and lost the whole week training wise. Dr. says I'll feel like myself in a couple of days, but to finish the whole run of antibiotics.

Cowbell weather

Welcome to the Spring Cycling Classic. That one hill? Well, it's gonna be a humdinger.
Thank you so much for coming out. I owe you one, PRC.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Well, my attitude just improved

Wasn't exactly thrilled about racing local this weekend, but looks like we're gonna have a little company. Jane Reisen and Kelli Mente of Punk Rock Cycling are coming on over to chillville to get some money. This is gonna make for some good racing since I owe Jane for beating me last Sunday. :D

Talk about puttin' a grin on my face. Woo hoo!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Are you four popped cool?

I remember jr. high. The coolest only made two collars then. What is that? 100% inflation or somesuch?

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Altoona, IA and Red River Road Races

Headed to Iowa this last weekend for a couple of road races and managed to render myself first loser both days. How did this come to be??? Well, on Saturday... tactical error. I'm still working on finding the right kind of finish for me and instead of saying to myself, "what are you good at and how might that work for a finish?" I decided to sprint in and not only started too late but gave Catherine Walberg the leeward side. Sigh. Sunday, I was smarter. I planned the finish carefully with my strengths in mind. It went perfectly....exactly 1 lap too early. Got motorpaced back up to the field, but legs were blown for a repeat performance and lost the win by inches.

So, in short, I'm really glad I went. Needed the education and I'm looking forward to returning to Iowa for the Iowa City Road Race and defending last year's win at the Old Capital Crit. Both courses are good ones and Catherine and the PRC girls better bring their "A" game, because I'm looking for round two. ;)

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Farnham first at San Dimas RR - Gets upgrade

After Tim Farnham finished his engineering masters degree, he took a job in California where not only could he make a pretty good sized paycheck, but perhaps more importantly, he could engage the size of fields he needed to achieve a major goal -- a cat 1 upgrade. Well, he got it at San Dimas. Congratulations!!! Link to the results.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Calling all 1/2/3 Women...

The SPRING CYCLING CLASSIC is putting up $400 5-deep each for the road and circuit races April 12 and 13. These are great courses with a variety of terrain. Please consider adding this to your April calendar. YOU MUST PRE-REGISTER. Let me know if you need host housing.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

UCI Bans Tubeless Tires and Zertz Inserts, Considers Banning Barriers : Cyclocross Magazine - Cyclocross News, Races, Photos, Videos

UCI Bans Tubeless Tires and Zertz Inserts, Considers Banning Barriers : Cyclocross Magazine - Cyclocross News, Races, Photos, Videos: "In a surprising move by the UCI, the international governing body of cyclocross has banned all tubeless tire systems, Specialized’s Zertz Technology, and is considering banning man-made barriers in all UCI cyclocross races. While this may not impact most amateur racers, USA Cycling’s new president, Mark Abramson, says USA Cycling is likely to follow suit."