Thursday, January 31, 2008

What a blast...

This time its not a blast from the past but a blast of reality...after the temps warmed up last weekend I decided it was time to head out skiing...thinking positive Tristan and I headed out for an hour. It was great high heart rates, perfect snow, and most importantly increased motivation to start getting active again. After a solid 2 months since CX State Championships it was time to start doing something....anything. The warm weather came and melted all the snow and I even thought about riding outside.

Then it hit like a box of bricks. Tues after work before heading home I checked and it actually said "Blizzard" for Sheboygan. Reality set in real fast as I thought to myself we have another 3 months of this stuff! So yesterday I brought my XO2 into work cleaned it up from 2 months ago and did a one hour ride here. It wasn't so bad as the movie Mr. & Mrs. Smith was on and Bill Street Player joined me for the occasion. We rode the Ore To Shore course. It was just like I was there....

Other than that it has been yoga once a week and skiing once a week. Andrea and I put in an offer on a sweet house in Black River south of Sheboygan so we'll see what happens there...

Friday, January 25, 2008

California Dreamin' Y2K cont.

Back to the Garcia Cabin! 2,000 miles later it was back to California for Norba #1 in the year 2000 at Big Bear Lake. Parky and I loaded up in the Dodge Caravan and Karew and Big Daryl XX Saul cruised in style in Big D's Subaru. We had reserved the Garcia Cabin for 2 weeks to acclimate before the race. It was not without another "Big D moment" that we arrived safely. Big D purchased a cowboy hat for about $60 and was in love with the hat. D's hair was always done up with product, D's tan line was always perfect, his clothes always clean, his car was spotless. He was a ladies man, still is, and his cowboy hat was a big part of his swagger! On the long drive through the desert the Caravan went blowing by the Subaru. We laughed probably mooned them and kept going....

Nigel and I were surprised that the Caravan passed up the Subaru with a top speed of 62, but we wanted to get to Big Bear and start riding. We made it went for a ride and had an awesome dinner.

During dinner we were really stunned that Big D and Karew hadn't made it yet. We called to find out what was going on....I guess somewhere between Blythe and Palm Springs Big D realized his only cowboy hat was missing. In a mjor Big D moment he panicked. Stopped the car and searched to no avail. During this time the cars water pump bit the bullet and with a solid 1-2 punch Big D and Karew were done for. Nigel and I enjoyed some wine and a nice tiramasu and got a kick out of Big D's misfortunes.
Later in the week "it" happened. A night or two before the race we decided to have a campfire across the street from the Garcia house. A relaxing night before the big race to cook up some smores. Karew, Parky, myself, Big D, Skyler, Craig Manthe, Shonni Vanlandingham, and Big D's friend Andrea! Needless to say everything worked out!

Don't I look pumped to be hooking up with a hot babe! 6 days later after the race we went to Mozarts dance club for some post race partying. We had a blast and closed the bar down. The next day Andrea was on her way back to Wisco, Nigel and Daryl went up to do a road race in Northern Cali and Karew and I headed back to Tucson. Then this happened....a picture says 1,000 words....I'll just add the setting...2:00am I-10 Yard Sale Blown Out?

Only if I could have learned how to make money on all those yard sales I used to have?
Andrea and I traveled the rest of the cicruit together and found ourselves back in Cali for a month is September. We lived in a tent at the Mammoth Campgorund! We had so much time before the race that we took a backpacking trip to see her sister Elicia in Kings Canyon National Park.

After the 50 mile round trip my legs hurt a little, but I was not affected at all by the high elevation at Mammoth. Andrea and I did some awesome rides in Mammoth. A training race and spent some quality time at the Laundromat playing Spyhunter!Even after the lack of training and concentration I finished the season of with a solid short track result. Can anyone name the two fast pros in front of and behind me?

California Dreamin' Y2K

Back in 2000 I started the season in AZ for the second time. More big miles and before I knew it we were off to California again. This time we rented a little house in Pacific Grove, CA just outside of Monterey. It was time for another edition of the Sea Otter Classic. This time around the crew was a little differnt. Derek was still my wingman, but Skyler had moved to Boulder and was racing side by side with JHK on the Nantucket Nectar Team. Nigel "King Parky" Parkinson(a brittish lad), Daryl XX Saul, Jason Karew, and Chris Beardsley were the new motley crew we did some time with.

We spent a little time before the race hanging out at Lover's Point in the Grove and even went downtown to Cannery Row and the Monterey Canning CO. I'm a huge Steinbeck fan.

The race went good as I had some experience from the 99 race. Jerome Chiotti and Roland Green were staged 30 seconds and 1 minute behind me in the TT. You can guess the results. After the race we spent even more time in the area. Parky and I went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. We hooked up with Skyler, Garrett Heitman and Co. from Seattle and did a 18 mile drive loop through Pebble beach.

Don't worry we did spend some time training. A few days were spent "On The Road" going down the PCH to Big Sur reliving the days of J.K.

After another week in Pacific Grove it was up to Napa for my first World Cup. Unfortunately I didn't have any UCI points and wasn't assured a starting spot in the race. Last minute I put together a team for the Friday Night Team Relay. Rules 3 males and 1 female. UCI points on the line. It was pretty lame, but every did the race just to get points. I needed the points so I could start Sundays XC race. During the warm up I watched Cadel Evans go over the bars and break his collarbone. Ooops. Guess he should have saved it for the XC. Our team finished 8th enough for 1 UCI point and I start spot for Sunday.

Yes I did race in that outfit. Yes it was back in the day when Napa was big into Disco and I was messing with the system saying it was ridiculous to race a Friday night crit in 70's Sport Coat just so I could do the XC race on Sunday.

Derek was waterboy for the race, but spent the majority of his time dancing with the Disco babes on the infamous Disco Flyover. I'm sure he had more fun than I did racing. I finished my first World Cup around 80th place. I didn't get lapped. They bombed the results and I remember they had Adam Craig ahead of me even though he was one lap down. I was mad at the time looking back I guess they don't really care who was 80th!

After Napa it was back to Tucson for the 2nd block of training. Stay tuned for Cali TNM part 2....big changes!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

California Dreamin' 99 cont.

And then it happenend......

Spring 99 was a huge transformation I went from finishing mid pack semi-pro to top 20 Pro by the 2nd Norba in Seven Springs, PA. I won my first MI race in 99 also, but it was not too long before we were back on 1-80 heading to the Garcia Cabin in Big Bear Lake California.

My first ever Pro Norba was in Big Bear the weekend after the race in San Jose. I finished 59th with a flat tire. This trip to Big Bear was for a World Cup and some altitude training. We rented the Garcia Cabin for 3 weeks and had a blast living the Cali lifestyle. Countless hours of training & beautiful scenery, lots of MTV Road Rules, and lots of games of Stratego. We even made friends with the neighbor who hooked us up with a plane ride over Big Bear Lake.

I didn't race the World Cup and I can't remember Skylers results. However I do remember the dominate performance that Cadel Evans and Christoph Sauser put in as teammates on the Volvo Cannondale Team. It wasn't even funny how bad the wasted everyone. The goal of staying in Big Bear for so long was to prepare Skyler for the even higher race up in Mammoth that was soon to follow.

Skyler was vegetarian for as long as I can remember, but the sacrifices we took were many in our quest to go big. Next stop was Mammoth Mtn another 2,000 feet higher than Big Bear.

The race in Mammoth was known as the Cat Litter Classic as the majority of the time you felt like you were racing on Tidy Cats.
Thats me lined up next to the Costa Rican Ramirez who killed it at La Ruta this year. I also see the late great Mike Janelle and Pete "Cream Puff" Prebus in the KHS jersey. It also looks like Walker got his revenge in Mammoth. Can anyone name the Super Star Devo rider who was trying to follow in Skylers foot steps by getting some McLovin on the podium but got denied?
Skyler and I finished up the 1999 season at World Championships in Are Sweden followed by a whirlwind European Vacation....but thats another story.

Friday, January 18, 2008

California Dreamin' 99

Tough loss for the Pack...depression sets in across WI...back to livin the dream for me...

It was back in 99 that we practically lived in California. After driving to Tucson in the new Red Caravan, we blew out the white van in 97, and doing a serious early spring training campaign it was off to Cali again...this time to the Sea Otter for my first Pro race and Skylers first big win.

After that it was up the coast to Napa for a World Cup and a muddy pre -ride.

We hooked up with some clowns from Slovenia and cheered for them during the Elite Word Cup"Heidi Heidi Heidi" I guess they like Sports Illustrated. Primos Strancar, Jure Golcer, and Rok Drasler 3 pretty fast dudes - Skyler took another W.

After that we headed back to Tucson...never empty a can of tuna out the car window while driving. Blown Out Again?

After some more training in Tucson with the guys from Czech and Slovakia it was back to Cali for the Sizzler in San Jose. It was nothing like it sounded(hot) and one of the hardest crashes in my career took place. It was muddy as can be and my pads were brakes failed at the end of a really long downhill and I hit a rain ditch and landed on my head. I wanted to quit but the fastest way back was on the course. I remember the pain and I was freezing cold shivering in a blanket in the back of the van. We finished the night in Berkeley with a sweet sunset over the Golden Gate Bridge.

All this took place before May 1......WORS probably hadn't even started! From San Jose it was back to Tucson for some stuff and then a little break at home(MI) before another long drive across i-80...stay tuned for Cali 99 part 2

California Dreamin' 98'

Well that was a tough one....pretty obscure....I thought Paco's article on the history of the SID summed it up pretty good when he could only dream of having a fast bike like our mystery rider(not JHK).

Our mystery rider M.G. was also part of the Devo Elite Team w/ Jed Schneider and Zach Shriver(Matt's older bro) when I was on Devo in 1996.
Which brings me to a few more 1996 California Big Bear Flashbacks. I first met Garrett Heitman, another super fast rider from back in the day, at Big Bear when he was dating Devo Team Mate Beth Hausam. Garrett introduced me to Johny Sundt who busted out an amazing 11th place in the pro field after a rough hangover from the night before, and last row start, and a wheelie up the first climb. He told me it was all about being relaxed. Tommy D was hooking up with Jenny South. JHK was racing Elite as a Jr. and I was hanging with Derek and the Ritchey Crew. Derek worked as a head mechanic for Specialized for a year and took a few side jobs with other teams. It was pretty crazy one night we were hangin out with Tom Ritchey, Shari Kain, and Tim 'Gay Johnny' Rutherford. The talk was X-Rated but extremely funny.

In 1998 it was back on the road, but this time in the Saab Turbo. Back to the Cabin in Nevada City, but this time around for a little longer. It was pretty sweet to have a place like this to train. The riders in the area are super strong including Jason Moeschler and Travis ' Colfax ' Waters. The mountain biking was endless and the secret local trails went on for miles.

We spent even more time in the Yuba river, I learned to play a didgereedoo, walked on the rocks like Tarzan, almost accomplished the full body tan, but it wasn't all fun and games. This time we worked. We had to Thompsons Water Seal and Stain the entire back deck, clean out the forest, and unload a trailer of homeopathic books. The worst part of course was the nastiest cases of Poison Oak known to man kind. Sleepless nights with cold baths at 3:00am to soothe the pain. Once you fell asleep you were awaken by one of the others who was itching so loud you thought he was.....going to die.

We did some races too....a local race in Napa where Justin Robinson ripped my legs off at the Eagle Mtn Knobular(first time ever we coaxed a girl into flashing us out the sunroof from anothe car, and boy was Travis Colfax impressed) , a local near Tahoe at Donner Pass, and the night series at Death Star. When all was said and done it was off to Mammoth with a slight detour through Sacramento....I can remember dripping sweat in a traffic jam at 112 degrees, leather seats, and no AC in the Saab in the SAC.

Mammoth produced some more avg results for myself...I remember battling Jeremiah Bishop on the last that time I was faster than him on the descents(it probably had something to do with the MOXEY) and finished 32nd in the Semi-Pro race/ Skyler on the other hand was still a Jr and landed one of his first Norba podiums.

Can anyone name his podium of them races pretty succesfully on the road now?

Doesn't it look like Sky is going in for some action on the podium girl?

Here is what happens at the end of a long summer.....blown out and can you say 'yard sale?'

California Dreamin' 96 - 97

With frigid temp's approaching all I can do is reflect back upon warmer times. My first trip out to Cali was a quick weekend. I was living in MI back in 96, racing for the Devo Team, and flew in to Ontario, CA to do the Big Bear Norba. No camera, no pictures, results maybe around 22nd.

My first real stay in Cali was in 97 at the Cabin in Nevada City. It was pretty awesome. Derek Prechtl, Skyler and I loaded up the Caravan and hit the scene. From VT to Cali we did it all. Including this Norba in Mammoth where I again finished 22nd but this time in the Sr. Expert cat.

The stories from the cabin are endless but the best is the morning of the Deathstar at North Star training race in Tahoe. We went for a little cruise on the bikes to loosed up the legs in the morning. When we got back it was time to clean up. The Yuba River runs through the back yard of the cabin and it was daily ritual to go down for a swim after each ride.

The water was raging that day, but for some reason Derek Prechtl wanted extra lube on the rock slide to the pool at the bottom. As he is standing on the top of the slide with his bar of Irish Spring (it floats) in hand, lubing up the top of the slide he goes down. His feet got a little too slippery, he fell back and cracked his head on the rock. As he was sliding down the flume of water I watched his eyes roll back into his head with a look of blank death as he disappeared under the water. It was the first time, and hopefully last, I will ever have to hold another grown man naked, but when Skyler and I pulled him out from under the water and I inserted my finger an inch and a half into the back of Derek's head it was the last thing in my mind.

After he came back to life we walked him up to the cabin and did some old school doctoring....nothing a shower cap and a pack of ice couldn't fix up right?

It seemed to do the trick as Derek was lined up 4 hours later for the local training race in Tahoe.

He did complain of some wooziness after the race....something about the elevation...can anyone besides Skyler name the ultra fast pro in the black w/ yello jersey?
Stay tuned for the California Chronicles......

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


We just got wireless internet at home.....this could be the end of all training known to Matter-kind.

Friday, January 11, 2008


Heading back home to Wisco tomorrow. I'm really bummed that I'm missing the Packers game. I might get to catch the first hour at the airport. We are leaving SLO bright and early and going to hang with Skyler for a while before we leave.

We crammed in a lot the before having to head back to the tundra. A sweet hike yesterday afternoon followed by a nice dinner out on the town. We hooked up with Matt Kelly, his girlfriend, and Rebecca Much. It was pretty nice. Our host and his girlfriend also joined us for some steaming Zen Green Tea Martini's nice presentation.

This morning we busted out a 2.5 hour 45 mile ride up to Lopez Lake. It was a pretty nice ride. Rolling through the vineyards followed by a 6 mile climb up to the lake.

After the ride Andrea and I couldn't resist the nice weather and had to go out for another little walk around Laguna Lake in SLO.

Tonight is veggies on the grill and a movie. See ya back in WI and Go Pack...