Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

We spent the last rest day in Belgium like many others. A cold, rainy, muddy day on our bikes. Cobblestones, cross bikes, and coffee(well the coffee wasn't that good again). Pete Webber came over to the house with a map of the Ronde Van Vlaanderen route. We did 3 of the classic cobbled climbs and many other narrow farm roads that were flowing with water and mud.















We attacked
climb 6: Koppenberg @ 182 km
climb 7: Steenbeekdries @ 187 km
climb 8: Taaienberg @ 190 km

I can't imagine the beating that the body takes racing Tour of Flanders or Paris Roubaix on these cobbles for 250 km's. The climbs are barely rideable on a cross bike. We did a short 25k ride at an easy pace. You can check out the map by clicking on the link below.
http://connect.garmin.com/activity/61281894

After the ride we finished all of our laundry, cleaned up the house, and made our last trip to the Delhaize on the town bikes. We cooked up the last of our food and hopefully have leftovers for the next 2 nights. We squared up with the financials with the mechanic and there is nothing left to do except race as hard as possible the next 2 days and check the e-mail a few more times!















Tomorrows race is the GVA - GP Sven Nys in Baal; Nys' home town. We race at 3:00. www.sport.be if you want to watch it live. The Fidea Cup in Tervuren is the final race on Sunday. Then its back to the good ol' US of A!















Can't wait to hang out with Rosco!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Sylvestercross


Today was a 'smaller' race in Bredene, Belgium. The Sylvester Cross. Gregory our mechanic started the morning out by saying, "today will be a good day." He could feel it in the air! We arrived to the small town near the coast 3+ hours before the race.

Where is inschriptjion? Ahhh of course go down the course take a left and into the cafe! Look for the Jupiler sign and the bikes. That is kind of like saying look for the house with the Packers flag in Sheboygan. After smoking about 20 second hand cigarettes we made our way to the back, back, back room of the pub to find a few UCI officials sitting at a table with about 50 Ham & Cheeses. By the time we registered the pile of Ham & Cheese was almost gone! I was number 15 and at the time the 4th guys on the list of participants with UCI points....hmmm maybe a front row....naaa no way. Not with Stybar, Albert, Nys, Dlask, Zlamilek, Vanthourenhout.

We head out onto the course...its like a WCA, flat, bumpy, and super fast. It'll be way different than any race we have done so far....hit the trainer and suit up..."Nys" "Albert" "Stybar" "Stybar" "Stybar" no Stybar...10 names later "Matter" I am consciously thinking better save that spot for Stybar, but unconsciously my bike steers itself to the last open spot in the front row! Photo Time! 30 Seconds....."whistle" I bump bars with Zlamilek for the second day in a row and I'm off the line first. Head down I'm going good...yes holeshot...first dude to the start finish! 150 meters later I'm 5th through the first corner with Nys, Stybar, and Albert!

In my book I could have called it a race right there and saved myself 59:45 of pain! I was already a winner as long as someone snapped the photo??? So I pedal through the first five corners and lose about 15 spots....whoa I'm not comfortable going this fast....another 5 corners and another 5 spots lost...I can't accelerate out of a corner....another 5
spots....ouch I'm hurting...I'm trying too hard...I start lap 2 with a 20 meter gap behind a big group and I suffer down the start finish stretch...I go through the first corner and realize I have way too much tire pressure...I go through the pits tell the mechanic to lower the pressure and change the rear wheel to a more aggressive tire. The course is getting more and more greasy. I lose 5 more spots during the next half lap and I'm counted in around 40th spot when I go through the pits and get ready to start lap 3....20 meters behind another group. I start lap 3 and get off the pavement and instantly can feel a difference. I start going forward! I start feeling better. I catch the group. I move through the group to the next group. I moved through that group and was really starting to hit the lines good. Man I can't beleive I bombed such a good start with too high of a tire pressure. Oh well keep racing and going forward. I raced smart from lap 3 to the finish. Moving forward in the technical sections and sitting in a recovering whenever possible! Finished up 23rd!















Next up...some much needed R&R....the past 5 days have been 4 of the hardest cross races in the world. We get a day of rest and then finish it up with 2 more races...Baal & Tervuren.

Thanks again to all for reading and supporting, special thanks to David Aukerman for donating.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Racing in Loenhout

Today was good! Loenhout has to be the biggest stop on the Belgian Christmas Cross circuit. Tons of racers, tons of fans, and tons of mud. Today was by far the best I have felt racing over here this year. I had a good start and mentally I was ready to race instead of just ride in circles. With a huge amount of fans cheering for me it made it pretty easy to go out there and suffer in a good way. I couldn't beleive how many people were cheering for me.....not Jesus, but me. For whatever reason I have earned the respect of the Belgian fans! Around every corner I could here my name, but if they were not yelling my name they yelled for JC, Jesus, Santa, and even Osama!

This year with the new 80% rule in effect it is going to make it pretty difficult to finish on the lead lap, but I'm going to do my best. Today I was riding in a group of 5 with 2 laps to go. We were going pretty good and there was no way we were getting lapped. I was pumped to suffer even harder. Getting ready for the long pavement section I drift to 5th wheel to sit in and save some energy for the last lap and the final tractor pull section where I will make my move....

Then, 'tweet tweet' a super anticlimactic finish. 4 guys in front of me roll to the side of the course and I'm 5th. The officials take out some scissors cut the transponder out of the back of each of the 4 guys in front of me and then cut out my transponder. I wait another 30 seconds...still no sign of the leaders. I decide to pedal off towards the van and never even heard the roar of the crowd as Niels Albert took to the final stretch for his second victory in as many races. So I'm figuring at very very least 1:00 minute, but more likely 2:00 minutes before they would have caught me. All I had to do was ride another 100m and I could have started my last lap. I don't think it would have taken more than 10 seconds even if I was soft pedaling to make it to the start/finish. Not sure I quite like the rule on the last lap...on the other hand I do agree with the rule....if you are out of contention with 2 plus laps to go and you will be passed by the top 10 or 15 you should be pulled. Its not fun getting passed by 15 guys and its not fun for the 15 guys who are battling to pass you.

I'm not complaining by any means.....if anything more motivated to race faster....especially if all these folks are cheering for me!
video

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Dagelijkse routine (The Daily Grind)

We better start things out by saying the coffee in Belgium is not the same as the coffee back home. My first problem is I still can't figure out the coffee maker, so every morning starts of by boiling some water and pouring it through the top of the coffee filter to slowly drip into the pot. Not only does this take a huge effort on a groggy morning, but it leaves something to be desired in the taste of the coffee.
















Next up is usually a little breakfast. Ham, Egg, & Cheese sandwich(you didn't think I was going to do this whole trip and not eat Ham & Cheese did you?) followed by a bowl of Mueslix and some honey.

















On race days we usually make some Ham & Cheese, make some bottles, pack the race bag and head to the race course after breakfast. Gregory, Nele, and Chris our Belgian support crew usually show up 30 minutes before we depart. They have our bikes, hot water, tea, wheels, pretty much everything you need to race and be as comfortable as possible ready to rock for us.

We arrive to the races, somehow figure out inschrijption(registration, which is not always easy), while we do that Gregory and Chris set up our bikes and the tent with trainers, back to the van for a change of clothes, a sandwich, and then a quick inspection of the course. We figure out tire's, tire pressure, and the good lines. Back to the van to make any changes necessary to the equipment and then into the comfort of our folding chairs in the back of the van.

















Sometimes its freezing back there, sometimes not so bad. Sometimes the condensation on the roof is dripping like a rain forest sometimes not so bad. We pin on our race numbers, talk about the course and start the mental preparations for the 1 hour of pain(or less). Maybe another Ham & Cheese, a Clif Bar, some Clif Bloks with extra caffeine and with 50 minutes before race start we are back outside for 20 minutes on the trainers. Once again Gregory and Chris have killed it and have our training bikes as clean as the day we got them and set up on the trainer with a slick rear wheel. With 30 minutes to go we are back in the van for a 15 minute superman session.

All wet clothes have to come off and all dry race clothes back on. Its nearly impossible not to get something that is suppose to stay dry soaking wet. You try to stay organized, but you favorite racing sock always goes missing. Just the left sock though. If not your socks, your gloves, your ear band, your left leg warmer....

















With 15 minutes to go you eat your last bit of Belgian energy, check the tire pressure in all your wheels 4 more times, and then ride to the start line. Nele is there 3 minutes before they say go to take your jackets and then you are off. After the race she is the first person we see to return our jackets, open up the van, and pour us some hot tea. Once again to the back of the van for warmth, some recovery food, and a little reflection time of what just happend. We change again while Gregory and Chris once again shine our bikes so that we can do it again....all in all a dialed set up for a couple of Americans....

















On non race days the mornings are much slower paced....e-mail, faceboook, e-mail facebook, podiuminsight, velonews, e-mail, facebook, cyclingnews, cxmagazine...etc

Laundry is in, shoes are on the Belgian drying rack(which leaves a quite unpleasant aroma in the house)clothes are re-organized. Blogs get updated, photos are downloaded. By 12:00 noon we are usually on our bikes for either a training ride or a recovery ride. Today a recovery ride....

After the ride we will be on the townies and head to the Delhaize for some groceries, the pharmacy for some ibuprofen and tiger balm, and a quick trip to the Chain Stay to visit the Canadians. While we do this Gregory will be dialing in the bikes on which we trained for the day. Usually another Ham & Cheese for lunch is thrown in there for some substenance, and dinner usually around 7:00.

















After dinner is Belgian TV which is usually Discovery Channel, Dawsons Creek, or if we are really lucky the Simpsons. It only lasts for 10 minutes then we usually end up checking the e-mail, facebook, blogs, race results, youtube, e-mail, facebook etc...with a Belgain guy singing an old Disco song in Flemish on the TV. TV is on, but we are not watching, just some background noise. To Bed time around 11:00 for some Skype phone calls back home, one last e-mail check and some reading...then lights out.

Next up is the Azencross in Loenhout www.sport.be Thanks for reading and thanks to Joe Mathes and Brian Kingsbury for their donations.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Diegem is het beste!

Diegem is my favorite stop on the Euro CX circuit hands down. Racing under the lights. A super cool course w/ steps, drops, sand, snow, mud, and pavement. A huge Discotech with a great party atmosphere. Tons of people watching. Lots of people cheering for the Americans and Jesus and the Matter Fan Club was on the back side of the course!!! I didn't get to talk to the guys, but I raced fast for them! At least a lot faster than Zolder. I still have more in me...

I didn't have a great start, which in the snow means you can't really have a good first lap or second lap for that matter. Everyone gets lined up on the one good line and goes single file, the gaps open, but you have to take a huge risk to get off of the good line to pass. Most of the time that risk results in a crash and then your further back in the line. By the time things opened up and you could pass I was in 48th.

I started moving forward pretty fast. Bridged up to the group of the Americans on lap 3. Went through the group and started to move forward again on lap 4. Caught a few more guys, but ran out of real estate. I was lapped again, but at least I was racing today. 35th position. No major problems with my pedals or shoes today, but still not the best clipping in...going to try to swap some things out and make some changes.

The coolest part of the day by far was an interview and photo shoot for cyclosprint.be! One of Belgians only CX magazines. It was like glamour shots, but at a cross race. Journalist Simon Lamon and photographer Kristof Ramon hooked it up big time. I can't wait to see the article and the photos!

4 races down 4 races to go. Tomorrow is a rest day and then the biggest cross race competitor wise of the year in Loenhout.


Sunday, December 26, 2010

Zolder & Belgian Matter Supporters

The highlight of the day. The start of the Belgian Matter Fan Club. These guys found me at the tent before the race, yelled at me in the race, and consoled me after the race. It was rad!

















Today I got a World Class ass kickin'......not sure why really, but its super frustrating. I didn't even get to race really. I had a good start, then the normal chaos of the first 5 corners. I opted to run rather than risk a crash. Still in good position I
mounted my stead, but couldn't clip in....oh well another hill and more chaos....pass more guys running. 1:30 into the race it spreads out a little and you can start to race rather than battle for position. I still can't get clipped in...I make it to the pits where there is some pavement and manage to clip in my right foot. At least I can pedal a little now. Oh yeah I'm in last place. I make it to the end of the lap do the run up,(check out the picture of Danny The Nanny) it was steep, and again can't clip in with both feet.
















Down the entire start/finish stretch which is quite long and I can't clip in??? Not only can I not clip in...I'm in last place...and I'm trying to pedal with balls of ice under my feet. Lap 2 was horrible, Each time I have to pedal hard when I think my right foot is in, it comes out and I smash my shin on my pedal, or knee on my stem. Not fun...start lap 3 and I knew it was over. Already 6 minutes down after 2 laps...why am i doing this??? Oh yeah its because these crazy Belgie's are yelling for me and I love this stuff..... My legs want to unleash some fury and tomorrow I just might have another chance! Diegem at http://superprestige.vt4.be/ live at 5:00pm EST which is 10:00am WI time and 11:00am Mich. time. Mark finished up in the top 50 in one of the toughest World Cup's of the year...only 29 guys finished on the lead lap.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas - Holy Sh...

The calm before the storm:

















A good night sleeps. A 10am wake up. Some morning coffee. The last training ride of the season??? We cruised out at 1:00pm for a good warm up ride to prepare for the Zolder World Cup tomorrow. Down the canal, cross the canal, and back up the other side to a small forest for some off road practice. All systems go on the way back with a couple of tough openers. Cross the canal and back towards home, we see some young Belgies sledding down the Koppenberg and....'HOLY SH....what was that??? We better go back...was that what I think it was?'

















Sure enough a sheep in a wheelbarrow? Not what I would want to look out my window and see on Christmas morning. Was it a gift? Was it dinner? Is it a Belgian Christmas tradition? Or did the poor Sheep go in the night? Either way it was pretty crazy...

















The highlight of the day came when Hilde came knocking at the door and invited us over for ice cream and coffee! Hilde is the owner of the Hof Ter Kammen where we are staying. It was awesome that they invited us over for some holiday company. Her husband is a promoter of the Koppenburg Cross and he gave us a copy of the 2010 race which we are now watching! This is the Belgium way to celebrate Christmas for sure. They had all sorts of crazy chocolates and were also pumped because Page was over the previous day to deliver some home
made X-Mas cookies something Euros don't do! I was way more into the traditional Yule Log...this one was made from Ice Cream and was carved with an electric knife!

Tomorrow starts Part 3 with the World Cup in Zolder....I hear there is a ton of snow on the course. Just like riding the beach....be sure to check it out at www.cyclingfans.com 3:00pm EuroST. 9:00 eastern and 8:00 central.

Thanks for reading and again Happy Holidays.

Friday, December 24, 2010

A quiet day in Belgium

Today was a pretty slow day. Only an hour on the bike followed by a little stretching and some work on my knee. Still having a little pain in the left knee after Friday Night's Jingle Cross race. yep that was a long time ago, but after falling on it again in Kalmthout it's aggravated. A little massage and some J-Tree magic and hopefully I'll be good to go.
















It's Christmas Eve and all is quiet in Oudenaarde. Andrea made an awesome lasagna before she left and we tossed it in the oven for a tasty dinner. Bed time is just around the corner and my thoughts are back home. Today and tomorrow are the hardest part of being in Euroland. The glory of the Belgian mud vs the family time at home during the holidays. Soon enough I won't have time or energy to think....the race season is approaching fast. I wonder what Rosco is doing?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Immaculate Reception












Today is the anniversary of the Immaculate Reception. If your not a Steelers fan and have no idea what I'm talking about you better check it out on you tube. According to most it was the best NFL play ever. Terry Bradshaw to Franco Harris for the win over the Raiders...Steelers play tonight maybe Big Ben to Hines Ward for a repeat???


















We didn't get to see much of Belgium today....actually we didn't get to see any of Belgium. All the way to here just to train in the garage? There is some sort of satisfaction in it though.... some serious bike racers have suffered in cold garages very similar to ours. It was the hardest interval session of the season. Unfortunately the weather doesn't allow you to pedal hard enough outside so we were forced to ride inside for the second day in a row. It's a lot easier to suffer on a trainer when you have a buddy sufferin' on a trainer right next to you...hopefully I can go that hard in the races.

















Andrea and Elicia made it home. Rosco was pumped. I got a solid nights sleep. Dinner tonight with Peter Weber. All things are good!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Part 2

















Mentally I have divided my Euro campaign into 3 parts. Part 1 was the initial shock of the 2 races and a little bit of being a tourist in Brugge. Now Andrea and Elicia have departed and we begin Part 2. Part 2 if pretty much preparation for part 3! It starts with trying to get a full night sleep. I think the last solid sleep I had was on the airplane.....and thats a bad sign. Each night I wake up around 1:30 - 2:00am SMBO and then I can't fall asleep for another 2 to 4 hours. Then morning comes way too early once I finally do fall asleep.

Part 2 continues with some solid training and we got off to a good start today. I had the desire to go to the EuroCrossCamp training race in Izegem to hang with some of the guys, but it was way to dangerous to ride that far on the roads. Melting snow, hidden ice, and fog like you wouldn't
believe. Mark and I attempted a short loop around Oudenaarde, but when the fog got too thick and the bike lane too narrow we were forced back to the trainer. A solid effort and more on the plate for tomorrow. Part 2 also means more stretching, better hydration, more calories(not brats waffles, chocolate and frites) and more mental focus.

Part 3 is race race recover race race recover race race pack up and fly home!

I already miss part 1 though...it was awesome to have Andrea and Elicia here. I drove them to the Oudenaarde train station early this morning and it looks like they should have made it to the airport on time considering their plane was delayed 2.5 hours. I'm hoping they changed their flights and show up at the front door of the Hof Ter Kammen any minute now...

Yesterday was pretty awesome hangin out....Mark & I explored some more cobbled climbs while the girls went for a run up the Koppenburg. Then we took the townies for a major chocolate run so the girls could bring home the best chocolate in the world back to Sheboygan trip and a visit to the Tour of Flanders Museum. Right now they have an ode to Belgian Cyclocross World Champs! I think I saw Andrea in the picture of Prince Albert winning in Hoogerheide!
















We saw Freddy Maertens there...you should check out his results!

3 days till X-Mas and then the racing is full on...

It's not too late to donate...I still have to get my bikes back home on the plane and its highly doubtful that I'll be as lucky as I was on the way here!

Thanks to Scott Roehrborn and Carrie Hildebrand for their donations.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Kalmthout WC

It was a slightly frustrating day. I felt like I never quite found a good rhythm on the course. Again it was icy and snowy. Yesterdays ice must have been slightly different because I could rail any line I wanted.....today not the case. Even with lower tire pressure something was a little off. Mid way through race (4 laps) to go I made the right turn on the start/finish and realized I had a front flat. Unfortunately I had to do two U turns on pavement and come down a metal flyover onto pavement before I could pit. It was scary! I got a new bike and chased on to the back of a small group with Mark and another rider. I sat on for a half lap adjusting to the feel on the new tires.....Way too hard so I pitted again...with 3 laps to go I was back on track. 2 laps to go I started to good again and was pretty pumped I wasn't going to get lapped. Getting ready to start the last lap and the UCI official pulled me...WTF it was like 2 - 2.5 minutes before the leaders came through for the finish. I easily could have pedaled the 200 meters andgone through the start finish without being lapped. Last year at Zolder I battled Pauwels for an enitre lap!

Andrea was waiting for me at the finish...I didn't make it there....she had the car keys and was stuck in the mass of 20,000 spectators. I went back to the van and froze my ass off for 20 minutes.....frustrating.....arghhhh...


















Hoping tonight is the night I can finally sleep through the night...diet and sleep are still jacked for sure....maybe its because I haven't had a waffle yet.....time for a trip to Brugge!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

GOOOO JESUS!!!

I'm not one that knows much about religion, but today in Belgium you would have thought that Jesus awoke form the dead. The Belgies loved the beard! One dude yelled go Borat as another yelled go Beardy, but the majority of the superfans were cheering for Jesus! I couldn't help but laugh as I completed the first 3 ronde's of the course.





The race earlier today was the first of this seasons
Euro Cross campaign. The Scheldecross in Antwerpen was part of the Fidea Cup. The day started with another so so nights sleep and a snowy traffic jammed drive to the race. We made it to Inschripjion with 2 hours before the start. A quick set up of the tent and we were off to check out the course. It was -3 celsius. The course was pretty much a single track down the middle of the course with only one good line. The majority of the corners were black ice. The flyover, a metal bridge, was pure ice and I was scared I wasn't even going to make it up and over. It was very similar to Kalmthout last year.




I had a solid call up thanks to my
trip down to
North Caroline. 3 row out of 7 rows. Unfortunately I had last choice in the 3rd row and was forced to the outside around the first corner. The second corner I was on the inside and hooked a bar on the railing. The rest of the race was solid. I could have been a little more agressive on the first 2 laps, but I didn't want to crash. After 2 laps I started picking guys off one by one. With 5 laps to go I started to cramp. I think I was dehydrated from the trip across the ocean, but I'm pretty happy with a 35th place.

Now that I blew some smoke out of the legs I'm hoping to get on a good sleep schedule and start racing faster and faster. Time to go do some laundry and clean up dinner.

Huge thanks to Andrea and Elicia for an awesome post race dinner and support at the race. And a huge thanks to Gregory for all the hard work prior to our arrival.

I think tomorrows World Cup can be viewed at www.cyclingfans.com or cycling.tv


Friday, December 17, 2010

BPW


Bike Path Warriors.....

That was us on day 2. Crushing the bike path in Belgium. A fine bike path it is. It was an old railway and now they converted it to a bike path. It was pretty much the only place where it was safe to ride. Every other bit of Belgium was cover with a thin layer of black ice. The bike path runs parallel to the hills. Each of the famous climbs in Belgium can be found at the base of these hills.

Our pad is pretty sweet. The Hof Ter Kammen. A sweet bed and breakfast about 3km from the Koppenberg and 3 km from the Oudenaarde Centrum.

Lyne from Podium Insight arrived yesterday without her bags. Marks bikes arrived lat night just in time to be built up and head to tonights race in Antwerpen. I'm not quite so sure, but you might find a streaming TV link at www.cycling.tv


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Back In Belgium

I knew things were going to be good when we checked in at United Airlines and the charged us $0 for the bikes, wheels, and luggage! I couldn't beleive it....then I got on the plane...business class was just as sweet as first class, except there was a guy next to me. 3 course meal, wine, desert, post dinner liquor, and of course a full recline!

We arrived on time w/ all of our luggage. Mark didn't get his though...bummer. We arrived in Oudenaarde hit the grocery store, built the bikes, and went for a little spin.

Now its time for bed....a little lack of sleep setting in now.

Pic's tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Nationals

















The biggest and best US race of the year and it was over before I knew it...
First of all I'd like to say 'Job Well Done' to the crew who was behind putting on the race in Bend. The course was awesome. The venue was awesome. The spectators were awesome. The weather was awesome. All in all the best CX race I've ever been to in America.

For me it was over way too fast.

I started good. Was 7th or 8th off of the pavement. I was a little cautious on the right hander before the pits because I didn't want to case a rock and flat. The next corner and the race was over. I crashed into a few riders who piled up in front of me and went down. Travis Livermon crashed into the back of me and his foot went through my rear wheel. We were both calm and by the time I got his foot out of my wheel we were in the 50's. I pedaled once and heard the broken spoke flapping against the frame. I pedaled twice and the spoke got caught under the chain and in the cassette and began to wrap around the hub. I kept pedaling because I was going forward. As soon as I hit the first pavement I had to soft pedal just to make it to the pits then I was in 70th - 80th 90th....as soon as I had to pedal hard to make it up a little hill my chain skipped over the spoke...I coasted and ripped the der off. Game over 1:30 minutes into the race. A little bummed, but I know stuff like that happens and it doesn't happen to me too often so I'm lucky in that respect. I'm also lucky because I get to do it again this weekend in Europe!

















The guys at Blue kept the bikes clean all weekend and were going to work the pits for me, thanks. Also have to say a huge thanks to my cousin Mike and his wife Terri and daughter Marley who put me up in Portland for the week and allowed me to use their van to drive to Bend and back. They had a sweet place and I was able to fully relax and train to prepare for the race.
Next update from Oudenaarde, Belgium! Waffle Time!
Even more thanks to those who donated:
Paul Warloski
Mom & Dad
John & Nora Beck
Jessica Gammey
Renee Callaway
Dan Schuster
Mike & Chris Hildebrand

Monday, December 06, 2010

PORTLAND

Friday...a full day of travel started with a little panic as both of my seatposts were frozen into my frames as I was packing to leave for the airport. Smart thinking from Andrea had the problem solved in no time and soon I was off for the adventures of travel with bikes, wheels, and gear bags. I thought I got off pretty good with only $165 fee from United. $25 for the first bag, $35 for the second bag and an extra $100 because it was overweight. They didn't even charge me the bike fee??? 70lbs for my 2 bikes and my double bike pro case. I carried on my duffle bag and back pack only to check my duffle bag at the gate anyway...but at least it saved $100 for the 3rd piece of luggage. Milwaukee to Chicago - 3 hour layover and then Chicago to Portland.

My good buddy Garett Heitman and Papa Heitman were waiting for me at the airport with smiles. It was awesome to see them both. Last time I saw Papa Heitman I was probably 20 years old racing semi-pro at the Norba at Snowqaulmie Pass in WA. Last time I saw Garett was 7 years ago. We had a blast hanging out in downtown Portland!
video

The racing wasn't quite what I was hoping for, but it was somewhat solid. 15th Saturday which was good enough for 1 UCI point and another 15th Sunday. My worst USGP results of the season... I thought Saturday was a rough day because of the travel on Friday, but the legs weren't there Sunday either. Sunday felt better but pretty much raced the whole day by myself. I missed the chase group on lap 2 and watched them put 5 - 10 seconds on me every lap. I was really hoping for 5 spots better and a top 10 overall. Instead I finished out the series with a 13th overall 6 USGP points from 10th. Not bad for my first full season of USGP action, but I know I can go better.

I think I have raced every weekend for the last 2.5 months. My legs definitely felt a little stale so I'm looking forward to a full week of rest. I'm staying with my cousin just south of downtown Portland. The rest started off really good last night with a Steelers divisional rivalry win over the Ravens! Time to go clean the bikes...

Thanks again to the growing list of Matter CX Supporters:

Bruce LeBlanc
Amy Dykema
Paul Weaver
Jason Lummis
Jim Michler
Ned Purtell
Jenn & Max Finkbeiner
Steve Cudnoski
Ben Wilkinson

and of course all my sponsors!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Training = A Day At The Beach

The Kocksijde World Cup venue " ain't got nuttin' " on Sheboygan when it comes to riding on the sand! Todays training consisted of 35 miles on the beach. It was 25 degrees outside the majority of the day with a pretty solid west wind at 10-15 mph. Light snow flurries. Kind of just like Belgium right now.

What to do? The same old boring ride again? Sometimes it feels really good to do something completely different. Taking the cross bike on the frozen beaches of Lk Michigan is your answer. It's like your riding on the moon. Its cold, its windy, its isolated....just you and some birds, some frozen fish, and if your lucky some deer or a bald eagle.

It was a J-TREE kind of day. Citrus Embrocation on the legs, Spicy Cinnamon on the lower back, and the J TREE SPF Winter Stick for the face. Gotta have some SPF when you go to the beach.
















My days of training at home for the 2010 season are coming to a quick end. It was sweet to finish it off with a perfect beach ride...so perfect I even ran a road tire on the back. I'll be on the road all but 2 days in December...wish me luck!