Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Happy Holidays!

It's been a while since the last update.  In fact it was about 2 weeks ago that I was smashed out of my mind staring blankly at this very screen thinking of what to write about the Bend, OR weekend.

The Bend trip put me over the limit.  Unfortunately the 3 weeks before Bend I was over my limit again when I was getting sick and raced the weekend of North Carolina and then again raced the weekend of Jingle Cross.  It's not good to be over the limit 2 times in a month at the end of a long season when the weather starts to get unpleasant.  In all honesty it kind of feels like a month since I have been able to train even though I've raced 7 times.

The weekend after Bend I needed a break.  I was healthy and I think there is a big difference taking some time off the bike when you are sick versus when you are healthy.  We took a weekend trip to Eagle River and I left my bikes at home!  It was nice to go for a few hikes w/ Andrea & Elicia and enjoy the peace and quiet of the north woods.

After the ER weekend I finally felt I was ready to start training again.  In the past I would jump head first into things, but there was still 3 weeks left until nationals so I wanted to ease into it, 2 hours, cross practice, a day off, 2 hours, some intervals, 2 days off.  I've felt better and better each day on the bike and hope to keep things going in that direction.  As of right now we've been really lucky in WI with a mild start to winter. Let's hope it stays that way for Nationals in 12 days.

The 2 days off was to make sure I was still good and of course to enjoy the holidays.  The last 3 Christmas' I have been in Belgium.  It was great to finally be home and enjoy the time with the family.  I have been watching all the big cross races on the internet, so its almost like being there.  I do miss it a little, but I know I made the right decision to stay home this year.

I'm really looking forward to Tucson!  2 weeks and we are headed south again for the winter.  70 and sunny everyday in the 10 day forecast right now.  I should have a brand new Top Fuel at Trek Bikes of Tucson when I arrive.  I can't wait to put on some beefy tires and let it rip down the mountain!  I also got this new toy for Christmas!  Can't wait to try it out also!

A brand new 56cm Trek Madone 6.9SSL w/ H2 frame and Shimano DI2!  I don't think it gets much better.  I downgraded the bike a little for a Bontrager aluminum bar and stem and the RXL wheelset instead of all the carbon so I could test out the new electronic shifting.  All the reviews so far are amazing and my initial thoughts are the same.  They just salted the roads in Sheboygan so I might have to be a weenie and wait till I get to Tucson for the maiden voyage.

On the coaching side of things another reason I am looking forward to Tucson is our first Winter Training Camp!  There is still time to sign up!  I also have a few private camps set up with some of the athletes I am currently coaching.  With the new year just around the corner I am looking to add 3-5 new clients for the 2012 season.  Contact me at bmatter@momentumendurance.com if you might be interested.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Ben Dover


I knew the trip was going to be a quick in and out, but I didn't think I was going to get kicked so many times during the process.

It all started with a brutal 24 hours travel to Bend, OR

Scheduled something like this.

3:30 am CST - Wake UP
4:00 am CST - Drive to Milwaukee
6:00 am CST - Depart MKE on an airplane
7:00 am MST - Start circling DIA in the air
8:00 am MST - Start to run low on gas
9:00 am MST - landing in Colorado Springs only to sit on the plane for 3 hours
12:00 am MST - landing back at DIA - what fog?
12:30pm MST - hurry to get denied stand-by flight to PDX - wait 4 hours

already blown out and only half way there

4:30 pm MST -  get denied again to fly stand by to PDX - confirmed on the 6:00 flight
6:00 pm MST - flight delayed
7:00 pm MST - finally start boarding plane to PDX = 100 degrees on the plane w. a last row seat
starting to feel smashed three hours later we are finally in Portland
9:15 pm PST - arrive in Portland
10:00pm PST - bikes made it! rental car - check, lets start the drive to Bend.
10:30pm PST - Subway for dinner
1:30am - PST = 3:30am CST 24 hours later - arrive at La Quinta Bend, OR


USGP Finals - Bend, OR Day 1

After a little sleep, building bikes, and grocery shopping for some lunch, we were off to the course.  I lined up on the left and kind of got pinched around the first corner.  With no momentum I lost another 10 spots = I got a bad start.  I had decent legs, but missed all the groups I wanted to be with or ahead of.  I finished 15th.  Thanks to the crew at CXRACING.COM for the tent and pit support.  Out to dinner at 7:00 and home by 9:30pm.  Honestly though I don't think the travel affected my performance...just the bad start.


USGP Finals - Bend OR Day 2

A slightly more relaxing morning.  Off to the races only to get a flat tire on the warm up ride.  $100 down the drain with another bad tubular and back to panic mode.  Borrowing a nuetral wheel, swapping brake pads, adjusting brakes....hurried warm up.  Dang it can't I catch a break this weekend.  I lined up on the right this time...and finally a good start!  On the tail end of the lead group for 2 laps, but my legs, lungs, and the yellow stars in my eyes were telling me the fatigue was setting in....I was so out of it at the end of lap 2 that when remounting my bike at the top of the stairs I missed the bike and tripped to the ground....there goes the lead group.  I ended up riding w/ Sheppard for a bit...then finished 12th.  Better result, better start, but way worse in the fatigue category.  OK results this weekend w/ a 15th final spot in the USGP series.


and it really wasn't even over yet.....back in the van after the race.  2.5 hour drive to Salem where we luckily had a nice place to stay w/ Tristan's team mate.  10:30pm boxing bikes in a garage.  5:30am wake up call and off to the airport.  On the way home I didn't even care what was going to happen...but of course as always the way home was smooth sailing.  I even got upgraded to Premium Seating...go figure!  Extra thanks this week goes to Gear Grinder for the frequent flyer miles and the free plane ticket and to Clif Bar for the extra support to make it out to the last USGP.  Next up is the New Years Resolution and then Nationals....happy I'm not on a plane again for a while!

Monday, December 05, 2011

Down but not out

Well...I just got home from my ride...as I was riding away I remembered seeing the garage door opener (only method to get in and out of the garage) on the garage floor.  That's not a good place for it....I though it would be OK because I was just going out for a 45 minute spin.  When I got home Andrea was gone and the garage door was shut...I knew it....I was done for....locked out.  Dang...So instead of new cable housing and chain on bike #2 I'm updating my blog w/ new cables housing and chain on bike #1 which is sitting outside the garage!

Also in the 'down, but not out' category was me...pretty much just had a good 2 weeks off of the bike.  I didn't train at all between NCGP and Jingle Cross....hardly even touched a bike.  Then I raced 3 days, with very little warm up and no cool down all three days.  Then I didn't train again Monday - Fri.

All in all it was a pretty good break and much needed.  I have raced every single weekend since Green Bay WORS at the end of August!  When Saturday finally rolled around and it was time to get on the bike it was nasty outside...I should have manned up and went outside to face the elements, but I didn't.  Which made it even tougher not to take just one more day of rest!  However I do believe that up to a certain point rest and fatigue are all mental.  I needed to flip the switch and tell myself it was time to go again.  I managed to wait all day long until the last possibly minute to hop on the trainer....but a little Disco on the Ipod and half way through the intervals I knew I was back on track!  It was almost easy to head out Sunday morning after watching the World Cup for day #2 of intervals...again mission accomplished followed by a Steelers W and a Packers W...rematch???

During my two weeks off(minus Jingle Cross) I spent a lot of time prepping for the Momentum Endurance Training Camp.  It is going to be awesome....and I am more excited than ever to make it to Tucson this winter!  Be sure to check out http://www.momentumendurance.com/winter-training-camp-january-2012/
for the details.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Jingle Jingle Jingle

Three days of action packed fun compressed into one blog update!  Here we go....

Day 1:

I almost opted to skip this race, but I'm glad I didn't.  It turned out to be my best result!  I was a little under the weather all week and hadn't ridden a bike since Sunday in North Carolina.  I wasn't sure if being fresh was going to over power being sick.  My plan was to blow out the bad stuff Friday night and then be ready to go for Saturday and Sunday...next thing you know I was mid way through the race almost closing the gap to the National Champ!  I felt great!  I had a good start and the shock factor was pretty high on the first 2 laps, but then I settled into a good rhythm.  I was running Mt. Krumpet good, I was hitting my lines good, everything was firing...I couldn't believe it...as I was catching Todd, Troy and Matt Shriver were catching me....Todd saw a group of 3 catching him and picked up the pace...at about the same time Troy took a bad line in the mud that made the contact with Todd impossible.  I ended up sitting on Troy for a lap before sprinting him for 5th!

After the race I had a full on coughing fit....I was really hoping that would be the end of it....

Day 2:

I was feeling pretty normal....a little tired like day 2 of any cross weekend.  I didn't want to make the same mistake as I did in Ft. Collins...being afraid of getting dirty and cold....so I got in a few laps on the course.  Everything was good.  They said go and instantly I was in a world of pain....I kind of don't even remember the beginning of the race.  I was struggling on the long climb up Mt. Krumpet and didn't have the snap that I had on Friday night.  Shriver caught me midway through the race, but I dropped him a lap later on the off camber downhill section behind the bleachers.  It was kind of a cold lonely race.  90% of the time I was solo...by the last lap I was catching Berden and Wicks, but I was out of time...7th place.

Day 3:

I felt like I had a little more motivation and snap today.  I was a little better on the run up Mt. Krumpet and the climb after.  The first half lap got me though....Tristan came out of his pedal 50 meters after the start and almost crashed with Berden...I had to do a major brake check not to pile into the back of them.  I felt the right side of the race go by me....a pretty bad start....time to make up some spots....I started going good and then crashed on a U-Turn in the gravel.  Oops.  Had to pass all the guys again....By the time I was going up Mt. Krumpet for the first time I was in 9th with nobody in sight.  After 2 laps I caught Barry Wicks and battled with him the rest of the race.  Nobody else was even remotely close to us...I felt like I was stronger that Barry except after the first time through the pits and the descent off of Mt. Krumpit.  Barry could put 15 seconds on me each time down the hill.  Each time it would take me a half lap to close the gap.  On the last lap Barry rocked me on the downhill and then stayed on the gas....I finished 9th...not really what I wanted.

Day 4:

 And I'm spent....Iceman, L'Ville, NCGP, Jingle Cross.....thats a big month and a lot of miles in the car.  I'm ready for a little time at home and a weekend off of racing!  Time to chill.....I mean rake leaves!  Huge thanks to Tim for all the support on the race weekends.  Also thanks to T-Wag for the spare pedals and the extra help in the pits and of course Jessica and the MWI crew for their hospitality and the hot bowl of chilli post race Sunday and to PodiumInsight.com for the photos!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

New & Old

Hey Hey Hey....How 'bout a Hyundai!

The Tucson had plenty of room for the Ice Trophy

The Sonata - killer gas mileage
With Thanksgiving fast approaching its time to thank the rest of the sponsors.  First up is one of the oldest and one of the best sponsors I have ever had.  Not many people have sponsors from outside the bike industry any more, but I'm lucky to have one of the best.  Hyundai!  When I first started mtb racing every team was backed by a car company.  Now I can only think of one major team...I wish I could do more for my local Sheboygan Van Horn Hyundai dealer, because they have done so much for me.  3 years of driving a Hyundai Tucson, 2 years of driving a Hyundai Sonata,  and another 1 year of driving
my current car the Hyundai Elantra Touring.  Probably the best vehicle yet for racing and traveling.  Tons of space for wheels, bikes, and gear, and great gas mileage!  30 mpg's on the hwy. 

Andrea's green grocey getter!
Without the help of Hyundai there would have been no way that over the last 6 or 7 years I would have been able to committ this much time to cycling.  I would have had 2 car payments(we even got a killer deal on a car for Andrea) and had to work way more.  Without that financial obligation I am able to work less, train more and continue to pursue my career as a professional cyclist.  Thanks Hyundai....I've got my fingers crossed to keep this sponsor as long as possible...hopefully next up is the new 2012 40 MPG Hyundai Accent!

The Elantra Touring - the name is right on...
Thanks Hyundai...the best sponsor by far I have ever had....if you need a new or used car stop by Sheboygan Van Horn Hyundai and ask for Mike!

Next up is one of the newest sponsor I have....Pro Gold Lubricants.  I have been using Pro-Link for the past 5 years.  I love that chain lube....it works great and always keeps your drive line clean.  When the owner of Pro Gold called me up one day I was pumped!  Soon after a bunch of product showed up at my door, I couldn't beleive it...  I honestly didn't even know they did more than just the Pro-Link.  Then I tried the Pro-Link Extreme...it works great for those muddy cross races, and my new favoritre product that make cleaning up after a cross race 1000x easier is the Pro Gold Bike Wash.

You spray it on, wait 5 minutes, wash it off with a hose, and your bike is as clean as it was before the race.   The stuff is awesome.  I won't ever travel to another cross race without it...They also make some shop towells for cleaning your hands after working on your bike.  Check them out...Thanks Pro-Gold

I've had many other individaul sponsors throughout my career, most from the bike industry  Bell Helmets and some not, like MortgageBot who is a current sponsor of Gear Grinder and Billy G the Kangen Water guy.  So many sponsors of  the teams that I have raced for throughout the years, and so many individuals who have helped, sponsored, donated, and mentored.  Its really awesome when you think back on all the people who have been there along the way... its where I get my motivation to keep training hard and keep winning races!  Thanks to all,   Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 21, 2011

NCGP & Cross Supporters

Best part of the weekend was definitely the Duct Tape wallet that was the prize from Day 1!!!  Who doesn't need a duct tape wallet.

Back to the beginning of the week.  After L'Ville I opted for the short drive to Athens, OH for some hang time and mom and dads.  Travis and Chloe joined me for a week of training, brisket BBQ, and some soon to be announced Momentum Endurance coaching plans.  It was pretty awesome!

Friday after a good ride in the AM we made the drive down to Hendersonville, NC.  I was pretty pumped for my third trip to the NCGP. 

Day one:  A front row call up, a good start, and to the front of the field on the first pavement section.  There was a pretty big group starting lap 2.  Lap 2 I opted to ride the steps and it seemed pretty fast.  The group was splitting and then reforming and I made sure to always be in the top 3.  Soon Ben Berden put in a big move that shattered the field.  I was right on his wheel and it was going to be a battle!  Half way through the race I bobbled attempting to ride the steps again, Ben has been at it for a while and he is a smart racer.  He was on the gas immediately.  I was in chase mode and bridged the gap 1/2 lap later.  We ended up going back and forth attacking each other the remainder of the race..cat and mouse, fast, and slow.  We approached the wall the last lap and Ben took the lead w/ 400 meters.  I was comfortable going onto the pavement for the sprint on his w heel, but didn't have the power to match his sprint.  A solid 2nd place ride.

Day Two:  A totally different race today.  It was actually not that good for me....I wasn't feeling the best when I woke up, but once they said go I was ready.  I was off the pavement in 6th or 7th position, but after the first three corners Ben looked back and hit it....1/2 lap later I was at the front and chasing, but the gap was already formed.  A lap later and I had dropped the rest of the field and pretty much did a 50 minute solo cross race 20 seconds behind Ben.  Not quite what I was hoping for, but I didn't have the same legs as Saturday.

Another cool thing about the NCGP is the excitement in the air of the end of the season.  I'm not talking about hanging it up...I'm talking about going over to Belgium.  It was in NC three years ago that I was planning my first trip to Belgium.  This year it was cool to watch the GVA and the Superprestige the morning of the races, to race a Belgian, to talk with R. Knapp about going on his own, and to talk with Jake Wells about his first EuroCrossCamp...maybe even cooler though was learning about my Gear Grinder teammate Lionel who was selected to represent WI as a junior and head to his first EuroCross Camp....check this out and help him if you can.  Lionel Rocheleau Supporters click here!  The future of WI cycling!

The drive home was long, rainy, and foggy.  Back home to mom and dads house by 10:30.  I'll be here for another 2 days and then finish up the drive back to Sheboygan on Wed.  Thursday Packers - Lions and then Jingle Cross weekend.

Lots of interviews and race highlights thanks to cyclingdirt go check 'em out.

To stick with the theme of Thanksgiving and being appreciative of all my opportunities and my cycling lifestyle, I'm going to skip the sponsors today and thank all the other people who give so much to the sport.  The NCGP crew reminded me this weekend of how a small community can put on an awesome race...it got me to thinking of all the race promoters, Brent Walk from Fun Promotions, Don Edberg, from WORS, Steve Brown, Gary Crandall, Scott Tuma...without these guys and all their volunteers I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing.  My family, Andrea, Mom, Dad, Hildebrands, Grandma...couldn't do it without the support.  All the local bike shops that help out along the way, the fans, fellow racers...etc  I'm really lucky to be where I'm at, I love it and I'll keep trying hard to get faster and faster!!!

More sponsors love tomorrow!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Feeling Good!

Day #4 - Feeling Good.

One of the best sponsors a rider can get is from a food company.  Clif Bar has been a huge supporter and each year they are stepping it up another notch.  As a coach one of the most important things I stress is good recovery.  Most people think of good recovery as the meal immediately after the ride.  I start to think about recovery during the ride and that is where Clif Bar comes in....During each ride all season long I am constantly consuming calories.  Clif Bars, Clif Shots, and my favorite Clif Bloks.  Sometimes it is almost mind blowing how much I can eat on a ride.  I am releived though knowing Clif's ingredients are all natural and organic.  My new favorite is the Chocolate Almond Coconut MOJO Bar.  You gotta taste this ASAP!

My next sponsor I need to thank is my newest sponsor and I have had a blast working with him to create a new line of embrocation.  Tis the season and thanks to Joshua Tree Skincare.  Another company that beleives in all natural organic products. 

From Tea's to Lip Balm's to Embrocation, J-Tree is protecting your skin from the harshest elements.  Here is where I come in.....David Lawrence, owner of J-Tree, grew up in Pinckney, MI.  Dave was pumped on cycling back then and the same holds true today.  Together we developed a line of Embrocations and have some of the best country's cyclists backing it up.  Kelli Emmet with her Spicy Medium heat, Adam Craig, with his Zero heat Eucalyptus blend to protect against to moisture, and my Full Heat Citrus blend will cover all conditions this CX season.  Check them out...there is nothing quite like the warm feeling on the legs after a hard ride and a hot shower!  What I'm most excited about is J-Tree Winter Face Stick - can you say Cyclocross Nationals - this is going to be a must have! 

Hopefully feeling good can contine today as I am in Hendersonville, NC for the UCI Cross races this weekend.  Time to watch the GVA on the web and get ready for a battle!  More sponsored stories soon.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Looking Good

looking good?  i'm not so sure
Day #3 - Looking Good.  Not quite as important as the bikes, but definitely important is looking good.  I struggle in this department most of the time, but thanks to a few of the sponsors I might at least get a 5 out of 10!

photo @ Amy Dykema - " whoa look at that outfit"
a favorite quote from superman 2
My title sponsor for the last 6 or 7 years has been a local team out of Wisconsin.  I am very lucky to have such great support from a local team.  It started out as the PCW/Hyundai team and has now morphed into the Gear Grinder Team.  Even though I have been racing in the Gear Grinder jersey for the past 3 or 4 seasons I'm guessing most of you don't know what Gear Grinder is....take a minute and check it out...they do some pretty cool things for the cycling community in WI.  Gear Grinder itself is a casual clothing company.  They do t-shirts, shop shirts, podium apparel, & accessories for both men & women.  My favorite is definitely the Podium Jacket and the Podium Pants.  In the future they are leaning more and more towards the sustainable model and will be focusing on the recycled tubes for making the wallets, belts, messenger bags, and the new sandals...they are pretty cool.

The best thing about Gear Grinder is that the majority of the money goes right back into the program.  Whether it is supporting me and the Junior Development Team, or promoting races like Tour of America's Dairyland and the Tour De Road America, Gear Grinder is in it for the right reasons and I couldn't do it without their support.  THANKS

Looking good part 2 - Oakley.  Any time the best of the best is on board as a sponsor you have to be pretty pumped.  I have been rockin' the Oakleys since 1996 when I raced with the Rock Shox Jr. Development Team.  Even back then I had full support from Oakley.  They have style and more importantly in my book they have function.  The best optics and the best eye protection out there....without your eyes you are not going to be fully confident to rip a downhill section at full speed ahead.  Protect your eyes at all costs...

looking good in the Northwoods back in 07!

I love my Oakley flannel and loved RazorBlades....especially in the Northwoods....I think they would fit in pretty darn good in Athens, OH too...

Thanks to Gear Grinder and Oakley for keeping me looking good!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Pure Guts

Day 2:  The guts of the bikes...Shimano.  How can you go wrong?  I honestly beleive components on the bike are 100% personal preference.  I prefer Shimano 100% of the time.  On my mtb and on my cross bikes.  I gave the others a chance, but I'm always switching back to the Shimano.  The last few years I have been very fortunate to have IMO the best component company as a sponsor.  Crisp, reliable, & light weight shifting and braking at my fingertips.  On my cross bikes I chose to go with the favorite Dura Ace 7900.  A 46t outer and 39t inner.  175 cranks, 11-25 cassette.  It's the perfect combo for cross.  I have recently ordered a new Project One road bike to give the DI2 a shot...I'm sure it will be top notch.

Pure Shimano Guts - does anybody remember this old school add?
To compliment those HED Ardennes that I love so much I am also pretty pumped about Shimano's new CX70 canti brakes.  The most powerfull, yet simple cross brakes I have felt and super easy to adjust. I'm also fortunate enough to have Shimano's new custom fit M315 shoes.  They fit like my bedroom slippers! 
Speaking of old school - remember this Gutsy performance?  Looks like Steve was rockin' the XTR...
The rest of the bike is laced with Bontrager bars, stem, saddle, and seatpost...nothing fancy just a solid compliment to a solid bike.

The last piece of the puzzle however has very little guts.  It's the simple Crank Brothers Egg Beater 11's.  I know its not Shimano, but again I beleive pedals are personal preference and again I am lucky enough to have the support from Crank Bros.  They are the lightest, they are 4 sided so I can get in and out of them without even thinking, and now they come with a killer 5 year warranty.   Gotta love 'em...stay tuned for more sponsorship Love!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Thank goodness!

Thanks to HED Cycling & Trek Bicycles
I'm not really sure what this mustache thing is all about....I think I'd look pretty hideous in a mustache so I better stick with the traditional theme of November = Thanksgiving.  So this month I'm going to dig a little deeper and really let you know about the equipment I'm racing, the sponsors who help me get to the races, and the people who support me.

Today I'm going to start with the bike & the wheels....maybe the most critical part of the equation.

The XO2 before my first trip to Belgium in 2008
This year I changed things up a bit and went back to a Trek bike.  Now that Trek is using their very well know OCLV / Madone technology in a carbon cross bike I had to give it a try.  At about the half way point in the season I'll tell you the Cronus CX doesn't dissapoint.  The improvements from the XO2 that I was riding my first season in Belgium include the carbon frame, the E2 tapered headtube, and the BB90.  This makes the bike lighter, stiffer, and gets rid of the dreaded brake chatter that so many of us have experienced on the older cross bikes.  For my details on the new and improved bike check out http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes/road/cyclocross/cronus_cx/cronus_cx_ultimate/#
The NEW CRONUS w/ E2 & BB90

Most noticable of the new features is the BB90.  This bike accelerates!  My favorite new feature is the internal cable routing...its a clean look and I hate being my own mechanic.  The internal routing keeps the cables working like day 1 for a long time!

Next up on the list is HED Wheels!  They definately add to the ability for the bike to accelerate.  For the dry fast races I have Dugast Typhoon tires mounted up the the HED Stinger 5's, a full carbon tubular, with a 50mm deep rim w/ an extra wide raised rim bed so you are guaranteed a good glue job.  The wheels are light and fast.  This past weekend at the USGP in Louisville I was rocketing down the start stretch with a full blown cross tailwind thinking to my self these wheels rule!  They also sliced through the sand like nobody's business.  Depending on the course I also have some Stingers 5's front wheels mounted up with a slightly more aggresive front tire...the FMB Grippo.  I have actually raced that set up more ofter than not.  Pretty awesome that HED sent out 2 extra front wheels....awesome sponsors rule!
AL Ardennes SL from HED = stopping power!

My favorite part about my new partnership with HED Cycling though is, when the going gets tough and cross gets muddy, knowing that I have a new weapon.  The HED Ardennes tubular.  These wheels actually stop in the mud!  Imagine that....They are light enough, they are stiff enough, and when it gets really nasty and when you really need to rely on your brakes to go as fast as possible you know the wheels will stop.  I've done two nasty muddy races this year and with Jingle Cross on the horizon I know the Ardennes will come in handy.  I have the Dugast Rhyno's mounted up to two sets of the best aluminum wheels I have ever used.  They are way less expensive than carbon, they are light, and they really could be considered a great all around wheel for everyone to use in even the fast dry races.  Check them out if you get a chance.

That's all for today so again a huge THANKS to Trek Bicycles and HED Cycling...check back soon for the rest of the details on the bike!

Monday, November 14, 2011


USGP round number 3 is in the books.  Similar to last weekend at the Iceman I am walking away from the weekend with mixed emotions.  Half of me is pretty happy that I finished Sunday in 8th place, my best USGP result ever, the other half of me is pretty disappointed that I can't figure out how to race the first lap of a race and I start off with a 30 second disadvantage.

I started off the weekend with a slightly different strategy than in years past.  I opted for the warm up ride at home(even though it was 30 degress) instead of traveling the 500 miles to Louisville and then riding the course.  It worked out good...

After my ride Friday morning we loaded up the Gear Grinder van and headed south.  Tristan, Tim, and I took the relaxed approach and after a stop for a mean Bison Burger in Columbia, IN at Papas Grill we arrived in Louisville.

Saturday morning I usually wait around at the hotel room and watch TV and screw off on the internet, but this time I opted for a little AM spin.  I cruised down to the venue picked up my number and checked out the course.
A pretty good lunch and a coffee to wake me up a little(I was really sleepy all day FRI and SAT) and it was go time. 

3rd row call up....not too thrilled, but hey...I had what felt like a bad start and never even saw the leaders.  I kept my head down and by the end of the race I was catching Tristan and Zach and was sprinting for 9th....I was a little too gassed from chasing though and finished 11th.

Best part of the weekend was Spinellis Pizzeria...a new local joint w. mom, dad, T, T, Karew, Street Player and Wagner.  Skull and Crossbones on the front door was a good sign and the pizza was killer.

Sunday was that exact same...I was a little less sleepy, but I still got the coffee from Panera.  Somehow I managaed and even worse start from the 3rd row.  I was watching the cyclingdirt.com videos and counted my self in approx 30th over the green monster on lap 1.  That's bad because I passed a bunch of guys before that...I ended up riding w/ Trebon for a while.  Towards the middle of the race a big group came together and I rode right through them thanks for some great advice from the Clif Bar super fans.  Wow all the sudden I was inside the top 10.  I bridged up to Tristan and we were 8th and 9th.  Two WI homeys racing in the top 10.  It's such a huge advantage to have a training partner who can also race in the top 10.  I dropped T with a lap to go and started chasing down Driscoll and Johnson.  I ran out of time....but the fitness was good and I finished 8th.  Now I just need to have a good start.  Thanks to all who have helped.  Gear Grinder, Trek, Shimano, HED, Crank Bros, Clif Bar, Oakley, Hyundai, Bell Helmets....and of course the local Superfans.  The cheeseheads got some love in Louisville.

After the race I drove home to Athens OH with my parents.   Chloe and TJ are joining us for a week of riding, relaxing, and some Monday Night Football!!!  Also going to be working on the Momentum Endurance Winter Training Camp plans.  We went and cruised some ridges today and tomorrow we are going to hit up the mtb trails!

Stay tuned this week to the blog....planning on lots of updates...Thanksgiving is approaching so its time to give thanks to my sponsors!!!

Monday, November 07, 2011

Iceman 2011

 Well what can I say about Iceman 2011?  Not the result that I wanted when I left home, but with the level of competition and the way that I race I am pertty content.  Good thing is there is only 5 more days until I am on the start line again!

Andrea and I rolled out to Traverse City, MI on Thursday.  It was an awesome drive along the northern shores of Lk Michigan.  We arrived and instantly were hit up by the local TV station for the 10 o'clock news report!  Good Sign.  Then we were out to dinner with a bunch of old friends from Pinckney, MI including my youth soccer coaches, the fine folks who took me to my first ever race, and the owners of Joshua Tree.

Friday morning was pretty relaxing and I waited around for a nice pre-ride w/ Troy, Brady, and Russell.  The course was in the best conditions I had ever seen.  It was going to be a fast one.  We had a low key dinner in the restaraunt after picking up the race packets and having an autograph session at the Clif Bar tent w/ womens World Champion Catharine Pendrel.

I'm not going to lie...I was nervous for this race....the most nervous I have ever been.  I knew I had the ability to win.  My training was perfect, I knew I was the strongest I have been in my life, and I really wanted to win.  Saturday morning was a long wait before making it over to Kalkaska for the start.

Luckily the time passed and before I knew it we were off....I was positioned in the top five the entire race.  I don't think I ever was further back....smart racing = step 1.  Mistake number one though was heading into the first singletrack near Tornado Alley.  I was 5th...which is good, but there were two riders between me and the strongest guy in the race.....Lu-Flu.  On his wheel was Cole House...another guy who had the ability to win....so coming out of that singletrack and watching those 2 ride away was not good....Cole came off of Flu's wheel and I thought the race was over....I immediately started chasing....I was in no man land.  After 5 minutes of full effort the gap remained the same at approx 15 seconds.  5 minutes in no mans land w/ 4 strong riders chasing me was not a good spot to be in for saving energy....I would have loved to been off the front and working with Lukas or sitting in and letting the others chase.

The four eventually caught me and then Troy, JB, Sam, and I started working together and closed the gap to Lukas.  Tristan was tagged on the back.  The race was then neurtalized....JB tried a counter attack, but it didn't get more that 5 seconds.  We were they same way 15k later when the huge crowds at Williamsburg Rd. revived my spirits after the hard chase.  The cheers for me were amazing...thanks everyone!

The race was going slower and slower and eventually Trav and Mike Phillips caught on making the lead group 8 strong(4 WORS riders!!!).  Mistake #2 - letting the dollar signs flash in front of my eyes and thinking the difference in $ was pretty significant from 1st - 8th.  We hit the Vasa Trail and continued to go slower and slower.  I wasn't sure if everyone was afraid or everyone was tired, but I was starting to get cold and legs were starting to get tight from not riding hard enough...it seems this happens every year after the Wall.  

So just like every year I had to do something....I pushed the pace up Anitas Hill to see if I could crack anybody...I think I might have lost Troy with a mechanical.  Everyone let up so I tried my first attack....Lukas covered with what seemed like zero effort.  Wow this guys is strong!
I tried another small move, but Lukas went back to the front and the race was neutral again.  Lukas put in two or three World Cup style attacks, but it could not shatter the group.  We approached singletrack number one...JB jumped and took the lead...I was 4th...we came up the IceBreaker and my legs were starting to feel better!  We entered the venue for the first time.

As we exited the venue the pace slowed....I saw my golden opportunity.  I jumped from 4th wheel to lead into the final singletrack w/ 1k to go.  I led the group up the final wood chip climb, the sun was right in your eyes, the superfans were loud, I was going for it full gas.  JB came up by my side and I accelerated to match his pace.  We crested the hill, he was on my inside, we took the next right hander side by side w/ 800 meters to go and I went down.  Race over...I did manage to get up and catch Tristan who had passed me just as I was getting on my bike.  I had enough to left in the tank to sprint him in the final 100 meters....too  bad I'll never know If I would have had enough for a 2nd Triple Crown had I not crashed.

The crash was completely my own fault.  Mistake #3 - In races like the Ore To Shore, Chequamegon, and Iceman where the action is so fast, so tactical, and so intense there is no room for error.  I think I managed to overcome the first 2 mistakes, but nodody in the world is going to overcome a mistake with less than a K to go.  On the positive side of things...I would rather get 4th while going for the W any day over riding in 4th and not giving it a go......next year we'll all line up and do it again!

However disappointed I was you can't go away from the Iceman unhappy.  Andrea raced and won.  My dad raced for the first time in 12 years...thats a victory in my book.  It is the single biggest race in the country and in my book the best race in the country.  If you have never done the Iceman do yourself a favor and make the trip the Traverse City for the first Saturday next November.  
Final Iceman facts:  Ride of the Day goes to Mike Phillips.
Best part of the weekend for me was to see and talk with Jakub Malarz and his father who I haven't seen since Iceman 96 or so....Jakub and I had so many battles back in the glory days of junior racing in MI.  I guess not only Jakub, but all the old MI friends, Frank and Matt from the Poto, Anhtony Bruley, Jim Colflesh....the list goes on and on....we finished the weekend like always at the Omlette Shoppe.

Thank you so much Steve Brown aka The ICEMAN for everything you do and your kind words !  Your event is a major part of my life and all 4800 riders owe you a lot!

For lots more Iceman action be sure to check out cyclingdirt....somebody ought to give Colt a lot of money so he can get some more cameras out there!

Monday, October 31, 2011

La la la la la

Halloween Cross is always a good time!  Thanks to my SIL Elicia I was able to pull off a last minute costume.

I've been training pretty hard for Iceman...I was pretty tired and Shriver was crushing it all day at the race.
He jumped me on every section of the course where I was strong to take away all my advantages.

Experience paid off though....I lost a sprint to Marko in this race last year...so I knew exactly where to start the sprint.

Good times and a great battle!  

Sunday was a day of spectating for me....Zonhoven Superprestige, then I dressed up as a Belgian Superfan for the WCA, then I watched to Steelers take it to the Pat's!  Day 1 of resting up for Iceman was a success!

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Local Scene

Two new CX venues this weekend for me in WI.  Both of them were pretty top notch!  I'm pretty happy to see that the WI cyclocross race courses are much improved over the courses from 4 and 5 years ago!

Day 1 was at Doyne Park in Milwaukee...and any time there are giant cupcakes on the line you know I'll be brining my A game!

that's a scary foursome...wouldn't want to run into them on a golf course

Day 2 was in Sun Prairie at Sheehan Park, just down the road from the USGP course.  I think this new place would actually be a better course than Angell Park Speedway.  
photo @ djonnymac
There were fast sections, technical sections, climbs, descents, barriers and one super steep run/ride up.  It has it all.  I thought it flowed really really good and we even got a little rain half way through to make things interesting...it helps when you have great legs too.  I felt 5 times as good on Sunday as I did at Doyne park on Saturday.

Tim @ CX the Domes
A big thanks to my buddy Tim for helping out so much this cross season!  He races in the morning and then waits around all day and helps out whenever he can...its awesome!

I feel a little bad for missing the big WORS banquet, but I just couldn't justify the 6 hours of drive time to get to Stevens Point and back after racing in Milwaukee Saturday and then Sun Prairie Sunday.  It would have been good to hang with everyone for one last time this year.  I wonder what 2nd place overall prize was???  

I'm off to Eagle River for the last of the Iceman preparation now!  Can't wait, haven't been up there in a while.