Saturday, January 29, 2011

It's all about the mailbox!

Day after day its been an exciting trip out to the mailbox! Today was by far the best! Andrea's loving father sacrificed all things Packers to mail me my Franco Harris Steelers jersey! Now I'm ready for the big game. Andrea also received my Packers we are dialed for next weekend! Needless to say I'm looking forward to Super Sunday.

Also showing up in the mail was some love from the sponsors. A couple pairs of the new Crank Brothers Egg Beater Eleven pedals arrived two days ago. The pedals are redesigned for 2011 and now come with an amazing 5 year warranty. They are still super light and the quickest pedal I have ever clipped into. Yesterday was the arrival of the emergency Clif Bar stash! It was pretty brutal doing the shootout last weekend with 2 bottles of water and a banana for a 90 mile 70 degree suffer fest. The new Shots go down super smooth and taste even better. Gotta go out and try the new Citrus flavor! An occasional Clif Bar helps out while I'm constantly trying to replenish the calorie deficit from a long season.

It's also good to get a little $$$ in the mail too. Tax refunds. Of course its never enough! I had to go out and get a job last week. Its a good thing though. The crew at Trek Bikes of Tucson is good bunch of guys. I met Dave(owner) a few years ago through Tim Swift from Riverbrook. Dave's wife Candice raced jr mtb's with me back in the glory days. They are both super nice and its was awesome to be able to get a job and jump in head first and really feel like I'm able to be an asset to them in the short time I will be here. Stop by and say Hi if your in Tucson....I'll be there!

What's even cooler than working is commuting to work. It's a 15 mile ride one way. 90 miles on the commuter so far! It's all downhill on the way to work and its brisk in the morning so I don't arrive drenched in sweat. I can pretty much soft pedal and if I time the stop lights good I'm there in an hour. On the way home I can crush it if I want or I can enjoy the sunset. Just gotta be defensive in all the crazy Tucson traffic.

Did a couple of good MTB rides with Andrea this week. Wednesday we did Bug Springs to Prison Camp to Molino. Today we did Fantasy Island. It was brought back a lot of good memories riding out there especially after seeing the Jerry Hutchinson memorial. RIP Jerry we're still thinking about you.

Last night we went out for dinner for the first time since we have arrived. La Rua's. It was gooooood. Carne Seca Chimi followed by a Green Chile Tamale. The place claims to be the oldest Mexican joint in Tucson. 1922! They had the flavor category dialed after almost 90 years. Time to go fire up the grill for tonights dinner. Adios

Sunday, January 16, 2011


It's settled - Steelers AFC Championship Game - Packers NFC Championship Game! I can't wait for football next weekend! If 'IT' happens I will be 100% Steelers.

Also settling in quite nicely in Tucson. After about 4 days of fighting off a cold I finally won. Zinc, Echinacea, Vit C, Garlic, Cold Eeeze, and some R & R was all I needed to start getting back on track. Friday morning we hopped on the mountain bikes and hit the Jesse Owens Park Farmers Market, where we purchased some killer Tamales, we hit Broadway Bicycles, the bank, and the library. Friday evening it was back on the bike to search for a good place for Rosco to play Kong. The church that is about 300 meters down the road was the big winner even though we pedaled close to 15 miles and searched out multiple schools and parks.

Saturday morning it was time to get back on the bike, but I wasn't quite ready to jump in head first. Everyone in town was up bright and early for the Shootout, but I was heading up Mt. Lemmon. I needed to see how bad it was going to hurt after 2 weeks off the bike, traveling half way around the world, and getting sick. It hurt....I made it to the 14 mile marker. Over 6,000 ft elevation, and it was windy. I only had a 23 tooth rear cassette which wasn't big enough. When I turned into the headwind sections I was wishin' for a 27. A 3 hour ride and I was limpin' home.

Saturday afternoon = 8 hours at Buffalo Wild Wings watching my 2 favorite teams. One Black and Bleu burger, One plate of Ultimate Nachos, 5 Sprites, and one Chicken Wing that was hot enough to last the night.

Sunday 3:45 on the mtb shaking it down. With TJ Woodruff and John Beck. Depart from Spanish Trail, Ride up Reddington to the AZ Trail and then back down Milagrosa. It was some of the most technical stuff I've seen in a long time. No way was I going to clear everything. Probably a good 3 sections where I was off and walking and a couple more dabs thrown in for good measure. It was sweet to test the limits of the new Fuel....or maybe it was my limits.

We have now been in Tucson for one week is a photo from tonights Sunset.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


It's been a bit of a whirlwind since returning from Belgium, but it could be worse. I was home for about 3 days and then we loaded up the Hyundai and headed south. The Touring was sweet. 4 bikes, tons of gear, full comfort and even room for Rosco.

He was guarding the Belgian Chocolate in the back seat. First stop
was in St. Louis. Second stop was in Amarillo, TX. Final destination was achieved on Sunday at about 7:00pm.
No IPODS, NO satellite radio, very little cell phones, but lots of AM radio. 4 NFL Wild Card games helped pass the time. Every single game came in crystal clear, except for the last 3 minutes of the Packers game....can you believe it?

We are shacking up in a guest house on the East side of town close to the base of Mt. Lemmon and Suagaro National Park. It is awesome here. A bunch of fellow Wisconsonites are staying at the main house on the property. Lots of good training rides in the future.

My first day in Tucson was spent building the new Trek Top Fuel 9.9 SSL. WOW. It's going to be sweet. Trek updated the frame with internal cable routing, BB90 Precision Fit Sockets, and a Net Molded tapered head tube! Its again stiffer and lighter! I can't believe they took the best bike I have ever raced and made it better!

Even more impressive is the new Shimano XTR Dyna-Sys. Crisp shifting, smooth brake action, and perfect gear combos. The bike is stocked with dual lockout FOX front and rear suspension.

I took it for a small spin after spending a solid 6 hours building her up, bleeding the brakes, and setting up the suspension. Again...WOW. I feel like I'm 'sitting on the toilet' when riding it and it feels a little heavy after spending so much time on the 14 pound cross bikes, but as soon as it hits the dirt she'll be right at home!

Now I just need to kick this little cold I've been fighting so I can enjoy the nice weather!

Thursday, January 06, 2011

2010 - See ya - I'm out of here

2010 is over and 2011 is under way. It's always nice to race Jan 1st and Jan 2nd so you can officially have your first race of the year under your belt without even thinking. Very soon I will be headed to Tucson to soak it all in, rest up, and start preparations for the new season. I've had some time the last couple of days to do some reflecting on the entire season.

The highlight of the season, without a doubt, was participating in the Jr.Mtn
Bike Camp at Michigan Tech. It was so rewarding to go to the UP and go riding with the juniors. Not only did I discover some great trail systems in Houghton and Copper Harbor, but I also made some good friends and had a blast doing so in the process. Plans for 2011 are in the making.

The racing was solid. 2 seconds away from another Triple Crown...lost the 6 man sprint at Ore To Shore, but won the 3 man battle at Chequamegon, and won my 3rd Iceman against the best in the country.

Cyclocross season was also solid...I won my first 2 UCI races, just missed out on a top 10 overall in the USGP, and had a solid euro campaign. Most importantly I finished the season in good physical and mental form. With the ultimate goal being Worlds in Louisville it was important for me to delay the start of my season. I sacrificed some early races and maybe even Ore To Shoe, but I was strong throughout the entire cross season and that was a big goal. For years I've been on the schedule of finishing my season at Iceman, so it will take a while to adjust to be in peak shape in late Jan 2012.

Again thanks to Gear Grinder and all my other sponsors for your support. Thanks to my family for all the sacrifices you make to help me reach my goals.

With the end of the season here I need to free up some space in the garage. New equipment is already arriving!

2 Blue Norcross SL's 56cm w/ full Dura Ace
3 sets of Easton wheels w/ tires
1 18.5" Trek Top Fuel 9.9 SSL w/ Sram XX

e-mail me if interested

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

The Belgian Experience take 3

This was my 3rd Euro campaign and I'd say the best yet. The first year the racing was way different. Everything was fast and frozen. Completely unlike Belgian Cyclocross. I never got lapped and I made the Worlds Team. Beginners Luck! The second season I was smoked. Mentally and physically. The racing was brutal. Mud, mud and more mud. I never wanted to see that much mud again....

Next things I know I was back at it again, but this time I struck out on my own. Eurocross Camp was amazing and without that experience I never could have done it on my own. This year there was a whole new set of challenges, but to my amazement everything worked out.

I scored the best possible accommodations at the Hof Ter Kommen. Gregory, Nele, and Chris were the best possible mechanics and support crew you could ask for. They went way above and beyond what I was expecting. So many people sent donations and so many Belgian fans cheered me along the way. Mark and I had things pretty dialed on the day to day life of training and racing. My sponsors had me dialed with the best possible equipment I could ask for and my family went so far as to buy plane tickets and come along for part of the journey. If not there in Belgium with me they were watching every morning on the internet.

The best word to describe it was perfect. I already miss it and wish I could race again tomorrow! I went for an easy ride yesterday after unpacking and building the bikes and took today off. It feels like 3 months since my last race, but its only been 3 days. I'm counting the hours before I can watch Nys, Albert, Wellens, Meeusen, Pauwels and Vantornout battle it out at the Belgian national championships. I had some good races, some medium races, some mechanical problems, and even had the worst race of my entire career, but thats bike racing and dealing with the adversity makes you stronger. Look at Nys, broken pedals, dropped chain, crash in the pits, but then he comes back to win on his home course.

Thanks to everyone who played a part in my trip to Belgium especially the photographers Tom Robertson, Lyne Lamoureux, and many other who captured the images and shared them with was a huge part of my life that I'll never forget. I'm looking forward to applying all my new found knowledge from Belgium and having an even better 2011.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Home Sweet Home

I'm home, but not for long...just need a few days to figure it out. How wasted am I? How wasted are my bikes? my gear? Do I have everything? What time zone is it? Do I have to race tomorrow? Where am I?

Oh yeah home....and it was about as smooth sailing as you can get. After partying pretty much all night long with the Packers live streaming on the net, I slept about 3 hours before the early alarm and the last trip with Gregory down the N40 towards Brussels. We arrived early...first one in line at Continental after a little discussion in half English half Flemish 'voila' no fee for bikes or bags on the plane....its a gosh darn miracle. Finally a good cup of coffee at Starbucks. On time flights, no motion sickness, bags arrived in Newark, and rechecked with no problems to ORD. A burrito. Another on time flight to O'Hare bikes and luggage arrived. No traffic from Chicago to Milwaukee(Thanks TIM) swapped cars at the laundromat on North Ave next to the Wendy's for a smooth ride all the way home. Rosco is pumped and so am I! Now I just hope I can sleep all night long!

Full Belgian experience recap coming soon!

Sunday, January 02, 2011


We finished our last race today in Tervuren. It was brutally hard. The hardest race yet. I felt like I was battling with different guys the entire race. I felt better each lap, but the Belgians are so much better in the mud. I've only done roughly 15 Belgian cross races. Sven Nys does 30 a year. That's a huge difference. I think I finished 36th today. All in all better results than last year. Better feelings, but I still think I can go harder or have more in the tank. Had I not been pulled today 6 guys were within range of passing.

Hopefully soon the race will be on youtube.

Anyway we finished up our last night here in Belgian at a Frituur shop. Frites and Burgers. Then we came home for a Leffe and packed up our bikes. What more could you ask for...the Packers game streaming live!!! Better get on GO PACK GO

Flying home tomorrow! Next update from Sheboygan, Thanks for reading.

Saturday, January 01, 2011


I was scared as I was pinning on my number today...and thats not a good way to be at the start of a GVA. During the first warm up lap everything was good. Second time through a little faster in each line. On the final descent I started to go down and I started to go fast, but I couldn't stop and I kept gaining speed....I had to dismount at what felt like mock speed. The brakes, pads, and carbon rim combo just didn't have the power I needed ride at a comfortable speed on the descent in the wet and snow. I tried different pads and they didn't do the trick for me either. I was afraid of crashing....check out Boom on lap one. I figured if I lost 5 seconds per lap it would be better than breaking my collarbone.

Again this is not the mindset to be in at the start of a GVA. I was hoping once they blew the start whistle I would forget about it all, but I was still scared on lap one. On lap 2 I started going a little better, passing a few guys. Lap 3 I settled down a little and got in a good rhythm, but I was still losing too much valuable time running the descent. UCI RULE #59.C Disc Brakes are cool! I could have gone for some today for sure...or maybe some bigger cajones!

Mark and I pretty much raced together the entire race and finished 32nd and 33rd. It was brutally cold and hard. Deep mud, an iceberg field descent, a lung searing set of steps. Just what you want in a Belgium cross race. I can't help leaving the race course with a empty feeling though.

My legs don't feel like I put out a solid effort. Which means I can really crush it tomorrow and finish off the campaign with a really good result! I will be thinking of all the supporters, my Belgian Fan Club(who was there in full force today!), my Belgian support crew, and my family back home. Everyone has supported me so much and my last race will be a full effort to reward everyone with a good result!