Friday, April 29, 2011

Monster Flashback

With the Tour of the Gila going on right now I can't help but to think back 10 years ago and crushing it on the road bike. It seemed 10 years ago the Gila was a road race where pro mountain bikers got their legs tuned up for the first Norba of the year in Big Bear. By the time the Gila is finished this sunday Norba season will be more than half way over and half the guys racing Norba don't even know where Big Bear is.....and I don't even think its called Norba anymore!

10 years ago; The 2001 Tour of the Gila....I was racing Cat 2 in probably one of the most stacked fields ever in a cat 2 race. I finished up the race with a sweet 6th place just ahead of T. Wells in the hardest road race 'THE GILA MONSTER' I have ever done. The result moved me to 11th after a horrible TT(no TT equipment whatsoever!) and a rough stage 2 finishing climb. JHK won the overall...he was a climbing machine.

In 2000 I also finished 11th 11:00 minutes behind Jason Toullous. Toullous was flying that season. My amigo Parki from Great Brittain was 5th and multi-world champ Walker Ferguson was 2nd.

In 2002 I was determined to WIN. I had the full support of Team Eclipse Racing. Scott Blanchard, Jason Karew, Jason Bache and a few others. The route for the final day of racing
changed and had us climbing up Emory Pass early on in the race. I think I was 2nd in the GC heading into the final day 1:00 minute back. I attacked on Emory Pass with 65 miles of racing to go. I had a good gap, but on the descent back down Emory Pass my team was coming up. The GC leader had flatted while I was off the front of the race. It was Carlos Vargas. He had caught back on before the long valley and the final climb up to Pinos Altos. I attacked multiple times on the final climb in an attempt to crack Carlos and it finally worked. I wasn't strong enough to win the stage (3rd) but I did gain my 1:00 min and took home the
overall! After each stage I drank a full bottle of Pedialyte and ate 2 meals a day at Wendy's! The host hotel was
right next door and I couldn't resist the $1.00 menu...I think it was the most fit I have ever been on the bike.

Here is a snapshot from the 01 Training Diary...

After the race I finished off the Ultimate Bucket at Cold Stone Creamery back in Tucson. Banana Ice Cream w/ Brownie, Oreos, Chocolate Chip, Walnuts, and Cookie Dough! The Ultimate Buckey is pretty big and I don't think I've had Banana Ice Cream since!

Friday, April 22, 2011

T-Minus 1 Week

The time is here for sure even though mother nature doesn't think so...Official training is in full swing. New team clothing has arrived and its looking awesome. Great cyclocross colors! Pretty nice too for those crisp sunny mornings when it is 'cooler near the lake.' We'll see how it goes if we ever get one of those 100 degree scorchers....but by the looks out my front window those days are pretty far off.

I'm also building up a second mtn bike this season. I had the Elite 9.9 frameset from Iceman last year sitting in the basement. It was pretty happy after going 1 for 1, but I couldn't resist a little sponsorship from Shimano and a great deal on the rest of the parts from Trek. I'll race the new Elite 9.9 at select races this year including Subaru Cup, Ore To Shore,
and to try to defend the title at Iceman again.

The Top Fuel will be my primary bike though. It's just nice to have a spare with identical parts in case of last minute emergency. WORS #1 is next weekend and after only 2 weeks of training I don't think I'm in contention for the 'W' but I will be ready for battle. I might even test out the new hardtail if the new parts arrive so I can be faster up those first 4 climbs of the season!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Man Show

With Andrea out of town it was time to get down to work....unfortunately that's not training for bike racing quite yet. That starts tomorrow.

Andrea was off to Minneapolis for a weekend of hanging with her mom and cousins along with a 50km 4 man team trail run. I think they finished it up with muddy shoes in freezing temps...I was better off in the comfort of my home!

Sports, Saturdays, Saws, and Sundays: With the help of my father in-law Mike while watching the Red Wings on Saturday and Amstel Gold on Sunday we worked on the molding that has been missing in certain areas of the house. I also removed all the window shutters(painted over nails, rusted in for 30 years, and stripped out = not fun) and re-painted them in the basement over the weekend. They are looking a lot more fresh now and I will start to hang them back up this week.

Mike thinks I should be a carpenter when I'm done bike racing! Still have to tack on new quarter round along the floor of the entire house. The old stuff was just too nasty with multiple layers of old lead paint. That might be another have to happen in a different season though. We topped it all off with a trip to Home Depot and 4 plates each of grub at the Chinese Buffet! Go WINGS

Sunday, April 10, 2011

just around the corner

The time is list of home improvement projects, although never ending, is getting smaller. Spring seems to be peeking out at every corner in Sheboygan. 2011 training is about to commence.

After Barry Roubaix a much needed 2 weeks off the bike was necessary. Just to be home and get some things done feels good. I started off with the removal of a cedar and spruce tree. The cedar was about 1 ft away from the front corner of the about 60 ft tall, I'm sure the root system was getting ready to do some damage. My father in-law and I got out the old chain saw and had at it....I was a little surprised at the adrenalin rush from dropping a 60 footer! Next up was the spruce that was growing at 35 degree angle towards the back corner of the house. Then the clean up of the old birch that had died and ripped down the power line while I was in Belgium last winter. Chain sawing for hours makes your arms sore!

Next up was a look at what needs to be replaced...quotes for new water heaters, furnaces, and roofs are pouring in and now its time to count the pennies and see what takes priority.

The big project that is looming over my head is the molding and trim that has been absent from our house since we removed it all when we bough the place. Not looking forward to that one....but its got to get done.

With little left to do and better weather on the horizon its time to get at it on the bike....race season is just around the corner!

Friday, April 01, 2011

The Pig

Barry Roubaix - a long time coming....

I suited up for my first official race this past weekend in MI. Billy Street and I started off the season with a trip to the other side of the lake. The Barry Roubaix is now in its 3rd year and has tons of potential. I wasn't the most motivated guy in the peloton and that was pretty apparent as I was dropped 4 times on the first lap. It also didn't help that I was riding a full suspension mtb on the finest dirt roads Southwest MI has to offer when everybody else was on CX bikes. I was planning to ride the CX bike, but a last minute flat tubular crushed any hopes of a podium appearance. By the time the second lap of the race rolled around I was nice and warmed up(it was 17 degrees F at the start) and I had a better lay of the land. I made the lead group of 8 after a big surge on the biggest climb of the day. At the 60 mile mark with 5 miles of mostly up hill pavement I was hurting at the Top Fuel wasn't rolling that great...I was done for and couldn't contest the sprint. Finished 8th!

After the race I did some time with the J-TREE crew and the MYC crew, both who are from my hometown of Pinckney. I decided to spend a little extra time in the great state of MI and booked a factory tour of the Joshua Tree Skin Care facilities for Tuesday. The factory tour was sweet...I learned how it all goes down and even got a few free samples! Thanks J-TREE I spent some quality time with high school friends Andy and Stevie P and even got in 2 great rides on the POTO Tuesday(JTREE/MYC Crew) and Wed(Bruce Leblanc). It wasn't all fun and games though as I spent chunk of time helping out Andy's dad rake leaves and chop down trees! I finished things off with a wrestling practice Wednesday night that rocked my world and an exciting drive home with a blown out tire going 70mph down the highway. My body is feeling the pain of the long dirt road race, the raking, and the wrestling so its time for some R & R. Eagle River here I come.