Thursday, January 26, 2012

Ready - Action

It's been non-stop down here in Tucson, but I'm loving it!!!  When we rolled into town on Day #1 and saw about 50 cyclists on the road you couldn't help but smile.  This town just has a vibe that you can't beat.

A great way to end the day!

Training Camp was awesome and the guys felt the same way.  We hit up some amazing road riding, some mtb riding, and even got to see some of the best sprinters in the country take to the start line of a local crit. 
one of the many scenic roads in Tucson
post ride power analysis

We also had our fair share of local cuisine!

Nothing beats the Cookie Cabin after the giant climb up Mt. Lemmon
All in all the camp was a huge success.  Thanks to the Jeremiah Inn for awesome accomodations and PRO Bikes of Tucson for great service and the rental bikes.

After wrapping up the final details of camp on Monday it was off to the trails again for some fun!  This time Andrea and I joined Bruce from Pro Gold Lubricants for some singletrack shredding!  I didn't have a bike yet so I borrowed Bruce's Niner full suspension.  It was fun, but man I felt like I was on a slow motion downhill bike...26 inch wheels for me please.

Tuesday after camp it was time to make my first journey into town to take care of some business with Trav @ Momentum Endurance headquarters and say Hi to the guys at Trek Bikes of Tucson.  Lucky for me when I walked in the shop they smiled and said they had a brand new Top Fuel in the back!

Wednesday before I could get my bike built up I got a call from Tommy D for a ride.  I was a little nervous at what he meant by a "long" "easy" ride.  With my specific cross training the last 3 months, long for me was about 2 hours.  I really haven't seen Tom since 2002 or 2003 when his mtb career was coming to an end and his road career was taking off.  As juniors on the Devo team we were room mates at some of the races.  It was pretty sweet to catch up on life, reminisce about the old days of mtb'ing and hear some good war stories from the peloton.  Coolest part of the ride though was talking about Christian Vande Velde and our battle at Chequamegon!  At the end of close to 90 miles I was smashed and Tom went out for another 60!  Easy 150 miles???

I've got a few goodies down here that I need to sell.  Check them out and let me know if you might be interested.  The Top Fuel is almost finished...stay tuned for pictures!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Tucson & The Off season!

It's been a busy start to the 2012 off season.  After CX Nationals we took a day to get cleaned up and then we hit the road!  I was pretty pumped to get out of town.  I think we timed it perfectly w. the first snow storm of the year hitting 2 days after we left.

Rosco was the co-pilot!
Rosco, Andrea and I loaded up the Elantra Touring w/ Elicia in tow!  We caravaned across the country, and shared hotels until we hit Albuquerque.  We crashed one last night together and in the morning we went south and Elicia continued West to California.

We arrived Thursday afternoon and it felt like home!  We took a quick spin to Saguaro National Park and then went out for our first Mexican feast at El Charro!  I love the Carne Seca and it seems Tucson is the only place in the world that offers it up.

It felt a little busy getting settled in, hitting up 4 grocery stores, unpacking, and getting ready to race all one day one!  Yep thats right!  Racing after only one full day in town.  Andrea had the itch so we slapped on a number plate and she let it rip.

The womens fielf took off w/ approximately 20 women in the first wave.  Two of them were Pros including Chloe Forsman Woodruff.  Andrea finished the race 3rd in the Cat 1 women and 5th overall with the 2 pros.  She was nice enough to let me borrow her bike after the ride so I could hit the dirt a little too.  I'm still waiting for my new Trek Top Fuel to arrive.

Chloe w/ the holeshot
Sunday was a quick ride to mile 14 of Mt. Lemmon where I hooked up with old team mate and Tour De France superstar Tommy D for a little training.  We followed that up with a big bowl of chili and and some Sunday football.  Two Sundays in a row w/ results that we didn't want.

Monday the Momentum Endurance Training Camp bikes started to roll in so I was busy building bikes and prepping for the arrival of the athletes.  Tuesday was a meet and great and an easy spin to get things warmed up for the next 5 days of riding.  Time to get hit the road!

Monday, January 09, 2012


A mixed bag of emotions on this one.  In the end though I know its not what I wanted or its not what I'm capable of so I'm calling it a dissapointing race.

I am however happy that the season is over and I can call it one of my best.  I feel I was very consistent and had better results than the any other season.

The race itself went down like early departure from Sheboygan Sunday morning.  A stress free drive and an early arrival to the race course.  The conditions were a little different than Wednesday when I had pre-rode but I was expecting that...

I set up camp under the Trek tent thanks to my good buddy Demo Ken!  He had prime real estate on the infield, close to the pits, and just past the finish line.  He also had a nice warm trailer that I could stand up in a get changed! 

I headed out for a pre-ride and felt pretty good.  Not fantastic, but not horrible.  I was hoping for a clean first lap and then I thought I would be good.  I chilled out a little, pinned my numbers, and then headed out again after the womens race to see how much the course had changed as the temps were rising and the ground was thawing.  I didn't think it chagned that much.

I swapped clothes did a little time on the trainer and headed to the start line.  I was second row.  GO and I was off...a good start!  A little chaos in the first 4 corners but I made it unscathed.  I was sitting in 8th or 9th at the top of the first climb.  I finished up the lap and was sitting on Chris Jones wheel in 7th or 8th place.  Perfect...I felt like Chris was going to be my free ride back to the top 5.  I relaxed and as soon as I did I went down hard.  I got up pretty quick, but I was a little rattled.  I jumped back on the bike losing very little time, but in a cross race that early on I went from 8th to 14th in a split second and Jones was gone.  I was now in a battle for the top 10. 

I thought I was OK and planned to sit on, change bikes, and then get going again.  I knew it was going to be a long hard race, but they legs never really go going.  In fact it started to hurt more and more.  I suffered to stay in contact with 9th and 10th, but I couldn't.  Soon I was in 11th and 12th.  I crashed again.  Confidence was going out the window.  I lowered the tire pressure, but it wasn't enough and I could never steer the bike like I could in Chicago.

45 minutes into the race I though we would have 2 to go, and when I saw three to go it crushed me.  My energy was dissapearing fast and soon I was in 12th all alone.  I started going slower and slower so I didn't crash again.  It hurts.  With 1/2 lap to go another guy caught me and I tried to drop him a few times, but I couldn't and he easily outsprinted me.  13th place at the finish.

This was not a course that you could hide on if you were having an off day.  I was hoping to feel as good as I did in Chicago or better, but it didn't happen.  There are a few reasons why I think this is the case and hopefully I can work on it and be better next year!

 The fans were amazing.  The pit crew of Tim, Elicia, and Andrea were awesome!  I couldn't do it without the support of all my individual sponsors.  Thanks everybody for a great season.  Time for a vacation!

Friday, January 06, 2012

Pre - Race

Well two days to go and the season is over.  This weekend should be fun, but it is always a little hard to end the season...especially when your form is on the way up.

I took a few days off after Chicago because I was smashed.  Two days of hard racing and two days of good recovery.  By the time Wednesday rolled around I needed to get out and do some riding.  I also had some other things to take care off...wheels from Cycle-Ops, wheels getting worked on from my homey Mike Heenan, wheels to drop off for the MWI team.  My best option was to drive to Madison, take care of all my business including registration and pre-riding the course. 

I dropped a wheel at Saris, I picked up my lucky #14 race bib, picked up and dropped of some wheels with Mike, then suited up to check out the National Championship course.  There has been a lot of talk about this race course.  Too easy, too icy, whatever it is it IS and I needed to check it out.  I started out the ride w/ a 1 hour spin around Verona and then headed to the course for a lap between the Womens and Mens SS race.  It was tough.  Soggy false flats, mud covered ice, slippery off camber corners, and a hard hard ground that doesn't allow you to run too low of a tire pressure.

I got a lap in but I needed more, so I set up a trainer and spun for another 40 minutes while watching Tim rock the SS race.  Then I headed out for two more laps.  First at 22 psi and it was good for the mud, but too soft, then at 24 psi which was about perfect.  Who knows how much it will change between now and then, but it sounds like its still muddy.  The coolest part about the course preview though was running into one of my favorite sponsors HED Cycling...check this out!  As I mtb'er I really hope to rock these next year!

HED's new disc specific Stinger 5

HED also had a disc hub laced to an Ardennes! 

Today I spent chillin' and cleanin'.  I cleaned the house so we can be ready to leave for Tucson as soon as possible!  Again I can't wait for the Momentum Endurance Training Camp!  Then I spent some time with the bikes.  New cables and housing, cleaned and regreased the BB's and headsets, and then gave the bikes a good bath!  They needed it after the CCCNYR.

the calm before the storm

8 degrees in December of '08 at Lambeau
Now its time for a dinner, a movie, and early to bed.  A little warm up ride tomorrow followed by some football and another night at home in my own bed.  Then Sunday morning I'll drive over set up shop and let it rip!  I can't beleive the weather.  5 years ago we went to Brett Favre's last home regular season game at Lambeau..we need every possible item of clothing to stay warm.  It was 8 that day.  We are lucky! See you there!

Monday, January 02, 2012

4th & 1

Two solid 4th place rides for me this weekend at the CCC NYR in Chicago; One To GO!

It was game on starting Friday.  Fidea Cup from Leuven on the web at 8am.  Training at 10am for 2 hours.  Lunch, Nap, Bike Cleaning at 3pm - 6pm, dinner, laundry, pick up Gear Grinder van @ 8pm.  Load van for an early departure 7:30am the next morning to Chicago.

I finally just caved in to the free Netflix trial.  So far pretty awesome.  We have the slowest high speed internet in the world, but no problem to watch a movie or a tv show.  Sat night before bed I needed 30 minutes of spacing out so I watch the first episode of The Wonder Years!  Gotta love that show.

We made it through Chicago traffic with no problems and arrived to the Indian Head resort.  It was more like a groomed tractor pull!  The bermuda grass of the golf course was more like a wet sponge, and if there were any dips in elevation it was a mud bog.

I felt good on Friday and I had been doing a lot of CX practice in the sand at the beach by my house.  I immediately felt comfortable in the mud, my legs felt good, my HR was responding, and I knew it was going to be a good day!  I just didn't know how good...

I had a good jump of the line and then pulled out of my pedal...luckily I was already up to speed and held a good position around the first few corners.  I immediately felt good and moved up to Trebon's wheel.  I even pulled through the start finish on Lap #1.  I was feeling good so might as well go for it...

The first slight the middle of lap 3 Chris Jones crashed right after the pits...I tried to avoid it, but went down when I ran him over.  Powers was going through the pits and was able to avoid the crash and Trebon was going off the front.  Jones and I started to chase.  A lap later half way through the race Jones stopped pedaling and told me we were getting to close to Powers.  The Rapha team card had been played...oh well, I was riding better than Chris in the technical stuff and all I needed was for him to make another mistake.  I pulled and entire lap.  Starting the next lap I nailed a mud bog perfect and looked up and saw Powers....I knew I was bringing him back.

As I caught Powers, Chris was off the back a little because he has just went through the pits...I wanted to keep the pressure steady and hope for that mistake.  No go.  With one to go I pulled through the start/finish and the crowd was was awesome.

I attacked then a couple of times and had some daylight, but never enough.  Jones took one little flyer, but it didn't stick.  Powers then went and I didn't want to get 1-2ed for an entire lap so I let him go thinking I had a better chance for the podium beating Chris one on one.  Unfortunately when you pull a guy around a windy course for 30 minutes he has a little more in the tank at the end....I finished 4th, but was very happy with how I felt...I think I can still get a little fast this week!

Day 2 I was tired.  I inspected the course and it seemed heavier so I wanted to save some energy for the race.  That was my mistake.  I didn't really rally it and when I started and hit the first section of mud I knew I was in trouble w/ too much air in the tires.

Half way through the race I went from holeshot to 7th or 8th place and then I crashed.  Myerson crashed into the back of me and the lead group was going going gone.  Lucky for me it was right in front of the pit, but the spare bike had the same pressure and I didn't have a chance to communicate w/ Tim that I needed lower pressure because I hadn't passed the pit yet..  Next lap I was able to do so and then next lap I finally got a bike w/ good air.  1/3 of the way through the race and I was finally dialed.

I was riding w/ Wicks and Lindine, but as soon as I changed bikes that lap I was on my own.  I was the first guy to ride the hill when I finally got my tire pressure dialed, but it took a lot of energy.  I settled in and started to watch Jones come back towards me.  With 2 to go I was on my good bike...the other bike's valve cores were frozen and there was still a bit too much pressure.  I put 16 seconds into his gap and I really did a smooth lap.  I think he saw me coming though and started to go faster.  I switched to my not so good bike and wasn't able to close the last 10 seconds...another 4th.

Another awesome weekend.  Thanks to Andrea, Elicia, and Tim for helping in the pits and cleaning dirty clothes, thanks to Gear Grinder for the van and the tent, the superfans, and all my other sponsors who make it possible.  Check out for more great pictures and full race recaps.  See you in 6 days!