Monday, May 28, 2012

A Man's Best Friend

Rosco loved sunny days.  He would play Kong in the back yard until I was exhausted.  In his prime he would never get tired.  He would come in the house, drink some water, barf on the carpet, and then sleep in the sunshine!  I miss him.

4 weeks ago Rosco had a major seizure on a Monday morning.  Tuesday he was diagnosed with brain cancer. It was the start to the hardest month of my life.  We did everything we could to keep him happy during that last month.  He died Saturday morning May 19th.  It was a sunny day.

It has been pretty quiet around the house this past week without him.  He had a big presence for such a little guy.  Snorting, farting, and always playing Kong.
Our first family portrait!
Rosco was rescued from a puppy mill.  He had a rough go at things for the first year or two.  He lived in 5 different homes until we found him in March of 2003.  Andrea drove through a blizzard to get him and from then on everything was great.  We were lucky.  Andrea and I did everything we could to make his life the best.

Rosco was the best partner in crime I could ever ask for.  He sent me off with a big kiss before every bike ride.  He was the first to come running when I got home.  He spent countless hours chewing his Kong while I would ride the trainer.  He couldn't control his excitement when I would bring the wash bucket in for some soap and water because it was time to clean bikes.  He loved it when the UPS man came to the door w/ new bike parts at the start of each season because it meant a trip to the basement to work on bikes.  He was always waiting for me when I would get home from a weekend at the races.  He loved taking naps with me after hard training days.  He was my faithful companion.

Rosco always loved going for a ride in the car.  Whether it was a trip to the beach, to the cabin, or across the country!  He would get so pumped.  Our last trip to Tuscon was the best.  When we arrived we took him for a walk to play Kong and even though we hadn't been there for a year he knew exactly what was about to happen and as we got closer he started pulling at the end of his leash.  He was so smart.  He ripped it up that first day in Tucson.

He always loved an adventure and never ever looked back.  Well buddy, I hope you are enjoying your new adventure.  Your mommy and your daddy miss you.

Our last family photo.
Rosco was a good boy.  I'll remember him every day of my life.  He was my best friend.

Crystal Clear & Cloudy

Well things have been pretty challenging this month....I kind of feel like I have been walking around in the clouds, not sleeping enough, training hard, and then trying to race on top of it all.  I just finished a really hard 3 weeks of training and it took all my energy just to get my hours now that I'm done and taking a break I can finally do a little update on the last race weekend.

 It started out with the worst possible thing in the world.  Saturday morning at 5am Rosco left us for good.  It was the worst morning in my life.  Unfortunately I was committed to do a Expert Level Race Clinic that same day in Rhinelander.  I thought about bailing, but I had a job to do....

So with a huge question mark I left for the north woods of WI.  I did the race clinic and I think it turned out good and then did one more lap on the course.  It was nice to just go and ride.  I was lucky to find a little peace of mind by spending the night at the cabin in Eagle River where Rosco loved to hang out.  It was perfect weather and he would have loved it....

With a heavy heart I took to the start line for WORS #2.  Luckily Don messed with me a little bit on the start line and it put a smile on my face and changed my attitude about the race.  I was mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted, but somehow I came away with win number two.

Lap 1 was absolutely brutal and was pure shock to my system...I was doing everything I could to hang on the wheel of Mike P for the first half lap.  I took over half way through the lap and tried to slow the pace a bit to something more manageable, only to be attacked heading out for lap 2 by 'the new guy'.

Jesse caught Joe Maloney by the end of the lead out starting lap 2 and then set a good pace.  I was relieved to follow Jesse, somebody who could rip some singletrack, in a smooth, fast, easy manner.  Then the wind picked up, it got dark, and started to rain, I went to the front and went hard!  Jesse told me to keep going - we had a gap.  At the end of the lap it was down to 3.

Nathan took over Lap 3 and the pace was not to my liking.  It hurt again.  I thought I was done for, but hung on.  At one point in time Jesse looked at me with a familiar face and told me that his 36:16 gear used to be easier to push!  I had to smile to myself.  I took over the second half of lap 3 and kept the pace high, but I felt like I had no rhythm or couldn't go hard...I thought it was lights out...

Starting lap 4 I sat in going down 3/4 of the road, but then it was my turn to pull.  No challenge to enter the singletrack so I kept it steady.  As we continued on during the last lap I felt more rain and weather coming in...I also sensed the end of the race near.  I knew everyone was hurting and I knew I had a chance for the win.  I went with the same plan as last year...go hard, then go harder, and finally go really hard.  It worked and I got win number #2.  It was brutal...I finished with a wave of emotion, I missed my dog.  It was no doubt the hardest race of my life due to the circumstances.  I had to go do a 30 minute cool down on the road in the pouring rain and take a little time to myself.

The best part of the weekend was the stop at Duck's in Crandon.  If you are ever there go and get the Ducks Deluxe Burger...mmmmm!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

too much?

All of the sudden I feel like I have a lot to say!

First off just finished up a super hard 3 days of training.  4 + hours each day...I'm hurting, but I've got some killer tunes on the radio right now mustering up the last of my energy(see below).

I've been using Strava as my if you live in Sheboygan go out and get yourself some KOM's.  I think I've hit every ride in a 45 mile radius from Sheboygan.

Next up is a trip to Rhinelander Saturday morning for a Expert Level Race clinic and a pre-ride of the course and then WORS #2.  You can still register for the clinic if you are fast....8 hours till registration closes.

OK now to the good stuff...I'm pretty sure I'm not going to keep riding the Cronus for training...Its awesome for base miles, super comfortable, smooth, all you really want...except the 46 tooth big ring.  It's just going to be a little small when in 6 weeks time I start up with some intervals.  So this is on my radar!

Trek Domane - should be even smoother than the Cronus CX!
My good buddy Stevie P from MI was kind enough to give me his bike when I was in town for Barry Roubaix!!!!  It was an exact replica of my very first MTN Bike!  It also gave me the motivation for the Trek Project One paint scheme!
I upgraded to a Rock Shox Mag 21!

Thanks Stevie!

So the inspiration and energy from this blog post definitely comes from the passing of Donna Summer.  I guess she died of cancer according the the net.  Too many people dying of cancer lately :(  Our good friend Bill Peterson also recently passed after a battle with lung cancer and of course Rosco is not doing so hot...

We used to rip it up to the Queen of Disco's music back in the day!  Good Times!  Good Times!  On this particular night I remember getting ready to walk out the back door.  Lou asked us if we had any money.  Skyler and I looked at each other smiled and then I pulled a dollar out of my pocket!  Lou laughed called us bums and we were on our way!

Monday, May 07, 2012

Mixed Feelings

WORS #1 is in the books.  First race of the year and first win of the year!  I am pretty pumped that the training is going good, but the week leading up to the race was one of the hardest yet.  Our dog Rosco had a seizure last Monday morning and we had to take him to the emergency vet at 4:30am.  Tuesday he was diagnosed with a brain tumor and he is not doing well.  It was a very emotional week and very hard to even walk out the door to head to Iola.  Luckily the med's he's on have reduced the swelling in his head just enough that he has moments of being the old Rosco, playing Kong and causing trouble!  He was doing well Sunday morning so Andrea opted to skip the race and stay home w/ Rosco and I headed out for a muddy mess....I knew Rosco would have had a blast...he used to love to play in the mud!
Rosco playing Kong & gettin' muddy in Eagle River 2006!
I honestly didn't think Iola was going to get that muddy so I was more concerned about the brand new tires I had just mounted on my bike not holding air.  The front tire was solid, but the rear was down to 15 psi Sunday morning after being at 40psi Saturday night.  I brought Andrea's bike along just in case thinking maybe I would just swap rear wheels.

I arrived at Iola and it was pretty great!  It was like coming home from a long vacation.  I was happy to be back on the race scene.  Friends, coaching clients, Jr. Mtb campers, and competition!  I registered and took a quick look at the course and was pretty surprised at the amount of mud.

Back at the car I wasn't confident with my back tire losing air, nor was I confident with my front tire choice that was holding when in doubt just ride your wife's bike....

Yep it was just easier to swap pedals and take to the start line on an old school (2011 Top Fuel 9.9) bike that was a size too small!  The smaller bike handled awesome in the mud and the beefy Bontrager XR2's were just the ticket!

Don yelled GO and we were off.  Shriver took off from the 3rd row and I was pretty surprised to see Mark Lalonde coming out of retirement and passing me on the first climb from the 5th row!  A little stumble from Shriver and Mark and I got a gap...I think Mark was in shock that with a bit of running, some skills, and just a little hard pedaling we were gapping everybody on the first lap.

The initial shock of race pace hurt me, but I settled down pretty fast.  I was feeling good on the bike and knew I wanted to be at the front.  The group came back together starting lap 2 so I went to the front and went hard for 10 minutes and was alone the rest of the race.  Then I just started having fun and ripping the descents and sliding the bike through the singletrack.  Maybe a little too much fun though as I burped my front tire - stylin too much on some jumps and had to finish the last lap cautiously on 15 psi...good for the flat muddy sections not good for the cornering.

Final thoughts from the race....again it was awesome to get the first race jitters out of the way and come home with a WIN.  I didn't realize this until this morning, but my brand new Bontrager RXL shoes were amazing.  You know a brand new pair of shoes is good when you don't even think about them during a with all that running I learned they are going to be killer come cross season!


Coches Corner: it was a toss up this weekend for my coach's pick of the its a tie.  Congrats to Bill Street for 3rd overall in Comp and congrats to Mike Carney 2nd age group in Sport!  Last weeks coaches Corner was another tie  Congrats to Corey Stelljes who won the Joe Martin Stage 1 TT and to Tom Payn for a 2nd place at the Pontiac Lake TT. 

Thursday, May 03, 2012

check please

Well the first Base period is over.  3 weeks of perfect training.  It's the most focused I have ever been.  I am in a super good routine and really pumped for the season.  I finished the phase off last Sunday with a solid 4 hour ride at just over 20mph!  Usually its not until June until I can pull something like that off....maybe it was the wind, but I think it was more my legs!

 I have been feeling good on the bike.  The Cronus is treating me good.  My position feels great.  My feet feel great with my new Bill Peterson PowerPlus insoles and my new XXX Bontrager road shoes.  I'm eating good, I'm sleeping good!

If all goes well this weekend will be the first test of the fitness at Iola.  Its always a big question mark after riding strictly endurance miles, but last year I fared pretty good, and this year I feel better than last.

Another reason to be pumped!  A new super lightweight PowerTap wheelset.  Thanks to my friends at Cycleops & HED wheels I just got a Speedy Delivery of a killer new Ardennes wheelset laced up to a brand new G3 hub.  I might just have to do some TOAD racing!