Sunday, September 30, 2007

Boulder CX #1 at CU Research Park

18 Blue Sky racers made it down to CU Research Park for the third leg of the BCR/BCT on Saturday. The day started early as many Blue Sky'ers were volunteering at the event; indeed, many sections of caution tape, the finish banner, and the start grid with call-ups would not have been possible without the diligent work of Blue Sky members throughout the day.

The course featured some pavement, 2 barrier sections with run-ups, and lots of rock-rittled single-track. It's truly a shame we didn't have BMX bikes in the pit!

8 men toed the line in the 35+/4 race. Brian Moroney was 12th, Dave Kilmoyer 21st, Jim Daus 27th, Kevin Abraham 34th, Kevin Graboski 38th, David Tanner 59th, Doug Haggert 61st, and Ron Dresher 62nd.

Next came the 35+ open race where Bill Teasdale continued his early season campaign with a 29th-place finish.

In the Cat. 4 race Isaac Dancy finished 7th, Bryan Grace rode strong in 17th, Jeremy Duerksen traded his motorcycle helmet for bicycle helmet to finish 20th, and Barry Schmidt powered home in 26th.

In the women's race 5 Blue Sky divas geared up for the biggest race of the year. Susan was 13th, Jenna 17th, and Jennifer debuted in 25th. A troll hiding beneath the bumps at the far end of the course spelled an end to Michelle's day with a fierce airborne somersault. Cindy Vanover represented Blue Sky in the 35+ race and finished strong in 8th.

The Blue Sky tent was once again the place to be along the course, and the free-flowing beer was found to be a great performance enhancer for the cowbell-ringing part of the day. Sssh, don't tell the UCI!

Monday, September 24, 2007

9_23_07 Biathlon_YMCA Snow Mtn Ranch

Summer Biathlon amongst the Fall colors in the Fraser valley! Yep, that is right, the warm-weather version of the Winter Olympic sport of biathlon was held Sunday. It combines running or mountain biking with rifle marksmanship. The running or cycling course includes four shooting bouts using a .22 rifle.
In the winter you use skate skis and carry the rifle on your back as you lap around the course.
A nice no traffic drive up I-70 at 6:30am towards Tabernash, Colorado. Overcast skies and 30% chance of rain…is that drops hitting the windshield already?

Lots of clear cut at the YMCA now that the burn happened but Nordic center was in good condition and the trails ready to ride. I Showed up for the rifle range safety brief at 8:45am. An hour later I have my official summer range card and I am in the prone position letting those .22 bullets flip those funny targets you only see at the winter Olympics. Five shot bouts and I am 5 for 5, 10 for 10, and then I try standing and shooting….5 for 5, and then 2 for 5. I knew beginners luck would run out quick but this still seemed easy. Now I wondered how this will be coming in hot and breathing hard, trying to hold a rifle steady and hit a 11cm circle at 50 yards. UMMMMMM. Lots of strong skier types walking around in the normal skate ski garb.

An hour volunteer with the running race (keeping score, reloading magazines and resetting targets) and then the kids’ mountain bike race started. Two kids tear out on 20 inch mountain bikes and one on a 24incher—they rip it up and then get to shoot pellet rifles at 25 feet. Masters division takes off just after that—serious looking folks with $3K to $5K German made biathlon rifles that make my loaner look like a squirt gun.

Then my class gets to start. They call it sport, but the front row look like expert or semi pro mountain bikers with Ti frames and full kits. Then there comes me, on the cross bike—not by choice but because I decided to wreck the maverick and destroy the stanchion on the brake side, which in turn tore the seal and sprayed oil all over the rotor and pads. Did not get it fixed Saturday night completely even though TJ hooked me up with a lower stanchion at the shop on Saturday. Bummer as everyone is chuckling a little as someone mentions how bumpy the course is since it is mostly cut down grass. They were not kidding either. A few minutes into my first lap and I am dropped quickly and already wondering to make the appointment with the dentist for new fillings.

The race consisted of five laps on the bike with four rounds of shooting in between each lap. You take 5 shots per round and if you miss a target, you get to take penalty laps around a small loop, one for each missed shot. I find the gun I practiced with and then set my self up and pull the trigger…JAM!...great way to start. Then another jam…and even one more. So, each time I get a little more frustrated with the rifle and spend my time fishing my gloved hands trying to remove bent casings. Now I know why folks want their own rifles to use. I remove my fogged glasses and then try a couple more shots…nothing—5 penalty laps for me. I watch the pack pull away—you learn quick that Penalty laps SUCK!

There is hope, I pass two guys on mountain bikes on the flat sections, get leaped frogged some on the rough stuff but with the muddy sections and dismount/runs I pass them again. It is amazing how much faster you can run through things if you know when to do it—thanks Jon for those great clinics on Tuesdays!

End of lap two, rain started and it just got more fun after that. Decided to try a different rifle on the second round but that turned out to be a bad move as the sights were misaligned…2 for 5 again. Yes! 3 more penalty laps. As I am on my last penalty lap, the leader of the race in “sport” so called it, laps me. Penalty laps really add a lot to your time. Each main lap is only 1.2 miles but it adds up when you have to do 5 extra laps around a small oval.

The 3rd and 4th shooting rounds go better as I move back to the rifle that was jamming. No jams, and even got a target with each round, so not as many penalty laps. All in all a great fun day. Everyone should try this out! I think I was 3rd or 4th in my age group but the venue was small and the cross bike was not the tool of the day for sure. Basically try racing in the grass that we practice on Tuesday nights for an hour straight but throw in some mud pits and wet the grass a little, maybe touch it off with a few wet aspen leaves scattered hear and there!! See you tuesday at CX practice. John

Great job everyone at the cross race this weekend.

For more info and winter races see:

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Jenna's SW Open Race Report

We had another fun day today down at the Foothills 'cross race, with a great showing in the men's 35+/4's, 4's, 35+, open, and 3 ladies in the Women Open!

I was excited when I got there that Michelle decided to sign up too. Then, as we were watching the boys race, we saw another lady show up in a Blue Sky kit! At first we thought it was just our imaginations, but it turned out to be Susan, an awesome Blue Skyer we'd never seen or heard from this year! :-) Now we're going to get her up to Longmont on some group rides.

Click to see Isaac's captions!

I lined up near the front and found myself with about 10 or 12 or so in front of me going into the first corner and singletrack. The first challenge was some super-high barriers on an uphill, but got through them with no issues. I passed a couple girls and got on Susan's wheel, finding that she's a great 'cross racer! We made it through some more barriers and a ledge that required dismounting with no real problems. We both passed a rider on the gradual uphill singletrack section, but then we hit the big horseshoe shaped hill.

For me the whole race ended up being about this horrible hill. In the warm-up I made it up on my bike, so I went for it on the first lap, but had to unclip when I got stuck in the loose stuff. For the rest of the race, I basically lost time on the hill and bumpy descent, and chased back as much I could on the rest of the course.
2nd lap I actually made it up!
3rd lap was a total disaster: I didn't make it, then fumbled around unclipping. I got back on only to go sideways, getting caught around the course marker and in the tape. So, I had to dismount again, then get back on carefully so I was actually clipped in for the descent. And of course it's where everyone is watching :-(
4th lap I figured I'd just plan to run up from the bottom. Not very fast.
5th lap Isaac said I looked so determined flying up to it and had a crazy look on my face! I was not going to let it stop me! I was spinning out at the top but stayed on!
6th lap I'd gotten passed by one girl earlier in the lap, but just passed another right before the hill. I knew I had to keep on the bike to have a chance to beat her in the finish, so again I was super-determined and made it.

I got stuck pulling on the gravel road leading up to the finishing stretch, so I figured I just had to sprint first and give it everything and see what happened. I actually put a pretty big gap into her by the end, and finished 9th. Yay top 10!

Susan ended up in 6th, very impressive in the open when she usually competes in the Master's! Michelle put in an awesome effort just getting through it all. She rode with another rider the whole race, which is always a good motivator to push harder, but didn't have anything left for the final sprint. Still, 18th!

Thanks for all the cheering from everyone out there, and for the feed every lap from Kevin!

A rundown of today's results:
35+/4: Kevin G. (15th), Brian M. (17th), Dave K. (20th), Kevin A. (one broken derailleur)
35+: Bill (27th)
SM 4: Isaac (5th), Lee (15th), Jim (19th)
SW Open: Susan (6th), Jenna (9th, 2nd in SW4), Michelle (18th, 7th in SW4)
SM Open: Dave H.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Brecktobercross Race Report

Fourteen of the Blue Sky Velo cross freaks showed up today in Breckenridge for the kickoff of the '07 cyclocross season.

Here's Dan getting his game face on during breakfast.

It was a great turnout with more than a few folks making their cross race debut!

Dan and Issac on the run up.

Jeremy on the run up

Pete Galt on the run up.

Post race war stories

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Tour of Missouri, stage 4 AND 5

Mavic loaner bike for Sparkasse--Photo credit Jeff Rowe

Mavicness galore-Photo credit Jeff Rowe

hey there:

most of you probably got into work yesterday, or today, and checked out the tour of missouri blog to find that there was nothing new. or, perhaps you don't even care, which is cool too.

anyway, to the one or two people who did check to find nothing, my apologies. i was so frickin cooked after riding jump on moto2 for 133 miles, i just couldn't type. i tried, but was just too damn blown. actually, i'll blame it on the cosmic bowling. we shut it down at a local AMF bowling theatre... but more on that in a minute.

Sidewalk art in Lebabanon Missouri

the race: we transferred from Springfield to Lebanon... a small town in the heartland. The start was located at the local civic center, and every single elementary and junior high school kid in town was bussed in for the start. it looked like some sort of mass hysteria, with all the kids wearing the same shirt and hunting for autographs. the discovery, toyota-united, and slipstream busses were completely mobbed. it was awesome to see the whole town coming out in support of cycling. after the start, the masses continued to show up all along the course... it seemed like every single driveway and back-country dirt lane had someone standing there waving and cheering. rad.

the finish was in a town called Columbia, and after 130+ miles, the field was strung out single file for a sprint finish. ivan dominguez put in a good effort, but lost out to Luciano Pagliarini from Saunier-Prodir. it was pretty amazing, with people lined up on rooftops to check out the finish.

we rocked a pretty uneventful dinner at some sort of brewpub that was pirate-themed. i don't know, some sort of midwest thing i guess. the place was hoppin, and seemed to be the hip place for college kids... but it was pirate themed. all rather unsettling.

Home of beef--Photo credi Jeff Rowe

The Pirate Brewpub-Photo Credit James Stanfill

the evening got started about 10pm when we realized that there was cosmic bowling going on just a short walk across the interstate from our hotel. So, Jeff, James, Dan, and myself strolled into one of the richest slices of americana i have ever seen. First, you have the fact that cosmic bowling is a serious option for your friday night. Second, everyone seemed to be named Amy or greg, and most people were still rockin their work outfits. Third, middle-aged women were out there throwin strikes and dancin around like it was some sort of bowling-induced rave. So, we figured "when in rome" and stripped down to the under-t-shirts, and ordered up a pitcher of Busch beer and got down to business. I think my first game was a 89. sick. James pulled out a granny-bowling strike. Jeff, Mr. Bowling-Poetry-In-Motion, rocked it hard with a 135. The second game went by quickly, and by the third game all of our right arms were starting to pull out of their sockets.

Stumbling back to the hotel, i realized that this is what real life is... going out and having a good time with your friends and family. Whether it is hitting the bowling alley on a Friday night, or climbing a 5.9 in Eldo canyon... it's all the same thing. Sure, I have eaten so much fried food this week that i probably will pass a kidney stone soon, but it is not all that different from life in Boulder. alright, it is so different you can't even imagine. the point is, though, that you gotta rock out.

Alright. Today we woke up, transferred to Jefferson City, the capital of Missouri. The start was great; i had an americano on board, and a homemade piece of apple pie waiting in the car for later. The local coffee shop did not dissapoint. I was moto1 driver today, which means that i sat with the peloton all day. we did one service, a guy from Saunier-Prodir with a mavic cosmic carbone fts-l freehub that was not freehubbing. he was on a downhill, and the freehub was squealing like a stuck pig, and the chain was slowing wrapping itself on the frame. I spotted this and honked at him, and he promptly pulled over for a fresh Ksyrium ES. Just goes to show you that it can happen to the best of us... gotta lube those freehub bodies.

other than that, Danny Pate from Slipstream rocked out of the break for a solo win. Nice. Also of note Colorado-homenugget Ben Raby from Kodak stuck it out like the tough man he is, riding with 12 stiches in his chin from a crash. i don't know if i would have the stones to race for 5 hours like that.

The finish was in the town of St Charles, which was the starting point for Lewis and Clark, has Dan'l Boone's original house, and is the furthest up the Missouri river that freight barges can go. all very interesting. I did run into an old fried Graeme, a guy i know that lives in denver and used to be a courier down there. now he is working for the race promotion company, and doing really well.

we headed to the hotel, got cleaned up, and hit the town for some pizza and beer, st louis style. This means pizza with crust thinner than thin, and beer brewed by Budweiser. No exceptions, they carried Bud products ONLY. The pizza was tasty, though, and the cobble-stoned street of downtown was hoppin with a variety of useless street fair booths. better than average... or at least better than bowling.

Clinon Missouri City Hall

so that's it.. you're up to speed on whatever it is that i'm doing. St Louis is going off tomorrow, and it is going to be crazy, with a football game and baseball game going on in downtown. Cool.

till then, over&out

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Tour of Missouri, Time Trial

hey ho:
another day dawned bright and clear on branson missouri as we met in the veterans cafe for breakfast and war stories in the hotel lobby. other than race workers, there was no one under the age of 50 in the whole place. and i don't say that as a bad thing... it was just rather odd. we were definitely the minority. i ordered some eggs over hard, and dug in heartily into a plate of bacon and cinnastix. with any luck, by the end of the week i will have a nice case of gout going.

we roll down to the start, which is right on the branson promenade. this is pretty rad, as mentioned in a previous entry, but again, we could have been in any number of suburbs in america. at any rate, we load the cars with tents for the course. On a Time Trial, there is no moto or auto support, but rather big yellow mavic tents lined up every couple miles along the course. basically, if someone needs support in a TT, they are pretty much screwed. However, today we did do a wheel change. Andy, a pro wrench from illinois, did a wheel change on a USA national team rider in under 10 seconds. while this guy was pretty off the back to begin with, he finished under the time cut, and the wheel change didn't slow him down. Nice work Andy!

The setup
So, i am set up in the blazing sun, but i have enough water and gatorade to feed an army. the riders ride by. no one needs support. I pack up the car and pick up my riders and their tents. we are done. the day was pretty uneventful from a support standpoint, but it was sweet to see Levi rip by with the afterburners on. and George hung in there. Ivan dominguez looked pretty good too. it is so interesting in a TT to see that some people are really trucking, and other guys are absolutely hating life.

Ivan "fidel" Dominguez

Herr Leipheimer

'Big' George Hincapie
after the race we gather our mavicness, and head back north to Springfield. Since this is a short day, we get to go for a bike ride, and Elizabeth, Peter and I head out for a couple hours. The rolling roads have no traffic, are pretty smooth, and run through some nice countryside. it was a really great ride, and good to get out with friends.

We sit down for dinner at a brewpub, i think it was called anytown usa brewing. The fish and chips were decent though, and sit well in my colon with the rest of the fried food. i gotta get a salad in me. whole foods, where art thou? at least we got to cover the windshield of nelson vails' car with coasters. that was pretty funny, watching him pick them off the windshield while his attractive female passenger waited in the front seat of a rented pontiac g6.

of note, however, is that there was a crash yesterday, and one of Longmont's own went down and is out of the race. Dan Schmatz, Longmont resident, hit an armadillo on the road, went down, and shattered his collarbone. he is down, and possibly out. There is talk that the collarbone is not only broken, but completely gone. My thoughts go out to the man, since he is one hard-working bike rider.

alright, i gotta get some shuteye, and then its on to Lebanon tomorrow for a 130+ mile stage. Take that, sitbones.


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Tour of Missouri, stage 2

hey there everyone:
today was pretty sick. Hincapie put the wood to it and had some sort of 17 minute gap with a handful of other riders. In the end, he held on to win the stage and get into yellow.

the day started off right with a continental breakfast at the drury inn, which consisted of apple juice, yogurt, and a donut. impressive. then we had an 80 mile transfer down to Clinton for the race start. we roll out of the drury, and started kickin it down the highway, when a state trooper pulls up to the front of our caravan and offers to take us through to the race start. Our lead car accepts the offer, and the only stipulation from the trooper is that we "stay glued to his tail". No worries. The mavic caravan cranks it up to around 80 and we blow out of Kansas City on a mission. Once we are free of traffic, the trooper touches 90 and the moto's are flat-out. I'm riding moto1 and i've got about 700 more rpm's before i'm pingin the rev limiter, so i tuck in and pin it. We pick up some other troopers and race teams heading to the race, and we have ourselves a convoy. We roll through small towns, 2 lane roads, and highways to end up at our destination, some 80 miles from the hotel, in just over an hour. I guess for this trooper, his race started early. Well, mavic is not one to complain, so we give our escort a nod and head over to the start-- a good hour and a half ahead of schedule.

at anyrate, james and i start looking for something to do in this one-horse town. Then, right there on the town square, we spy a daylight donuts. boom, we're there. there is a wonderful cross section of america eating donuts, drinking coffee, and pondering just what the hell all those skinny, hairless, tanned up guys are up to anyways. we stroll to the counter and order some fresh hot donuts and chocolate milk. it's go time. james proceeds to get the girl behind the counter to trade the vintage daylight donuts t-shirt she is wearing for a mavic t-shirt he is wearing. he gets the shirt off her back, and a free t-shirt worth 30 bucks at your favorite thrift store. she gets the shirt off his back, and a piece of immortality in her small town.

you may be wondering what my deal is with donuts. well, the short of it is that i grew up in the midwest, surrounded by a plethora of local donut shops. None of this crappy punched out dough from safeway, but real handcrafted donuts that were mouthwatering and satisfying. When i moved to boulder, and realized that it was nothing but safeway donuts, and some sort of pimple-inducing garbage known as krispy-kreme, it should be easy to understand my frustration.
so, here in Clinton Missouri we have a family run establishment that is thriving, serving fresh donuts, bearclaws, pinecones, krulers, coffee, and chocolate milk. so, if i ever seemingly drop off the face of the map, check for me in some small town donut shop... bellied up to the bar next to an old sharecropper and a 30 year old woman who looks she has been alive for 68 years.

alright, so back to the bike race. that is what its all about, right? right. The race rolls out, and almost immediately a break takes off, and gets a few minutes. i'm moto1 today, though, so i hang back with the peloton. a few flats go off, and we change out wheels like the pros we are. pretty soon, the pack starts slowing down, and we end up riding like 16 miles an hour for over an hour. that's how the break got 15 minutes. it's not like they were riding that fast, its just that the peloton was riding so slow. it was rather interesting... if this was some sort of colorado amateur race, no one would ever let any break like that get away. but these guys just didn't seem to care. it was weird.

so, basically, the mid portion of the race was pretty uneventful, except for me rockin with contador on my wheel. there was some sort of crash, and he got caught behind it. yours truly pulled the psuedo-legal tow back to the main field.

the finish in springfield went off pretty smoothly, some rad finishing circuits with a ton of spectators. we gathered back up the wheels we loaned out and busted out of town to get to branson. branson is a totally wierd place. there really isn't even a town that i can see, just a string of opry-houses, souvenir-houses, and neon signage. There is some sort of Hilton hotel and promenade thing... basically imagine the only thing cool that you would want to see is exactly like Flatirons Crossing mall. So, we were rather let down, but our expectations were low to begin with, so where does that leave us?
alright, so tomorrow is the time-trial, and it is only 18 miles long. i guess this favors the non-TT types, like 'big' george hincapie. we'll see. i'll be standing out on the course under a yellow tent, watching the world go by.


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Tour of Missouri, EXTRA EXTRA

alright, this just in. by which i mean JUST IN!

be prepared to recognize, what you are looking at will rock your world. this is all the rage in the peloton, and i am, at this moment, phoning the Board of Directors for Blue Sky Velo to suggest that we devote all available cash and resources into developing a team vehicle similiar in concept to what is shown below. you heard it here first. please post your comments here on the blog, where they will be tallied by the Board. After all, the Board will have the final say as to whether this is a good spend of pooled resourses. or should i say, HOW good of a spend this is.


Cross Clinic #4

About 20 Blue Sky Velo cross freaks gathered tonight for the another installment of the now infamous cross clinics.

We practiced down hill off-camber turns...

and riding in the sand...

As well as some other top secret stuff. Looks like there's going to be a good size group of folks making the trek up to Breckenridge for Brecktobercross. Only 4 more days until the cross season begins!!

day 1, Kansas Rock City

hey people:
the short: ivan dominguez rocked out of the peloton to take a sprint finish, after 6 riders who had a 6 minute break got caught with 6 miles to go.

the day started off right, sliding into a breakfast at Le Peep with 12 other mavic-ites. the holmes who took our order got it all in his head... i'm talkin about guys ordering everything from double espressos to eggs over medium, subbing out sausage links for bacon, and going easy on the smother for a breakfast burrito. i'm giving this guy some props... he's takin orders and nodding slowly, while repeating the order under his breath and taking a mental snapshot of each customer's face. odd, but effective. i rocked it with a special known as the 18wheeler. choice.

we transfer to the start in a trendy section of kansas city. yes, you skeptics, there is a trendy section. think--cherry creek, but with steakhouses and bbq restaurants instead of organic orbit and whole foods. so we hit the scene with about an hour and a half to start, and announcer Dave Towle is going ape on the podium, talking all about how the tour will go down. Some of us head to the expo area to check it out, and the toyota united models are looking choice. the budweiser clydesdales are in gigantic pens. there is a vw beetle with a whale tale and seaworld emblazoned on the side. The spectacle is in full swing.
the call-ups go down, alberto contador gets a big fanfare. Levi signs a few autographs and we take a moment of silence to remember 9/11. Then, it's go time-- today I am jumping off the back of Moto2, which means i'm the one changing flats and getting with the mechanicals. Also, speaking of Levi, i think we counted two bike changes today, putting him well back of the peloton and deep in the caravan. Alberto and Popovych were tasked with pulling him back to the field. How about that for some domestique action?
the start of the race is cool, we roll out of central KC, and it looks like a normal city. as we leave town we roll out through some chill countryside and there are enough little hills to keep things interesting. it seems like everyone has a picnic set up in their front lawn... before you know it we drop in on six guys with a 2 minute lead, and they quickly increase that to 5 minutes. So, all of the team cars come up, and mavic is there for window-dressing. i sit back and enjoy the sunshine, catching site of everything from vintage ford tractors to high-school cheerleaders along the side of the road.

as we roll back into KC, we head up some nice treelined boulevards. it's all milk and honey here, as made apparent by the large palatial estates and abundant debutantes sipping wine along the route. the race comes all back together, and we push forward out of the break. the finishing circuits in town are wide open and smooth, and there is an uneventful (in terms of support) finish.
so, everyone keeps talking about how flat this race is, and how boring this tour is going to be. but lemme throw this around. belgium is flat, for the most part, and there is a sick cycling scene there. ponder that for a moment. there is nothing saying that missouri and kansas cannot be rad places to ride bikes. i mean, most of belgium and northern france is as flat as a pancake, and everyone raves about how legendary the courses are. so, all i am saying here is that i'm gonna keep an open mind about all this.

alright, so KC is supposed to be the home of some world-renowned steakhouses. well, we tested that theory tonight. we hit up jess and jims steakhouse. check out their website to order some tasty beef, delivered cold and fresh to your door. this place is the real deal, where your steak is delivered sizzling hot on some sort of aluminum plate, and the only thing on that plate is a steak and a teak-handled steak knife. the twice-baked potatoe is what they are famous for, and it did not dissapoint, loaded with butter, sour cream, bacon, cheese, and chives. take that, arteries.
of note, the foyer of this fine establishment had a minature bull, fit for riding. while it was not mechanical in any way, i did get my urban cowboy on after a few drinks at the bar.

after the steakhouse it was a short drive back to the hotel and then a nice evening stroll over to the applebees for cocktail hour. the fine waitress, michelle, let us know that applebees and IHOP are merging, and the corporate brass had visited earlier that day. impressive! so, she had her game face on and was cracking tops on rolling rock with a pro ferver. it's nice to see the consolidation happening, and she was looking forward to working with the new infrastructure. who knows, maybe some sort of Jack daniels infused strawberry waffle will be coming to a appleHOP near you.

alright, so we have a transfer to some other town in missouri tomorrow. Clinton, is that it? the big news is that we end up in Branson tomorrow night. i can't wait. Hector, our main truck-drivin, coffee-swillin, slider-eatin home-boy will be taking the big rig straight to Branson tomorrow morning, and with any luck we will have wayne newton tickets by the time we arrive. i got my seat assignments for tomorrow, and i am driving moto1, which means i am in the thick of the action all day tomorrow. stay tuned.


Monday, September 10, 2007

Tour of Missouri, day 0

hey out there:

well, i just rolled into kansas city kansas, hookin it up at the drury inn, located directly behind a 2-story McDonalds. nice. however, all the mavic kids are here, and the set-up is getting ready for the Tour of Missouri to start tomorrow. We have 3 cars, 2 motos, a big enclosed trailer, a truck to pull it, and a whole gaggle of wheels.

i think it'll be pretty rad, though, because kansas city is supposed to be a pretty cool town... after all it is the city of fountains. i don't know exactly what that means, but i guess i'll see it all through a motorcycle face-shield tomorrow.

from KC we head to some other exciting missouri locale's, including, but not limited to: branson. you heard me, branson missouri. it's like nashville meets las vegas. and that may not be a good thing.

alright, so the point of all this is stay tuned. maybe i'll have something cool to report.

Monday, September 3, 2007

9/1/07 Santa Fe Trail Stage Race - Jose

I took a flyer off the front for a few laps. I wanted to stay away
but was getting tired and kind of chickened out due to a growing head
wind up one of the long straights. So I just hung in and tried to
help keep the pressure up. I wasn't making time on the guys in front
of me in GC so with 5 laps to go, I just sat in. I was watching one
guy that was 11seconds behind me in GC. With 2 laps to go, he kept
looking back, not paying attention, touched wheels with the guy in
front and went down hard. Since he wasn't there to contest, I just
relaxed and finished with the pack.

The TT took a lot out me and never felt like I had enough juice to
break away during the RR or the Crit so I just had to settle for
where I was. I can't complain, though. I did the best I could, but
Jim Hallberg (the race coordinator and a ringer from Lamar) and a GS
Boulder guy set the bar high with their TT performances.

I could have moved up a few spots, but 5th through 9th were all so
close, we were way too attentive of one another and wasn't letting
nothing get away. I also found it hard to race the RR with another
category. They had their own dynamics and their attacks impacted the
4's race. I'm not complaining. Half the time the 35+ 4's would be
in control and the other half, the 4's.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

9/2/07 Santa Fe Trail Stage Race (Stage 3) - Horacio

Stage 3- The bizarre freakish mechanical failure that almost sent me into a parked car going near 30 mph.

I felt great today- maybe I have a second peak coming because I've felt stronger each day during this stage race (not my usual recent recovery of an 80 yr old man). I was a little nervous about the crit because my 2 other crits this year (Niwot and Longmont) resulted in me being the last pulled rider with a few minutes to go but I can't say I was really psychologically ready for them. "Not today. Nobody was going to drop me" is what I told myself before the crit. I knew the top 2 guys within 11seconds and the sprinter crit guys would be going for it.

I got a great start. First during the initial 1/2 lap (rectangle course)- but going easy. I finally started taking some of the great advice that Kevin et al. gave me. I stayed near the front. Any time I fell to 7th or 8th, I easily moved back into the top 3-5. Truthfully, it was just easy today (vastly different from prior experiences). The surges were no big deal. I knew throughout the first 30+ minutes that I finally had it today. I felt that top 5 was realistically mine- top 3 unlikely because I still can't sprint well. The plan was to take 2nd or 3rd wheel and hold it to the final turn or even launch my own solo attack with 3/4 a lap to go (probably wouldn't have worked but I felt good enough).

Then it happened. I came out of a turn accelerated and felt a subtle pop sensation. I reached for my rear brake lever to scrub a tiny bit of speed before the next turn. Nothing. So I squeezed harder- nothing. It didn't look like I would make the turn at this speed (maybe if I had set up without expecting to use the brake but I had just accelerated and was expecting the option of some braking power). Fortunately, I was on the outside so I wouldn't take anybody down. I flew thru the intersection between 2 parked cars blocking the corner. The field turned and I went straight. I had no rear brake and the front wasn't doing much. I came to a stop by dragging my feet. OK, I didn't soil myself but crap I'm out of the race. I check my rear zero gravity brake and the right pad is missing and my brake calipers are popped open. I make my way back around to the start but the mechanic guy can't help me. I ride around again. I find the pad and throw it on and re-engage the locking mechanism- it's broken (open wide) but at least I can brake some (I can't wait to have the guys at the shop tell me what's broken). I go around again and ask if I can get back in. I tell them I won't contest the sprint. They have me wait and I jump back in at the back of the pack. It's easy but I'm obviously rested and can't do anything but sit at the back.

I finish thinking I got the pack time- free lap rule. But, after the race I learn I was penalized 2 laps( 3minutes)- dropping me from an easy GC 4th today to 10th. Bummer, but it could have been worse (crash). I guess if you race enough, bad luck will happen. Apparently, the free lap rule only counts for flats, crashes and broken chains (how a broken brake is any more my fault than a broken chain or chain derail, I don't know. But-FYI, don't expect to go to the pit for any other unstated mechanical reasons and get a free lap). Even, other racers and BPN guys campaigned for me (they saw it) but no luck. I am happy though with how I raced and performed though. It was pretty much out of my control.

Jose looked strong in his crit (but, too much front time Jose). He finished with the pack avoided a crash and held onto a great 7th GC finish.

I had a great race and met some great guys. Fun weekend. I plan to be back next year. I highly recommend this race. I think Jose will agree.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

9/1/07 Santa Fe Trail Stage Race (Stage 2) - Horacio

Stage 2- 75mile RR report:

Today was fun. The course seemed pretty flat, some wind but not bad. Jose and I stayed in the front half of the pack for the first half of the race. At the dam (mile 40 or so) where I anticipated an attack on a short climb I moved into the top 5. At the climb, I put in a surge and was second at the top. The feedzone, which I pretty much avoided, on the climb was kind of a cluster (riders not volunteers) so I was glad I brought 4 bottles with me .

After that, I was top 3 -5 spots until the last mile. Being up front was great. I only did some token pulls and covered every surge. It felt easy. There were occasional attacks which were more like surges and lulls throughout the day. The whole time I was hoping Jose would make his way to me but I didn't see him until the end of the race. It turns out Jose had lost his car key on the dam while going for an energy bar. He had to turn around and then do a solo TT for several miles to get back into the pack. Fortunately, he made it back on.

At 1 and 1/2 miles to go, I started to cramp- Nothing terrible but enough for me to worry that I could lose my placing. I backed off a little and fell to mid pack. The finish consisted of a right turn which strung out the field followed by a 1/2 mile straight away and then a left turn and about a 350 meter sprint on a fully open road to the finish. Unfortunately, the field began to bunch up in the middle (over the yellow line-no paint) after the first turn causing the moto ref to force riders to the right. This caused an hourglass affect and a split. I was at the front of the split but the whole second half of the main pack had to sprint to the lead pack to avoid a time gap. Just as we caught, the left turn hit. The front pack poured on a a very fast final sprint (a lot of fresh strong guys). So we had to sprint again like crazy to close the gap which we just managed to do.

I came in 9th and held 4th in the GC. Jose finshed 16th but we all had the same time. Jose actually moved into 7th in the GC (somebody must have been dropped). In retrospect, I probably would have been ok if I pushed harder with the mild cramping and stayed up front. It was a fun race and a big confidence builder for me. We averaged about 24 mph which was surprising since there seemed to be a lot of easy lulls. Fast course. The highlight of the day for me was watching a pack of wild mustangs sprinting next to us as we raced along the green countryside- So cool. Jose also caught this sight. Two down, one to go.

- Horacio