Saturday, May 31, 2008

Tulsa Tough Day 2

There was a criterium just past Hugo today. A thunderstorm swept through in the morning and absolutely pummeled the course; at one point a neutral-support wheel went floating down the main straightaway because the drains were overwhelmed. The good news: carbon fiber wheels do indeed float!

The city is behind the race, however, and after a short delay for a street sweeper to make a lap, the Cat 4s were off and running.

Chatting it up with Dave Towle. "There's a hurricane of pain bearing down on Oklahoma!"

The QT Rooster Booster lead car.

Steve makes the selection in the Cat 4s.

Kevin mixing it up with world champions to finish top 10.

If you can see this then your race is probably over. Isaac takes the hindmost.

Steve 34th (4s)
Kevin 9th (40+)
Isaac DNF (after gapped by late-race crash)

Hugo: barely lived thru this Long Road Race

On the Hugo Road Race website it says, "Long Live Long Road Races". Well, I just want to quote our own sage Kevin A "the good news is that there's a Crit tomorrow!" Halfway between the Front Range and Kansas is the farming community of Hugo, CO.


A few Blue Sky Velo road racers enjoyed the views (fortunately no tornados this week) and felt the pain of the hot, long, dry, painful, straight roads (with multiple crashes nonetheless) for 3 1/2 hours (nearly 80 miles).


It would have been nice to have some cloud cover today.... instead I certainly wasn't the only racer to end up with cramps due to the heat and dehydration (despite 4 bottles).

The SM3 race went something like this: slow. small break. bridge attempt (x6 - 5 of which were the Barrimee). still slow. crash. pace jumps. crash. race splintered, everyone riding in small groups or solo (biggest group is less than 15 - nearly 70 started). mile marker 35 (45 miles to go).

Barry got a soft landing from 5 or so guys in the crash so only got a small scrape. Horatio (in the 35+4's separated his shoulder after a similar crash). I tried my best Lance impression and rode into and back out of a ditch to avoid the crash. But neither one of us ever saw the front of the race again!

Click to see my TrainingPeaks File Viewer of today's power file - believe me, NOT very interesting and a far different file than what I could post 6 weeks ago! I guess 4 weeks of barely being on the bike after the Gila might have some effect on fitness.....

The reality is the race probably would have been just as hard if I had bridged up to the front group immediately after the crash rather than helping form a small chase group and then slogging it out with them for 35 miles. Its those split second decisions that can affect the next 2 1/2 hours of a race. If I had treated that bridge attempt like the sprint for a Tulsa worthy prime I could have pulled back into the group and saved my energy for the next break.

Who's up for a nice long mountain ride right about this time next year?

Friday, May 30, 2008

Tulsa Tough Night 1

There was a twilight criterium just past Hugo tonight.

Anxious moments before me and my closest 104 friends embark on the 8-corner 3/4-mile course. Every corner was pristine and brake-proof.

Old guy in a new skinsuit.


The race was short and super-fast. Kevin saw 178bpm for the first time since his comeback. I averaged 189bpm for 40 minutes and saw 196bpm with 2 to go. In fact, I'm powering through this blog entry with my hummingbird power, so respect!

There are about 5 bars on the course and 2 jumbo-trons. The crowds were big with a funky combination of the regular Friday night crowd (there was talent and I'm not talking about any cyclists) and the cyclists getting buzzed off 1 plastic cup's worth of light beer. Probably the biggest crowd I've raced in front of in 4 years. Capstick was raging with a full-on bike buzz; I may have caught him tearing up a few times, and the dude hasn't even raced yet.

Isaac is an ass, and his ass is on the jumbo-tron.

Kevin wins the prime that wasn't a prime.

Kevin 17th
Isaac 64th

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Bike on Bike action

Hey there:

Well, this weekend was my first experience with hot bike on bike action. I rode my motorcycle with my road bike on the back to Durango for the crit.

Note: the only buzzkill about the weekend is that my camera battery was dead and I did not have the forethought to bring the charger. My apologies… this blog will go old school; I’ll try to capture your imagination with the power of the written word.

So I pack up everything that’s worth anything on the moto Friday night in preparation for an early Saturday departure. Conditions are perfect as I roll out of Boulder at 8am on Saturday. Temperatures are in the mid-50’s and the sun is shining bright. I make my way off the front Range and into the hills up hwy 285. The bike is running well as I bag my first 10,000 foot pass of the day, Kenosha Pass. I drop into the high South Park valley and see thunderstorms brewing to the west. Temp’s are in the mid-40’s as I roll through Fairplay. Grabbing a handful of throttle, I charge across the sky, outrunning the storm.

Buena Vista looks good, and as I head down to the banana-belt of Salida and Poncha Springs I see a wall of black up on Poncha Pass. As I start heading up the pass, clouds are swirling all around me, but seem to be opening up as I pass through. The top of the pass is sunny, and I see the clouds closing in behind me in the rear-view as I blast down the gunbarrel to Saguache. Pass two has been marked off the list and I feel unstoppable.

Rolling through the no-man’s land of Saguache, Center, and into Del Norte, I am getting pummeled by a 40 mile an hour cross wind. Close to a thousand pounds of man, machine, and velocipede get tossed around the two-lane road. At least it’s sunny I scream to myself through the deafening wind that is buffeting my helmet.

The wind calms down as I roll into South Fork, but I look up towards the 3rd and final 10,000 foot pass of the day, and see an angry mass of black thunderheads stacking up. Something tells me I am not going to get lucky this time, so I take an assessment of the situation. Wearing Gore-Tex head to toe and sporting some wicked handlebar-grip-heaters, I know that I am equipped for at least a moderate amount of inclement weather. My on-board computer says its 46 degrees in South Fork, at 8000 feet. It could get cold up there. I take a look around as I cruise through town and notice that at least a couple hotels have vacancy, should I get thwarted and have to spend the night in South Fork.

I take a deep breath as I head out of town and up the pass. Pretty much immediately big snowflakes start falling, but the road is still dry. A few miles up, the road is wet, but temps are staying steady at 40 degrees, so I am not afraid of icing. I ride through the lower tunnel, and get a brief respite from the snow and as I exit the tunnel, I see a white cloud literally rolling down the canyon toward me, and I know it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

The front of the moto is now snow packed, and I downshift and settle into a slower pace, about 35 miles an hour. The road is still only wet, but there is a solid six inches of snow on the trees and ground. I keep pushing upward, and have serious thoughts of turning around. Just as I think about pulling over, I see two motos coming the other way—a BMW F650gs and some sort of metric cruiser. We wave solemnly to each other, and I think if they can make it, I can make it. Or, did they just turn around themselves?

As I approach the second tunnel, I see a sign that says tunnel may be icy. I slow down and sure enough, the road inside the tunnel is snow and ice packed. The hazard lights come on and I crawl through. What I see on the other side of the tunnel is nothing short of full-blown winter. The road is snow-packed, Wolf Creek ski area looks like it could be 100% open, and snow is falling in near white-out conditions. I know that I am only a few miles from the summit, and I decide to make my decision there.

I crest the summit of the pass and pull over to assess. There is a solid foot to 18 inches of fresh snow on the ground, and it is snowing hard. The roads are completely snow packed. The moto-computer says it’s 26 degrees, and a little snowflake is flashing on the dash. As I am standing on the roadside, a snowplow comes up and stops beside me. He rolls down his window—“nice day for a ride?” “Yeah, I’ve done worse, but can’t remember when.”

The plow-driver says he’ll move on and drop some heavy sand for me, and to some extent it helps as I creep down the other side of the pass at 10mph. I guess I’ve decided to push on. Its 6 miles or so down the back side of the pass, so I figure I only have to really be puckered for another half hour or so. The plow-truck outruns me down the hill, but I have pseudo-clean track in which to ride.

As I am tip-toeing down the hill, I stop a few times to catch my breath and take a look around. The scene is absolutely gorgeous. All the pine trees have thick piles of snow on them, and the aspens have leafed-out, standing tall in bright green stands. There is the occasional waterfall by the side of the road, and it rushes down rock icy-clear.

Up ahead, I see the clouds breaking, and as the road levels out I know I am going to make it. The temperature rises up into the mid 40’s and I think I am going to have heat-stroke. Eventually the road dries and I bring the rig back up to full speed. I’ve been on the road just over 5 hours, and lunch is definitely in order. Luckily, I find a really great coffee/sandwich shop in Pagosa and thaw out with an XL Americano and a homemade club.

The weather holds as I head to Durango to meet up with Jose and Kyoko at the Holiday Inn. As I unload my stuff, I realize that the road bike looks like it has been dredged through the bottom of the Yangtze River. I head over to the car wash, and against all my beliefs as a bike mechanic, I turn the power washer to my bike and moto. Of note, however, is that I did use the high-power nozzle on the low setting, and only then for a second or two on each area. Plus, I’ve set aside a night this week to fully disassemble the bike and clean/grease all bearings, bearing seats, and drivetrain. Kids, don’t try this at home.

I got a call from Katie, and she we met up for dinner. It was great to catch up and find out what the deal is all about down in Flagstaff. She had come in to do the road race and the crit, but the road race was snowed out and had to be cancelled for the second time in 37 years. I guess there was a foot of snow in Silverton, and Molas pass was snow packed. Crazy.

It was early to bed Saturday night, and I slept like the dead.

Sunday dawned bright and clear, and surprisingly, I felt rested and fresh. I moseyed over to the race course and paid my 35 bucks. I did get a pretty sweet canvas bag, though, and if you are lucky, you’ll see me sporting that thing around Whole Foods, trying to do my part to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Or, I’ll just throw the bag in my closet with about 10 other similar bags.

A big thanks needs to go out to Jose, as he lent me rags, tools, and cleaner to get the bike fully dialed for the race. Also, he brought a trainer, so I was set-up. I roll over to the start line, and Bryan Harwood is there, ready to throw down.

The gun goes off and we settle in on the first few laps. For those who are not familiar with the Durango Crit course, it is a really sweet figure-8 style, with the final corner being a fast downhill left onto Main Street. While the outside areas of the course were relatively choppy, the racing-line was dialed and fast.

Within the first few laps, we had shed half of our field. That is to say, 5 people. There were only 10 starters in the men’s 30-34 open field. Strangely, there were at least 40-50 in the 35-39, who were chasing us after starting one minute back. So, 5 of us took turns at the front and kept the pace high. I’m not sure what happened to Harwood, but Jose said later that he was with the second group, and looked comfortable, just tactically out of contention after the 35-39 group swallowed them up.

The lead moto neutralized us as Michael Carter and his band of ragged, mouth-breathing minions came blowing by. I sat on to the back of the 35-39 group and got a solid two or three laps of sweet drafting in before the moto pulled me off.

With about 6 laps to go, I came blazing the downhill left and felt my rear wheel going soft. I limped into the wheel pit and yelled for a rear neuvation. Jose to the rescue again, as his wheels were in the pit for me. Dave Towle is on the mic, calling the play-by-play: “oddly enough, Rob Love is one of the neutral support mechanics for Mavic and one of the best in the business… he can change a rear wheel in 8 seconds flat”. Great, no pressure. I get the new wheel in, and check the shifting. Everything is in order, and I grab a quick drink. The main question, though, that is still nagging in my mind, is why I have been getting so many flats lately? The tires I have on only have about 30 miles on them, and the tubes are new and properly inflated. I decide to chair an investigatory panel on the issue as I jump back into my lead group of 4 riders.

All along the course, Katie, Jose, and all kinds of other people where cheering for Blue Sky, and I was feeling great as it came down to 3 laps to go. With about a lap and half, the sprinter of our bunch made a break. I successfully caught his wheel and felt pretty good with myself, considering his calfs were as big as my quads. Our group of 5 was getting strung out. Then, sprinter-boy leaps again, and I had nothing. A VeloNews rider came around me and I dug deep to get his wheel, but it was not to be. VeloNews bridged to Sprinter-boy, and yours truly was left in the nether-region.

With half a lap to go, a skinny kid came around me and I grabbed his wheel for the final lefty onto main. We wound it up, and I came around him into the wind with 100 meters to go. I laid it down and held him off for 3rd. Turns out VeloNews beat Sprinter-boy. All in all, it was great, and I ended up in the money, so I’ll be getting a check for 20-some-odd dollars in the mail sometime before Christmas. Jose, when I get that cash, I owe you lunch.

I headed back to the hotel for a shower and re-pack the moto. Gas up, grab lunch, and I am gone… heading back to Shangri-la. This time, the weather holds and I punch through Wolf Creek, Poncha, and Kenosha without incident, happily carving the road.


Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Health Benefits of Neditation

Yeah, you read that right. Ned is open. The Holy Grail overfloweth with beautiful, dry singletrack at 8,000 feet.

And signs of summer are everywhere:

And not a Larimer County sherriff's deputy in sight:

However, the top of the School Bus has an abundance of this:

And eventually it was pretty solid snow, so pushing through to the Toilet Bowl or Elk Poop Loop wasn't possible. And the Mav ended up with a coating of gruesome-looking, baby barf-resembling, mine tailings mud. Yummy.

But the West Mag stuff is perfectly tacky and pump-worthy.

I can't begin to tell you how psyched I am to be mountain biking again! I think I set a record today for the world's slowest circumnavigation of Nederland, but I don't care. It's gorgeous up there and all is well with the world. Word.

I finished my ride the same way these punks did....with some tasty pastries.

Okay, I gotta go wash the baby puke off my shins. If anyone wants to join me for a future Neditation session, I'm down.

As the bumper stickers say: Nederland Rocks the Freak to Freak Highway.

Battle @ The Bear/Front Range 50 (May 17, 2008)

My first Blue Sky Velo blog post (no pictures, sorry) ...

A few words on my experience in the Front Range 50 MTB race follow. But first, a listing of all the Blue Sky Velo racers who took part in the Front Range 50 or Battle at the Bear last weekend:

Rider/Cat/Place/Race(Front Range 50 or Battle at The Bear)
Phil Murray/M40-49/41/FR50
Darrin Sharp/M40-49/42/FR50
Charles Musgrave/M40-49/DNF/FR50
Pamela Dobrowolski/F Exp30-39/DNF/BTB
Rob Love/M Exp30-34/5/BTB
Grady Huff/M Exp40-49/7/BTB
Susan Prieto/W Sport40+/4/BTB
Cindy Vanover/W Sport40+/8/BTB
Dan Farrell/M Sport35-39/12/BTB
Dave Kilmoyer/M Sport40-49/17/BTB

As you can see, Blue Sky Velo had an excellent turnout with 10 racers participating in either the Front Range 50 or Battle at the Bear. I also noted at least one BSV cheerleader/photographer in the form of Marty C. This was certainly a good way to kick off the MTB racing season with a bang!

Now for my take on the FR50 ...

I had originally planned to ride the Battle at the Bear. Last year, the Sport riders (my cat) did a couple of laps of about 12 miles each. This year, however, the course was changed and in addition to the BTB, a new race, the Front Range 50 (miles) was added. The races were structured as a number of 10 mile laps. Beginners in the BTB did 1 lap, all the way up to 5 laps for those riding in the FR50. Since I'm focusing on endurance races this season, the FR50 was the natural choice for me.

Lap 1: The field was huge. All the FR50 male riders took off together. In a way this was good, because the crowd on the single track kept the pace down to something reasonable at the beginning. It was nice not to have a crazy fast start off the line like so many other mtb races. Since I hadn't been able to pre-ride it, this was my first look at much of the course. I have to say I really enjoyed it; it was mostly smooth singletrack with a few rollers, one relatively big hill (maybe a 3-6 minute climb) in the middle, and a couple of short (<2 minute) climbs in the last 3.5 miles. I felt good at the end of the first lap, finishing it in about 51 minutes. The numerous goatheads on the course had begun to take their toll however. I saw many racers fixing flats on this lap (turns out I ran into several racers, including our own Charles Musgrave, who DNF'd because of double flatting or worse). The tubeless setup on my brand new Maverick Durance (which I had taken delivery of 8 days before) worked perfectly, however. No flats for me! Life is good!

Lap 2: I was still feeling good and started to settle into a comfortable pace on this lap. I tried to pick a pace that I thought would put me mid-pack in my cat (my goal). By this time the field had spread out quite a bit. I was never alone on the course, but never really felt crowded either. Life is still good!

Lap 3: I think it was on this lap that some of the BTB racers started to catch me (the FR50 started at 8:30, and BTB cats started between 9:30-11:30 or so). And, some of the fastest FR50 riders started to lap me. Needless to say, it got a little crowded at times on the course. My lower back was also starting to ache on this lap. It got to the point where I got off and pushed up the smaller hills just to give my back a little chance to stretch out. This obviously cost me some time, and it became apparent I was slowly falling off the mid-pack pace I had wanted to keep. Life is OK.

Lap 4: Uh-oh, things are not going well for me. My back is really bothering me and I suffered hamstring cramps for the first time _ever_ in 20+ years of riding (and 3 of racing). I also just feel like I'm generally running out of gas. The BTB Pro/Exp racers caught me just as I got to the bottom of the big hill. I ended up pushing up most of the big hill, otherwise I would've been off/on my bike a dozen times as I let them blow by me. And, I was regularly getting lapped by FR50 riders who were obviously on their last lap (I could tell who was who because everybody had their race and cat marked on their right calf). I pass the start-finish line at 3:48 (and was thinking a 40 mile race would've been just about right for me today). Life is fair.

Lap 5: A suffer-fest. I walked/pushed all the hills due to a combination of hamstring cramps, a sore back, and general fatigue. As I ground past the golf course and watched all the guys riding around in their electric carts drinking cold beer I started to think maybe I was participating in the wrong Saturday afternoon recreational activity. But then I realized anybody can do that, and that I'd really much rather be racing my mtb today, even if it does hurt this much :^) I finally limped across the finish line in 4:54 (1:06 for my last lap, a full 15 minutes and 30% slower than my first lap). Oh, I'm _really_ glad I'm done.

Aftermath: I ended up finishing 42 out of 52 in my cat. Well off my goal of mid-pack, but in no danger of DFL either :^) Although I was pretty cooked at the end of the race, I did recover quickly. Almost a quart of Recoverite/water later I was starting to feel somewhat normal again. Even though I was following all the nutrition/hydration advice I've read to the letter (no more than about 28 oz of water/hr and no more than about 300 cals/hr), I think I would've done better with an increased water and cals consumption. Given that I made no pit stops between 8:30am and 4:30pm, all the while drinking almost 5 qts of water in that time period, I'd say I was at least somewhat dehydrated. Something to experiment with in training and future races I guess. And, I think I need to do some longer training rides at higher intensities. Maybe near race-pace for a couple of hours, then finish up with 3-4 hours in zone 2/aerobic.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Davis Double Century

So my crazy friend, Whitney, talked me into this ride. Her sales pitch, "They say this is a great beginner Double. Come on, I've heard guys do it on a fixed gear!" She left out the part about them adding a climb up Cobb mtn a few years ago. That 8-ish mile climb started at about mile 98. Sweet.

Anyway, on to the ride summary: Figuring it would take around 17 hours and knowing we were looking forward to record heat, I left with a group of three others (Whitney, Kevin & Chaust, pictured at right) around 3:30am hoping to get a jump on the sun.

The first 40 or so miles were flat and then we hit our first climb, Cardiac Hill, which wasn't really all that bad. A few more rollers, some gorgeous scenery reminiscent of southern France, and a couple rest stops later, we hit the real climb.

My Garmin reported grades of mostly 7-9%, though I saw it jump a few times to 14%. I saw more people recovering in the shade along this climb than on the road. Many were walking, at least one puking, some sagging. It was, of course, really hard. It was hot (103 degrees!) It was long. It was exhausting. And the ride was barely half over.

The first in our group to sag came on this nasty climb. The second came soon after at the lunch stop. Both suffered heat exhaustion, getting chills and goosebumps. This was a similar story for at least 100 others who reportedly sagged as well--no idea what the final sag count was.

Luckily, the ride was very well supported. I can't say enough about how great a job the organizers did keeping us fed and cool. There were stops every 20 miles or so with tons of food, water, Gatorade, water hoses and ice packs. There were also plenty of sag opportunities if/when it came to that.

Now down to two, we hit our last climb, Resurrection hill. The top was at around mile 140 and after that it literally was all downhill. Re-joined by my friend Whitney at the top, we pace-lined all the way home. This section felt the longest by far. My butt was sore and my smile was long gone.

With 10 miles to go and the sun long-since set, we hit a rough patch of road and I heard Chaust's tire hissing. Just our luck, not one, but two flats! We changed them quickly and hustled to the finish and a hot meal by 11 pm. Yes, that's around 20 hours!

It's been a few days now and I'd definitely say I'm still recovering. No major injuries, but seriously sore legs and butt. As for a good beginner Double? I suppose it might be if that's your thing. I think that's crazy. ;)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Short-trackers UNITE!

Aloha, and good day:

This just in; short-track is going to happen again this year. i know that most of you out there are sitting in your cubicles just waiting to get the skinny on the boulder short-track series, and this is what we know so far:

1. it will happen wednesdays, starting June 4th
2. it will happen at the CU research park
3. it will be sporadically MC'd by none other than Dave Towle.
4. it will be a great opportunity to get your new kit dirty
5. it will be a great opportunity to get schooled by all the resident pro's.
6. it will be better than watching Law and Order repeats on cable.

Billy Teas. gettin' it done righteous

Other news about the shorttrack includes the fact that it will be put on by CU cycling as opposed to BoulderRacing. So, there will not be any info on BoulderRacing's site. details are fuzzy as to whether or not CU Cycling will host a site for the series, but they damn well better. how else will the world know how much Blue Sky Velo dominates short-track?

Also, the series looks to go for 10 weeks. This means that you will be choking on dust every wednesday until early August. Now check out the boyz rockin it. Bon Apetit.

Mike Bernhardt rockin' vintage-cycling-flair. Lookout for him this year on the future of bikes

Your's truly about to box out a 'crosser like it's my job

This is a small sampling of the non-bluesky fools that will get tore up this summer.

All these photo's were taken by this chick. Y'all better show up with the gameface, because she'll be there again this year. Recognize.

Monday, May 19, 2008

How did I get here?-Not the same as it ever was

After finding myself within the top 5-6 guys at the finish of this weekend's two crits, I wonder how I got there after being so incredibly crit challenged last summer. At first, crits scared me which meant I had to do them. I was off the back in my first 2 last year. I really started to dislike crits, but, after a few more (especially this year) I am actually starting to like them. They're certainly more fun near the front and when that elusive good form appears.

Wheels of Thunder crit: Saturday was a sunny beautiful day. The course was wide open, good roads, gently rolling, 1.6 mile D-shaped loop with a long moderate uphill to a false flat straight finish into a headwind.

After running into Steve Capstick, Kevin and Isaac, I lined up on the front with 60 to 70 other 35+4s including Steve. I started at the front and decided I would do everything to stay there throughout the race. This was well worth the little more wind to avoid the yo-yo, erratic breaking in corners, and crashes which Steve narrowly avoided.

As soon as the race started, I knew it would be good day. While not planned, the elusive good form was there baby! I felt great throughout the race. I spent most of the race sitting very comfortably in 3rd thru 5th position but ignoring the premes. I was hoping for a break but nothing seemed promising- just a few solo half-hearted digs. The pack would always accelerate on the corner before the final straight but the pace seemed otherwise fast but reasonable. Before I knew it, it was 2 laps to go. I somehow got stuck on the front but I was soft pedaling and joking to those behind me that "this is not where I want to be". Eventually, a surge passed me but I was ready. I avoided getting boxed in.

1 lap to go. I was ready for the final lap mayhem. I felt good but wisely decided a solo attack at a half mile+ out would be suicide in the final long headwind stretch. I hit the final corner in maybe 10th. The chaotic sprints hit but it was total disorganization on the wide road. I did not have a promising leadout but it was showtime-the part of the race that really matters. I began my long never-ending headwind sprint (it felt like 400 meters). I reved the legs up realizing that sprinting is more about leg speed than strength. I gave it my all and actually picked up several spots and closed on the winner. I got 6th-well beyond last year's wild future expectations and not bad for a non-sprinter.

Crit #2 Coal miner's classic: Eric (aka lead out man extraordanaire) already had a great write-up so I'll try to keep it brief.

After working since early morning and arranging for a few hours of work coverage, I reluctantly drove to the Coal miner's classic. Even as I drove up to the venue, I considered turning home for a nap instead. But, I had such good form the day before I had to push my luck. Fortunately, shortly after parking I immediately ran into Dave K, Dave T, Kevin G, and Eric. My energy level immediately ramped up. I chatted with Dave K with whom I am steadily gaining sandbagger status after telling him I was just hoping to finish. Later I saw Brad, Bill, Mike, Brian H, Steve, Brian M, and Kevin A. It was great to have so many BSV folks to race with and cheering/coaching.

What a fun course on another great sunny day! I felt like I was on a Le mans speedway. I started on the front and to my surprise I felt great again. I stayed top 5 for most of the race. Bill T made it into the first of 2 break attempts. Immediately, 3 of us were on the front blocking with another Colo Bike law guy who had a teammate in the break. But, the break never really organized and was soon chased down by other racers. Later, after a preme, I found myself in a group of 5 with a gap. A break formed and stayed away for 2 to 3 laps but not everybody was working hard enough. We were eventually swallowed by the chasing pack but a big thanks to my teammates for blocking. With 2 laps to go, Mike Dancel shot to the front and led for a lap- Mike, like all the BSV guys I saw near the front was strong. But, I wish he used that strength more wisely.

On the final lap, a Tokyo Joe's guy launched a bold attack from a 1/3 mile out. He caught us sleeping. I was too close to the front to see it and too slow to respond. I would have loved to have made this winning move or thought of it. I waited for a chase-nothing. So, I chased but was not sure I could bridge without bringing the pack-which I led to the final turn. We hit the final stretch. I told Eric not to get boxed in and he hit the gas. I jumped on his wheel. A long train formed to the left and it was Eric leading me out on the right. Eric gave a heroic effort. I shot off his wheel at about 50 to 100 meters to grab 5th place. Eric gave me a great leadout to give BSV a 5th place. He held on for 13th and Brian H shot thru the field for 17th. Great job to all! Sorry to hear about your crash Kevin but I'm happy to hear you're ok. There is no question we have the strong guys to win one of these with a little more tactical work and a 2 man lead out. Too bad Brian H wasn't on my wheel. I look forward to racing with all of you again!


Mining fer Coal

This Sunday was my second try at the Coal Miner's Classic in Louisville, my home town. I had ridden the Classic last year as my first race of the season and first ever crit/circuit race. Last year I got dropped from the main pack half-way through and hung on as the main field came around on the final lap.

So this year would be different I told myself. I've already had a handful of races this year and the weather was perfect. I live in Louisville, so I had the bonus of just riding my bike over to the race course. I got to the starting area just in time to watch Kevin and the rest of the 35+ masters hit the course, an hour before us 35+/4s were scheduled to roll out.

The new 1+ mile course was semi-technical with a long 1/4 mile straight section on the start/finish line, followed by multiple turns, right-right-left-right-right-left-right-right. The 2 left turns were curved and allowed maximum speed, however the right hand turn immediately after the 2nd left narrowed to a single lane and looked like it would slow down the pack. If I had to guess, this would be a good place to make a break if you had the legs because the pack would get too slowed and strung out for a good chase.

Kevin and the near 100 rider 35+ field rolled out at 10:30am and quickly were up to race pace. As road team captain, Kevin practices what he preaches and was riding up front all the time. I also saw Steve Capstick hanging tough with the 35+ elite riders. I expected Steve to join with us 35+/4s, but I'm guessing he signed up the same day, and our race was full, so they gave him the option to cough up a lung with the masters instead. The 35+ masters had a few breakaway attempts, but nothing seemed to stick. As their race came down to a bunch sprint, I saw Kevin in the middle of the bunch toughing it out. It was a fast race.

Next up at noon was us 35+/4s. I first ran into Mike 'DoubleTrouble' Dancel. Mike drove up from the Springs, and like at Tokyo Joe's, he raced with the 4's in the morning, and decided a second helping was in order, so he rode again with us 35+/4s. I also saw Bryan Harwood, BillT, Brad, KevinG, Brian Moroney, DaveT and Horatio. We chatted a bit before the race to decide if anyone was 'feeling it' in their legs. Ho says he raced Saturday the day before and got 6th in Wheels of Thunder. Way to go, Ho! Since Ho seems to be on such good form lately, I suggested we ride for Ho and try to lead him out, but he told us he didn't think his legs had it in them. Instead we decided to play it by ear.

Blue Sky had a real good turnout for this field. We had 9 riders of a field estimated around 90-100 deep. We had a bit of a delay in the 11:50 start, so BryanH killed time by chatting with race announcer Dave Towles. I think I heard Bryan asking Dave 'What are the chances a Blue Sky rider would win this heat?'. Dave asked back, 'What do you mean like odds, overs and unders'. Before you know it, Dave got back on the microphone and yells out, 'The Blue Sky team just told me they're guaranteeing a win in this race!'. Classic.

Not much later, the pre-race nervousness and wait is over and we're underway. The first couple turns got going up to speed and we were heading into the somewhat technical right-left-right turn with only a single lane on the right turn. Tensions mounted as the riders got nervous due to the tight squeeze. Riders we're yelling the typical 'watch yer line', but before long, the massive field made it through OK.

With another right hand turn we were back on the main long straight section heading north and slightly uphill. A couple riders dangled off the front briefly for the first few laps, but nothing serious was happening. Then after the 3rd of 4th lap, a small pileup happened coming around the right-hand bend of the straight section. The crash went down 20ft in front of me and I had plenty of time to swerve left around the mayhem. After I realized I made it, my next thought was I hope none of my teammates went down in that mess. Later did I realize KevinG was an unfortunate victim as I saw him heading the other way riding on the sidewalk, but he looked OK as far as I could tell.

As the pack regrouped, I noticed that Ho had made it to the front and those guys were making good time. Not much later, Ho and 4 others riders went off the front and made a clean break. Following KevinA's team strategy advice, I quickly moved to the front and did my best to soft pedal and block for Ho and the break. I saw Bryan take a turn at the front doing the same. The break lasted for 2 or 3 laps before being absorbed back into the mob.

With the group back together, I realized I had no idea how much time was left in the race. As we came around that main straight section, I could hear/see Kevin yelling '3 laps to go. Position, Position. Get to the front.' Yoiks. I was sitting somewhere in the middle so I made an effort to be up front after the next couple of turns and it wasn't too hard. A few other Blue Sky guys did the same and I could see Ho, Mike, and Bryan withing spitting distance.

With 2 laps to go Mike took a dig around the technical right turn before the turn onto the long straight. I guessed he was trying to make a break, so I tried to get to the front to block, but the peloton decided no break was going to go that early, and he was sucked back into the fold.

We came around for the final lap and everyone started moving up and jostling for final position. I did my best to jump from wheels to get inside the top ten before the last technical section. The lead guy from BPN started looking back nervously for a break and he was right to be scared. On that 2nd curved left hand turn, a Tokyo Joe's rider shot wide around the right and was the first into the technical right turn. Ho was one of the first to react and he tried to chase down this break. The Tokyo Joe's rider's lead was holding and everyone kicked it into high gear.

As the front of the peloton turned into the final straight, I saw that same BPN rider, Ho and a few others up front with me around 7th or 8th. I rode up alongside Ho and I think he saw me. "Hey! Ho! Let's Go!, Hey! Ho! Let's Go!" With the Tokyo Joe guy all but gone, the pace picked up for the final sprint. I had not overly exerted myself much during the race, and I felt like the others were tired, so I decided to give it all I had with 200m to go. I didn't look back and just gave it 111%.

The Tokyo Joe's rider held off the bunch sprint and took first. I was riding neck to neck with the other riders up until the final 10-20m when Ho and some other riders passed me going into the line. I find out after the race that Ho got on my wheel and sprinted up to 5th place! I rolled through in 13th. Bryan got 17th.

A bunch of us got together with KevinA to do some post-race analysis. I don't think we can really complain with the overall results, but in hindsight we had enough strong riders that we probably could have done even better with a little planning and maybe a 3 man lead-out. For myself, I was happy to be in the thick of the final sprint and learned that I am no Boonen. Ho did tell me later that I gave him a great lead-out. I'm glad it all worked out. Good times!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

I fought the bear and the bear won

hey kids:

sunday night has arrived... finally. it feels like i have been riding my bike constantly since clocking outta work on Friday night. and that's a good thing. but now it's time to give the hands a workout (by typing this blog...)

Saturday midday: Time to battle the bear. For those of you uninitiated with this non-technical, flat, fast mountain bike race... it's non-technical, flat, and fast. Saturday was the first warm day of spring, but i just couldn't believe it as i packed my race-bag on friday night. I packed arm warmers, wool socks, and knee-warmers. Then i threw in the felpe, just in case some freak snowstorm happened.

Marty and I got to the venue, and sure enough, it was 80 and sunny. nice. I pull on the chip timer and Marty does the final fitting on my new hardtail short-tracker. Soon enough, it's time to toe the line, and all my rowdy friends are there. Meaning, Dan Farrel is hollering at the top of his lungs from across a field at me as i get clipped in.

An oddly softspoken official counts us down and we're off in a cloud of dust. take that, lungs. i settle into a fast pace on the wheels of Tom and Tony Torrance, the crime fighting duo from pearl izumi. We quickly put the kenworths in overdrive and we are gone. A couple miles into the lap there was an option to roost through a ditch--down into a gully and wheelie through a mud-puddle and eject out the other side. The ride-around line was a sweeping left and across a wooden bridge. 1st, and 2nd take the left hander, Tom and Tony shoot off into the ditch. Did I mention that i have no idea this is coming, as i didn't pre-ride? Anyway, i shoot into the ditch 3rd wheel and get the first taste of mud for the season. sick. We take the first 3 wheels outta the ditch, and feel like rockstars.

Rob Love attempting low-earth orbit

Soon enough, like 6 minutes later, i feel the pain of riding 20 miles an hour on singletrack, and let a gap open. That's all it takes for some punx to fill it, and i slip back a couple minutes. Work, legs, work! I reach onto my top tube, stuff my lung back in my chest, and put the hammer down again. I am holding my own for a lap... and at the feed zone i am only 30 seconds back. The hardtail feels good as i flog it like a rented mule (thanks Dave Towle). lap two is a mental struggle, as my rear brake starts dragging and sounding like some sort of deranged canary. I stop a couple of times to fix it, and a couple of my friends ride by and ask me if i am ok. I tell them yeah, no worries, just gonna go home and fire my mechanic.

Lap 3 arrives and the canary is out of my brake, because i have it so loose it doesn't work at all. Conditions are perfect. I take a bottle from the best looking soigneur in the business, and put the the head back down. Glancing at my watch, i realize that i am on a 2 hour pace, which i calculate as being pretty damn fast... how are those punks still up the trail?

I turn the dial to 11 and it's go time. I am picking off those buddies that passed me earlier and i know that my 3rd lap will be the fastest. Maybe not having a rear brake is a good thing? I cross the line at 2h5min, a little off the 2 hour mark, but still fast enough to take 5th. Turns out i was only 45 seconds behind the Torrance automaton, so i feel pretty good about that.

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday! The time is 5:35am. i wake up. dammit. Scott Kornfeld and his Coalminers decide that the cat4's draw a short straw and get a 7:30AM start time. Marty and i load all the belongings that matter into the lancer and we are ripping through the sleeping backroads of boulder county. We get to the race course as it is being set up--Chris Grealish, Joe Depalmaere and Dave Towle don't dissapoint. They are erecting a start/finish scaffold above the road with a digital race-clock. pro.

As i warm up, all the fellas show up--Dave, Ross, and Ryan from FtC, Dancel from the Springs, and Lee, R.Volk, and Jason from BoCo. We discuss tactics as Lewandowski chugs a red bull for breakfast. Dancel looks smashing in the long-sleeve skinsuit. We head up to the line, and as the gun goes off, Mike takes that LS-skinsuit and puts it off the front. First lap heroics at dawn, nice! The race settles in, and all the big guns are there. i don't really know what that means, but there sure are some sketchy mooks amongst us.

Mike Dancel showing us how it's done, 1st lap style

I take a flyer after not being able to handle the come-to-a-complete-stop cornering antics of my fellow racers. However, those fellow racers do have some legs bolted to their straight-line-only bicycles, so my glory is short lived--about 47 seconds to be exact. So, i sit in the pack, enjoy the morning sunshine, and heckle some fools. Lee is looking strong, and 35 minutes in, Jason is sitting in the front where he needs to be. In fact, all the boys were rocking and getting a glimpse of the front.
Time to do work

Looking for a corner, any corner will do

The second-to-last corner on the course is a faster right hander...totally do-able at full tilt. However, due to a paving job performed by Beirut Construction, the asphalt is shredded right on the racing line. We make it through without incident for the first 40 minutes of the 45 minute race, and one would think we all have it figured out.

Someone didn't get the memo, though, and stacks it hard with 2 to go. The crash takes out my friend Roger, and another ColoBikeLaw dude. It all goes down right behind me, which is good, but right in front of all the other BlueSky'ers, which is bad. I think Lee is up with me, and we punch it up the finish straight with one-to-go. Dave Towle is on the mic, shouting out something about a runway model. The group gets around the crash and we are mostly back together for the last half of the last lap. Lee heads to the front and pulls like a John Deere, and i come around him into that 2nd to last corner. I stand up and call on the legs to sprint. The phone rings, but the legs have the call forwarded straight to voicemail. I watch about 16 people fly up toward the finish and start thinking about breakfast. Official call is Rob Love, 17th. Ryan finished strong in 19th, and we covered 20th, 21st, and 22nd.

Lee Gerakos. The man, the machine.

Hello?? Anybody home?? Bueller??

All in all, a good showing for the team--we were all there forming up at the end... now we just have to bring a sprint out of the bag of tricks.

So, the time is now 8:45am, the race is over, and i am heading with the girl to breakfast. We chow on some moderately overpriced grub in Louisville and rally down to Buffalo Creek to preview the Burn MTB TT course. For those of you not familiar with Buffalo Creek, it is the best riding you have not done yet. Go there. Now. Quit reading this. Get your bike out of the garage and put it on your car. Skip work tomorrow. It's that cool.

Bikes are cool

Girls that ride bikes are cool

Marty and I pull off a few hours in the dirt, and it feels great to have her back with me on the trail. The dirt is perfect, and we brap some things and get brapped by others. Overall, we are left with the need to ride more, but also the need to eat copious amounts of junk-food. The buzz is stoked, though, and don't be suprised if we hit the road with nothing but mtn bikes and suntan lotion and don't come back until our credit cards don't work anymore.

All photos by the illustrious Marty Caivano. Except the photo of Marty Caivano, taken by Chupacabra

Rob & Marty, over&out.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Blue Sky Velo at the Colorado Springs Velodrome

We had 3 BSVers at the Colorado Springs Velodrome today for the Creamed Corn Cup which is a series of practices races to kick off the track season.

Captain Kevin and Patrick Larabee made the trip down to play on 333.3m track with 33 degree banking. Kevin and I were in the B division (cat3ish) while Patrick was in the inflield waiting for his Intro to Velodrome Racing Class.

The first race of the day was a 5 lap race (1 mile). The group rolled out slowly for a neutral first lap and then the bell went off and the pace remained slow. With a couple of laps to go Kevin wanted to string things out so he dropped down into the sprinters lane and threw in a little acceleration. Things heated up after that, as one guy followed Kevin's move and just kept going. I chased and was able to grab his wheel and was hoping to out sprint him at the line. I pumped my legs as fast as I could to turn over the 49x14 gear. As I came around on to the straight away I just did not have enough power and leg speed to win the sprint. Besides look at the Easton Wheels the guy was running...

The 2nd race of the day was a 25 lap (5miles) race. The race was really friendly. From the start it settled into a paceline. No attacks just nice and steady with everyone taking half lap pulls. With 5 laps left I was sitting behind Kevin in the rotation. We were in excellent position. Then with 2 laps to go chaos broke loose. One guy decided he didn't want to pull so he pulled off unexpectedly. Then everyone was left to fight on their own. There was a mad chaotic sprint at the end. Kevin took 2nd or 3rd and I came in just behind him.

I had to leave the racing early to celebrate Mother's day with my mother-in-law so I don't know how the rest of the racing turned out.

It was nice to have Kevin down here racing. Even after not being on the track for 16 years he's still got it. I'm hoping he can come down some more and share his knowledge as I could use some coaching on the race tactics.

After the racing there was an Intro to Racing at the Velodrome Class that Patrick has been taking. Today was week 2 out 3. Today they did some practice races which I heard that Patrick did really well in. Nice Job Patrick!

Today was a nice spring day on the track. Blue Sky Velo colors were represented!

Mike Dancel

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Team Photos, BBQ & VeloMoto

Over 100 Blue Sky Velo jerseys lined up on the bleachers wearing random cyclists. Mark Woolcott, Blue Sky Velo sponsor did an amazing job organizing everyone - keep an eye out for pictures, posters.... maybe you'll even want to make a mouse pad or coffee cup with your team photo emblazoned on it.

The party moved over to Blue Sky Cycles where Dan Farrell and Bill Teasdale had two BBQ's going full steam with beers from the Pumphouse flowing. The burgers were tasty. Hanging out with everyone was great. And VeloMoto was the best! Thanks to all who came - we've obviously got an awesome club thanks to each of you!

Now here's a quick taste of VeloMoto...

Cat3 Gila Monsters Tackle Sunshine Hill Climb

A Tale of Two Climbs
145lbs, 276w NP, 50:52, 4.2 w/kg
149lbs, 288w NP, 54:04, 4.3 w/kg

In a nutshell, had conditions been identical, I probably would have posted a faster time ... but the wind, soft dirt and snow had something to say about it!

As usual, wind blows, 8am starts suck, and bike racers take it.

(And that's what she said.)

Friday, May 9, 2008

My First Time....

So I saddled up Wednesday night for my first 'official' individual time trial ever. I say 'official' because just about every road race and mountain bike race I've ever done has essentially ended up being an individual TT. :)

I was able to avoid the typical pre-race anxiety and associated restroom visits since I convinced myself that this was truly just for fun and training myself back into shape after my 6 week stint in crutches this winter. I suited up in my new long sleeve Capo skinsuit and last year's BSV shoe covers... which made me feel fast as hell (at least until I heard 'go' from the ACA starter)

Unlike many of the more disciplined BSV road team, I was rolling through the effort without the added weight/benefit of a power meter, heart rate monitor, computer, etc. Good old rate of perceived exertion (RPE) was all I had, and I think I held it somewhere between 7.5 to 8 out of 10 for the run from Lyons to Boulder.

I was a little bit out of my element with no barriers, mud, off camber turns, other riders, etc to deal with. The funny thing about TTs is you basically just pedal... and pedal... and pedal. Once I cleared the first climb and started to settle in a little on the flats it became painfully obvious how much nicer it would have been to have aero bars to stretch out on. I also quickly realized I have no experience guaging an effort out on the open road... the continual on/off of cyclocross and mountain biking is where I play most, so the whole steady eddy in a bigger gear was frankly just weird to try and settle in to.

Nonetheless, because I had nobody behind me for 5 or more minutes I managed to avoid getting caught. Because of that, I was able to operate under the wild misconception that maybe I was moving along pretty fast. Long story short... I most definitely was not! Turns out I should have had a large green shell on my back, because the guy pictured below could have given me a run for my money...

I ended up confused at the finish and stopped at the first set of orange cones roughly 100 feet from the actual finish. Pretty funny... probably cost me all of 15 seconds and absolutely nothing in terms of my overall poor placement. I looked back at the clock and the reality hit that I was a helluva lot slower than I hoped I would be.

I got to watch a chunk of BSV'ers layin' it down on my ride home back to Lyons... Eric, Jason, Rob, Lee and others were all gettin' it done with pointy helmets, aero bars and fancy wheels.

Lessons learned:

1. I think I can go quite a bit harder next time without blowing up, but I need the carrot of riders a bit faster than me in front so I've got somebody to chase.

2. I will break out the heart rate monitor next time for added visual motivation to go harder

3. Even though I'm built similar to Dave Zabriskie, I don't think I'll ever TT like him. (Maybe if I grew a mustache again there'd be a chance... hmmm)

4. I think I pretty much suck at time trials!


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Rabbit Mountain TT

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Rabbit Mountain TT
The Rabbit Mountain TT didn't go as well as I would have liked but I still manged to do well. This was my first hard effort in about 10 days after being sick the prior week. I've ridden the course many times and even managed a personal best of 17:59 without aero equipment a week and a half before the race so I was optimistic about beating that time. But, once the race started I felt awful. I had to fight the urge to call it quits throughout the race. I'm glad I did because I managed to get 4th (18:17). For some reason, I started the race in my small chain ring and could never get into the big ring which would have really helped for the first half of the race. Lately, I've been a total space cadet at the starts-including tonight at the boulder TT series when I showed up 40 seconds late for the start despite getting there with plenty of time. Anyway, at least failing to get in the big chain gave me the advantage of fresh legs at the end climb where I passed two riders who started the climb well ahead of me. The Rabbit mountain TT is a fun course which will make you pay at the end if you overdo your effort before the final climb.
Posted by Ho at 8:41 PM

Jason's View of the Gila

What are the odds that I would be the only one to flat during the TT stage last Friday?

Overall I am pleased with my race. The Cat 4s had four days of racing:

64.2 mile RR Thursday
16.15 mile TT Friday
15 lap (approx 15 mile) CRIT on Saturday
71.8 mile RR Sunday

I'd heartily recommend this race to anyone. Especially if you like hills. And wind. I thought it was windy in CO, but it's also windy in NM. You are always either going up or down. And into the wind. The only flat part of the four days of racing was the criterium, and even then there was an 80-foot something hill in the middle.

A total of 9 guys (and a girlfriend- not mine) went down to Silver City, NM. It was about a 10-hour drive from Longmont. There were four category 4 and five category 3 guys from the Blue Sky cycling team. Along with 4 other guys I stayed with the parents of one of the racers. We had a great meals every night and were able to stretch out on furniture other than a motel bed.

In Thursday's RR, we had a pretty gnarly descent in the first 15 miles of the race. There were even a couple of crashes. Then we had to climb and that's where I lost the pack and the peloton broke up. For the next 30 or so miles there was a group of anywhere from 6- 12 of us who chased the leaders. At the feed zone, positioned along another good steady climb, the pack broke up further and it was down to 8 of us. We all crossed the line within 30 seconds of each other. I was disappointed I didn't nail the initial climb but pleased about my finishing effort. I finished the stage 35 of 85 riders, only 6:34 down.

I was looking forward to Friday's time trial, since if I have a strength in cycling that would be it. We went in reverse finishing order of the prior day's road race. The time trial course was also all either up or down. I felt pretty good at the turnaround. About 30 minutes into the effort, just as I was starting the last climb until about a 3 mile downhill, I flatted. Yep, you heard me. Barely used, maybe 75 miles total on the tire, brand new Continental Giro tire. Tread wasn't even worn. The damned sidewall just blew out. No puncture or anything. Unfortunately, the rules for the race is that any rider unable to finish the time trial b/c of a mechanical gets the time of the slowest rider. What should have taken me b/w 43- 45 minutes took me almost 58 minutes b/c the slowest finishing time was 57:54. I lost 16:50 on that stage and the official result had me finishing 83 of 83 riders. All that preparation for naught b/c of a low-end Conti. I'll never skimp and buy a $30 tubular again to race on. I'd just have to look at each stage's finish versus the overall GC, or general classification. BTW, an official did bring me a neutral wheel and I was able to ride the 5 miles back to the start/finish.

Saturday's criterium was in downtown Silver City. It was a 1-mile square with an 80 foot hill. This was only my 5th criterium ever, so I really didn't have any expectations but to finish and not get pulled. I had trouble clipping in right from the gun, so I was already at the back of the pack from the beginning. In a nutshell, I finished 17 seconds down from the peloton, 49 of 82 racers and could hear the moto behind me for the last lap or so. About 30 guys did get pulled and lost two or more minutes.

My legs still felt good for the closing road race. This race all comes down to the final 15 or so miles. It is essentially a reversal of Thursday's course, so the last miles are all climbing at 6% or higher grades. There is a short but brutal stretch of 17% grade as well, with a total of 5600 feet of climbing. It was rolling neutral start for the first 2 miles out of Silver City. I had good positioning being right in the first 10- 15 riders. At about 10 miles or so into the race, it was agreed upon to take a pee break, so you had 80 guys pissing on the side of the road. Talk about solidarity. There were a few who kept riding at a slow pace, but then the peloton re-formed. The pace really started to pick up, and after taking a bottle at the feed zone around mile 45 or so, I blasted to the front. Yes, I was leading the peloton for a good minute or two. There was a small group that broke away early on, but I was able to ride the 15 or so miles before the climb at the front. The final 20-mile stretch of road was closed to all but us racers and support vehicles. As soon as we turned the corner and hit that 10% grade, it seemed like half the field passed me. Over the final 18 miles or so of climbing, I passed a handful of guys. My legs felt pretty good as I kept thinking to myself about Super James, Ward, Pinewood Rez, Lee Hill- all those stout climbs I did to at least mentally prepare myself for the Gila. Of the 7 or so guys I worked with in those last miles, I out-climbed all but one guy on the uphill finish. I was more than pleased with my effort, finishing 29 of 79 guys and losing 7:28 to the winner.

Officially my GC placing was 42 of 79 racers and 30:29 off the winning time. Six guys apparently dropped out b/c of crashes or fatigue. My goal was to finish in the top half of the field, and if it wasn't for that flat during the time trial stage, I would've likely come in the top 30- 35 riders or so and easily would have met my overall goal. All in all a fun but grueling race, especially that last road race. I am tempted to think about the 2009 Gila, but it is a long time away from family. Because I'm a glutton for punishment, I also rode a couple more mountain passes in southern CO on the return trip home yesterday. I rode another 40 miles and bagged La Manga Pass and Cumbres Pass. Although not that steep with grades topping out *only* at about 8%, my legs were pretty fried from racing and it was a pretty tough climb. I now only have 4 more paved mountain passes to ride in the state. I'm certainly stronger after 200 miles of riding in five days!


24 Hours of Adrenalin MTB Race Report

This was my third year racing the 24 Hours of Adrenalin MTB race at Laguna Seca, CA. The first year was my first bike race in 14 years and first MTB race. I was part of one five-man 24 hour team sponsored by Bad Boys Bail Bonds. Last year I raced the 8-hour race as part of a 2-man team we called Bad Boys Bail Bonds Deux. Unfortunately, I crashed during the 8th hour and had to be hauled out by paramedics and my teammate Greg and I dropped from 2nd to 4th place. This year Greg and I teamed back up to do the 8-hour two-man race against 23 other teams and called ourselves Deux Redux.

This was my third year racing the 24 Hours of Adrenalin MTB race at Laguna Seca, CA. The first year was my first bike race in 14 years and first MTB race. I was part of one five-man 24 hour team sponsored by Bad Boys Bail Bonds. Last year I raced the 8-hour race as part of a 2-man team we called Bad Boys Bail Bonds Deux. Unfortunately, I crashed during the 8th hour and had to be hauled out by paramedics and my teammate Greg and I dropped from 2nd to 4th place. This year Greg and I teamed back up to do the 8-hour two-man race against 23 other teams and called ourselves Deux Redux.

The race has a Lemans start with a short 500 yard run. Racers jump on their bikes, ride a few hundred yards and then dismount and carry their bikes up the stairs of a bridge that crosses over the racetrack (there was a car race going on simultaneously). The course is a 10-mile loop and consists of a lot of single track over rolling hills, some steep, short climbs, and a fire road climb between miles 7 and 9.5. Most of the course is smooth and hard packed, although this year there were many soft, sandy turns as well. For some reason, the steep, loose, bumpy descent that sent me to the emergency room last year was removed from the course, although it was only introduced last year.

I rode first and started the run in about 50th position out of a total of 160 and moved up to about 25th when I got to my bike. Unfortunately, the Lemans run was too short to really string us out and we were still congested when we got to the bridge. As I was dismounting to carry my bike up the stairs a rider came up along side me and knocked me down to the asphalt where I banged my left kneecap. I got up and went to pick up my bike, but it wouldn't come as some tape defining a chute to the bridge wrapped around my handlebars. After untangling my bike and feeling my knee ache as I climbed the stairs I wondered if I'd later get to say "hello" to the paramedics I met last year! I was now in about 50th position again.

After crossing the bridge we go up a relatively hard and wide 100-yard climb followed by a very narrow and steep descending hairpin followed by several miles of single track in the rolling hills. I worked hard up the climb to about 35th and then worked hard on all the climbs looking for places where I could pass. My strategy was to push the climbs hard and ride the descents fast, but not to push them. After the first few miles of rolling single track I was in about 25th. At mile four we go up a wide, rutted, and very steep 100 yard climb called Hurl Hill which allowed me to move up to about 15th to 20th. We then go down some very fast and loose fire road, which the paramedics know quite well, and then head into the trees for a few miles of winding and sometimes loose single track. I ended up catching my front wheel in some soft sand and falling on my left arm, but didn't loose any positions. Fortunately, that was my last crash of the day. I made it to the 2.5 mile grind in relatively good shape and was able to move up to 9th position and finish the first lap in 48 minutes with a 2 minute lead in the 8-hour 2-man race.

I only had about 40 minutes to get to our car, drink, mix more Perpetuem, lube my chain, stretch and get back to the start. Conditions were overcast, windy and cool. One advantage to not having our old sponsor was I could wear my BSV kit all day and decided to wear my long sleeve fleece lined jersey for laps two on as it was getting quite windy and cold. I must have gotten 30 comments from other racers telling me how they loved my BSV long sleeve jersey. Because it was so cool I only carried 5 ounces of cytomax in a gel bottle in my back pocket.

My teammate Greg came through with a 49 minute lap and we were in the lead by three minutes. My 2nd lap was another 48 mins to give us an 8 minute lead. Greg did a 50 minute 2nd lap for a 9 min lead and I did a 50 min 3rd lap for a 16 min lead. Greg's 3rd and fourth laps were 52 and 55 minutes and unfortunately, he snapped his saddle rail on lap four and had to ride lop sided when in the saddle. My 4th and 5th laps were 52 and 54 minutes and consisted mostly of cramp management and remembering that I blew the race in the last lap last year with a crash. The most interesting part was probably trying to bunny hop a 6 foot rattle snake on a moderate uphill single track on my fourth lap… good for him I got the 4 inches of air I needed to clear him! I finished my 5th lap with 48 minutes left (last lap had to finish by 8 and a half hours) and Greg didn't want to give another lap a try. Of the 24 teams 6 finished with 9 laps like us and we ended up with a 21 minute lead. Greg and I each won a pair of Kenda Small Block 8s, medals and free registration for a 24 Hrs of Adrenalin race.


Sunday, May 4, 2008

Gila Stage 5 - Gila Monster Road Race

The end is near. Today was the 70 mile Gila Monster stage.

The 4's rolled out in jovial fashion and we were all chatting it up and having a good time. A break went off pretty early and I was pretty happy about that since they would swallow up the sprint time bonuses. I was on the front as the break went off, and someone put their hand on my back as if to tell me to chase it. I chuckled and told them to have at it because I certainly wasn't going to chase.

The pack stayed together for along time, which made for some crowded roads later on. The riding was a little sketchy because everyone decided that suddenly on the last day they needed to be at the front and try to improve their GC spot.

Right after the feed zone (around 40 miles into the race) Rob got a flat. He was in front of me and I saw him pull off. I pulled off Dukes of Hazzard style into the dirt and gave Rob my wheel since he was better placed on GC than me. Ross had seen us stopped on the road and he slowed down to pace Rob back up to the field. It was all a pretty pro affair.

My wheel change was fairly slow, and they gave me a tank of a wheel to ride on. I chased with a small group for the next 10 miles and we finally caught the main field at the base of the decisive climb of the day. I was pretty blown from the chase, but I managed to climb okay still. I caught a lot of people, and eventually made it up to Rob and Jason. Jason was climbing strong and finished with a small group a minute ahead of me. Rob and I road with another guy for a bit, and finally Rob pulled the rip cord finished solo. I finished side by side with Taylor from RMRC.

I finished in 28th overall, and Rob finished in 26th.

In the 3's race, Blue Sky controlled the peloton for a large portion of the race and kept the pace slow while Jeremy tried to break away. Jeremy had a good gap, but eventually he got caught on the Sapillo climb. At the end of the day, Barry finished at 10th place on GC. Congratulations Barry on an awesome race!

After the race, we hung out at Rob's parent's place for some burgers, brats, and copious amounts of recovery beer. The team owes a lot of thanks to Rob Sr. & Susan Love, Marty, and Stuart for their logistic and feed zone support. I saw plenty of teams relying on neutral support, and it was so nice to have our own dedicated support team.

Hard riding, brats and beer work their magic on Jose and Rob Sr.:

The 2008 Gila is over. Who's in for next year?

Lookout!! Mt. Hill Climb - (Pain cave-ious maximus)

Welp, another year another personal battle with the little bump on the topo map called Lookout Mountain yesterday. "Conditions were perfect" as we all woke up to cool weather and clear skies.

While this effort is probably what the Gila Boyz did on their way to the start-line for their stage that day, this little beast is always a way mostly for me to test myself.
Mostly its fitness, and a touch of mental, but I can never shave too much time off how long it takes me to get up this silly little hill.

So, cut to the old-man cat 4 race. Great to see some others there. Eric Scroger, Bryan Harwood, and Sean Kelley (The latter 2 up on the front line, looking for some action)

Boom, gun goes off, 95 people pretend to have never clipped into their pedals before, vear around nervously, swiping anxiously at their cranks... settle down boyz... we havent even got past the start line... annnd we're off.

This year's plan "DO NOT BLOW UP ON THE BOTTOM 1/3 !!!!, save some for the end."
This has been my plan for years... I just choose not to follow it.

Boom there goes Eric.... little b*stard is going fast, I start to follow......
"Discipline Dave".
So I ride my own race, passing all the blown up dudes. Ha! I know that feeling all too well. I feel great, and while I think I can go faster, I really want to not spend it all on the bottom. Looking up I see a BSV-er that I'm gaining on. Hmmmmm... maybe crotch-rocket boy Eric blew himself up.... wait, thats not him. It took me a while to realise it was Bryan H. (hard to focus my eyes that far with a HR of 190 :) ). Hmmm... wonder if his brakes are rubbing, or he's blown out his knee .. I'll have to catch him and ask....

Not to be, 'Power boy' Harwood picks up the hammer pace everytime the grade lessens and he takes off, and I can only scratch back on the steeper parts... running out of road... I'll just see him at the finish.

K... we're getting near the top last switch backs.... mile to go? I feel good.
Here's a couple of Joe's comming by, got to stand up, get into a harder gear and sit on their wheel.. get in their heads.....
No problem right? uh-oh, finally... here's that feeling of suffering, I was wondering where you were my old friend.
Plan B, maybe I'll get into their heads by coughing up stuff on them, or wheezing so loud they want to quit... uh oh, now I'm starting to see those black dots. Never good
Note to self "why do you do this to yourself? didnt this cost money?"

Alright, some dude yells out 400M to the line. We all hit the big ring, and stand up to sprint. Turns out 400m uphill is longer than I remember,
"what, do those 2 have jet engines one their bikes?"

100 to go, sit back down, faster to walk (or crawl). Hey, there's the line, I may just make it.

And there you have it.... another 24 and change minute adventure by Dave K.
I think I rolled in for 60+ place, nice huh?
Oh well, I shaved 2 minutes off my last time I did it, so I'm happy.
I'll go back in the fall and see if can make that down around 20 :)

Great Props to Eric S., he's a climbing machine.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Gila Stage 4 - Criterium

Another day, another race. Today was the criterium in downtown Silver City. The Cat. 4s got there early to set up the Blue Sky compound:

The course is a NASCAR lover's dream - 4 lefthand corners. The main "feature" of the course was a climb between the 2nd and 3rd corners. The first couple times through this section were hard on my legs. After that, though, I was punching up it pretty easily every time.

I got to the start a little later than I wanted, but I got a spot in the second row next to Rob. When the gun went off, I went right to the front so I could make it through the first corner safely. It was a little narrow, but not nearly as narrow as hairy as I thought it was going to be.

Ryan hammering off the front, giving the group something to worry about: (Ryan only speaks of himself in the third person now, he's that cool. No, really, this is Marty writing the captions.)

Midway through the race, got off the front going into the 4th corner of a sprint lap and carried the gap all the way to line. I won some socks and $20. I'm thinking of retiring. I didn't have to work all that hard for the prime because Rob was on the front of the chasing pack.

Jason and Ross showing off their Nascar skills:

Rob flatted with 6 laps to go just as we were coming up on the SRAM neutral wheel pit. If you're going to get a flat in a crit, it's pretty sweet if SRAM is there to give you a ZIPP 404 carbon wheel.

Rob awaits permission to fire the second stage afterburners:

Since we were outside of 5 laps to go (barely), Rob was able to hop back in the group the next time we came around. And boy did he ever come back into the group. I was near the front and Rob passed me going mach 1 through the outside of the first corner.

Houston, we have liftoff:

I finished somewhere in the main group, and Rob opened up a sweet sprint for 4th place.

Meanwhile, the Cat. 3s showed up to the compound, with Kevin sporting a sweet head-tan. These things are all the rage now. Don't even bother with tattoos anymore:

In the 3's race, Blue Sky constantly had people at the front of the pack or off the front. Barry got in an early break of 4 guys, but it didn't stick. With a lap or two to go, Jeremy took his chances with a flyer. He was got sucked back in. Eventually, Kevin took fourth in the field sprint.

Jeremy and Kevin keep the suckaz at bay:

Jeremy goes off the front like the bad man he is:

Barry gets into the later breakaway of four, proving that the Two Headed Barremy can be occasionally spotted in single form:

The bad news: In the last lap, somebody put a handlebar into Jeremy and he went down pretty hard. He got some road rash, but it didn't look like he broke bones. He did break a wheel and a helmet, however, and they took him to the hospital as a precaution. He's had a rough couple days, but hopefully he can race tomorrow.