Saturday, August 29, 2009

Rist Canyon "Hill Climb"

When I saw this race on the calendar at the beginning of the year, I wrote it off because I didn’t want to do just a hill climb up Rist. When I found out that it was much more of a road race, I decided to do it. I haven’t trained seriously since June, but I like to support a local race and I was ready for some punishment.

The race starts out climbing immediately as you go from Masonville up to Horsetooth Mountain Park. I was wondering if anyone would hammer it from the start. It seems like there’s always “that guy”. This time “that guy” didn’t show up until we came around the reservoir. On a flat section, someone attacked hard and then blew up spectacularly.

We hit the south dam and the real attacks started. There were big surges up all of the dam hills, but the group stayed largely intact to the bottom of Rist. I’m not sure how intact, because I was actually doing a decent job of staying near the front for once. I felt more comfortable in this pack than usual, so that was nice.

The pace up the lower parts of Rist were really reasonable. I felt comfortable, but the group wasn’t getting any smaller. Someone from H.A.R.T. threw in some really good accelerations that broke things up. I followed some of them, but I knew I was going to have a hard time accelerating like that right now. With the speeds slower speeds up Rist, drafting isn’t a huge issue, so it was better for me to go a constant speed than to try to match all of the accelerations.

As we came up on a steep section near the top, I just knew an attack was coming. I was completely gassed by that point and didn’t even try to go with them. My legs were cramping. A side cramp I’d had since near the beginning had turned into a tight back and I was struggling. I went into survival mode at that point and just tried to not let anyone pass me.

We hit the final steep switchbacks near the top, and I was really happy I put a 12x27 cassette on my bike. It’s hard to turn over the gears up there when the gradient is around 15%. I managed to hold my position and finish 7th. The caveat – I’d like to DQ two people in front of me that crossed the yellow line. :) I love how the ACA makes a big stink about the yellow line rule, and then rarely (it seems) enforce it with DQ’s.

I thought the pace was reasonable, but then I looked at the ride data at home. I climbed Rist in 50 minutes. Last year, I think I was doing around 52 minutes. Sick. Nevermind that the pros probably climbed it in under 45.

Allow me to gripe one more time. The results (again) were all screwed up. Maybe I’m a vampire, because this isn’t the first time I haven’t shown up on the initial results. I stuck around for a bit, and then went home, grabbed my moto, and went back to make sure they got my placing. I’m not generally all that concerned, but I’d at least like a record that I was there.

Something to look forward to next year: They’re turning this into a stage race. It’s too early for details, but I talked to the organizer. They’re looking at a prologue, road race, crit, and a TT. The crit would be the old downtown Fort Collins crit course which has been sorely missing from the schedule that past couple years. They’re also trying to start and finish the RR in Old Town which would be super cool.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Recovery, and a Look Forward to Another Great Cross Season

So yeah, I'm inspired.

Jen had her thyroid removed(along with the cancer that lived inside of it) on Wednesday. She had minimal pain and chose to avoid any Vicodin (yes, none). Below, you see Jen the day after surgery, planning her escape from the recovery floor. Fittingly, wearing her "climb every mountain" shirt.

Only three days later, it's Saturday and Jen doesn't want to hear anything about staying home and resting all day on the couch. . . .

Seen below, Jen is ready for a 1-hour cyclocross ride.

It was nice for her to get out on the bike again, even if only a 1 hour spin. Wish I was even half as tough as she is.

After riding back by the house with Jen, I went back out for another 40 minutes, and to my true cyclocross pleasure, I rode home in a downpour with sounds of thunder in the background. I hope this is a sign of things to come this cross season. Let the weather come!! Get your cowbells and your rain jackets ready!!

Great days on the bike ahead.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


gotta go riding now...

SRAM powerlock recall

hey kids:

SRAM has just issued a voluntary recall on the 10spd powerlock connectors... check out the copy below for specifics, and if you have an affected link, bring it in to the shop. i do have a couple of powerlocks right now in stock, but all stock has been pulled from distributors for the moment, so we may have to wait until next week to fill orders for the recall.


SRAM issues PowerLock voluntary recall

Cycling News
August 12, 03:09,
August 12, 10:04
First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, August 12, 2009
The SRAM PowerLock connector link should be examined for the manufacture date, apparent in the letter printed on the right side of the plate.

The SRAM PowerLock connector link should be examined for the manufacture date, apparent in the letter printed on the right side of the plate.

Consumers urged to check connector link manufacture date

Component manufacturer SRAM has issued a voluntary recall on a limited number of 10-speed PowerLock chains due to PowerLock connector link failures it has discovered through its quality control process.

SRAM US Road PR and Media Manager Michael Zellmann released details of the action, stressing that the recall wasn't applicable to all SRAM chains, rather a limited number of PowerLock chains manufacturered between January and June 2009.

Those with concerns about their SRAM chain should examine the PowerLink connector outer plate to determine its date of manufacture. Those PowerLock connector links marked with an 'M' or 'N' may develop a crack during installation and/or use, and fail.

SRAM is retrieving and replacing all affected PowerLocks, which should be returned to SRAM bicycle dealers directly for replacement. The company advises those with affected chains to stop using the product immediately and return their chains to any SRAM dealer for verification of the product date stamp and to obtain a free replacement PowerLock.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Salida Omnium

This past weekend, I took on the Salida Omnium. Eric(far left) was also brave enough to battle this beast. Here we are, still sporting smiles after the Friday night TT. I didn't have a particularly stellar performance, but it sure felt good to turn the cranks. Nice evening with minimal wind. Still can't get over how many guys show up with $4000 TT setups.

As far as the Saturday road race, I can't speak on Eric's behalf. Here's what I thought:


Seriously, I trained hard with Salida in mind. I knew that five 12-mile laps with 1300 feet of climbing per lap would be hard. But I also envisioned finding a grupetto. Maybe 5 or 6 guys, and struggling together.

What really happened? The neutral roll out was, well, neutral. We stopped at mile 6 on some country road for our final instructions from the referee. Some poor kid's front tire exploded about 60 seconds from the start while we were standing there. Must have scared the piss out of the 40 or so guys that were standing on the side of the road. . . pissing. Funny how the timing worked out on that one.

The race started pretty mellow for a couple miles. We made it up the climb on lap #1 in ok shape. If 80 guys started, I'd say 60 were ahead of me, and about 20 behind. I thought I did a pretty good job of not blowing up early. But I found myself about 300 yards behind a group of 4 with nobody coming from behind to help, as I fought a mild headwind on a false flat approaching the climb for lap 2.

Long story short, I spent about 50 of 60 miles alone. [The above picture is one of the few moments I had another rider to work with]. It was a freakin' 50-mile TT with 6500 feet of climbing and one heck of a false flat which was accompanied by a head wind. Seriously, we're talking about a tiny 1% grade for 3 miles. I look down and I'm in my granny gear on this thing for the last 2 laps.

On the brighter side, I hit 53mph on the descent a couple times. That was worth some fun points.

Yes, it hurt that bad [above, approaching the final climb]. I could hardly turn a crank for the last 2 laps. I knew I was done with 24 miles and 2 more times up the climb to go. I spent the last lap cursing the idea of doing a road race ever again. . . .but the Steamboat Springs stage race has peaked my interest. :-)

So yeah, I was exhausted after that road race. Nothing else to say. Tahoe was pooped from hiking with Jen.

Like many other racers, I opted to forego the Sunday Crit for other activities (such as rest). I think I would have had about 1 lap of fuel in my legs and I would have been dropped. Instead, Jen and I took the mountain bikes up to the Continental Divide for a couple hours of beautiful singletrack. I'm calling this my "stage 3". A much happier place than Saturday.

One final note that I'm particularly proud of:

While sitting in front of The Simmering Cup, drinking coffee and tea in downtown Salida, Jen and I noticed someone taking photos of my car. For those of you who don't know me, I drive a 1991 Honda Accord with a cracked windshield. I could get the windshield fixed, but I consider it more of an accent than a flaw. We were outfitted with 2 Giant Anthem X2's and my road bike on the roof rack.

As the guy walked by Jen asked if he was taking photos of our car.

He said, "That's your car? That's sweet how any of those bikes, let alone all of them, are worth so much more than your car is. Awesome man!"

I take this as a huge compliment and a sign that I've grown to be the kind of person I always wanted to be. My priorities are in line as far as I'm concerned. Wait till I get that carbon frame road bike upgrade!! That'll make the Honda look even more antique. :-)