Monday, October 30, 2006

Halloween Cross and Sun night hockey

These weekends just blow by when they are jam-packed with action. It makes going back to work on Monday mornings that much harder. :)

This Sunday we had the Halloween cross race in Milwaukee. It is a really fun course in a cool city park. Heather did very well, getting 12th place in the Womens Cat 4 race...and just getting edged at the line in a good sprint with another chickie. My race was like an exact replica of the first cross race of the season: I got off to a great start (2nd wheel for most of the first lap), then just lost all power for some reason. Was moving backwards for the rest of the race until the finish. Ended up 15th, just like in the first race. I did have a heck of a sprint finish though. I was riding with a dude for the last 2 laps, and his woman kept yelling at him, telling him that he could take me. We caught up to another guy near the finish, and right when we caught him, the other guy attacked. So I caught up to him, drafted off him for a few seconds, and then countered. Turns out that his woman was wrong. Hehe. :)

Brooks had a great race, coming in 2nd and beating the hated Sachs boy in the process. The dude that won was crazy fast. He is a Cat 2 roadie, so I am not sure what he is doing racing Cat 3 cross, but whatever. He was way up there from the very start of the race.

Here is a pic of Heather powering her way up one of the pavement sections.

Here is a shot of me, having a lovely jaunt, coasting through the fall leaves.
Brooks on the last pavement section before the start/finish line.
Here's me after launching my sprint away from the dude who's woman lies to him.
Then, just a few hours after returning home from Milwaukee, I had my first hockey league game of the season. It's right here in town at the Sun Prairie hockey arena. It's definitely no Ralph Englestad Arena, that's for sure. ;) We ended up losing the game, but it was a really good time. We should have a decent team as well. I played better than I thought I would being that I haven't played since April. The league is almost every Sunday night until next April, so if any of you loyal blog readers are ever in town for a weekend, you're more than welcome to come cheer Team Gray on. :)

And for parting words...Daylight Savings Time sucks. Getting off of work when the sun is already down sucks. That is all.

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Joys of Phlegm

Hello all. I thought I had better do a new blog post before Vino's head exploded. :) Hehe. So, here is my recap of this busy weekend.

Heather's parents got into town on Thurs evening and stayed until Sun morning. On Sat, they went with Heather into Madison and explored all the fun sites while Brooks and I got muddy. Everyone wave at Joyce! I bet that Jim would have had more fun watching us race than watching them shop. ;)

The joys of phlegm indeed. I started to get sick last Sun, and am still under the weather now. Sucky. My stages have been like this: Runny nose/general grossness (Sun-Wed), stuffed up nose/head cold (Thurs-Sat), and I am currently in the sore throat/"hey, I bet that I have tuberculosis" cough phase. Not fun.

I wanted to race regardless though, being that there were alot of points to be had with 2 races this weekend. So...the first race was on Sat at an old landfill. Why they thought that holding a bike race at a landfill was a good idea is beyond me. It was beyond muddy. Just sticky grossness and grass. Both Brooks and I got off to good starts from the front row and remained in the front group for the first lap. But then I started to slow way down, due to me not being able to breath and my wheels not being able to spin. I called it a race after 3 of the 6 laps.

Onto Sunday's race. Another muddy one, but in a much better venue, with almost a mtb-like feel with some fun singletrack. Brooks and I got crappy start positions and had to start from the back, but we made our way back up quickly regardless. My legs felt great during the race, but once again I could not breath properly and could not hang with the lead group for too long. Ended up 12th. This is a course that I feel I could do well on...maybe next year! Brooks took the win for Team Brown Bear, relegating the hated (and arch-rival to Team Brown Bear) Sachs boy down to 2nd. Nice job, Franklin. Heather raced in the Cat 4 Women's race and did very well for her first time ever riding in those type of muddy conditions...and she got the much coveted Lanterne Rouge in the process!!

A pic of my bike after the Saturday landfill race. Forty pounds of energy-robbing fun!
Our solution to the problem was to stop at the local car wash on the way home.
Two thumbs up for a job well done. Both the car and the bikes came out sparkly clean.
Brooks during the Sunday race. That guy beside him is thinking "Venga! Venga!".
It's a bird, it's a plane! Nope, it's just me leaping over some barriers.

This upcoming Sunday is going to be a busy one as well, with the 5th cross race in the WCA series (in Milwaukee) as well as my first league hockey game of the year that night! That's right, I joined an adult hockey league, playing every Sunday from Oct-April. That's alot of hockey. I'm on Team Gray. Hopefully my sickness clears up before then!

Talk to you all later.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Cross racing / On-call / Visiting family

Hello all. Yesterday was the 2nd cross race in the WCA series. As Brooks pointed out in his race recap, the course was not designed for cross racing at all, and kind of sucked from a spectator's point of view because of how much it was spread out. But it was a good time, nonetheless.

Heather did her very first cyclocross race (her very first bike race in general, actually) in the Women's Category 4 race. Despite starting from the back because of the crappy start area, she managed a very good 11th place. Not too shabby for her first ever bike race!! She is planning on racing some more races in the series now as well. Nice job Heathrow.

Brooks and I were not sure when to line up for the start (since it was a 5min jaunt to the start line from the cars), so we didn't get a warmup at all and decided to get a better start position instead. We got there and got perfect, first row positions. Excellent...until some latecomers decided that they could just wedge their way in front of us to my right. At the start, as the racers to the left of me were taking off on course, some idiot to the right of me in a Polska jersey couldn't clip in, so he swerved to his left in front of me. I had to literally track stand for a couple seconds waiting for him to get the hell out of the way. When he finally did, I was already down in around 15th place or so. Crappy. The first lap retardedness was not over yet though, as halfway through the lap, another idiot (on a Richard Sachs custom cross bike with carbon wheels) decided to completely cut a chicane, hit a rock in the process, wipeout, and have his bike land right in front of me and another racer. Serves the guy right. By the time that I was past all that shenanigans, the lead group was already 20 seconds or so up course. Double crappy. So I spent the first 2 or 3 laps just trying to catch up to that group. Nice waste of energy that would have been completely avoided if not for a couple other racers. By the last lap, I had worked my way back into the top 10, and managed to catch another 2 riders in that final lap (ALMOST catching another group of 3), so I ended up 8th overall. The time gaps were very small in the top 10, so I am sure that if I could have avoided that first lap mayhem, I would have been in the top 5 group. Oh well, I guess that is racing sometimes... :)

Since blogger is not letting me post pics for some reason, here is the link to all the pics.

And, in other news:

A) This week I am on call for work. That sucks.
2- Heather's parents are coming to visit us this weekend. Good times...they haven't seen their first-born grandson in awhile.
c. Next weekend there are 2 cross races. Should be a good time.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Trip back home and Birthday Boy!

Made it back from my trip to GFND in one piece. Spent a lot of time at the bike shop getting them setup and trained with Ascend. They went live with the system on Saturday! It's about time they got rid of that 20 year old DOS-based computer system. ;)

Had a good time visiting with family and friends as well. Went to a Sioux hockey game, Paradiso, Hub, got some fun biking in at TRSP with the gang (the new singletrack is nice!), and watched plenty of HGTV with the family. :) Had a nice tailwind coming home and got hella-good gas mileage...made it all the way from GF to past Eau Claire before I filled up!

Today is a day of celebration. First, it is my one year anniversary working at Trek. Second, I had my annual review and got a raise. Third, and most important, it is Vontoux's birthday! Our little son turned 2 today. They grow up so fast. Here is a pic of him and his proud mother, as he waits to play with his two new toys...a weird squeaky hedgehog named Spike and a rawhide.

This weekend is the second cross race of the season, and Heather said that she is going to race! Exciting. She is going to kick some butt. One of my co-workers got us tickets to the UW/UND hockey game on Fri as well, so we are going to that. Should be a good time.

If you haven't noticed yet, Brooks and I started a team here in WI, Team Brown Bear. The jerseys are being professionally designed by my lovely sister, so watch out for them at next year's races. We will be taking applications for race roster spots this off-season. :)

Monday, October 02, 2006

Cross has begun / Good reading

Hello all. This weekend was the first cross race of the season for me. It was gorgeous out, with a high of about 75 and sunny. I see that Brooks has already posted a nice course description and race recap, so I will refrain from posting too much about that. For me, this race was divided into 3 parts: the first 2 laps - where I felt strong, the middle 3 laps- where my legs felt powerless, and the last 2 laps - where I felt strong again. I think my body needs to get used to doing these short 40min races instead of the 2hr races that I have been doing all season. Good thing there are 7 more races in the series! :) Regardless of how crappy my legs felt in the middle portion, I ended up 15th overall and 10th in my age group. Hopefully I can move up as the series progresses.

Here is a picture of me going over the first set of barriers, right after the start/finish:
Another shot of me, entering the gravel climb near the start of the lap:
A pic of Brooks, stylin' with his skinsuit and orange handlebar tape:
One of the ways to intimidate the other racers is to flash gang signs, post race:
Next race is in another 2 weeks. Heather may also race in that one, so that should be fun.

In other news:
I just got done reading Marley and Me, by John Grogan. If you are an animal-lover, I highly recommend picking it up. Great read. Gets quite sad at the end when Marley dies (sorry to ruin the ending). Doesn't help that Marley is also a yellow lab that looks like little Vontoux. Heather is going to cry when she reads it. I guarantee it. :)

This weekend (Thurs-Sun) is the big trip back to GF! Looking forward to it. Hopefully we can get the bike shop all set up with Ascend, and still have time for all the fun stuff that I want to do. I'll post a recap once I get back. Until then, keep the rubber side down!