Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Washington Park CX & Hockey

The Washington Park CX race was this past Sunday in Milwaukee. This is a fun course in a cool park and the weather was nice and sunny. I did my very first cross race here two years ago right after Heather and I moved to WI. I got a front row start position again and ended up having a great start, getting the holeshot leading into the first turn. I led for the first lap, including over the little bunnyhop barrier.
At the start of the 2nd lap, Casey and Lyle came to the front and upped the pace a little more to dwindle the group down.
Check out the skinsuit on the guy behind me. Killer!
By the beginning of the 3rd lap, it was down to the same 5 guys as last week in the lead. When we hit the switchback section toward the end of that lap, we had such a big gap that I couldn't even see any riders behind us.
We pretty much stayed together for the rest of the race until there were 2 laps to go. Casey and the young Baraboo rider attacked the group and rode off. My lungs were dying at this point, so I couldn't hang with them.
I rode the last lap by myself in no-man's land and rolled across the finish for 5th place again. With that result, I think I am now in 6th place in the standings, but I'm not sure since the website hasn't been updated yet.
All pics are courtesy of
Thanks to Brooks for doing water handups. He was feeling strong in the 1/2 race, but unfortunately had a mechanical issue with his bike early in the race.

Sunday was also my first league hockey game. I hate to say it Team Green supporters, but it might be a long season. We have some good players, but not as many as last year. Doesn't matter though, I'll still have fun! We lost to Team Orange 4-1...I got the assist on our only goal.

Also, last but certainly not least...congrats to Heather on her big news! :)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Gibbs Lake CX and some Visitors

A fun weekend here. On Saturday morning, my aunt Alane and uncle Dick arrived in Madison for a quick little weekend visit. We wandered around a bit, played some card games, and enjoyed the nice day by heading over to the Olbrich Botanical Gardens.
On Sunday we all packed in the car and took off for the Gibbs Lake cross race. The course was fast and dry with a couple good climbs and some fun singletrack sections and switchbacks. I got a front row start position.
But that was screwed up when they played that Kentucky Derby song on a trombone to start the race instead of saying go. I didn't realize that and was back in midpack before I was even clipped in fully.
I starting catching riders around some of the first few switchbacks, and when we hit the first decent climb I put in a good effort to try to make it up to the leaders. I caught them right at the top of the climb and decided to just keep on riding past them. I saw that I had a gap, so I pushed a little harder to try to win the first lap prime. I ended up taking that (and winning some HEED energy drink for my efforts).
Soon after that, a group of 4 riders (Casey, Lyle, a young Baraboo Sharks rider, and a guy on a sweet IF Ti Planet Cross) caught up to me and we ended up riding together for the rest of the race. It wasn't long before we had a pretty big gap on the rest of the field.

On the last lap, Casey and Lyle upped the pace, and the rest of us couldn't match it. The last section of the lap was all switchbacks, making it difficult to pass or sprint for the finish, so I came across the line in 5th place, making it on the podium and winning some cash. That moved me up into 8th place in the standings, but only 6 points behind 5th place. Coming up this weekend is the Halloween cross race in Milwaukee on Sunday and then my first league hockey game of the season later that night. Exciting times.

Thanks to Heather and Alane for the great pics!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Making the Switch

Hockey league starts in two weeks. The draft for teams was earlier this week.
Bye bye Team Gray.

Hello to the...
Our first game is Sunday Oct 28th at 7:30 pm. Be there. :)
There are a couple guys from Team Gray making the move over to the Green Team, but most of the guys I don't recognize. So it's hard to say how good we'll be. I guess we'll find out soon enough!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Double cross

This weekend I had two cross races. I also didn't have a camera, as Heather took that to MI with her. So no pictures on this post, although Brooks has some from the weekend.

The first race was Saturday in Cambridge. This is a fun course, some fast singletrack on mtb trails and some good power sections with climbs. Gorgeous day out for a 45min cross race. I got off to a crappy start, probably sitting in 20th entering the first singletrack section. The whole first lap I was in pass mode, passing and bridging to riders in front of me. By the 2nd lap I had caught on to a group of 2 other riders only 20 sec behind the 4 leaders. I sat on for a lap getting my energy back when I saw a straggler from the front group. I went to the front and picked up the pace, which dropped one of the riders in my group. We soon caught the rider in front and we were a group of 3 once again, still 20 sec behind the leaders (now 3 of them). I stayed on the front for another lap and this time when we passed a crowd-filled run-up, they informed us that we were only 15 sec back. We wouldn't get any closer than that though. Entering the final sharp left turn onto the paved finish stretch, I went to start my sprint and my freehub body skipped half a pedal stroke. Fudge!! I soft pedaled it for a second then resumed my sprint, but I had already lost too much momentum. Had to settle for 6th place when my legs felt strong enough to win the sprint for 4th. I felt really good this race, it was frustrating to think that if I would have had a better start I could have been with the 3 leaders, as they were running the same lap times as my group.

On to Sunday's race in Verona. I switched the rear tire on my race wheel to my spare wheel for this race to avoid any further issues with my freehub body. It rained all morning, so this race was a slick and muddy mess. Unlike the Saturday race, I got off to a fantastic start, sitting in 3rd wheel behind Casey and Maciej entering the mucky singletrack. I entered the 2nd corner right on Maciej's wheel when he fell. I hit the brakes to avoid him and watched as 10 riders blew by us. I worked hard to try to close the gap, but it was hard to pass in the muddy conditions, and the course didn't have a big power section for me to make up time. On the 2nd lap, a rider blew by me on a short paved downhill and then had a terrific yardsale crash once he turned onto the singletrack. I was sitting in about 12th place with 2 laps to go when I saw a group of 3 riders a little bit up the course. I picked up the pace and managed to pass them on a gravel climb...but then I had too much speed coming out of a corner and wiped out in the mud and twisted my leg funny. As I hobbled back onto my bike, one of the riders passed me again. I took it easy on the last lap and rolled in for 10th place. Not my best race, but not horrible either.

Thanks to Brooks for doing water handups in both races, even though he couldn't race himself on Sunday since he had to work. He had a great race in the 1/2 race on Saturday, I'll let him tell you all about it.

I think that if I can manage to piece together a complete race, I should be able to snag a podium spot sometime this season. I certainly feel a lot stronger in cross than last season, which is a pleasant surprise since I wouldn't consider cross racing one of my strengths. We'll see what happens...still plenty of races to go.

Heather made it back from MI today. The kids and I missed her, so it's good to have her back. I think that Auntie Alane and Dick are coming to visit this weekend, that should be fun. There are two cross races again this weekend, but I think I am only doing one. I'm not sure yet.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Birthday Boy

Hello all. I decided to skip out on the last WORS race of the season on Sunday. It was over a 2 hour drive oneway, and since I wasn't concerned about the overall standings this year, I decided to stay home. I mowed the lawn and helped Heather with the paver project instead. It looks much better! Just have to put down the pea gravel and mulch, and it should be finally finished. So anyway, my mtb racing season is over with, just cross remains. Last year I did 3 WORS races, this year I did 6, so I think a reasonable goal for next year would be 9 (there are 12 in the series). Plus, that would put me in good contention for the overall standings.

Today was a special day, as our little son Vontoux turned 3 years old! We took him to the pet store so that he could pick out a new toy.
He ended up wanting a fire hydrant hose throwing toy, which is a toy that he has had before. He loved chasing that thing in the backyard.
Yesterday I went and paid my league fees for the upcoming adult hockey season. First game is Oct 28th...I can't wait! I should find out what team I'm on sometime in the next week or so.

I've been riding strong on the lunch rides at work, which is encouraging this late in the season. Plus, I've been doing some running training every Wed at lunch, as we have a big group from work that plays Ultimate Frisbee in the soccer field across the street from Trek. Hopefully all that riding/running pays off during the cross season.

I will be living the bachelor life this week, as Heather takes off Wed after work to go visit her family in MI. She won't get home until the following Monday evening. I'll try to get some stuff done around the house, remember to feed the kids, and race a couple cross races this weekend while she's gone. :)

Monday, October 01, 2007

Time for CX

The blood lung, leg-burning fun of cyclocross has begun. Brooks and I headed over to Delafield on Sunday for the 2nd race of the WCA series. We both skipped out on the Sat race since it was a weird, non-cx time trial setup. This was the same course as last year, pretty much a rutted out mtb course with a couple barriers thrown in to make it more cross-like. In other words, a course that I could do well on because it's more like a mtb race than a cross race.

I did the Cat 3 race with Brooks as support/water handup guy since he was freshly upgraded to Cat 2. The start was a big cluster with a very wide "starting line" narrowing down to a doubletrack within a hundred feet or so. I was way back in the pack of 30 racers right away. The first lap I spent working my way thru the pack despite almost crashing after nailing a rut with my front tire. Even with the extra work, the legs felt fine and I felt comfortable passing and bridging. By the 2nd or 3rd lap, I got into a group of 5 riders that was chasing the 2 leaders. On the 2nd to last lap, the rider in front of me let a gap develop to the 2 riders in front and I didn't want to drag him back up with me, so I sat on. Probably a mistake. By the beginning of the last lap, I could tell he was dying, and there were riders coming up on us, so I attacked him and went off on my own. I stayed away for the rest of the lap, but never caught back on to the other 2 racers. They don't have results posted yet, but Brooks said that I finished 6th overall, which would be my best CX result ever. I'm happy about that, but I felt strong enough to where I know that I could have stayed with the other 2 and maybe gotten by them at the end. Live and learn.

I'm not going to get too excited about this cross result though, as it will probably be my best finish all year in cross due to the course making it so much like a short mtb race. We'll see would be nice if the legs responded this well in the rest of the cross races.

Peanut Butter Jelly.