Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Halloween CX and Puck Fun

Hello all. Another weekend of cyclocross fun, but this time with only one race. This race at Washington Park in Milwaukee was the site of my very first cross race in 2005. Good times. I hitched a ride down there with Brooks, Mary, and one of Mary's co-workers, Kate. It was a bit chilly...not bad though, but super windy. We watched part of the Cat 4 race from the coffin bunnyhop barrier. It was the same as last year, except this year they used lighter fluid and had a fire going on the backside of it...made for a cool effect.

I got a good start and settled in behind 2 other riders for the first half lap. Toward the end of the first lap, Tim attacked from behind and opened up a gap that he continually extended throughout the race to easily take his 4th win a row. Another rider and Dave took off a lap later and also stayed away for the remainder of the race. I rode in 4th place for a bit until Kevin (on his sweet Vanilla Speedvagen) and another rider caught up to me. I rode with them for a couple laps but eventually couldn't hang onto their wheels any longer. I finished the race off in 6th place, with some good blood lung to boot. :)

Not my best result, but it's not really a course that suits me very well, so I'm satisfied with that.


Thanks to djonn for the pics once again. They got the standings updated on the WCA website, and I'm currently sitting in 2nd place! Very cool. Not much of a chance to move up, as Tim has a monster gap on the rest of us, but it should be a good battle for 2nd place with Greg and Dave right behind me.

A few hours after getting back from the cross race, I headed off to the SP Arena for the 1st hockey game of the season. Team Blue is going to be pretty good this year, I have a feeling. We have some solid dmen, and 3 or 4 guys that can put the puck in the net. We cruised over a good Team Gray, beating them 8-4. We had a 7-1 lead after 2 periods, and then let up a bit in the 3rd. I finished the game with 1 goal, 2 assists, and 2 shots that hit the post. I felt pretty good considering I hadn't skated since April. Good times, I'm excited that the season has started up again.

We also started painting the guest bedroom this past weekend. We have to get that finished up so that we can start converting the office into a baby room. Speaking of that, Heather and I went to her latest doctor appt on Monday, and mother/daughter are both doing well. Her little heart is chugging along nicely at 140 bpm. Heather will be completing the guest bedroom painting this week (while wearing her protective paint mask) and I am working on running cable internet to the sunroom so we can hook the computer up in there.

Busy weekend ahead: Two cross races, both in Milwaukee...Saturday at Kletsch Park and Sunday at Estabrook Park. I've done well in the past at both, so hopefully I can get some good results. Then Sunday night is another hockey game.

And I'm out. :)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Tale of Two Races

The Josef parents visited us this past weekend. More of a relaxing visit, just hanging out and they also brought us a desk to use in our sunroom.

They came with on Saturday to Badger Prairie Park to watch their first cross race. It was a really nice day out...the sun was shining and it was perfect cross weather. I got a good start and once again got the holeshot into the first corner. I led for the first half lap until a couple riders came around me, and I stayed with them. After the first lap was over I lost contact with the leading trio and started to fall back. I got caught by another group and couldn't stay on their wheels either. I just felt like crap. Riders would catch me and just go right by. I would try to stay with them, but it felt like I had no power left. With three laps to go, I called it a race. I was moving steadily backwards and was already out of the points anyway. I'm not sure what happened, but that might be the worst my legs have felt in a race all season.
On Sunday was the race in Gibbs Lake Park, which is a really cool course. They switched it up a bit from last year (ran it in reverse). I was a bit nervous about how I would feel after the crappy race the day before. Brooks and I drove there in the morning...it was another nice day, a little bit colder though. I didn't get that good of a start, as I slipped my pedal right away. I was still in the top 5-6 riders though through the first set of chicanes. Tim, who has won the last 4 races I think, took off halfway through the first lap and Dave chased after him. I settled into a chase group with 2 other riders. Eventually Dave faded off of Tim's pace, and I put in an effort to bridge up to him. I caught him the next lap and took off on my own in 2nd place, but there was a group of 3 riders maybe 10 sec back from me. I rode by myself for the next 3 laps, trying to catch Tim in front and hold off the group behind me. With one lap to go, Dave and Greg caught up to me and Greg immediately put in an attack. I managed to get on his wheel, but Dave got dropped. We came around the last set of corners and Greg had too much of a gap for me to close down in the sprint, so I ended up 3rd. I think that leaves me in 4th place in the Cat 3 standings right now (they haven't updated yet for this weekend, but I think I passed two riders and got passed by two others...so it ends up the same).
Much happier with the result on Sunday. Weird that your legs can feel so crappy one day and so good the next day. Strange. The Halloween Cross race is this Sunday in Milwaukee. That was my first ever cross race three years ago.
Also on Sunday is the first league hockey game of the season!! I am on Team Blue this year. I can't wait!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Pimpiness

Two new things: So I guess I am in a bowling league. Trek has an employee bowling league every Wed night at Stubby's in Waterloo, and I am on a team with two of my co-workers. I suck at bowling, but it's a good time for a couple hours after work. Heather's parents are coming to visit us this weekend. I'm not sure what the plans are, but I'm sure we'll all find something fun to do.

Here are some pics of the completed P1 Sioux bike. It is an 09 Trek 6.9 Pro carbon frameset with most of the parts off the Eddy (7800 Dura-Ace) and Sarthe (hbar, pedals, stem). It did get a new (old) Flite, bottle cages, and wheels though. The Sarthe frameset will get sold (no more LeMond's at work anymore!) and the Eddy will be getting shiny new Dura-Ace 7900. Should be getting that shortly.


It rides nice and smooth! You can definitely feel the difference with the carbon soaking up alot of the road vibration, plus it is probably about a half pound lighter than the Eddy. There's absolutely no flex in that massive headtube. I do still think the Eddy has a stiffer BB (even with the 90mm BB width on the Trek), but some of that might be due to the carbon "dead" feeling when compared to the instant power transfer of aluminum. Regardless, the Eddy will still be my race bike, as it just feels fast all the time. The Trek, however, would be my choice if I ever happen to do a Grand Tour...which might happen when all the current pros are caught doping. :)

There are two more cross races this weekend...one in Verona (just out of Madison) and one of my favorite WCA courses at Gibbs Lake outside of Janesville.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Another Cross Double

Had two more cross races this past weekend. So here is another cross-picture-packed blog post for your enjoyment.

On Saturday it was pleasant and sunny. The course in Cambridge is one of my favorites in the WCA...has a mtb feel to it with some fun singletrack, a couple short climbs, log barriers, and a hill runup. The start took you almost immediately into some singletrack, so I wanted to get a good start. I took off at the whistle and managed to get the holeshot once again. I led a group of about 8 for the first 1/2 lap until a couple other riders came to the front. Two riders broke away on the second lap and stayed away for the rest of the race. I was in a group of 4 riders racing for 3rd. Here we are on the hill runup:

Me hopping a barrier on the backside of the course.
Crossing the start/finish line in my group with one lap to go.
The pace picked up on the last lap, but we all stayed together to contest the sprint. One of the riders exited the last bit of singletrack first, and I wasn't able to come around him on the short finishing straight, so I got 4th place.

It was a bit cooler on Sunday, with rain starting to fall about 20min before my race. Made for a really slick, muddy course with a steady rain falling for the entire race. This course has some long, power sections, a steep hill runup, and some tight corners that were made more fun with the wet course conditions. The start of this race is really wide, and then narrows down significantly about 50 feet later, so a good start was also important here.
I was about fourth rider back after the start, and it wasn't long before we were in a leading group of about 7 riders. Halfway through the first lap, the pace slowed a bit, so I went to the front and sped it up. Only one rider went with me, and we got a gap.
We stayed away together for the first couple laps until he pushed it hard up the hill runup and dropped me. So I rode by myself for another two laps until a group of five caught up to me. One rider attacked and no one responded to stay with him, so now I was in a group racing for 3rd once again. Sound familiar? On the last lap, I attacked right before the hill runup to try to catch them off-guard.
I got caught by one rider, who proceeded to pass me for 3rd, while I held the other riders off for 4th place once again. Can't complain about two 4th place finishes on the weekend...good for points in the standings. Hopefully I can continue to move up as the series progresses.

Thanks to a couple fellow Trek employees Matt and Djonn for the pictures, and also to Matt for this video of the sprint on Saturday:

video

There aren't any races this weekend, so it will be spent sleeping in a bit, relaxing, and doing some caulking. Good times. I finished building up my Sioux P1 bike...I'll post some pics of that soon. Turned out nice and snazzy. Heather is doing well in her knocked-up state...she is now in her 30th week. Crazy! Won't be long now...we better get that room done. :)

Friday, October 03, 2008

Sun Prairie Cross Weekend

Last weekend was the start of the cross season, and both races were right in Sun Prairie, which was nice and convenient. They were also UCI races, so lots of Pros traveled from afar to gather some valuable UCI points. Watching the pros tackle the same course (at MUCH higher speeds) was pretty cool.

Saturday's race I got a crappy start...maybe midpack in the 50+ rider field. I used a lot of energy on the first couple laps trying to get back up toward the front. I settled in with a group for the majority of the race until the last couple laps where I got my legs back and moved up a few spots. I ended up 12th on the day, which isn't fabulous, but better than what I'd done the last couple years at the SP course. One of my co-workers, Bruce, was there taking pics with his massive lens:

On Sunday there were plenty of TBB supporters out for the festivities with Heather, Brooks, Mary, Scott, and his wife Kayla out to spectate. They started us on the midget car race track:
I got a much better start than Saturday, got the holeshot and led for the first 3/4 of a lap. A group of five was right on my wheel and on the 2nd lap they went past me and got a gap. I rode with another couple guys for most of the race until we dropped one guy with two laps to go.
On the last two laps, I kept getting caught behind lapped traffic during the technical zig-zag section, and the other rider got a slight gap on me that he held to the line. So I ended up 7th.
A better result than the day before, but I was still hoping for more. I did manage to collect $25 in cash payout. James Lalonde, the younger bro of Marko and Jesse, won both races easily. What a fast family. Jesse works at Trek now, so maybe he can teach me how to be fast on the lunch rides. :)

This weekend there are two more cross races...one on Saturday in Cambridge and the other on Sunday in Delafield. I am planning on going to both. Hopefully I can manage to get into the top 5 for more points.
Also on tap for this weekend is odds and ends projects around the house. Have to finish up with some random stuff before winter hits!