30 November 2006

Office Space

Referring to my last post, I'm sitting here in my button-down Oxford shirt remembering back to the first (and only, in my opinion) Lollapalooza back in 1991 ... Jane's, NIN, Body Count, Rollins, Butthole Surfers ... and I get this e-mail.
"I'm sorry you could not join us at the Thinkubator for the Chicagovators innovation event last night. "

WTF? What the hell has happened to me?

Boys of Summer

It's somehow fitting that we just had a warm streak and now it's winter ... just in time for my own "Boys of Summer" moment.

I'm driving to work on Lake Avenue and I see a pristine, all-black Dodge Caravan minivan. On the rear window is ... a Nine Inch Nails sticker.

Are we really that frickin' old?

Blasted again

Most of us in Chicago know that there's an inverse relationship between the hype of a winter storm and the reality. Usually it's somewhere around 50% -- that is, when the weatherpeople predict 4 inches of snow, we usually end up with 2.

But when they start to predict 6-12 inches, we know we're in for a bit of a rough ride. Even if you apply the 50% rule, that's still 3-6 inches of white stuff ... WHICH IS ON ITS WAY!!

That's right, if you missed all the fun in Providence last year, just head on down to Chicago's lakefront this Sunday for the Illinois State Championship. If this storm tracks the way it's supposed to, it could be bombogenesis all over again ...

ONLY 15 DAYS TO NATZ!!

29 November 2006

Jingle Phlog II

Sunday was much more a power course, with still enough fun stuff to keep it interesting. The run-up was brutal, and you all know what happened, so we'll just move on to the photos, shall we?
Michele was riding strong, and always had a smile when she heard us cheering for her. Four races over the weekend! That's nuts!

Shannon powering along for the second day.

The start of the men's race. Front row: Smith, Tilford, Horner, Swanson. Why is Horner smiling at my wife?

The leaders at the run-up. Check out Trudy on the right with the video camera.

Kurt and Kyle on the run-up, looking smooth.

The Jim and Lou group on the run-up. Lou's a bit further back, around the corner here.

Me on the run-up. After I crashed, blood on the left elbow. Trudy still rolling camera. Need to find that video before it ends up on Youtube!

John Meehan on the run-up. SUFFER, you evil race promoter, SUFFER! This is your payback for creating such a course. So there! (Just kidding. John's a great guy, and this was a fun venue -- we'll definitely come back next year!)

First Kurt, then Jim and Lou showing how it's done. These are the barriers I smacked into later in the race. My old football coaches always told me to pick my feet up -- I guess they were actually right about something?
ONLY 16 DAYS TO NATZ!!

28 November 2006

Jingle Phlog I

Slept in again this morning, still not ready to get back on the bike. Definitely feeling better, but I'm sore in so many places right now it's crazy. I was in bed for nearly 11 hours last night, but woke up every 3-4 because it hurt to roll over ...

Good news is, I'm feeling better mentally, and am almost ready to race again on Sunday. It's raining, so it's a good time to rest up anyway ... the training is in the bag, now is the time to peak!

Here are some photos from Saturday -- Sunday's to come. Thanks Kim!



Here's Shannon, powering it up in the Women's Elite race before our event. Go Shannon!
The start of the Men's Elite race. In the very center you have Horner, Tilford, Eppen. Serious speed.
Horner is so fast the spectators move.
Lou in the mud. There always has to be mud in 'cross, right?
Brian in the same mud pit. No worries as he makes his way to 10th place.
The sand pit. Always ridable, actually a lot of fun. Only had to dab if you missed the turn or someone in front of you stalled. Stalled. Get it?
Lou exits the sand pit.
This was the downhill on Saturday (and the run-up on Sunday). Yes, it was that bumpy. This photo really captures how it felt to go down it.
Horner heading down.
A style study in four parts. Kurt, relaxed. Jim, focused. Lou, strong. Me? Gasping for every last breath. I gotta' work on the game face.


ONLY 17 DAYS TO NATZ!!

27 November 2006

D-N-F*ck it

Crap. I swear, if I ever figure out how to stay upright, I'll be really successful at this bike racing thing.

Pre-race: Fun singletrack in the morning. Good course, this is the reason god invented 44-tooth chainrings. Watched Conant dismantle the masters field. Tired, but a good tired -- not as keyed up as I could have been, which made for a more relaxing warmup. Brutal run-up, maybe did it one too many times.

Start: Dewey Dickey was so shattered from Conant's beating Saturday that he skipped the Masters race and lined up for the elite only. Shadd Smith is here. Nate Rice gets a call-up for his top 5 finish on Saturday. Decent start, no one biffs it in the chicane, we're flying, I take the high line at the bleachers and pass a few guys ...

Lap 1: Passing, getting passed. Jockeying for position. Feel good. My god the front guys are flying. Good thing it's a long course. Rough time on the run-up. Feel great on the long backside. Dewey comes past me just before the barn section, I follow him into the sand. He stalls at the exit, opens a gap. Crap! Lose 5 seconds getting started again. I have a gap to a group behind, am tagged onto a group.

Lap 2: Someone tells Dewey he's 27th. That means I'm 28th, in the group with the last money spots. Good start of the lap, smooth, fast climb. Lose a spot on the run-up, gain it back at the barriers. Still have a gap to the group behind, Lou and Jim are in there. Somehow I pull out the most perfect remount I've ever done in my life on the high-speed, downhill barriers. Hammer, hammer, hammer, into the barns, smooth, through the sand, good, out, around, nice turn on the feed trough, and BAM! All of a sudden, I'm down and rolling through the gravel. I get up, left elbow shredded, "Oh shoot!" I yell (I didn't swear!), the Lou/Jim group passes me. Re-rail the chain, lose a bunch of time.

Lap 3: Chase, chase, chase. Gravel in my right glove, have to do a Michael Jackson. Pull it off in a smooth section, ride around with it in my mouth for half a lap. Left elbow bleeding, right leg too. Thankfully no left-leg damage. Bike seems OK, bar tape ripped up. Losing time on the run-up, gaining it back on the flats. God, damn that run is sllllloooooowwwwww. Kim is at the barriers, don't biff it. Whew, another perfect remount. Lou's group starts to shred. There. Guy in black is coming back to me.

Lap 4: Not sure if I'm losing time or gaining it to Lou, definitely gaining on man in black. Almost cream a kid who jumps off the back of the bleachers right in front of me. Even slower on the run, elbow is bleeding pretty bad when I check it out as I climb. Ear-drum-popping noise on the top of the hill. Smooth descent, how did he run so much faster than me? Making up time on the flats. Stay smooth in the barriers.

Lap 5: He's getting closer, closer. Lose a bit of time on the uphill, but blast past him through the barriers. Now, GO! GO!GO!GO!GO! HAMMER! I blow through the gradual downhill, rail the berm, fly through the front-side, awesome cheers from Shannon, JPEs, Glen, around the bend, barriers, clip out, dismount, over, and WHAM! All of a sudden I'm head-first into the third barrier, slamming my left shin into the ground and not at all sure where I am for a moment. I get up, check my bike, and the guy in black passes me. (I had put a huge gap into him.) I get back on, try to pedal. Someone yells "You only lost one spot, man!" My left shin is swelling and can't put any power down. I'm dizzy and a little sick to my stomach. I pull over at the sand and let Meehan go through. I pull over after the trough and let two more guys go. I'm done, game over.

So Dewey ended up 14th, Jim was 24th, Lou 27th just out of the money. The guys I'm normally with rounded out the top 20 ... if I had stayed upright, I had a good shot. My legs felt good, I was riding strong (if not running all that fast), and I know I was on track to make up a few spots. Thankfully Kim was there to take care of me and re-pack the car; in addition to hitting my head and landing on my shin, I somehow jammed my right wrist pretty bad too. She is the best, no question!

It must be something in the air, by the way, so be careful ... David Sachs biffed it in the same barriers as me and pulled out, and I just heard that Pat McNally crashed this morning and broke his collarbone and gave himself a concussion. Ouch!

ONLY 18 DAYS TO NATZ!!

26 November 2006

Singletrack!

It was kind of weird going downstairs last night to the pool area at the hotel -- there's this huge blue waterslide, and all these skinny bike racers were climbing the stairs and swooshing down ... mostly it was the kids, but Glen was right there with 'em ... something you'd NEVER see at a road event weekend! Gotta' love 'cross!

Chris Horner is nervous about the long run-up today. That's the insider information from the elevator ride last night.

Went out for my easy spin this morning along a nice bike path, and ran into the course from last year at the Hawkeye cross-country grounds. As I was spinning, I noticed a trail along the path ... oh, YEAH! It was only maybe 7-8 minutes long, but the singletrack was nice and flowing, perfect for a 'cross bike, sort of like the better parts of the Lagoons. I haven't been trail riding on a 'cross bike in months (since July I think), and I remembered just how much fun it is! The Rush would have been too much bike for this kind of trail, and it definitely made me miss the trails at Palos and Kettle ... maybe next weekend? I hit this trail a couple of times, until it was time to go back to the water slide ...

We leave in about an hour. Conant, the JPEs and maybe a couple of others are doing the quad this weekend. I'm still sore enough from yesterday I can't imagine doing more than one race today! They're hardcore!

ONLY 19 DAYS TO NATZ!!

25 November 2006

Rock the House, Part I

What a day! True to form, Dr. Meehan put together a killer course, complete with sand, a small bit of mud, barriers, a long climb, a knarly descent, and lots and lots of PAIN, dished up in true Iowa style in and around a county fairgrounds with horse stalls and everything!

The locals represented well, with Shannon just out of the money(?) in the women's race, JPE and Michele looking strong in their double efforts, Conant off the front in a rampage in the Master's race and 10th place in the 1/2s, Kurt and Jim riding strong, Sachs looking good, and Lou making up time in the closing laps ...

... as for me, I was just inside the money (top 20) until about 4 to go, when the group behind caught me. I was making up places but went too hot into a gravel corner, took a bit of a diver, and then had to run the sand, which was slower ... I managed to catch back up to one or two guys, but finished 24th, no cash today. Funny thing is, I was head-to-head with one of the Johns that I raced against last year at this event ... Horner was flying, putting huge chunks of time into everyone (including Tilford), and lapping well into the mid-teens.

Kim caught a bit of the action on film ... but the connectivity at this hotel isn't real hot. So no photos for now.
Big thanks to all the cheering fans -- JPE and Rich Weiss were very vocal, and I may have been halucinating, but I swear I heard Team Macker Jeff Williams all the way from Springfield, Illinois? Awesome!

Mmmmm ... Sandra Bullock

So I managed to stay in bed until the alarm went off this morning, although I did wake up at 2:45 from a dream in which Johnny Depp was piloting a magic trolley through (literally through) Chicago traffic with Sandra Bullock riding shotgun and Kim and I in the back seat. Very strange.

Off to Coralville ... Yeee-haw! Where else can you race a doctor, a doctor, and an almost doctor at the same time as a Tour rider, a living legend, and a bunch of dreamers? Wow, crazy!

Get well to Renee -- she called last night and isn't up to racing this weekend. She took two naps yesterday -- that's a serious sign of illness for her. Feel better, see you next weekend hopefully!

ONLY 20 DAYS TO NATZ!!!

24 November 2006

Mondo's!

Just a quick note if you get this ... post-race feast at Mondo's tomorrow night. Jim has made reservations, all Mad and Chi folks (and anyone else) invited! Good food, good company ... and if former Mondo employee Jason McCartney's name still has any pull, maybe we'll get some extra breadsticks?

Oh, YEAH!

So I always said I got into racing to challenge myself against the best. I just flipped over to the JingleCross site, and tomorrow's going to be fuuuuuuuunnnnnnnn ... so far, 30 registered riders. Here's a run-down of the names I recognize:
  • Tilford. Need I say more?
  • Horner. Tour rider. Making a name for himself in 'cross.
  • Selander and Selander Sr. Bjorn was on the World's team last year, 3rd U-23 at the USGP finals last weekend.
  • Meehan. This guy will put together an awesome course. I owe him one from last year!
  • Conant. My path to a state championship medal goes through him.
  • Deninger. He beat me at the Masters Grand National TT about a billion years ago. He's on my turf now.
  • Ellis. Great race last week, former pro.
  • Eppen. If it's at all technical, he's going to kick our collective ass.
  • Holmes. He's on home turf now.
  • Kyle. Hopefully a weekend in the woods has taken an edge off.
  • Johnson and Rice. Long drives don't seem to phase them.
  • Refsnider. Ouch. I've decided that not only does he look like Dave Grohl, he looks like Miami QB Joey Harrington too. (That's what I get for falling asleep on my in-laws' couch.)
  • Sachs. Run-away leader of the Chicago series.

Oh yeah. Bring on the PAIN!

Happy Post T-day

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving yesterday. We had lots and lots and lots of family time -- slept a looooong time Wednsday night at Kari's ... then a fun time with Kaylie visiting Grandma in the hospital, who knew party shoes made so much noise on linoleum floors? Fell asleep in the chair in Grandma's room until the kid woke me up with a killer stage whisper ... Then sacked out on the couch at her family's house ... then visited my bro and family at his house. CJ was in rare form, and he's got quite an arm -- especially when he bonks dad with an empty water bottle after his uncle shows him how it's done ...

Home to bed relatively early, then slept in this morning since I don't have to work ... is there a theme going here? Kim's about to leave, and I have a ton of stuff to do today. If I don't get back to the computer, have a good Friday and JINGLE CROSS TOMORROW!!!

ONLY 21 DAYS TO NATZ!!

22 November 2006

Time to re-cleat

What do you get when your cleats are worn and your foot slips out on a small hop while doing a race-pace 'cross workout at a city park?

Mutha-F*in PAIN, baby. PAIN.

That's what I get for being a cheapskate.

Sad part is, it's the second time this season.

What's eating you?

Just in time for a huge Thanksgiving blowout, Picasa found this photo on my computer of Kim and I at Disneyland in September 1998. I was 285 pounds, and a pack-a-day smoker. If that's not motivation to watch what I eat this holiday, I don't know what is!


ONLY 23 DAYS TO NATZ!!

21 November 2006

Seriously hardcore

Anyone who has seen Off-Road to Athens surely felt the emotional pain when Jeremiah Bishop opened the "note" from his fiancé to find her graduation announcement. And when he decided to go home to race NORBAs, only to have his derailleur sheer off at Snowshoe. His Olympic dreams shattered, he settled down to a quiet winter of 2004.

The road to Beijing officially started for USA Cycling this summer, and JB has been hitting it hard. He's having a stellar year, and if he can carry the form into 2007, he'll punch his ticket and be one of the strongest U.S. mountain bikers on the team. With that in mind, he headed down to the Ruta de los Conquistadores in Costa Rica earlier this month, and worked his way into 2nd place on Stage 1, the "hardest race of the year."

Then, on Stage 2, he was gapping the leader and climbing well across the country's largest volcano. But then, on a speedy descent, his front wheel hit some loose stuff and caught a rock, sending him head-first to the ground. Well, not head-first -- his helmet was fine -- but face-first, with a fracture in his cheek, a gouge out of his forehead, two fractured teeth, and a separated upper jaw!

So what did he do? He got up, got back on the bike, and finished the stage!

He's back home and training now, and talking to the media ... be warned, these pictures aren't pretty. All indications are that he will fully heal, with no side effects ... if he does, he has a whole new well of pain to draw from when he re-mounts in his quest for Beijing. Get better, JB, and go get 'em!

VeloNews: http://www.velonews.com/race/mtn/articles/11230.0.html
Cyclingnews.com: http://www.cyclingnews.com/mtb.php?id=news/2006/nov06/nov21mtbnews

Phlogging at Wisco

I’ll admit it up front – Ronsta pushed me pretty hard in Wisco state championships. Hard enough, in fact, that I honestly don’t remember much of the race. I sort of have impressions, which I’ll try to put together in some sort of chronological order …

… First off, my race was made about 5 minutes before the start. Thinking it would be a roadie-style opening, I set up on the right side of the line, figuring the inside would push out the left as we hit the grass. I should have known when all the fast guys lined up to the left! D’oh!

It was made more difficult when they called up the top 10 series points leaders, and all of a sudden I was second row. We got the “Go!,” and sure enough, the left side blasted out and we on the right were left hanging. I was clean, but stuck, and by the time we hit the trees I think I was pretty much last place.

Up and around, grab a place here and there, and then full-bore left-hander into the screaming downhill barriers. As I unclipped, I could see massive carnage on either side, a bike flying through the air, and my only thought was “OK, Cole, through the smoke. You can do it!

I made it clean, had a rough remount, and by the time I got to the fence I could see Mike stopping with a rolled front tire. I wasn’t dead last, but close to it, and the front group was already halfway through the spiral. I crapped on the off-camber 180, going way too slow and way too low, before managing to make up a few spots on the long downhill/fast turn at the bottom of the course. We hit the stairs and Lou was right in front of me … I followed him down off the hill, he went right on the pavement as I hopped the grass and told him “next time, this is the line!” Then it was through the finish and down the hill …

I survived the climb and the beer pavilion, which that early was comparatively sedate. I led out the long drag, and as we crested into the trees Dewey Dickey jumped past me as I heard Jim’s voice, “That’s Dewey! Get on his wheel!” Jim jumped past me on the left, I elevated for about 3 seconds, and that was it. We came around to the barriers, I think I got passed by one or two others, and I was on my own with the race up the road.

I think there was one more lap in there, and then I saw 4 to go. As I struggled up the climb every lap, I became aware of a presence behind me … with the glasses and style, it was unmistakable – Ronsta was on the hunt. Oh, crap. He beat me at Cam-Rock. He’s a semi-pro. I CAN’T LET HIM BEAT ME THIS TIME!!!

Each lap he reeled me in a little bit at a time – I would increase the distance on any straightaways, he would bring me back on any technical sections. I seemed to be running faster than him, so the barriers and the stairs were good, but he was definitely out-climbing and out-descending me every time. The beer pavilion kept getting louder and louder, my left ear going completely deaf with three to go, especially (as I learned later) since Ronsta was pulling wheelies through there as he chased me down!

Finally, with two to go, Ron had pushed me hard enough for me to close the gap on 12th place. I can’t remember where I caught him, but I used him for about 30 seconds in the wind before surging and kicking it up a notch. As I did so, I realized that I wasn’t completely dead – just close – so I began actually attacking the course instead of letting it come to me. Every place I could, I stood and hammered, and every straightaway was an opportunity to go into time-trial mode. He may be a semi-pro mountain biker with technical skills, but I used to be a TT expert!

I still struggled on the uphill, but my last lap and half were easily my fastest as I dialed in the off-camber stuff and flew through the course-bottom turn. Before I knew it, 11th place was just seconds in front of me, and I seemed to be closing … but there was no more real estate, and as I turned into the finish stretch he was just crossing the line, barely 5 seconds separating us in the end. Ron managed to kick it up a notch as well, passing at least one guy to finish right behind me.


I made a couple of important breakthroughs in this race, even if the results aren’t quite stellar. As Dewey passed me, I pushed it just a bit, and in hindsight may have been able to dig deeper. Then, I let up a notch as I came out of the spiral – that was the first time I have been consciously aware that I wasn’t going hard enough. All other times, it just sort of happens. I realized in the beer garden with 2 to go that I couldn’t breathe, but I also realized that I could keep the legs going as long as I wasn’t completely blind. I figured out that I need to be better about looking forward, not at the ground. And most of all, as with every other year at Angell Park, I remembered just how much fun it is to race ‘cross!

Thanks to Kim for the pics!

ONLY 24 DAYS TO NATZ!!

19 November 2006

Wisco CX C'ships

Well, mission not accomplished. Got boxed in at the start, shot to the back, and spent a lot of energy to get to 10th, just off the back of the front group. Stayed there to the start of lap 2, then slipped back a few to find my way to 13th, which I held until two to go when I passed into 12th. Finished just 5 seconds or so off of 11th ... money was 7th. Damn.

Impressions from the race, more later:
  • JPE put together one hell of a race. He took arguably the best Wisconsin venue and made it totally Euro -- off-camber stuff, pavement turns through buildings, gravel turns through a beer pavillion, nasty downhill barriers ... wow, this was awesome. Very worthy of a championship course, and great training for our own championships in 2 weeks.
  • Ronsta put up a tough, tough fight. He beat me at Cam-Rock, and through the middle part of the race was making a very fast run at me. Thanks to the motivation of not wanting to be beaten again, I managed to catch the guy in front of me, and I think Ron ended up beating him too. Ron, awesome race. Next time it's double-or-nothing.
  • Mountaingoat already has photos posted, including one of the barrier crash on the first lap. Look for the bike in mid-air ...
  • Thanks to all the awesome cheers throughout the race from everyone. Andy and Kerry made the drive, arrived late, and still managed to scout the whole course with Kerry's ADD puppy -- great to have you there. And to everyone else, sorry I can't name you by name -- I was digging pretty deep, and quite frankly couldn't see more than about 10 feet in front of me the entire race. Wow, it was tough.
  • Big kudos to Lou and Mike, racing in his first 1/2s race. Neither of them have raced this venue before, and it was a stellar field today -- it was great to have Pony Shop teammates up there in the mix. Mike rolled his tire just after the barrier crash, and still managed to work his way through the 30+ racers to finish in with the 1/2s. That's some serious power -- watch this guy ...
  • Congrats to Dave Bell, who finally has a 'cross bike! Woo-hoo! How can you be "Mr. Madcross" without one?
  • Thanks to the beer pavillion folks. I still can't hear in my left ear!
  • Thanks to Shannon for picking up my raffle prize and congrats on being in the money. (Jim too!) I appreciate it!
  • Finally, big thanks to Kim -- you're awesome for the cheers and photos and all the help. You rock!

Tomorrow is going to be an interesting day at work, so I'm not sure I'll get to post photos, etc. until later -- I could be working late for a few days. Stay tuned ...

Our own Sven Nys

I was never a huge Ryan Trebon fan. It's probably just his sense of humor, but watching Transition over and over again in the past year gave me the feeling that, as good as he is on the 'cross bike, he likes to whine just a little too much. Reading his older blog entries reinforced that notion. And as good as he is, he was always just a little rough around the edges, like on run-ups and sand.

I changed my mind this year. I saw video of him at Gloucester, and wow -- it was so obvious that he spent his off-season well. (He's the one in white, in front, very first rider around the horn.) He was smoother than I've ever seen him on the run-up, and was head and shoulders above everyone else in terms of speed. Then I got a chance to meet him briefly at Longmont and Boulder, and he doesn't seem to be the same person that comes across in the movie clips. I mean, let's face it, anyone who can admit "we're all a bunch of skinny dorks riding around in Lycra," can't be all bad, right?

So I have to say, awesome job on his efforts yesterday in Washington. It sounds like he was challenged (finally!) right to the line, and good for him for pulling out the win. He has been so dominant this year ... our very own version of Sven Nys. Today is the USGP finale, and I don't think anyone has any doubt about the outcome!

Speaking of powerful: OK, the transition is weak [c'mon, it's 5 a.m.], but Kim and I watched Capote last night. Wow. What an incredibly powerful movie. I've always liked Philip Seymour Hoffman, and his performance did not disappoint. His portrayal was uncanny, and I can understand why he has since said he will never so much as do that voice ever again. What an emotionally draining, and at the same time utterly incredible, tour de force.

I'm up and it's raining: I lasted until 3 this morning, and then spent an hour lying in bed visualizing today's course. I'm pretty psyched -- I have the Colnago all set up with the 42, because of the elevation change, but since it's only 4:45 and I'm already done with breakfast, I figure we can get up there early enough to run a test lap or two, and still have time to switch to the 44 before warmup. Besides, it's raining/snowing here along the lakefront, so I won't get a chance to do my customary race day easy spin this morning ...

Things on my mind: This week is going to be more than a bit crazy, starting with my 8:30 a.m. meeting with my boss tomorrow. Then the holidays hit in full force; thankfully, a day off on Friday means I get to clean up a bit around the house and maybe (finally!) update my blog template. Then it's JingleCross, and then the the JPEs visit for the Illinois State Championship the following weekend. Depending on how my meeting goes tomorrow, I should have plenty of time to train and rest before Natz, and then it's 2007! Wow. Where did the time go?

ONLY 26 DAYS TO NATZ!!

17 November 2006

Name that tune

There's this band called My Chemical Romance that, if you believe the propaganda, was formed when the lead singer decided to make something of his life after witnessing 9/11. Their latest offering, The Black Parade, starts with a Pink-Floyd-esque opener that pretty much sums up where I'm at this Friday night ...
Another contusion/my funeral jag
Here's my resignation/I'll serve it in drag
You've got front row seats to the penitence ball
When I grow up ... I want to be nothing at all

Even more fun is the untitled track at the end:

I gave you blood, blood/gallons of the stuff
I gave you all that you could drink
But it could never be enough
I gave you blood, blood, blooooood
I'm the kind of human wreckage that you love!

Thank god it's the weekend!!

Random Friday

Random nothingness and everythingness today:

  • Sunday is the Wisconsin and Midwest 'Cross Championships. I love this race -- JPE puts on a quality show at an awesome venue. My best finish is a pair of 9th places the past two years. That said, no matter how much I've hated 'cross, no matter how bad my season has been, it's this race every year that keeps me coming back for more. Bring it on!
  • This year's race pays 7 deep ... mmmm ... money ... And you heard it here first: money this weekend. Strong showing, money? next weekend at JingleCross. And then a medal at the Illinois State Championships. Nothing less will do!
  • I know MountainGoat reads this blog. You know it too -- he's left comments more than once. So why does he continue to leave me off his reading "list"? I think he's playing head games with me. So far, in our last two head-to-head races, I've beaten him. Maybe when he finally gets the better of me, he'll add me back in? (He blames it on bad HTML code. I don't buy it -- bad code only comes from bad programmers.)
  • Up at 3:30 a.m. again today. Unfortunately, nothing to do with bike racing. Yesterday was jeans day at work, and I've decided that jeans need to be in the same category as lycra/spandex: some people should just know better. The nightmares alone ...
  • Anyone know anybody good in PowerPoint? I mean really good? I've got a temp opening next week working on a presentation -- but this person has gotta' be REALLY good. Animation and stuff. Sometimes it's cool to be a manager, I get to delegate the stuff I know how to do to other people ...
  • Other times it's not so fun. Reference the 3:30 a.m. wake-up time today. The countdown has begun ... stay tuned.
  • Good news about being up so early is that I wasn't late to the Friday morning "group spin" ride. Turns out it was just Lou and I, so we went easy and rode the cobbles up to the bike trail, then hit the road home. Good ride, able to shake out the legs a bit after yesterday's wind, and get some extra rest going into Sunday.
  • Did I mention how excited I am for Sunday? I can't wait!!!!

ONLY 28 DAYS TO NATZ!!

16 November 2006

Boulder travel phlog

I still have a few photos from Boulder to blow out ... nothing really racing related, just some random travel shots. I can't believe this weekend is Sun Prairie and that I was in Colorado two weeks ago!
You thought Kansas was boring? I submit to you a photo of Nebraska ...
... where the speed limit is 75 just so you can get through the state faster! Poor John Meehan got pulled over for doing 81 ... are they desperate too?
And then, out of nowhere, you hit Kearny -- WTF??? This thing was HUGE!!
At some point, I crossed into the Mountain Time Zone. So where are the Mountains?
Ah, finally! Progress!
Yeah baby!
Now we're talking! The Rockies rise up out of the blue horizon ...
Saturday's course had these funky bridges over the drainage ditch -- I caught air at least once!
Sunset in Colorado. It doesn't get much better than this!
This small farm was just outside Boulder. I almost felt at home!
My two favorite things. Coffee and mountains. Ahhh ...
This lake was in the park, just off of Sunday's course.
My glam shot for the weekend.
Another view of Sunday's venue. The course is off to the right of this picture.
Finally, a shot of Nederland. I didn't want to come down.
ONLY 29 DAYS TO NATZ!!

15 November 2006

Friggin' Blogger

So I can post photos now, but because I'm in Blogger Beta (aka, Google has taken over my life), I can't post comments to non-Beta blogs. So when I try to send get well good wishes to Steve, no dice. Crap.

Steve, we're thinking about you! Get that surgery DONE and get on with it already!

This little piggy

As you might imagine, the blood vessel in my knee wasn't too happy with my racing on Sunday. In fact, if it weren't for the double dose of Aleve that morning, I probably wouldn't have lined up ... and if it weren't Jackson Park, I would have skipped the weekend entirely.

Instead, I paid for it on Monday, sleeping for more than 10 hours Sunday night and another 11 on Monday into Tuesday while my body tried to heal. I skipped my easy ride Monday and slept in Tuesday, playing it by ear whether I would ride or not. I was feeling better (with no Aleve) by the end of the day, so out onto the lakefront path I went ...

Everything was going well until I hit Soldier Field. No knee pain, just a bit of recovery tightness -- I wasn't flying, but I wasn't going slowly either. Then the brilliant part of me kicked in: just for shits and giggles, I decided to do one "form drill" run-up on the sled hill. Not fast, not hard, just pick up the bike with good form, jog up, and ease on down the ramp on the other side. No worries.

DUMBASS!

Anyone want to predict what happened next? Yup, the blood vessel in my knee burst open again, causing immediate pain and some nice internal bleeding and swelling. Just when my leg was getting back to normal (despite the nasty jaundice look), I have to go and do this. D'oh!

No running for me. One year!


Seriously, though, the pain is a lot less than it was last week, and Kim remembered that I have full-leg compression socks from one of my hospital stays. So after I got home and iced for a short bit, I stuffed my oversized gam into a nice white sock, elevated it, and went to bed. I rode to work this morning with just slight discomfort, nothing major, and here I sit at my desk stuffed into the sock again like some sort of sick sausage ...

Funny thing is, there's this hole at the end where your toes stick out. I half expected Kim to wake me up in the middle of the night, torturing me with a game of "This little piggy went to market ..."


ONLY ONE MONTH TO NATZ!!! (Holy crap!)

14 November 2006

Great pics from Boulder!

Wow! So I stayed with some friends of mine out in Boulder, and Paul is on his way to establishing himself as a professional photographer. I got to see some of his landscape and wildlife work while I was there -- very impressive!

He hadn't ever been to a bike race, let alone shot a sporting event. Then Sunday night I got some "proofs" of some of his shots -- WOW!!! These are low-res, I'm sure the colors on the hi-res are going to be awesome. A disk is on its way with the real ones.


Remember this name: Paul Bradner. He's going to be a great one!


The crowds at the events were almost more fun to watch than the racing!
Here's my "glam shot" for the weekend. What a backdrop -- I didn't want to leave!
I guess I do make funny faces after all -- here's John and me going at it on Sunday.
Another shot from Sunday.
Trebon is an animal, just rode away from everyone on Saturday.
It's great to see Katie able to represent the jersey, and it was pretty awesome to see her and Lyne, the two North American champions, going at it!
ONLY 31 DAYS TO NATZ!!