Sunday, December 28, 2008

the right tool for the job once

No matter how good my intentions are I just cannot do two cross races a day. As of today I have given up ever thinking that I will race twice. At least I did make it out to the final Boss Cross race of the year (I missed the previous two due to other two wheel related debauchery) in Parkville along the mighty Missouri. 1:00 start time for the singlespeed race, that went off with the 3/4's, gave the ground plenty of time to de-thaw and become quite the mess. I really did not ride before the race but I could tell that I brought the right tool for the job. The fixed gear 29er was cutting a pretty nice line through the mud and not bogging down with only one disk brake up front. I won the bike race but I am not sure who won the foot race behind me. I had every attention of turning right around and doing the 1,2,3 race but just riding through the muck was tiring and my knees were oddly hurting real bad. So I threw in the towel and went to work where I was supposed to be to begin with.

Nearly every fixed gear ride I become a little more fascinated with all the fun that can be had. Me and a few other boys took advantage of the 60+ degree weather for a full on night time urban fixed gear freeride extravaganza. There was one man on this mission that sailed his rigid fixed gear of a drop that most people would want a downhill bike for. Ridiculous loads of fun.

Wednesday there is a cross race. Pretty cool, but I will only be participating in one event.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Joe Houston (the worlds fastest clydesdale who is actually a clydesdale and not some 6 foot 4 inch meathead) passed these pics along to me and I am paying it forward.
me
Yes
Shadd and the person behind Shadd taking a picture of the guy taking a picture of Shadd
Isn't it ironic.

Ryan Trebon, the fastest man in dirt on a weird road bike

Had I had the wheels this guy was racing on I would have been like 6 feet ahead of him at this point in the race
I really cannot even make jokes about this because Tilford is 96 years old and was in the top twenty. Rumors are he is leaving HRRC to race for AARP in 2009. The only holdup is the contract stipulation that if it below -17 degrees outside you have to wear knee warmers.

At this point in the race I apparently decided to sit up and just coast for a awhile






Monday, December 15, 2008

CX Cross Nationals

Big events are just plain fun. All the team cars, tents, bikes, stars, colorful race kits. It is just cool, and when it is in your town it is even better. I arrived early to the venue to take it all in for a time before starting prep for my race at 1:30. The Collegiate D2 race was good entertainment with multiple attacks out of the sizable lead group. I was hanging out on the middle of the hillside wearing my jean jacket just for coolness factor because it was over 60 degrees already. Around 10:00 I was standing at the tape to watch the first turn of the women's collegiate race when we got hit by a wall of cold air. Never have I felt a temperature drop that sharply that instantly, it was around a thirty degree nose dive that has us all running to our cars for more layers. Well crap, I thought by the forecast I was going to be racing in fifty five degrees and the front would hit later in the afternoon after I was safely tucked away back home. It took me thirty minutes to quit being a pansy and harden up.

I heard we were supposed to be in the start grid at 1:05. What a sight it is to see 100 skinny fools hopping around in lycra shivering and looking nervous for 25 minutes. I was plate number 129 but there was a whole bunch of no shows so it did not really seem like it was as many people as I was anticipating. I was in good spirits at the start with adrenaline coursing through the veins, I was talking crap to the guys around me for fun because they all looked like death warmed over, and I wanted to act crazy enough they would give me a little more room when we took off. 30 seconds to go and then a whistle and then run into the back of the people ahead of me. You are kidding me, a false whistle. I minute later we were off for real. The first several corners were stand still bottle necking, which of course calls for some aggro idiot to shoulder his bike and come fullbacking through everyone, this is ALWAYS the first person you go around when everyone can start pedaling. I started jumping around groups as the course opened up, the hillside was perfect for my singlespeeder climbing style and it seemed like I was passing people on the hill every lap. But things were certainly no bed of roses, from the opening lap my hands had gone into another stratosphere of cold, I was in difficulty descending because my fingers had no dexterity, it felt like I had hoves instead of hands. It was hard to hang on and near impossible to brake or shift. Then in the second half of the race my toes were in screaming pain, I was dreading hitting the barriers because I thought a foot was going to crack off. As well my third appendage was suffering horribly, and you know toes and fingers I can live without but, you know that just isn't going to fly.

I was trying all I could to stay competitive and I worked my way into a group that was pushing it well and giving me something to chase. I had two laps to go when Ryan Trebon shot past like a missile, it was spectacular to see and well worth the 50 bucks and pre stages of frost bite. I knew I was probably going to get lapped, but that does not make it any easier to cope with when you are thinking wow I am having a decent race for me and I am NOT EVEN IN THE REALM of these riders. The top 5 all lapped me. Trebon is one of the top 10 cross racers in the world right now. I really hope he goes and shows it at the World Championships. I finished 45 place. I think there was right around 100 actual starters, so that puts me in the top half. The top half of the Unites States elite level cyclocross racers. That is how I am putting it.

Now to brag on my wife, she recently got her second article published by the Under Current, an online and hard copy paper that she has recently been asked to help out more with. I am proud of her.

I will try and post some Cross National pics as they become available. Cheers

Thursday, December 4, 2008

no news is good news

I have not had much to report on lately. Things have fallen into a routine of bundling up for cold rides and early mornings on frozen trails. With only cross nationals left in the race season it basically is over for me. I am looking forward to the adrenaline kick in the pants of taking off with the all star cast that will be assembled, and I do like all the climbing on the course, but unfortunately I am nowhere near (as in not on the same lap)as fast as these guys. So it kind of makes for that fun place to be in, where there is absolutely no pressure or expectations I am putting on my self and can just enjoy the event.


It is Thursday night, and that means late night adventures. I will be getting to test out my new Seca 700 race that I picked up from my Dad when I was home over Thanksgiving. I rode once in Great Bend with it and was quite impressed, I am looking forward to riding in rocks to see if it casts as clear of a light as I expect. It should come in handy in 2009.

I want to go back to Arkansas, see how happy I was there.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Thanks

I decided not to travel this weekend and give the local singletrack some overdue attention. I think it had been a month since I had been to Landahl. All summer long I pretty much was making it once a week, but with cross dominating my days off I had not driven over lately. Saturday morning was a meeting of the minds at Landahl. I was fixed and just ready to drill myself, that plan pretty much worked out. Multiple laps of 10 and 11 drove the nail into the coffin. When I got home I ate and fell asleep.

Sunday was a spectacular Fall day, the kind that make you love living in the Midwest. Amber and I spent the day at Swope, we broke up rock that we are spreading in the opening switchbacks of the trail to help make it a little more all conditions. Then I rode several laps, hopping in with all the people that were dropping by. We estimated that 30 people were on the trail between 8:00 and 3:00. Pretty amazing for a 1.5 mile trail that has only been open a week. I did not talk to one person that wasn't raving.

I think I have rode over two weeks without missing a day. The rain has been holding off and you gotta get while the gettin's good.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Kansas CX State Championships

State Championships this year looked a little different than last season, instead of a white knuckle drive up to Leavenworth through a Blizzard, it was a sunny Sunday stroll. After walking a lap I parked myself in the grass to watch the first three races. The 3/4 race was, as always, a spirited affair with a good battle between Aaron Elwell and Andrew Coe developing. Andrew went off the front and had a commanding lead, but Aaron shook free from the chase group and clawed his way up to Andrew's wheel. Aaron rode hard but could not shake Coe, the recent Seattle transplant, ended up out sprinting Aaron for the title. Good entertainment.

Congratulations to Bike Source employee and 360 teammate David White for his Win of the 35+ Masters class. And I wish a speedy recovery to Ted Moore and Tom Price. Word was Ted may have broke ribs and Tom a collarbone. We do not have enough racers the way it is, we do not need to loose the good guys.

I felt odd warming up, not bad at all just not real energetic. I got off to a decent start. I was on Kyle Bush's wheel and he was steady, keeping us with the front group. Joe, Brian, and Shadd started to get a gap and I was stuck a few wheels back. After a lap of seeing what was going to happen I started to put in a earnest chase. It took awhile but I made it up to the three of them. I hung on for a few attacks but it was causing me much difficulty. Shadd and Brian checked out and Joe was on my wheel, I really had nothing from the surges and was just waiting to recover and not go dreadfully slow. Joe put in a impressive chase and latched back on to Shadd and Brian. I recovered win I saw the 5 laps to go sign and started racing again. The race was gone ahead of me but I needed to ride well to hold of the chasers behind me. I felt like I was picking up speed the final laps and was really enjoying myself. 4th on the day and I believe it was good enough to move me into 2nd in the series, we will see for sure when they post results. Congratulations to Shadd Smith for the State Championship title and Series overall title.

Keep your eyes peeled here, in hopes Chris Wallace will take another step towards representing us in Belgium in a few weeks.

In the meantime enjoy this big timing.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

SWOPE OPENS!

Congratulations on this achievement to the people who made it possible. The future is bright for kcdirtbiking.


This is a big deal.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Weekend Report

Saturday morning a crew of earthmovers convened at Swope park for what would be the final major session of trail work before the grand opening of Phase 1 next Saturday. The trailhead was finished in grand style with a huge inviting bench cut that will make any dirt monger start salivating. After a few hours of work we knocked back a good many laps, and I was giddy as can be, simply put, I love the trails at Swope. Anybody that can, try and make it for the opening next Saturday morning, details can be found here.

Sunday morning and we were up and at'em on our way to Leavenworth. While Amber settled into her registration duties I walked the course and decided it looked like a good time. There was an entertaining cat 3/4 race, a strong mix of guys were racing hard at the front, real good to see.

Our race had a little bigger field than the past few races which was nice. A couple of laps in I was dangling seconds back off the lead group, I could not bridge up and had to settle in for my own race. It was cool to see youngster Chris Wallace up on the front on Jenson's wheel. Those two quickly started to put time into Shadd and Bill Marshall ahead of me. This race was as poor as I have felt physically yet this season, I did not feel like I had any punch but I was still tempo'ing along fine enough, and I was happy because I was still having a good time on the course. Shadd and Bill were a long ways ahead of me, but the last two laps Adam Mills was breathing down my neck. Since we were racing for the last money position I was not going to be taking it easy the last laps. Luckily I had just enough to hang on, a little bit of cash for food before I headed into work for inventory scanning. A nice busy weekend.
Oh yeah my new Yeti cross bike is sweet.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I vote for singletrack

Me standing on my singletrack platform while campaigning down in Arkansas.


There is simply to much to say to try and tell the whole story of riding for 5 days in the Ouachita Mountains. 6 dudes riding huge trails in beautiful country, it simply does not get any better.


I made one last campaign surge this morning at Blue River, I hope it is enough. Man it sure would be sweet if singletrack was the new President.


Lunch break on the Pinnacle

Monday, October 27, 2008

swing hard in case you make contact

Wow that was some weekend of racing, I am not sure where to begin. When you look at the area cyclocross schedule there is a ton of racing going on here, a lot of people are putting time and money into letting us all go out and have fun. Paceline Products is a sponsor of everything that happens in the area cycling related. If you value racing every weekend as much as I do patronize these guys so we can keep this train rolling. Obviously all the promoters of the area are busting their butts, let's not let them down on our end.

Saturday was a fun race for sure. Josh Johnson came over from the other side of Missouri and threw down hard on us all. A couple of laps in I heard him say, "Did I give Shadd enough of a lead?" Well I considered Shadd in a different time zone at that point, but Josh put on a show and tracked him down for the win. I was a distant third but still fairly happy with my effort.

Sunday was the same course with a few small tweaks, and the wind was raging up of off the lake. The run up from the video in the post below was changed up so that you approached it from the other side. I rolled up it easily the day before and even though the angle was not as nice I thought I could do the same thing again. MAJOR DISASTER pre-riding! I nosed into the hill and snapped my frame along the top tube and down tube. It was totally my stupidity that caused it, and I am completely sick about losing my bike. I have had it for right at a year, and it has treated my real well. I think a little Dirty Kanza soul leaked out onto the ground where I broke it. I had my 29er SS in the pits and I was just planning on racing that and getting in a workout and having some fun. But along came that Ridley Carbon machine. Rich Anderson, hands down my favorite person in the world, let me once again race his amazing bike. I denied at first thinking about what just happened and how I could not possibly afford to repeat some type of incident on that bike. But I could not resist for long. I set the seat height and did a few laps, it made me smile wide. I cannot express how grateful I am Rich.

I don't suck as bad at starting when my bike is that light. I was in a much better position than usuall into the dirt. Bill Marshal and I traded pulls on the first two laps and kept Shadd somewhat in check. After Bill surged on the pavement I punched it again and made up alot of ground. I caught Shadd on the third lap. After sitting in a half of a lap I went around but did not surge just tried to ride fast and steady. Very very slowly I opened up a second here and there and began to build a lead. Never ever did I have what I would call a comfortable lead but I went into the bell lap fairly certain I could hang on. I was very excited that I scored the fastest bell lap prime. My two days of racing could have been a Ridley advertisement. That bike corners amazing, climbs amazing, so much fun. Unfortunately I have a new bike to buy and I don't think I will be happy with much. I would race bikes even if I was getting spanked all over the place all the time, it is just such a good feeling to go out and leave it all on the course. But combine that with winning, that is enough to make you nearly crazy.

It was sweet that my parents were in town and got to come out to the race. It is a good youthful feeling to have them hollering out from the sidelines. We all visited one of our team 360 sponsors last night for supper. Tapas at La Bodega was the perfect ending to the day.

And the best news of all, It is vacation time. Me and 5 other ramblers are taking knobby tires down into the hills of Arkansas for 5 days of riding riding riding. Wednesday through Sunday of epic rides. I have not had a good ole MTB vacation forever. I am so happy I can't hardly believe
it. When I return I will be equipped with pictures and stories.

Here are my pictures from Sunday.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

All my rowdy friends are here on Saturday Morning

video

I had a good time.

See ya'll again tomorrow

Monday, October 20, 2008

Bully Cross

The race report for me looks exactly like Saturday's. I moved into third and got a gap but I could not hold on as Bill Stolte pounded me down. The weekend was a great fitness builder and I just need about ten minutes more and I will be racing real well.Jenson strings us out early in the start of Sunday's Boulevard Cup race held at the sight of last years nationals. The weather was better than last time I visited.
Jenson, Stolte, Joe, Chris Wallace and Shadd at the first barrier section

Tom and I hit the barriers and avoid each other. Stolte tracking me down. I thought I was going to hang on for a minute. Stolte says No.Jenson was attacking hard and early, but Joe is the man of the day and he is only eighteen. Awesome.
Joe went off the front later in the race and did not look back. Well put young man.
Hitting the barriers and a nice reasonable pace to keep my groin muscles intact. Notice NRC points Champion Kelly Benjamin cheering us on in the back ground. Always good to have the fastest female road racer in the country out drinking beers and cheering.

Easy does it

Shadd Shriner moving out through the tall barriers. Shadd persevered for solid races Saturday and Sunday.
Early in the race Jenson is leading the charge

This was a fun U-turn that went into a ripping little piece of ditch trail. You could feel your tires breaking free and sliding downhill. Volker Cycles store owner Britton Cusiak attacked here in the 3/4 race but the only one to pay was him slamming the ground, as we were laughing about it after the race all he had to say was, "That hurt."
A couple of corners later and the pain would stop. Immediately I think that was fun, I can't wait till next week. That is just messed up.

video

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Capital Cross

Day one of my first two-fer weekend of the year. With the way things have been going the last few weeks of racing I have to admit I was not to excited this week about the race today. I thought about bailing and trail working out at Swope instead but my racer boy attitude kicked in yesterday and I started getting stoked.

Amber's parents were in town celebrating her birthday with us. We did what I do best and ate BBQ last night. Then we went and did some sight seeing around KC. Here they are this morning before we all headed to the race.
The day could not have been more wonderful. Blue skies and perfect temperature were sure to translate into spirited racing. The course was long and hard due to the soft ground that sapped your strength, and the "mound of mercy" kicked you while you were down. Here Aaron Elwell tops out on the mound.
My racing has been the same all my life, it does not matter what kind of race I start horribly slow. Go like an go like an All American for the middle portion of the event, and finish with a nice cool down at the end, actually I am going insanely hard it just looks like a nice cool down to all those spectating. This biological phenomena did lend itself to some success in 24 hour racing because that middle portion was fairly substantial. On par for course I believe I was the last person to hit the first barrier today and did not start moving up until well into the lap. Luckily there was lots of passing room and the field was not to big. It took a few laps but I made it up to the leaders except for Brian Jenson dangling off the front. My bike is suffering from a long list of ailments with 10 speed topping it off, but without going into to much of detail I was reduced to a very select few gears that were not always conducive to rapid progress. I was charging trying to reel in Jenson. Bill Stolte was on my wheel and we had pulled in Joe Schmaltz who was now holding strong on the back. With three to go Bill and I traded attacks, I caught a bit of fresh legs and surged away and in the process made the most cut into Jenson since the start line. Had the race ended on the bell lap I would have took second by about ten seconds, but alas the dreaded last lap when everyone but me all of a sudden seems to come to life. I was pushing for all I had but it wasn't enough as Joe blew past me like I was a lapped rider, and soon enough Bill followed. Well at least I rode the money train out for fourth place and final pay out position. Good enough for a Qudoba Burrito and a Good time.
Me followed by Bill followed by Joe followed by I pop like the fourth of July

Monday, October 13, 2008

Burning in the Bluff

What a sweet weekend. I have been looking forward to this for a long time and am not disappointed at all on Monday morning. Craig Stoeltzing, Myself, and Graham Aldredge were the posse that headed over to Council Bluffs Lake for the Burning in the Bluffs 12 hour race. We had a full load in Craig's Honda wagon. But it went like a champ the whole trip. We arrived early morning on Saturday and crawled into the tent at 12:30 or so. Perfect camping weather was lending itself to some top notch sleep until the craziest music you ever heard came on over the loud speakers at 7:00. We decided later it was some kind of Jazz, Folk, Mexican Circus music hybrid that I would have thought was in my dreams if the others would not have confirmed it to be real. We pulled ourselves together and went and stood in line to get marked and pick up our timing chips. It was at this point I caught my first ever real life glimpse of the 2009 S-Works Epic, sick sick sick. This will be my 09 race bike.

I had first lap duties and I was feeling pretty good about it. It was going to be a short dash to the bikes and then we were on and rocketing downhill. Craig caught this sweet picture of me emerging from the smoke bomb someone had lit in the middle of the bikes. I love these races.
The first lap was going well. I moved from 5th into the singletrack up to the leader and we were putting massive time on everyone. I was climbing strong and waiting for the last mile long climb to attack up to the first transition. Between mile 8 and 9 disaster struck when I sliced my tire on a rock. The copious amounts of Stans wouldn't seal it, my CO2 dispenser was squirting air everywhere but into my tube. Finally a passing racer lent me his and I got rolling again. I was pretty bummed when I came in. Graham and Craig both pulled their weight with solid laps.

I was ready to throw down on my second lap. I had traded in my 29er for the Epic we had brought along as a back up bike. I crushed for about 11 miles and then I imploded. I crept in the final miles resigned that I was not going to bring us back and to enjoy riding the rest of the day. From there on out it was all fun with all of the team turning solid laps and basking in the beautiful weather. My third lap was fine, not fast but I had a great time and at least kept everything moving at a reasonable pace. The race for 1st place was intense with the top two teams so close lap after lap. I was trying not to think about how much fun it would have been to be mixing it up in that. All of us had Super Duper night laps. I simply could not have enjoyed mine more, and I found Craig feeling the same way when I came back. Graham did our last lap and he was a champ storming around the lake with a solid time and reeling in a few minutes on the teams ahead of us. He is one tough 17 year old. The days work was still good for a podium finish and warm fuzzies around the camp fire.

Racing all day and then crawling back into the tent without showering only to get up and ride some more the next morning is a pretty unique feeling. That is what the agenda called for and is what we did. The famous Dan Firman of Rolla, MO was our guide for a wonderful jaunt on the middle fork section of the Ozark trail. We rode for an hour of spectacular Ozark woods riding before turning around to do it back in the other direction. We made a dirt road detour half way back that turned out to be perfectly lovely riding beside babbling brooks, green pastures, and happy horses. All the elements of a turn of the century novel.


Dan and Craig lead the way down the idyllic road. Soon after this picture we would be eating cheese burgers and fries.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A picture is worth a thousands words huh. Well not if the camera is in my hands, then it is going to take a thousand words for you to figure out what you are looking at.
The Start of the 3/4 Race. Young Graham Aldredge powering my Goldy from last year. I told him earlier in the week, "this bike only goes off the front." He made good destroying the strong field on the won speed.

This was a cool Lockian addition to the course. Two quick down and ups across a small ridge that felt neat once you got in the rhythm. The other Lockian addition was subtracted by the people that can do such things. There was set to be a ramp boosting you over a barrier if you choose to shoot off. Even though it was painfully simple someone would have got brilliant and wrecked their eyeballs out. It was set to be a classic, oh well.The rest of the 3/4 field rolling by. There is a High Gear factory team rider in there. Garret Seacat was on his way to upsetting the pack from his back row starting position until a flat tire saved the lives of all those he was about to pass. But apparently their sponsor is throwing down for new DuraAce Tubeless wheels and Hutchinson tires (Bulldog up front-Piranha in the back) for the whole team to guarantee their name appears in lights when the Ace Squad makes it to the start line.

More awesome camera work. Josh Taylor of our 360 team got the hole shot.
Josh Talyor in a nice silhouette shot. I will take $350.00 for it
Graham leaving no doubt on the last lap.
Cross racing makes my body feel old. Things always hurt way more than I think they should. I ride all the time, hard alot, and I have been doing that for a long time. One hour of head banging racing and I am moaning and groaning for days.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Cross #0-2

So far this season is not off to a flying start. Today was yet a new set of problems and frustrations. I felt great again warming up, and with the temps rising I knew that attrition was going to be the name of the game. I went ahead and bolted on a water bottle cage so I could carry some fluids for the hour long effort. The course was really fun. I was enjoying rolling laps even at a moderate pace. We lined up with Shadd relegated to the back for preriding the course during a race. I am not sure why he was the one picked out since everyone was, but hating on the fastest guy is a common theme in our world. He gave a friendly "sure" to the official and bolted through everyone about 20 yards into the race. I was not really to excited at the start just hoping to roll away and make a move up into the money spots 15 minutes in or so. Unfortunately that would not be the case, in the first minute of the race Tom Price's front wheel lost traction and he slid out and into me. I hit the ground pretty dang hard, cracked my der. hanger and bent my rear wheel. I tossed my bike Trebon style to make me feel a little better, and then attempted to bend things straight enough to ride. I made it eventually around to the pits with my bike unrideable and all in a huff and asked if I could have anyone's bike. Rich Anderson of Cow Town Cycling, was very kind and handed me up his singlespeed and I took off. I was happy to be riding and would have gladly ridden the whole race on that bike but Rich handed me up his A bike, a sweet Ridley Carbon rig that rode amazingly well. Shouldering a 16 lb bike is alot easier than a 20 lb one. Looking back on it that is so kind of him to let me ride his bikes, even more so because his race was the next one after mine. I think it shows why there was over 200 hundred racers out today, it is a great scene with great people. I rode well, I could tell by watching where I was meeting the leaders around the course that I would have been very competitive. I caught four people and was happy to get in the hour workout. No dice this week.

If anyone out there is headed to Omaha on Sunday only contact me.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Cross #1

With cyclocross season starting a month earlier this year than last I really have not had the build up of excitement that I had last season waiting for the first race to roll around. I have been enjoying Yeti spotting, learning to ride a fixed gear and throwing in a little bit of work at Swope Park. Luckily I woke up early Saturday morning because I went to the shop and put on a new drivetrain at 5:00 AM. I hate to say it because I wanted to love SRAM's road groups but the Shimano chains and cassettes work loads better. After a few hours digging around in the dirt at Swope, Amber and I came home real quick so I could grab my gear and head East to Mike Gaherty's house where I was going to hop in his big rig pickup for the drive to Herman, MO. Herman is a quaint little village right along the Katy trail that is all Wineries and B&B's. It began to sink in as we pulled up to the venue and I caught I glimpse of the epic stair run up that I should have prepared more for this. As I was riding my pre-laps I realized that this could get ugly and I needed to let it rip and see what happens. I received a call up but that still had me on the third row of an 8 wide field that was going to be cramming into a narrow chicane just seconds into the race. When the race started I tried to be as aggressive as possible and I got through the tight stuff in decent shape but it was still disheartening to see the leaders 30 seconds ahead before I got where I could chase. The legs were certainly there, I was passing people and moving up solidly, although I knew it was not a good sign that I was reduced to walking the stairs on the initial lap. That aside I continued to move up and worked my way into 5th place and it seemed like a couple laps in a row I was reeling in Bill Stolte who was in 4th. With 6 laps to go I went into the sand section pretty hot and stumbled and pulled my groin pretty fiercely. I knew immediately it was not good but went on a bit more until I fell out of the money places. I pulled over and watched the rest of the race from the sidelines getting some good motivation to start training hard and have a solid cross season. Even though it went crappy I had a fun time and was happy I went. December cross national is a ways away but it is time to start laying it down to have a good showing in front of the hometown folks.

Sunday in Lenexa, be there.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Wet n Wild

I complain a lot about rain, too much as a matter of fact. I don't need to spend time moaning about something I have no control over. This week afforded plenty of time to think on such matters while it poured epic amounts from the sky. Wednesday morning was the first day I rode after the 12 hour race, and all I did was pedal down the paved trail 20 minutes or so to this little spot in the woods where there are a handful of dirt jumps to exercise my Yeti 575. Even though the trails are micro and I am about as good of a dirt jumper as Keanu Reeves is an actor, I left amazed how simple it is, Dirt + Bike=Much Fun. Thursday I had a horrible ride on my road bike where I nearly wrecked in the wet numerous times, was swooped by a couple of cars, and was just generally on pins and needles the whole time. Road biking is all fine and what not but basically the whole crux of that is going insanely fast, when you are just out podonking around you might as well be on treadmill. Friday morning brought torrential rains, true downpour, flash flood warnings and all. I sat on the couch contemplating how I can get out of our lease and move back to the southwest. Then I just got mad at myself for being such a baby and a complainer. I love Kansas City, I choose to live here and rain is part of the gig. I grabbed the fixed gear and rain jacket and headed out. I do not really know what route I rode, I just rode around. Sometimes I could not tell if I was headed up a sidewalk or a drainage ditch, I am not joking. Pedestrian bridges were being covered in rushing water, cars were sliding around, and my bike was spectacularly cleaned. I was not out long, maybe a hour and half but it was like being baptised. There has always been some element within me that wants to be in defiance of something, and when I am out there in the downpour riding along I don't know what I am defying, but I know it is something, and I know I am winning. Saturday morning was the exact same story, rain pounding and the forecast did not show it letting up. Straight onto the bike and into the wet. I figured out on Friday that if it is not cold outside rain jackets are completely stupid. Does it really matter if my arms and chest are not wet? Of course I can understand avoiding hypothermia if it is cold, but besides that leave that nasty piece of something plastic at home, use it to cover a wood pile or something of the sorts. Saturday during one of the particular fierce sessions of rain a car at a stop light rolled down his window and asked if I was training for something? I think he was hoping for The Tour de France, or the Olympics. "The Apocalypse," I smiled back to him. He looked uncomfortable and rolled up his window before I could hand him a pamphlet. Sunday was my first day off work that I was not running around crazy in a long time. My good friend Jim Cummins and I hooked up for a solid knobby tire urban ride. I was on my bike over 5 hours by the time I rolled back in to the drive way. Alright I am a mountain biker, I cannot always ride trails, but I can stop complaining and always make the best of it. I am going to try real hard at this. I remember reading a story in some cycling publication a long time ago that ended with, "Never give up, Never accept the ordinary." That is something to burn into your brain.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Sac River 12 hour

Team 360 Fixie rendezvoused at Church's Chicken (just a descent away from the future Swope Trail mega system) to pile into Jason's car for the trip down to Springfield. We arrived at the course a short few hours later and found a prime camping spot complete with gazebo, picnic table, and monster shade tree. It began to rain as a friend of Craig's showed up who was going solo and we got to add his pop up tent to our arsenal of weather combating devices. The turnout was not looking spectacular as it neared high noon. I had been designated first lap man but was not really thinking a warm up was appropriate given the field size and drizzle that was coming down. The rain stopped as we gathered for the pre-race meeting. The organizer asked if we wanted to make it a 6 hour due to rain, it did me well to hear the resounding NO from the racers. The first lap got under way and I cruised in behind a duo racer who took the lead and I took a few miles to acquaint myself with the trail conditions and get in the grove of the fixed gear. I went around him when I sensed we were at the bottom of a substantial climb. Another climb later you were at the top of the trail system and began winding through some quite rocky terrain back down the hill. It was proper trail racing the whole lap and made for incredibly engaging fixed gear racing. My second lap it began to rain again and the course was starting to get pretty slick, luckily rolling resistance was not effected much and it was pure fun slipping and sliding around.

Jason took the next set of laps and had the first of two unfortunate tire roll offs but all in all rode two solid laps. Craig, armed with his new battle rig, stormed the trail and sent me back onto the course with a solid lead. My next two laps were amazingly fun, it was just all smiles and good times. Racing the fixed gear is a blast, one second you will ride something incredibly smooth and fast and feel like a million bucks, next thing you know you rookie some corner and feel like a total Freddy. I kept repeating the mantra of Mad-Eye Moody from Harry Potter, "Constant Vigilance." I got the goods being the first racer. My third set of laps was still in the light, although the last two miles was fairly dark it was not bonafide night laps. Jason and Craig did their last sets in the dark and then we did one lap a piece at the end so we stayed all even. My night lap was unfortunately lack luster. I felt great but just was struggling to get in a groove where I was really rocking. We finished with 21 laps, several laps ahead of second place I believe. We received a nice little check to help cover the day and reloaded into the car and hit the trail home at about 1:00. Jason continued the pace home and dropped me off sometime around 3:30 I think. Yet another awesome race and I look forward to many more team events with the Woodchucks. Add Scott into the mix and you got a 24 hour wrecking crew that will be primed for destroying the dreams of lesser teams in 2009.




Thursday, September 4, 2008

blood guts and gore veins in my teeth end quote

I get mean nasty and terrible when the trails are not rideable. After a weekend of trail shredage you would think I would get topped off a bit and could endure a few days of bike path riding. Not so. I want dirt I need dirt.

Jason Gaikowski, Craig Stoeltzing and myself are headed to Springfield, MO for the Sac River 12 hour this coming weekend. You know what I want, a mud bath knock down drag out bloody brawl. I am in the mood for a sufferfest and am truely hoping the weather delivers.

"You're our boy"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8DtpdXZi0M

Monday, September 1, 2008

Ahhhh

Cruise the Blues is in the books for 2008. The turnout was on par, and the weather was cooperative, thankfully because after the flooding in the creek just a week before the trail was in no mood for rain. Apparently a small militia of volunteers had been out for several days before the race rebuilding bridges, rerouting sections that had been lost, and trying to get things in race shape. My dad and I pre-rode a lap to check it out and it did not have the normal feel that you are riding with an electric assist engine strapped aboard. It more felt like if you stopped pedaling you would be at a stand still in three feet. But we all could tell a few thousand tires over it and it would get fast again. They herded us into start pins in our seperate classes so we could tell who we were actually racing against . I kept a leary eye over my shoulder for Doug's farm hand Kip to start prodding folks with one of those electric zapper things that I imagine he is fond of using. We were off, as I tried to lift the pace a few miles into the race I found the opposite happening. I was slowing down and feeling poor, I could not get any oxygen into the lungs and was wheezing and feeling dizzy. I made due as best as I could and finally got around to my Dad. He went out and did a solid first lap and I sat in the shade and started to feel better. When he came around I had cleared out the pipes and was ready to redeem myself. My second lap was better, and we started to distance ourselves ahead. After my third lap it was evident no other racers would be following us out on a 6th lap, so my Dad got to chill and ride a fun lap with the trail getting the conveyer belt feel going on that makes it so addicting.

Post race chilling was a good time of catching up with the central Kansas crowd and watching the FOUR kids races! You cannot believe how many kids there were. After the award ceremony Amber and I had to hit the road. I was working Sunday and I didn't want to drive until 3:00 in the morning. Leaving the Blue Hills south bound to the interstate the sun was setting and the surreal colors of sunset were flooding the valleys. There was no more beautiful place on earth. If I could bottle up what I was feeling I would be a millionaire. It would be called Ahhhh.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Get to Cruise the Blues

One of the greatest events of the season is this coming weekend out in Kansas farm country. Doug and Traci Palen host a 5 hour race on a 14 mile singletrack speedway known since 2004 as Cruise the Blues. There is nothing else like it, the race stages literally in their back yard and navigates through creek bottom and pasture land. Log rides, rollers, berms, bridges, and jumps speckle the course. They have had a radar station where they clock your speed and award the winner. This year I have heard that music stations are set up throughout the course pumping out the Blues Rock that the race goes hand in hand with. After burning through your laps they serve up a big plate O BBQ and you can prepare for the ensuing Barn Party. That is right, they set up stage right in the barn and a live jam band pumps out the goods. This is where Keith Thompson takes over, you will want to identify who this crazy farmer is and learn of his dance moves. Doug and Traci allow people to camp out in the yard before and after the race, so you can go crazy if need be. I know it all sounds to good to be true, you better come see for yourself.

My Dad and I got in a two day team training camp this past weekend while Amber and I went home to see her parents new house. Sunday was dirt roads on singlespeeds and Monday we attacked his hill trail, Monday night we got back to KC and I caught another ride at Blue River and rode until it was dark. We are launching a Chambers assault on the Duo class at the Cruise the Blues. I anticipate fun.

Monday, August 18, 2008

RIM 2008

I spend more time these days thinking, "why do I like these long events." Long races can be unbelievably hard, and on the surface are rather pointless. Sure I love riding my bike, yes riding on great singletrack is the best place to ride a bike, but all of that could well be accomplished without the undertaking of whatever Ultra Endurance race that so many of us sign up for so many times. I had these thoughts mulling over in my head somewhere 5-6 hours into the race Saturday, when I came up on a singlespeeder approaching the base of the hill. I watched him fluidly stand on the pedals, lean forward swinging the bike beautifully with his cadence through the rock strewn climb. It made an impact on me immediately. Outside the Nelson Atkins museum, etched into the stone is a quote something to the effect of, "The soul has greater need of the ideal than the real." Stuck somewhere in the poise of that rider attacking the climb I saw the ideal man, defying the laws of nature aboard his mindfully crafted machine armed with determination and skill. I don't think I will ever completely understand what it is about bike racing that I value so much. Yet when I catch glimpses of it it helps me rationalize all of this crazy behavior.

The race could not have been any better. The weather was great, the trails were phenomenal. My legs stayed strong the whole day. Some of the many highlights included, running real slow to my bike and still being in fine position, riding a lap with Aaron Elwell before he had to leave for other engagements, eating a ton of Pina Colada shot blocks, the drinking contingent that always offered their support in the form of beating a cooler like bongos and smashing cans, Amber, feeling good enough to really enjoy the night laps, my parents showing up towards the end of the race, and winning.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

RIM LOOMS

The only race with Lazer Beams
Just finished up riding at Landahl, and the RIM course is primo. Apparently the Boys of Swope have been turning their attention to ribbonizing the Landahl trails. Jeff Winkler found me going backwards on the course and we rode together for a couple of laps. I was riding a 6 and 6 big rig, while he was pushing a svelte carbon mama, but we chatted and had a good time.

If you have not seen me lately on the trails you may have missed my new Yeti 575. Yeti Race colors and a nice XT kit, it is making for some serious smiling. My MTB stable is looking pretty sharp right now. Hopefully we continue to have dry trails.

Everyone come out for the festivities this coming Saturday, it is the last Heartland Race of the year, and should be a good time for all.

For a continued good blogging time hop over to Team Seagul's page. Apparently they will grace us with their presence at RIM.

Friday, August 8, 2008

The other Tiffany Springs Park

Well yesterday sucked royaly. After a morning at the DMV I was looking forward to clearing my head at the first Short Track race. I left work in plenty of time to wade through the rush hour and ride awhile before the race. As is par for course I left with only glancing at the directions, I was looking for an exit that did not exist and when I reached the 129-435 Junction North of the Airport I knew I went to far. I called a local shop and that sent me further spiraling into the Northland Maze and wandered around on Tiffany Springs Parkway for awhile. My cell phone died, as is par for course, disconnecting me from any competent help, and leaving only gas station clerks (one man pointed the direction he would not have to rotate his hips to point to and said, "that way"). It should figure Tiffany Springs Parkway leads to Tiffany Springs Park but it only leads to Dead Ends and road closures. I found Tiffany Springs Park and Sports Complex at about ten minutes before the race was scheduled to take off. Pulled into the parking lot looking for the familiar glow of Primal Wear Jersey's that always signifies this is where the Dirt Race is at, No glow. I attempted to circle the park looking for another parking area. Clock is up, race started already and I determined there is another Tiffany Springs Park out there. When I got back home and took time to study the directions I realized my error, and the error of all the QuikTrip employees along the way. I guess this week was a rest week.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Cycle City Short Track Series

Well what do you know

http://www.cyclecitykc.com/

All August long. This is great news. Thank you Joe.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

UNTITLED

So the horrible news came from Craig Stoeltzing at work on Tuesday. He approached me with a long face and said, "bad news, Landahl is cancelled." Bummer, I was amped for the fixed gear rampage. I do not understand why this race could not get a foot hold, but I understand why Granny Gear pulled out, with not a single team registered.

5 of us had a steller ride at Blue River last night. It was good ol'fashioned MTB fun. Alot of laughing and talking crap, and wrecks, and cleaning sections that we should have wrecked on. We finished at about midnight and I was jazzed enough I did not fall asleep forever. Geez that is the stuff.

Joel and I are rolling south to the Flint Hills this weekend. Death Ride. I hope we live.

And last on the blogging agenda. I have been hearing much talk of Short Track racing in KC. What of it, lets make it happen. Any interested parties contact me and tell me what you want. My tentative idea is a 30 minute race around 7:00 p.m. out at Blue River. We could tag it on to Taco Tuesday or do a whole different night and place. If I do not hear back from anyone I will set a plan and we will race out the summer. If there is four of us cool, three of us we will race, two people it's mano y mano. Just me, I will go ride high line. Plan on next week.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

SMP ENDURO

I had been looking forward to the Shawnee Mission Park 3/6 since I saw the schedule come out. Since Amber and I's apartment is a 15 minute pedal from the singletrack I end up there a good bit. I just decided a couple of weeks ago that I wanted to do the 6 hour, I have put in a solid handful of 4+ hour rides, and figured it would be a cool event to try and win. The race started with the traditional Le Mans run, where I promptly felt like my calf was about to cramp up, wonderful. My first 2 laps I rode quite conservatively, I knew the rocks and heat were going to take a major toll. I also figured flat tires could play a role and since I was unable to get my rear tire to set up tubeless the day before I was racing with a tube and quite worried about it lasting. At the end of my 2nd lap I believe I was down 4-5 minutes on Jeff Winkler. On the 3rd lap I took back a couple of minutes, and caught him half way around the 4th lap. At that point I tried to settle in and keep my eye on the long haul. I never stopped during the race, Amber did a great job of keeping everything ready so I could roll through grab my 2 bottles, sport beans, and pretzels, and keep on. It was tough race, my hands and arms were tired, luckily my legs stayed fairly strong throughout the race. I rolled out of the woods on my 11th lap and heard two minutes to go until 6:00. I did not need to sprint in and go out again so I cruised and finished right a 6:00. Nice day of riding. Thank You to th Heartland Race Crew, Amber, and everyone who came out to make this inaugural event a success