Friday, December 31, 2010

Retro Jersey Day!

I thought it would be fun to go retro for the last fun race of the year at Kings.

I made a commemorative collector card based on the 1987 Topps Baseball cards and the Coors Cycling team cards.

Refuel on some Cycling Media

The winter is a time to recharge with long relaxing rides or time on the trainer — sometimes I commute less and end up needing something to read on the bus. So here are some interesting things I found to watch, read or listen to:

I was on YouTube getting my retro cycling fix when I saw the video above. I am a huge Claude Lelouch fan and I count his film "Un Homme et Une Femme" as one of my all-time favorite movies. I also knew of Jørgen Loth (of "Stars and Watercarriers" and "Sunday in Hell" fame) from his art film "Die Perfekte Manneske."

A book that has influenced this blog is Tim Krabbé's, "The Rider." It's the stream of conscious journey through a cyclist's mind during the course of a race. I like the numbering system he uses for his races and have adopted here.

Interesting cycling comic, Paul Francis

The Ride is a new magazine from the UK, some back versions can be downloaded as PDFs. Very cool, designy and hip with diverse collections from different cycling disciplines.

The new Joe Parkin book is another peek into the career of a talented cyclist who rarely had good luck. Parkin's "Come and Gone" is his second book that focuses on his off-road career. Parkin is an entertaining writer and I really feel bad that things rarely went his way.

The Bike Snob book is a hoot, it will have you laughing. The Bike Snob is very talented at bringing fresh thinking or another take on cycling topics and the book is beautifully and artistically illustrated.

The Gaurdian Bike Podcast is free on iTunes — and is an interesting view into cycling in the UK. They usually have an interesting range of stories and typically produce 1 podcast per month.

I was a VeloCast fan for the past year. A couple of Scots with a well-research podcast who are also free on iTunes, unfortunately they have ceased podcasting for the moment.

I urge everyone to follow the Giro and the Vuelta on the UK EuroSport if they can. Sean Kelly and Dave Harmon are wonderfully entertaining. I dig Harmon's use of French terms sprinkled in with a Dandy Brit demeanor.

Cool Video on Jens Voigt, that guy is the dog's bullocks:

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Bike Commuter Tip #74: Leave some clothes at the office

Your backpack will weigh a bit less, and perhaps you'll come into your office to find your friends have had a game of dress up!

Dreaming of Winter Rides with Homies

From 2009 Cycling Yearbook

Some fun ride ideas for winter and spring training:
1. Meet up with my Columbus homies to reenact the Frankenbike race at Scioto Trail State Park
2. Hop to Rabbit Hash with the Bellantes, would be lovely in Spring
3. Hang out with the Vrotskos on some sweet Hoosier backroads or trails
4. Do a lap of the Northern Liberties with Phil Noble
5. Sloppy gravel base miles in the Shawnee Forest near Portsmouth
6. Explore Northern Kentucky with Team Hungry
7. Can't wait for our Team Donovan Training Camp in Austin/New Orleans

Friday, December 24, 2010

Make Your New Year's Resolution a Lifestyle Choice

This is a great story of a Grandmother who faced life-ending circumstances and chose a fun, active lifestyle to prevent another heart attack. It goes to show that it is never too late.

When I turned 30 I was sitting in a Paris café eating a delicious, indulgent dessert. I realized that if I wanted to come back and live in France after I retire that perhaps I wouldn't get to eat these desserts. I was a smoker and obese, I'm not exaggerating, I was over 30% body fat and I ran out of breath tying my shoes. I would likely have diabetes since it runs on both sides of my family. And what if I wouldn't get to retirement? Being obese I was at higher risk of heart disease.

So I decided turned my life around. I found ways to make exercise fun, I found if I didn't put too much pressure on myself at first that I would improve with persistence. It was a thrill to go out and run farther and faster with each workout.

If anyone reading this wants to pursue a more active lifestyle feel free to contact me with any questions. I would be happy to give any advice and even set up novice running and/or cycling training plans to get you on your way.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

It would be fun to see my teammates Nate & Mitch crush me up each one of these hills. It's fun to see the roadies who just fall over trying to climb out of the saddle — that's why I spend a lot of my early season climbing in the saddle, so I don't slide out on roots in a mountain bike race.

Monday, December 20, 2010

2010 Racing Year in Review

I love looking back at the year, I did so many different types of racing that the year felt longer because nothing got old. Every year I like to do a look at my numbers because I grew up a Baseball fan and that is a sport of stats.

Last Winter I ran like a maniac — I would head out into the snow and cold, hitting the trails in Ault Park and Indian Hill. Basically I went out and had fun and come race day I somehow ran much faster than expected, knocking 7 minutes off my previous record and beating my personal bests for the 5k and 10k while running uphill!

15k Time:1:06:53
Overall Pace:7:12
10k Split: 44:27
5k Split: 22:06

Over the course of the year I fit a hand full of these "one day classics" for the dirt into my calendar. These races can be real tests of one's will and some of the races feature 10,000 feet of climbing. I began training for these in the spring, when wet conditions made riding off-road a rarity. My 8th place at Cohutta was so unexpected and I was so blown away and proud of that result. The same with my 3rd place at John Bryan, never thought I would podium in any mountain bike race.

AVG PLACE: 11th (8, 36, 3, 6, 4th)
TOP 10: 4 races
TOP 10%: 2
TOP 25%: 2
TOP 50%: 1
AVG DISTANCE: 64.8 miles
AVG TIME: 4:02:36
AVG SPEED: 16.03 mph/25.79 kph (I think my Frankenbike race was pretty fast, but typically I go 10-12mph)

Mountain biking is kind of my baseball season, I feel like one of the Boys of Summer — outside doing battle when the temperature are in the 90s. This was my first year racing Expert, which is the highest regional classification. I still feel like a rookie out there and I really battled every race not to be last place. But persistence paid off and I ended up 3rd in the CORA race series.

AVG PLACE: 11th (12, 23, 6, 4th)
TOP 10: 2 races
TOP 50%: 1
AVG DISTANCE: 27.25 miles
AVG TIME: 2:30:12
AVG SPEED: 10.89 mph/17.52 kph

Cyclocross is a beautiful sport that I look forward to every Autumn. Each weekend is a day trip around the Ohio Valley spent hanging with friends. This is also my first year racing Elite in Men's cyclocross. Same as in mountain biking, some races I would struggle not to be last place. Persistence also paid off and I ended up tying for 10th Overall in the OVCX.

RACES: 12 Elite Races (9 in OVCX)
TOP 10: 4 races
TOP 50%: 1 race
AVG SPEED: 16.44 mph/25.46 kph (races where speed was recorded)

RACES: 4 UCI Cyclocross Races (Cat 2/3)
AVG PLACE: 59th (22, 34, 94, 84th)
TOP 50%: 2

I didn't know if I could finish Cohutta and I finished 8th, that was like Christmas morning. The same with my Hear Mini run. Getting 3rd in the 6 Hours of John Bryan and in the Kings CX TT series made me happy that I have a little motor in my legs that can hammer pretty well.

Low Points
I didn't share this with many people but I felt pretty bad after Mohican. My result in Cohutta inflated my ego a bit and I trained really hard for Mohican. I was riding with teammates that ended up top 20, but somehow I fell apart. I felt ashamed that my legs failed me. Another low point was a really bad crash in a paceline on rainy railroad tracks, I was so ashamed of my riding that it tooks months for me to ride with other people. And lastly I felt pretty low during cross season after bad results in Louisville and Bloomington, I got burnt out and nearly ended my season! I feel like these examples could be cured if I focus on the quality of my bike-handling.

In Summation
It's interesting to look back on the results. I think I am going to have to work hard on intensity this year to get stronger at cross country mountain biking and cyclocross. However, perhaps in a few years I will focus on endurance events for a season or two. I could also focus on time trials sometime in the future.

2010 BioWheels/Reece-Campbell Racing
37 Races; 1 Run, 2 Crits, 5 MTB, 5 Endurance, 7 OffRoad TT and 17 CX

2009 Trek Store of Cincinnati
25 Races; 1 Road, 1 Endurance, 2 Runs, 4 MTB and 17 CX

2008 Unattached
8 CX Races

Friday, December 17, 2010

Race #70, The Scioto Mud Slides

I didn't get to race CapCity in Columbus much this year and I really missed my friends and the culture. But since the last OVCX race I got really sick and barely touched my bike. I was kind of done, but at the same time I didn't know what to do with myself. Have you seen that scene in "Apocalypse Now" where Martin Sheen is missing the war, gets drunk in his hotel room and does kung fu on a mirror in his tighty whities? I was getting there.

So teammate Scott, fellow CapCity devotee, and I made the dangerous trek on wintry, snow-covered roads about two and a half hours north. It was stupid but worth it. Three snow races in one season, I'm starting to tell the differences in the quality of the snow as well as the soil that the unfrozen December ground turns into various goops. This one had to have been the coldest so far, the mud turning into ice once it hit our bodies and our bikes. The Lobdell course is a crusher. It has three tiers: you climb (or run up), climb and climb some more, then you fly down the other side. Well, in the mud and snow we slid!

My start wasn't so hot, but I kept trying to claw my way up whenever I could. I felt like crap, this was my hardest effort in a week and my body wasn't happy with me. I kept my eye on the front and would try to count what place I was in. I was in 8th place when a couple of strong riders schooled me on the uphills. I thought I was a climber, but not today. After a couple of laps their bikes succumbed to the conditions and I was able to claw my way up into seventh. Mike O and Spencer were crushin' me, breathin down my neck.

I took every risk I could, on the descents I let go of the brakes, however I did cautiously keep a foot out just in case, and I felt like I was really flying down those mud slides! Eventually I couldn't pull in Mason who was ahead of me, and unfortunately Spencer slipped in a corner and lost some time. I think I let off the gas because I felt like crap. It was amazing, you put in a tough effort and the next thing you know your lungs were turning inside out. Eventually I got lapped by the leader and I called it a day a lap early. I ended up 7th, one place out of the money for the 4th time this year! The guys up front whooped me.

It was nice seeing my Columbus friends, too bad it was so cold we couldn't talk a while. Scott and I didn't know how bad the roads would get so we started driving back, but after a half hour we pulled off and grabbed a enormous burger at Thurmans. I wish I invited the Farmers and Layne, but I bet it was a bit out of their way. It was great riding with Scott, someone new to chew their ear. This was only the 2nd race I have ever gone to WITHOUT Bjet, weird!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Ready to Suffer? How about a Mount Adams CX race?

This video I found on YouTube inspired a truly horrible idea.

Team RoadRash to File Bankruptcy

I'm looking at some of the equipment and parts I need to buy for next year and I am about to faint.

• New Team Kits (paid with my sweet race reimbursements!)
• Pay to overhaul my ancient Powertap 2.0 for smarter training
• New Helmut
• New MTB Shoes (after 3 years of CX and MTB!)
• New CX Pedals?
• New MTB Tires
• Have to overhaul my mountain bike and see if anything is worn out
• Have to overhaul my CX bike and see if anything is worn out
• New Tubular tires for CX next year
• New right shifter for CX bike.
• Maybe it's time for a new derailleur on the CX bike too
• New saddle bag that could fit a 29er tube with some room for tools too.

I think I will scale back racing next year, focusing on CORA and the closest OVCX races along with only Mohican, and perhaps the 6 Hours of John Bryan and Versailles. Maybe just about 16 races instead of 30 per year.

Will "Ink" myself to prevent going into the Red Ink.
So in short I will gladly take a sponsors' money and tattoo your logo on my face, arms, neck and legs. Hurry, premium spaces are going fast!

P.S. You can even tattoo your logo on my "frame pump" (if you know what I mean), which I will gladly display whilst taking "naturals" rolling along in the long distance mountain bike races.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

An Epic Ending to 2010

A few inches of snow blanketed the MidWest and it made for 2 incredible races with sloppy off-camber sections and slimy run ups. After the races our bikes and ourselves were covered in a mixture of ice and mud.

Saturday was a real battle. I was thinking that not many people would be there but 2 full collegiate teams showed up with 30 starters in the Elite field. It was a real battle of attrition, many riders succumbing to the greasy turns. I tried to keep it safe and power certain sections where I could. There was a crazy hill section that was so sloppy. I had a decent race, but I was pulled early due to the 80% rule. I felt a little peeved because it was a local race and I had two riders only 10 seconds ahead of me. It turns out I was 16th and perhaps I could have placed into the coveted money spots. But I was very close to being in the top 50% of the race, which I haven't been very close to before.

Sunday was hell. I woke up and nearly decided to not go. I was really sick and had a temperature. The day and the race was a blur. But somehow I did okay. I ended up not being last place, and not getting lapped. But I felt like death afterwards. I had a fever and started getting sick at dinner! What an idiot.

But I did it for a reason. With the last race being double points I was able to slip in and tie with Ryan Knapp for 10th place in the OVCX Elite Category!

I've been feeling a bit bummed the last few days. I'm not sure if it's lack of sunshine, just recovering from that bug or the cyclocross season ending. Last year I rode my bike through the holidays to ward off extra pounds but I haven't had the desire to get back in the saddle.

Perhaps I'll do the CapCity finale this weekend — I was looking forward to it a few weeks ago but now I feel like I'm phoning it in. 33 races this year and even though I love the Lobdell course it is over 2 hours away. We'll see, it will be lovely to see my Columbus friends just before Christmas. Last year I had the benefit of a lot more momentum going into the holidays.

A special thanks to Dion Easthouse for the gorgeous photography and an early Christmas present: a nice, big bottle of Chimay.


Obviously I'm not in it for the money. But in my first year as an Elite cyclist the money spot has eluded me. If I finish 6th or 7th it turns out they are only paying 3 to 5 spots deep. At the Gun Club I battled and lost for the last money spot. Usually I'm not even close, I'm just trying to not be DFL and get lapped. At Infirmary Mound my desperate attempt to enter the "elite club" of the paid cyclists failed due to my clumsy eagerness and a flatting tire.

At Lexington's Promotion Cross on November 21st I had a hell of a day. Unfortunately a lot of my friends had bad days. It was a technical course, one where I pre-rode and didn't know how I could possibly turn any of these corners with speed. So Mitch's voice rang in my head and I decided to keep it upright. I showed up at the line and there were only 15, so no pressure! Perhaps I felt more free.

The start was crazy and in the melee my friends Rob, Chris and Chewning had mechanicals or were wrapped up in tape. Another guy felt bad and actually pulled over and laid down! So halfway into the race I was clawing my way up. Chewning was chasing me and this guy I couldn't catch. I finally caught the one rider and attacked him on this uphill power section where on previous laps I saw he wasn't as strong. I pretty much assumed Chewning was going to come and spank me, but I felt I should make it a game. He really drove to crush it and eventually I even caught another rider.

I ended up in 9th! My payout equalled my race fee so I split even! That's better than most of the time!

On a side note I also got 16th at the St. Mary's Child Center race in Fort Harrison, IN. That was 3 races where I placed 16th! I guess I better get 1% faster next year.

Above is one of the best photos ever taken of me. I actually look halfway pro, and I owe a thanks to Dion Easthouse.