Monday, April 30, 2007

Another Beautiful Weekend and the 1st Race of the Year

Saturday Kelly and I finished painting our dining room, and stairway. Glad to have that done, as painting is not one my favorite activities. Unfortunately I don’t have the patience required to paint and make it look really good, but I do think it turned out pretty nice. That afternoon we headed over to Waterfall Glenn for a bike ride. Kelly was riding her new Bianchi Volpe, and really liked it. She had a Lemond Buenos Aires that really didn’t fit here, so we sold that and picked up the Volpe. It is amazing how much more comfortable she looks on it, and being a cross/touring bike the wider tires make for a super comfortable ride. That evening we had some friends over for a barbecue, and sat out by the fire pit enjoying the nice weather.

Yesterday was my first race of the season, and I am still feeling the effects today. Kelly, Bernie and I headed out to Rock Cut State Park near Rockford, IL for the “Do The Rock” Mountain Bike race. I had never ridden these trails, but was pleasantly surprised with the trail system. The course consisted of some fast doubletrack, tight flowing singletrack, and a few road sections. There were also several tall log crossings that made some of the sections a little more technical. I took part in the two lap event that was approximately 20 miles in length. It was an awesome day for a race, but I am definitely not acclimated to the heat yet. Temps were in the low 80’s with plenty of sun, and by the middle of the 2nd lap I was really feeling the effects.

My race started out okay. I got a mid pack start, and had some work to do to move up through the field. Throughout most of the first lap I was able to pick off several other riders, but towards the end of the first lap I could tell I was starting to suffer. At this point I was riding by myself without anyone else around me. As I started the 2nd lap I picked up one rider, and we settled into a pretty good groove of working together. I was faster on the climbs, and he was faster on the descents, so it worked out pretty well. Halfway through the 2nd lap my lower back was really hurting, and I was trying to stand up on the descents and stretch, but there was really no opportunity for major relief. With about two miles to go, there was a long drag of a climb up to the last asphalt section, and as I got to this section my engine was blown. Between the heat and my back I didn’t have anything left, and I was dropped by my fellow racer. With no one in sight behind me I limped in to the finish.

As the first mountain bike race of the season, there were some good and bad points to the race:

The Good
1. I felt a lot more comfortable on the technical portions of the course compared to last year. I was able to clear obstacles that I would have dismounted and ran over in the past.
2. I felt strong for half of the race, especially on the climbs

The Bad
1. My lower back was in some serious pain towards the end of the race.
2. I need to be faster in the turns. I am scrubbing way too much speed in these sections.
3. I felt strong for only half of the race.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Bernie Mac the Vegetarian

Bernie thought about becoming a vegetarian over the weekend, but it didn't sit well with him.

So bad, it's funny

Monday, April 16, 2007

Working on the Skillz and a Good Day

Sunday I got up early and headed out to Palos to ride with friend and teammate, Brian Parker. We decided to bring the cross bikes, as the singletrack is still too wet to be ridden, and stuck to the double track trails. With cross bikes, and plenty of muddy rutted sections to be found it made for some good riding, and hopefully helped improve my bike handling skills. Riding a cross bike offroad does beat you though, as my shoulders and arms are aching today.

After getting home Kelly and I took Bernie to the Forest Preserve for a walk. He wore himself out smelling everything in site, and trying to eat some goose poop. Afterwards we headed home and watched “The Science of Sleep”. Probably not a movie for everyone, but we both enjoyed it. Later we headed up to the Berwyn Fruit Market to pick up items for Burritos. Kelly had been telling me how wild this place was, and she wasn’t joking. The place was really packed with product, and has lots of ethnic foods that you can’t find at Dominicks or Jewel.

I also had the willpower to not see the Paris Roubaix results throughout the day and watched the coverage on Versus. I was glad to see O’ Grady pull off a huge win. Of course I would have been better for La Squadra Churro if Boonen had won, but he played the wrong tactics, and missed out on the winning move. Boonen must have been feeling really strong, as he was able pull back the chase group and sneak in for a sixth place.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Visits to the Hurt Locker

I have finalized my early season race schedule. I will be turning the pedals in anger for the first time on April 22nd at the Pikes Peak Road Race near Bloomington, Indiana.

April 22-Pikes Peak Road Race, Bloomington, IN
May 5-Baraboo Road Race, Madison, WI
May 20-WORS Mountain Bike Race, Lake Geneva, WI
June 3-WORS Big Ring Classic, Wausau, WI
June 9-Spring Prairie Road Race or WEMS Race at John Muir

After the June 9th race I don’t have any racing planned until the 24 Hour National Championships at the end of July.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

La Squadra Churro

Sunday was the draft for the Superstars League of Champions Fantasy Cycling League. Below are the riders that make up La Squadra Churro. I have no doubt that this team will pull off some amazing victories and lead me to the Championship. My Team "Chooses Success" and will not be stopped.

Tom Boonen has a chance to win a couple of Spring Classics. Hopefully his new bike from Specialized won’t bother his back as much as the old one.

Cadel Evans I have no idea who will win this years Tour, but can see Cadel pulling off a Top five finish.

Frank Schlek is a guy that can win in several different venues, so he is a good all around pick.

Yaroslav Popovych Not sure of his schedule, but is he is given free reign at the Giro he could do some damage.

Damiano Cunego
has a good chance of winning the Giro

Michael Rogers can do well at the shorter stage races (Tour Suisse or Dauphine). He is also good for some decent individual TT results.

Thomas Dekker
is young, but he may pull of some good performances in the Spring Classics.

Vladimir Karpets has a Euro Mullet, which is the main reason I picked him, but he can pull off some descent performances, and possibly a Top 5 at the Vuelta.

Stefan Schumacher is an all-rounder that can win in several types of races.

Jorg Jakske is not on a team. Stupid me!!

Cyril Dessel had a good performance at last years Tour, hopefully he can repeat, but I don't expect much

Sandy Casar is a training buddy of mine, so I know he is strong, and he always has a chance to win on Bastille Day.

Stuffed Like a ...

Kelly and I went to Hot Doug’s on Saturday. We stood in line for almost an hour to enjoy some of the finest encased meats you can find. The place is amazing. Any given day there is a line out the door and half way down the block. Also, Doug, the owner, is there everyday taking orders. We really stuffed ourselves, as we ordered three sausages, and a side of duck fat fries. For the sausages, we had Ribeye Steak Sausage, Atomic Fire Sausage, and Cajun Sausage. Check his website for a list of all his awesome sausages. Oh yeah, the duck fat fries are awesome!!