Thursday, August 27, 2009

Wednesday Worlds #1

"Chuck Norris grinds his coffee with his teeth and boils the water with his own rage."

I could have used some of Chuck's coffee on Wednesday morning. It was painful leaving the house while it was still dark, and with an empty travel mug, but cyclocross season is coming! And I needed to make sure the new bike (and legs!) were going to work.

I thought the first edition of Wednesday Worlds was going to be smaller, especially for the first time out, and a 6.30am start time at that, but there ended up being about 30 guys and gals. Sweet. Off to Elk's we went.

It was rough starting off without caffeine, and it took the first two laps before the body and mind were starting to work together. By the second "race" I was getting used to the new bike, getting used to it's two wheel drift through the turns, and smoothing out the technique. Speaking of the new bike... man... it's dope. Sooooo smooth with the all-carbon frame, and yet feels 100% efficient when you stand up to lay down the stick. Love it. And that was with some street-centric tires on. Unfortunately, I did a shitty job of remembering to take any pictures.

It was sweet to have the workout out of the way, and head straight home from work too... even if I passed out on the couch immediately after dinner! Looks like the Koppenberg will be the last road race of the year for me... and as usual for the Koppenberg, a chance of rain in the forecast.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Not yo' momma's "Loogie"

I love summer, I really do. I hate when you start to get that feel of the fall-season in the air, and the length of the days start to creep down, shorter and shorter. The only thing that makes it slightly more manageable is the fact that it means cyclocross season is quickly approaching! That's right, the "summer break" in between Cult Cross and Fall racing is just about over!

Shockingly, it's just 3 weeks away. Knowing that it would be coming soon, I ordered up some new shoes, and have some sweet new Mavics to try out this year! Just the right amount of flex, nice agressive sole, soft slipper-like feel, and insanely light! I hear if you go fast enough, the dirt won't bother the lovely white finish... mine are bound to be dirty...

And well... you can't really get new shoes, without getting a new bike, right!?!?! Ibis has brought the Hakkalugi back after several years away from the scene... and they've brought it back in a BIG way!

1100gram full-carbon frame!

Beautiful "Phlegmish Yellow" color...

And of course, the original "Handjob" for that touch of class... because there's nothing classier than a handjob in front of all your friends, on a muddy saturday afternoon.

As is so often the case, I nearly didn't want to ride it, knowing that it would never be this clean again! But I am glad I did! I only got a shorter ride on it yesterday, but it was awesome. Amazing how smooth the full carbon frame is. The single front chainring keeps everything tight and quiet, and when you stand up to sprint, it feels like it's road sibling. Amazing really.

My shoulder is far from being bruised enough for this late in the season, so the weight really helps things as well - it's just under 15.9lbs, all set and ready to ride! And that's without running overpriced, scary-light carbon wheels! I'm just running a fairly standard single-ring SRAM Force drivetrain, parts that are a nice balance between weight and reliability, and some custom DT/Kinlin wheels built by your's truly.

Of course all these means that I'm going to have a hard time blaming the bike for any shortfalls in fitness... so I better get out there and do some bike practice!

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Week Past

After time off, and then trying to get back up to speed at the Bus Stop, it was back to racing last weekend with a double-header. The Raisin Hope Foundation Classic was on Saturday at the CSP track in Golden. The dynamics of the race were a bit odd with a lot of the heavy hitters being out of town for Utah, or otherwise skipping the race to save their matches for Sunday's State Crit Champs in Niwot.

Mr. Porter and another dude went from lap one. I followed a little surge by someone on lap two, which ended up gapping us off the front. Things behind looked boring, so I put my head down and drove across taking the dude with me. Got up without much hassle, and then we started working. We shelled the guy I brought up in about a lap, and then Dan and I were doing the majority of the work by far. We eased up, hoping to get a VC guy to come across, but no luck, so we just kept things turning, watching for the usual counter attacks. Got in, recovered, followed moves... missed the one that was finally going to stick, but at least it had Seth in it. I followed Baker several times when he tried to go, but he and I were being watched. Finally he went on the other side of the road, and I missed the move. Damnit... good legs and stuck in what had become the second group on the road. Frustrating.

Niwot was bound to be ugly... my least favorite type of race; a tight, flat, fast, figure-8 crit which was the State Championships no less. Definitely a strong and motivated field. I got a shitty start, closed about 8 gaps of people already coming off in the first three laps, and then got stuck behind a bit of a crash. Ugh... chased on as I was on the limit, but made it back. Then it was mostly follow the leader for the next 700 laps. I felt pretty solid, but every time I'd move up, I'd have trouble holding my position with all the big crit boys. I liked the cornering mostly, it was fun taking faster lines than most of the guys around. And I treated it like cyclocross practice, making 6 really hard accelerations every lap. So it was constantly on and off. At the end I was still in it, and feeling fine, but didn't feel like dicing with the guys fighting for 30th. Probably a good thing since a crash went on the final lap and I had to play NASCAR... driving through the smoke with my eyes close and hoping for the best. Made it through with no speed, and the guys I had been riding with all day finished in the top 20, so I likely would have ended up in a pretty decent spot. Oh well. Like I said, good training.

Tuesday I went out to the airport TT course, to help Seth in his final workout before his assault at Master's Worlds. Motopacing was on the agenda. It's a boring course out there, but has almost no traffic. I made him work hard, and he was killing it. So you know, I figure at least a good part of his success at the races should be credited towards me, right?

Thursday was another chance to punish people, and myself at the Bus Stop ride. Saturday Jessica and I got out for a great moto-ride. It was killer-hot, and riding up high was definitely nicer than anything down below! Then Jesse and Britainy came up since somehow she had never seen Wayne's World. The effect that the absence of that movie must have had on her childhood, is unbelievable.

And yesterday it was back to racing, with the HART circuit, criterium, whatever it is considered. I like that course, it's got a good power-hill in it to break things up, and you can't really go too easily, with the plan of coasting back on the other side of the hill, because it's usually windy and fast. Plan was to be patient, and I was. Just following wheels that might have been dangerous, keeping things rolling when people stopped riding. I was even right there on several primes, but didn't go for them, since I wanted to be ready for any attacks. And then I missed the move that was finally going to stick. Damn! So frustrating. Chuck got caught out, and had missed it as well. By that point, no one really wanted to do any work to chase, so I did, hoping to get Chuck closer to the move, but it was too late. Frustrated again, with good legs.

It was close to 100 degrees during the race, and I was completely cooked afterwards. Even broke out the air conditioning for the way home, and then drank 160+ oz. of fluids between the race end and bedtime.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


God do I hate Fall...

But man do I love getting new cross bikes!

Build, and real pictures coming soon with any luck!!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Niagra Picture Falls

After the wedding in PA, Jessica and I figured with where we were, it was just a quick 3-hour drive up to Niagra Falls, so we hoped into our rental car and drove up. With such a nice rental car, the drive was much quicker than we anticipated;

We were off to the Canadian side of the falls, figuring that Canada still counts as "getting out of the country", and our war with them has been pretty civil lately. Our hotel was pretty sweet, situated right over the Horseshoe Falls, and we had a great view from the room.

Once set up in the room and all that, we were into full-on tourist mode.

There's a rainbow every day with the right angle and timing;

We did the Maid of the Mist of course, past the American Falls;

Approaching the Horseshoe Falls;

And sitting below the Horseshoe Falls;

Then we were off to see the rapids below the falls. They were sick! The amount of water was pretty staggering. I should post the video I have, which makes it a lot more impressive, but for now you get a picture. 35 foot deep, Class VI rapids. I think more people have survived going over the falls, than running the rapids.

Below the falls you come to the Whirlpool, which was just as impressive. The water from the river pours into this pool, circling and then from the sheer force of its own weight and power, is pushed under the incoming stream, and continues out along the valley at a 90 degree angle

And what better way to see, than a cable car ride right over the whirlpool!?

Most every night we could watch fireworks right from our hotel room.

The next day we did the trip that takes you below the falls. That was pretty impressive as well, and I think cooler than the Maid of the Mist. The roar of the water is much louder, and even though you aren't on the water, you get closer and can really get a sense of the power.

We hit what is supposed to be like the biggest collection of totem poles in one place, or something like that. There were tons of really cool ones, but this one made me laugh the most;

Then hit the Botanical Gardens, which were a bit past their prime for the year, but still pretty cool

Always fun to watch the lights on the falls at night;

By the time it our trip was up, we were definitely done with the crowds, but still a fun trip and very cool. Especially since Jessica hadn't been to the falls before. No doubt I'm already ready for another vacation!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Another Wedding in the Family

A week or so again (I know, I know, I need to get caught-up bigtime!) Jessica and I hit the road, or air, and were off to Pennsylvania for my cousin Terry's wedding. It was a great excuse to get back east to rural OH/PA, hang with some family and relax for a bit. We were staying at my cousin's farm, so that would be fun too, since I haven't seen the latest farm, or lived the dairy life for awhile.

After a late arriving flight into Ohio, and then a rainy late drive into PA to the farm, we pretty much went straight to bed without seeing anything. So in just a few hours, it was pretty funny to wake up to the sound of cows just outside the window, yelling for their breakfast;

I was hoping there would be some young calves for Jessica to see, and we weren't dissapointed. There were lots including this two-day old little girl;

Jessica even got to help out with chores as we fed the "young'ins" and let her bottle feed the youngest.

And it didn't take long for me to convince some of the barn cats that humans were definitely good, and you could get love from them if you'd just jump up onto their shoulders.

It's always fun to be back east, feel some humidity, and see all the green! Once you get out of the desert, things actually grow and thrive!

Saturday we were all off to "town" for the big wedding;

I was definitely sure that the colors for the wedding would be John Deere green and yellow, but somehow that was vetoed, and they did go with a lovely black, white and pink scheme. Terry however made me proud, showing the rebellious and fun side, by sneaking in the John Deere suspenders under his tux.

The wedding was lovely, as was the reception. And like any good farm couple, the limo consisted of a lovely Ford F450 Twin Turbo Powerstroke Diesel flatbed work truck.