Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Interbike and Cross Vegas

Apparently there's guys in the industry that get sick of going to interbike year after year. I'm glad I'm not that bikes haven't become that stale for me yet. I look forward to interbike...it's my one excuse to go to Vegas each year. This trip was an adventure for sure. Hershey and I went out early Wednesday morning and came back late Thursday night. We both brought cross bikes as I raced Wednesday evening. We also decided to camp and save a little money on hotel. The show was really fun. Not an extremely innovative year for the industry (besides the new electronic Dura Ace), but all the bikes looked really good and the attention to detail was there. Cross Vegas was awesome. The course was a rolling field with a nasty run-up and a couple other short steep climbs. One of those climbs became a run up for me on one lap as I somehow managed to come unclipped when I stood up. At 110 racers it was the biggest cross field I had ever done. There were call-ups for the first 25 or so riders and I managed to get in the 5th row. My start was solid and I had already moved up a couple spots when we looped back through the start/finish area. At one point going during the 2nd lap I was top 15 and moving up...when I came unclipped on that aforementioned hill. I lost about 7 spots and was struggling to catch back onto the chase group. I was riding really well in the long straights and running well, but another bobble going into the final turn cost me another spot or 2. I finished top 25, but not sure of my final place. I felt good, but the dry dusty air did a number on my throat and lungs.
The Pro race was a blast to watch. We had a perfect spot in between 3 sections where we could run from side to side to catch all the action. Mr. Armstrong showed up and it was fun watching him suffer. I'm not sure he knew what to thing about world class cross racing. The only other time I've watched all the top riders race was at nationals last year, and those conditions weren't favorable for speed. It was amazing to see how fast they go on grass courses. Trebon pulled off an impressive win against a pretty stacked field. It was cool to be up close and personal with the riders after the race. Maybe next year I'll hang around and race the industry cup crit also.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Busy September.

This has been an extremely busy month. First a quick wrap-up on The Tour of Missouri. Man what a blast! I got to drive the team RV for Health-Net for the first 5 days of the TOM. These guys are extremely nice and down to earth. It's cool to see how a small budget/big time team does it. Everything is such well organized chaos. Basically, I drove the team to the start, hung out, made sure they were comfortable. Then when the race started I drove to the finish, found an awesome parking spot, went for a ride then got to work on preparing for their arrival. When they finished each stage it was my job to corral them back to the team area and get them to the hotel. Then off to a predictable meal of steamed veggies, pasta, soft chicken and salad. At least we had the option of 10 different desserts each night. The team didn't have the best of weeks racing, but they did have a few things go their way. Rory Sutherland captured his second consecutive NRC title, the team captured it's 5th consecutive NRC title, and they signed Floyd Landis for next season. Things are looking up for the team.
I came home to a week of catch-up before heading to Lincoln for the Pirate Cycling League Good Life Gravel Adventure. This race deserved a long name. You could tell that the guys that put on this event had a fun time. No race entry, no support, but guaranteed good times. Those of us that came up from the KC/Lawrence area were fortunate to stay at Dave Mcleod's in-laws house. It's nice to stay in a house instead of a hotel at any race. The 135 mile gravel race started at 6:00 am with a 2.5 mile neutral start. Then it was on. It was like a full blown dk200 sprint start, but in the dark. Those with decent lighting (like myself) had a distint advantage. Before I knew it the lead group was 8, then 6, and then 3. I was suprised to be in the top 3 at the first of 4 checkpoints. Which involved a casey's general store and purchasing a Nebraska Lotto ticket (which would all be pooled together at the end of the race and we were going to split our millions!). The chase group of 5 was pulling in as we were leaving the first check. The next check 15 miles later, we got out before the chase group pulled in: Out of sight; out of mind!
I knew that Matt Gersib was the strongest rider I was with (sorry Peter), so I attacked at about mile 55. I went hard for 30 mile until the 3rd check and got out before 2nd place saw me. I really started to hurt about mile 105 and had to hang out at the 4th and final check for a good 15 minutes. 2nd place pulled in as I was putting my shoes back on (damned hot spots). I knew he would catch me soon, as he looked much fresher than I felt. Then at mile 110 after being off the front for 55 miles by myself he caught me. I tried to attack a couple times to see if he had blown his load bridging up but it a futile effort and ended up hurting me more in the long run.
He put a lot of time on me in the last 20 miles and I really learned what hot spots felt like. I've never felt so helpless in my life.
I pulled in at mile 135.something in 9 hours 16 minutes. My feet hurting worst of all! The ride felt good for the most part, but a win would've felt even better.
A big thanks to the PCL crew for a great event, Dave for his hospitality and Peter for being Peter. Interbike wrap-up to come soon!
It's Cross Season!!!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

57 and rainy

It sure feels like cross season out there.
With a very successful and fun short track series behind us, we now look to cross season. It's going to be a very exciting year for cross in KC. 16 races, 2 gravel races, and of course the National Championships! There look to be some very exciting new venues as well. We will be using Tiffany Springs Park for our first Boss Cross on 11/1, Platte Ridge Park in Platte City on 11/30 and English Landing Park in Parkville on 12/28. There's only 3 short weeks until the very first cross race of the season, at a new venue in Lenexa on the 28th.
This coming monday is the start of the Tour of Missouri. It's going to be a very fun week. Sunday we have 2 events planned at the Prairie View store. 10:30am ride with Health-Net professional team. Then at 5:00pm Liquigas will be there for an autograph signing. Great chance to meet and ride with the best professional cyclists in the world.
Monday morning I head off on a great adventure, driving the Health-Net team RV for the week. I'll spend my week going from city to city and hanging out with the team.