Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
The course was altered from the 8 corner gem of last year due to some serious construction. (it would have made for a good CX barrier). This year we had a wide open, but bumpy 6 turn course with a slight rise on the backside into a downhill final turn and a uphill sprint finish, extremely unique. The course was a blast, some technical areas, but nothing really dangerous. You could hammer through most of the turns when you felt the need.
In the 3/4's race we lined up with 5 guys. Michael Shea, Dan Pollard, Matt Riezman, Brandon Diffenderfer, and I were going to work as a unit to take a podium spot. I felt terrible most of the race, breaks attempted to get off and the pace was rather brisk, Brandon and Shea were holding strong position; Dan and I were doing my classic tail gunning act and Matt was throwing up in some dude's lawn. Panda express as your pre-race meal really?
I took a free lap due to a mechanical with about 15 laps to go. Small breaks got away but the field remained attentive and brought everything back within a couple laps. With about 5 to go a two man group was about 200 or may 300 meters off the front and I thought what the hell I hadn't done anything this race I might as well try and bridge. I attacked up the left side of the rise and I saw Shea coming up the right side. I thought if I could get a small gap he could come over the top and block while I tried my bridge. However my efforts got me on the front of the group but no further. I thought I would take a long pull and see what happened. I pulled for about a lap and tried to pull off on the rise, and that I did. Directly off the back. I chased for about two laps until the group was out of sight. When the pack goes out of sight its like a punch to the stomach, you know your day is over.
I am told on the last lap Brandon took an outside line to attack the group grabbing a 3rd place finish, Shea took the inside line and got pinched finishing a respectable 10th. Shea commented after the race how impressed he was with Brandon's abililty to read the race on the last lap. For a Cat 4 rider to get a podium while racing against some really strong 3's is really impressive!
We moved up for a few laps and then with three to go at the start finish line someone flipped the squirrelly switch and bike handling went to hell. A couple ridders tumbled into the fence, the pucker factor in the field was high. I got shuffled back and saw Bryan Cael he said "its getting nuts up there", I thought it sure is. So on the rise I attacked up the left side again. Same result, it ended at the front of the group. I saw a rider in front of us, he was chasing after his crash but I didn't know that. I got to his back wheel and he sat up. I soft peddled or two strokes and then dropped the hammer through the rise. I was trying to string out the group for a full lap to allow Brandon and Dan to spring attacks on the rise. I put everything I had through my bike and bombed each of the corners. I felt great about my lines and the pack snaked behind me. I dropped a maintained a strong tempo until we crested the rise, and then BOOM!!!!!! I blew up, and faded to the right as Brandon attacked just to the right of me and barely to the left of the curb. We grassed hands and he flew off the front of the group. I saw Dan follow from the inside and I knew my job was done. They were first two through the last two turns and we Brandon held on for 3rd in the long sprint with Dan holding his wheel for 4th. A great team effot nabs us another podium and another top 5.
chiCROSScup with a diversion for the Fall Fling and problably a rest week or two... probably not.
All photo credit to Justeen.
Friday, August 27, 2010
Yes its time for the grand tour that lacks the luster of the Tour and the Grio, but that doesn't mean its not going to be an exciting race, here are ten reasons to watch the Vuelta de Espana.
10) Tejay Van Garderen (HTC-Columbia) - This kid is the best hope for another American GC contender (sorry Levi you have to attack to win). After a strong spring this is his first Grand Tour, maybe looking for a stage win?
9) Cervelo's last stand - With the demise of the Cervelo Test Team will the current roster look to show off for other directors or will a unified unit work for Sastre on the GC and set up Hushovd on the sprints? They sure ask a lot out of their team.
8) Menchov's investment in his future - With Menchov leaving Rabobank at years end a third win at the Vuelta would make his paycheck next year just a little fatter. My guess is he will follow wheels and grind out another Grand Tour Podium, but will it be the top spot?
7) Play along on Rouler Derby - What you don't play rouler debry? You are missing out! I still don't quite understand how the betting odds work but its a lot of fun, and when you run out of points, you just borrow more. And if you have the best ROI on the Vuleta you won't win a spanish bottle of wine just like my roommate didn't win a french bottle of win for that AG2R pick he pulled out of his ass....
6) The Schlecks are back together again - Andy is racing for Frank, and well I was just looking for an excuse to use this picture again. Sweet pose guys, it really shows off the noodle arm syndrome many of us cyclist suffer from. But seriously they are pretty good and they are racing, its their Saxo Bank swan song.
5) Its still a grand tour - This is the last Grand Tour of the year, there will be drama, there will be great summit finishes, and explosive sprints. Not to mention every stage is on US TV on Universal Sports.
4) CVV - He has hit the ground more than anyone over the past two seasons, he considered retirement after crashing out of the tour, after crashing in the tour de sussie, after crashing out in the giro... you see what I am saying? If he can just stay upright that would be a good start. In an mind blowing development CVV is a among the favorites to show at the Vuelta on rouler derby, who is making that bet????
3) A Liqiugas double? - Can Nibali or Kreuziger win another Grand Tour for the underrated Liqiugas team. They bring one of the strongest teams to the race and people forget they won the team TT at the giro. They already have two podiums this year at the Giro can they get two more?
2) HTC - Garmin butt heads again - That's right folks the mighty train of Mark Cavendish will go head to head with the improving train of Tyler Farrar in final km's of the sprint stages. It got downright violent at the Tour when Renshaw and Dean famously butted heads repeatedly and then Renshaw tried to pin Farrar on the boards. Lets watch them battle it out again, but hold your lines guys.
1) Team TT Late Night - Starting at 1000pm (GMT) the back drop for the opening team TT should be amazing. And how doesn't love a team TT, if done right its a thing of beauty, if done wrong its hillarious. It starts tomorrow at 3pm on Universal Sports. I will try and avoid the results until after my races it Dixon tomorrow afternoon.
Enjoy the Vuelta
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
“When I do quit the one thing I’m really going to miss from racing is that exhausted feeling after a race,” he says. “If you’ve ever been at a stage race and you drop out and you can’t fly home immediately there are these things that give you pain and every pro will tell you that it hurts. When the guys eat their race meal, or walk to the bus. The worst is being in the bus after the race and hearing them talk about the race. They have that really dehydrated sunken look and you want that so bad. It’s addictive.” Michael Creed (From a cyclingnews interview posted 8/18/10)
Until you have experienced that feeling of complete exhaustion you can't understand just how addictive it truly is....
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
"- And finally… apparently we were wrong and no one is getting ready for CX season… which is a crying shame because we were really looking forward to another great season. Lucky for us, rumor has it Andrew Zens (of CBR fame) will be racing for bacon in the 4B’s. However, if you’ve ever seen Andrew near Pratt and Ridge after the Wednesday night MidWeekeGem then you know Andrew might be looking for something besides bacon during the carnival. Will this be your first season racing CX? We’d love to hear from you and what you’re doing to get ready. Leave your thoughts in the comments section below."
Check out the ChiCrossCup website today for a big announcement....
Monday, August 9, 2010
Saturday, August 7, 2010
I took my free lap and got gapped off the lead group. Joe from psimet and I tried to get to the back of the group. We lost sight after a couple laps and that was all she wrote!
26th place finish and a really sore body... Ugh!
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
Monday, August 2, 2010
The course was really nice, huge corners and relatively smooth, besides the 6th corner where there was a bunch of road furniture. If you want a better description of the course check out our preview.
We all agreed after the race that was a pretty uneventful race. We had 50 starters and guys were getting dropped quick! Dan held tight up front most of the race, but then he dropped his pink Vision Quest water bottle. Bryan and I moved around a little bit but settled towards the back of the pack. We were all together coming into the last lap, but we put it on cruise control when a rider in front of us clipped a pedal in the downhill corner and somehow remained upright. The pucker factor was high on this near miss. I finished 20th, Dan was 23rd and Bryan 25th. One more race to come.
We were on a mission. Dan and I line up on the outside or the front row and on the whistle we come over the top of the group. Dan starts setting the tempo. As we approach the rise I takeover. We are trying to show that we are going to be the guys that dictate the race. I attack, we stay off the front for a about 2 laps, maybe less. Dan attacks, Bryan gets hung out to dry on his attempt, nothing really sticks. We were all over the attacks from the start. After about 15 or 20 mins the race settles.
Early in the race some guy rode right into me and starting freaking out and screaming. I said "I need you to clam the fuck down!" And then everything was fine, thanks to my 2 Randy Warren safety clinic's I don't freak out when someone starts bumping me. He later told me he thought we had locked bars, no harm no foul.
For the first time we rode together all race. With about 12 or 13 laps to go we all go to the front and push the pace. Pre-race their had been discussion about trying to split the field, and this was our best attempt. We all pulled through once and then settled about 5 wheels back. With 6 laps to go the pace slowed again, Dan hammered to the front took control. At this point Bryan tells me "I'll get you to turn 5". Dan comes back to me and tells me he's done. I tell him to stick Bryan's wheel.
These guys were setting me up, I started to get really nervous. I thought if Bryan gets me to turn 5 what the hell do I do between 5 and 6?
With 1 to go the bell rang and Bryan went to the front and did his best George Hincapie impression. He killed it, at the top of the rise he looked back to make sure we were still close to his wheel we sate 3rd and 4th wheel. He hammered the downhill and we were single file coming into turn 4. He picked up the pace as we came into turn 5. He peeled off and Dan kept me 4th wheel as we hit turn six. However somehow a lapped rider was in the way. He actually took the inside line! I jumped outside and a rider came to my inside. I was 4th coming into the finishing straight which had a stiff head wind. I exploded out of my saddle. I checked my inside and it was clear so I swung to my left, I opened it up. I passed the rider directly in front of me and I was now on the podium but then I ran out of real estate. The computer said I got it up to 35.7 mph in the sprint, I'll take that. Had the last turn been cleaner who knows what happens.
Dan and Bryan both finished in the top ten giving us 3 top tens for the day. We achieved our goal of a podium and we really races strong. Not to mention we finally figured out what to do at the end of a race. All and all it was a good trip even if we did sit in my car for 7 hrs.
Thanks to the Men of Steel Racing Team, Parkview and all involved in this event. The opportunity for a 3/4's race was the best part of this event. I really enjoyed the low cost racing as well 2 races $38.
Saturday, July 31, 2010
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
Friday, July 30, 2010
6 Turns: Check
3/4 at 2:45pm: Check
Cat4 at 6:30pm: Check
A few lone wolves are heading to Indiana tomorrow in search of
Boogity Boogity Boogity, Lets Go Racin'!!
Note to fellow racers, when planning to race in Indiana consider the effect of time zones in your travel plan.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Over next couple weeks I'll look at the options available to the top riders on the transfer market. Today I will focus on the biggest name on the market Alberto Contador.
Word out of the Contador camp is that negations with Astana are stalled (according to velonews), and El Pisterlo is ready to ride for a new team in 2010. So where will he end up?
Patrick Lefevre, Quick Step Director, was hot after Contador last year. So we should assume the same will hold true this year. Quick Step showed at the Tour they could compete at the biggest race of the year without its biggest star, Tom Boonen. With the addition of a few climbers, namely Navarro and Noval, this team could be capable of defending Alberto's back to back tour titles. Not to mention this Alberto would take some pressure off Boonen and allow him to focus on the classics, where he truly shines.
Riis Team (old Saxo Bank)
Next season Andy and Frank Schleck will be riding for a new team out of Luxembrog built around them. They are most likely going to take a bunch of the Saxo guys with them. So this leaves a large hole in the Bjarne Riis lead team. With Saxo Bank ending its title sponsorship after this season some new sponsors will be filing the void and the team will go on, at least that's the word on the web. One of the rumored title sponsors for next season is Specialized (along with Sunguard), Contador has a personal contact to ride Specialized next season, hmmmm...... And Rhis is the type of director who can lead the second half of Contador's career, seems like a really good fit.
Garmin - Transitions
rumors are that he would have signed him prior to the the 2009 Tour had Astana folded. So will Vautghers be able to sign him this time around? It seems unlikely. This team is influx, with CVV in the twilight of his career it looks as if the team is putting its resources behind Tyler Farrar. The fit wouldn't be great, but some pieces could be brought in to make a GC push for Contador. Not to mention they have a lot of money from the sale of Wiggo and you could always throw Ryder "weight of a nation" Hesjedal on the open market and fetch a pretty penny for him while his stock is through the roof.
(do you really want to go into 2011 with 36 yr old Andres Kolden as your top rider?) The team would be solid and the management would be steady. But then again if you read Bill Strickland's book Tour de Lance you would be lead to believe that all of Contador's ex-teammates don't really care for him. (And there is that whole investigation into the team's owner and director)
I think these are the only legitimate options for Contador now lets see what happens, my bet is on the Riis Team (Sunguard - Specialized). Let me know where you think Contador will end up next season in the comments section.
Monday, July 26, 2010
Favorite Domestique - A rider whose main job is to help the team leader win the day's stage, or the entire race. A domestique may pull the leader up to a breakaway, or pace them up a steep climb. If a team leader gets a flat, a domestique may even be called upon to give up their front or rear wheel and wait for the team mechanic, saving the leader precious seconds. (via Tour of Americas Dairyland website)
Jens Vogit - The only true hardman of cycling!
Favorite Sprinter - The guys who bang all the way to the line, they battle for space and explode out of gaps and make it look easy.
Favorite Team - No explanation needed, right?
Radio Shack, I really like Johan Brunyeel. He is a master tactician and succeeds a lot more than he fails. I like the American angle of the team too. Horner, Lance, Levi, Matt Busche and Taylor Phinney is on his way up too. They also did a nice job winning me some rouleurderby points in the Team Classifaction (now I can payoff my debt!)
road races in the international calendar. Most of the events, all run in western Europe, have been fixtures on the professional calendar for decades and the oldest ones date back to the 19th Century. They are normally held at roughly the same time each year. In the last few years, the five most revered races are sometimes described as the 'Monuments'.(Via wikipedia.com)
Big Tom Boonen, the three time Paris Roubiax winner hammers the cobbles like no other. He abuses other riders when the days get tough and if it comes down to a bunch sprint he is still one of the fastest wheels in the pack.
Favorite Grand Tour Contender - The guys who compete for the overall at the biggest events in cycling. .
Andy Schleck showed me something this year. He brought it this past Saturday in the Time Trial even pushing Contador to his limits. If it had not been for a slipped chain and a terrible prologue the tour may had ended differently. Better days are ahead for Andy Schleck, I will even predict that yesterday was the last day Alberto Contador will ride into Paris in Yellow. 2011 the Year of Schleck!
So Copy and Paste this list into the comments and fill it out.
Chicago Cycling Team
Favorite Classics Rider
Favorite Tour Contender
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Based on my recent twitter readings, it seems that Christian VdV will be headed to the Vuelta. Maybe a Chicagoan on a podium? Plenty of climbing to come...until then.
For the love of the suffer,
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Without his brother by his side he continued to impress. In the Alps he launched a vicious attack during stage 8 that pushed his competitors to their limit (including a certain Spaniard) resulting in his first stage victory of this years Tour. He took yellow after the rest day on stage 9 by launching several attacks aimed at Mr. Fingerbang. Finally after trading attacks they called a truce and pushed the pace to the finish in order to put time into the rest of the field. He wore Yellow for 6 days losing the jersey due to a debatable attack from Mr. Fingerbang. It been discussed enough so I will leave it at that. (Photo: © Sirott)
Mr. Fingerbang off his wheel with countless accelerations. The Spaniard didn't flinch matching each of the accelerations, and finally countering with an acceleration of his own with about 4k to go. Schleck quickly closed the gap with about 3.5k, but his tank was empty. In a class move Mr. Fingerbang didn't contest a one up sprint with Schleck at the top of the Tourmalet, giving Schleck a unforgettable victory. (Photo: © Roberto Bettini www.cyclingnews.com)
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Jens being Jens. If you look up hardman in the dictionary you get this picture.
So then the broom wagon pulled up and was like, “Do you want to just get in?” And I said, “Oh no, I don’t need YOU!” But there I am with blood spurting out my left elbow and no bike. Finally, the race organizers got me a bike, but it was this little yellow junior bike. It was way too small for me and even had old-fashioned toe-clip pedals. But that is the only way I could get down the mountain, so I had to ride it for like 15-20 kilometers until I finally got to a team car with my bike.
Beyond The DebateMy struggle is that for seemingly every defense of one argument, there’s an equally valid counter-argument. There really doesn’t seem to be one answer that’s clearly right or one that’s clearly wrong. In the end, and even though it’s directly contradicted by the Lance/Ullrich situation on Luz Ardiden in 2003, if I had to make a decision today I would say that it would have been nice to see Contador wait for Schleck, but I don’t think he was obligated to. The decision to press on, however, may well haunt Contador later in this race or in the future.
The peloton has its own sense of justice, and if the riders feel that Contador was wrong, they may find ways within races to let him know. I don’t mean they’ll do anything malicious like push him off the road, but they may decide not to work with him in a breakaway, or that they’ll chase him down to prevent him from winning when they otherwise would have cooperated with him. Perhaps in next year’s Tour, or in a stage later in this race, a rider who might otherwise work with Contador in a small group will decide to just sit on.
You have to remember that even though many fans only see riders like Sammy Sanchez or Andy Schleck once a year during the Tour de France, the riders see each other week in and week out for years. Many of the men in the Tour have been racing each other for the better part of a decade, some even longer. Many have raced together on the same teams, or will in the future, as contracts and sponsors change. The actions you take in races determine how you are perceived in the peloton, and over time you build a reputation based on fairness, competence, safety, work ethic, and friendliness. The night after a stage like today, we can all talk about the immediate implications that Schleck’s mechanical problem – and Contador’s response - had on the race. But right or wrong, the long-term consequences of Contador’s decision will be decided by the peloton.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Q: How do you spell Lantern Rouge?
A: Lanterne Rouge
Q: What does Wikipedia know about the Lanterne Rouge?
A: The Lanterne Rouge is the competitor in last place in a cycling race such as the Tour de France. The phrase comes from the French "Red Lantern" and refers to the red lantern hung on the caboose of a railway train, which conductors would look for in order to make sure none of the couplings had become disconnected. (Couldn't have said it better myself.)
Q: Who is currently in last place in the Tour?
A: 181. Adriano Malori (Lampre) at 2:02:29, respectable.
Q: Does Adriano have a large enough gap this early in the Tour to hold off 180. Anthony Roux, FDJ, at 2:00:46?
A: I have no idea...
Q: Does it make you proud that an American has never come in last?
A: Hell yea!!
Q: Are you going to get a loan @rouleurderby to bet on it?
A: Hell yea!!
Special not appropriate @work question...
Q: Did @NeilRoad tweet something special tonight?
A: No comment
Keep the rubber side down,
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
My teammate Drew took 2nd, which was great because it at least made the trip not a total waste.
Really enjoyed hanging out with the Rhythm Racing guys before the race watching Andy Schleck throw fire on the field at the tour (I really don't want to see el bitchelero in yellow in paris), thanks to 2 Bici for the accommodations.
Well after 15 races in 26 days not to mention a trip to Matteson for the Tuesday Night Training Races I think its time for some rest. One more good day of training and a couple of High Lifes then I am putting the bike down for at least two days followed by a rest week next week.
Monday, July 12, 2010
Superweek is always tough racing. When people drop $40 to race their bike its seems to add speed and aggression, these aren't always the best things in a 4/5 race (more on that tomorrow).
The course was interesting to say the least. Two of the corners were made of bricks and the third turn was terrifying. There was a downhill off camber right hand turn into a narrow street, amazingly in our race everyone seemed to navigate this corner without anyone touching the ground.
We prepared for the race by trying to combat the heat, which was tough. It was sooo hot we had to use a mitten full of Enzo's buttonhole for extra protection (it smells like thin mints!)
A full field of 75 took to the line, this race was loaded with newcomers which was evident early on in the race. I staged well, but in retrospect I should have lined up behind Dan or Drew. Something I will make sure to do in my next race.We all rolled off the line for a 25 lap race, ohhh the joy of superweek. Due to a failed clip in I was swarmed when the official started the race (pretty sure the clip-in this is a mental block at this point).
As we hit turn 3 for the first time it seemed that everyone puckered up good, but somehow despite trying to jam three or four wheels through the turn we all made it. As the race went on we got better at taking this turn, but the hardest part was that there really wasn't a clean line through it. This seemed to be the consensus from everyone I talked to; including Phillip Mann a Bahati Foundation rider who finished top ten after being off the front for 75 laps!
I raced pretty well, I moved up a couple spots each lap. I knew superweek races are long and there was no reason to blow up early. I took advantage of my ability to power up the hill and moved up four or five spots each time. After a couple laps the attrition started and riders were being shelled off the back, about 4 or 5 guys a lap.
The group remained extremely strung out all day, something that rarely happens in a 4/5's race. My teammates Drew and Dan raced amazing, they held top 15 position all race. This is something I really need to focus on, until I figure out how, my race career will not progress. I dodged a couple solo crashes and managed to chase back on with ease. I was feeling good as the laps passed.
With about 5 to go I knew I needed to move up, I was sitting about 5 wheels back from Drew and Dan with 2 to go. I moved up again on the hill and started to try to navigate my way to Dan's wheel. I was moving up the left side looking for a clear lane to start to set up for the sprint. At this point the field had been whittled down to about 30 riders. As we approached the final turn all hell broke loose. From what I gathered someone tried to put a wheel where it had no business being. Bumping occurred, someone freaked out, and the next thing I knew bikes and bodies were flying in every direction.The sound of a crash is horrifying, the sight of your friends from other teams laying on the ground is depressing and the fact that this happens almost every week is ridiculous. I was able to find a path through the carnage by grabbing a fist full of Ultegra breaks and throwing my ass back in order to stabilize myself, but a gap had formed. I could see Dan and Drew had made it through, what a relief!
At this point I was with Bryan from Verdigris, we took turns trying to pull ourselves back into the race that was running away from us but we had no such luck. I was extremely jittery after seeing what had happened the lap before. I did my best to make the turns as clean as possible. Bryan and I simply wanted to make it to the line safely, as we did just that. He crossed 16th and I followed close behind 17th.
Having a teammate win is a incredible feeling. Now I only wish I could have done something to help him out during the race, well maybe next time.
Drew remains the overall 4/5 leader after his stellar weekend.
Drew and I will be heading out to Willow Springs to tackle the road race.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Today was a tough stage to watch... Our American hopeful for this year’s tour seemed to have all of the good luck from 7 previous tours reverse in a treacherous Karmic pattern. As the stage went up, the Lance of old was no where to be found. It begs the question: When should heroes call it quits….????
Lance pic: pez
Jordan pic: a popular search engine