Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Tracking Chicago Transfers

Twitter gave me a great idea today (thanks Nikki and Lou) lets track Chicago Transfers!

Its on each of you to fill this out honestly....

Here is where we are at so far!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Why I ride - CX Style

The background for a good old set of sunrise cx intervals! Milwaukee WI
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Caption Contest

What in the world is going on here?

Leave your thoughts in the comments

Photo Credit Nerobo on Flickr

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Its almost here!

2009 Chicago Cyclocross Cup from Heather Jurewicz on Vimeo.

If this video doesn't get you ready I don't know what will! 

(as tweeted by dznutz)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A little caption contest!

All right what is going on here? Leave your caption in the comments....

(c) micheal shea
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

More poduims? yes please!

We came to Dixon rolling 5 deep in the 3/4's and 4 deep in the 4/5's. With numbers like that in a small race you should be able to put together a team plan that puts one of your guys on the podium. I always try to make podiums the goal. With so many of our races coming down to sprints its so hard to produce victories in this sport it takes prefect luck. However with good team tatics and attentive racing it is very realistic to expect podiums if you have the fitness.  

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.

3/4's Race
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!

4/5's Race

In the 4/5's we decided we would ad-hoc the strategy with all the riders from the first race less Shea. I was really impressed how we stayed close to each other and talked during the race. It was 39 person field so moving around was going to be an issue. Dan, Brandon and I maintained mid-pack position and Matt hugged the front of the group in an impressive display of racing. With about 5 to go we knew it was time to start sticking our nose towards the front of the group.

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.

We have had a great run as of late, we are really getting the hang of team tatics and figuring out proper execution. I am really proud of what we have accomplished this year. Now time for the chiCROSScup with a diversion for the Fall Fling and problably a rest week or two... probably not.

Thanks for to Dixon, great event! Look forward to a return trip. Thanks to Julian, Justeen and Brandon's family for the cheering sections. And Juilan when you yelled move up, I really was trying but I was really tired.

All photo credit to Justeen.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Why you should watch the Vuleta...

As Neil Browne so eloquently stated "The red-headed stepchild of the Grand Tours is almost here

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

Is there rehab for this addiction?

I read a fascinating interview with former US Postal/Discovery and Rock Racing rider Michael Creed. He is currently looking for a new team as his current contract with Team Type 1 is not cutting it. I highly recommend you read the interview. It is heavily laced with a discussion of doping, which is annoying but there are some really amazing quotes littered throughout the interview. I found the quote below the most interesting:

“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

Ask and you shall recieve

I spend my Wednesday nights taking part in the MidWeekGem alongside Chicago Cross Cup Director Jason Knauff. This year will be my first year participating in the cross cup and I asked Jason to announce that on the website, and he did just that (see post below). Check out the cross cup this fall, if you don't ride come heckle! 
"- 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

Grayslake Race Report: By Dan Pollard

This past Saturday was the Grayslake Cycling Classic located in the Prairie Crossing subdivision in Northern Illinois. The course is approximately 1K long and is in the shape of the letter U with three wide, sweeping turns and two tighter 90 degree right handers. This course layout allows the pace to get and stay high, as we would find out soon enough.

Andrew, Drew and I would make the trip north together, meeting up with Brandon at the race. Drew has been on excellent form lately and had some great results during Superweek, including his first win at Geneva. And Andrew was coming off a podium finish last week so we agreed the team would do what it could do to put me in a position for a result.

The race started off with call ups for the top 10 in the Illinois Cup standings since this was the final Cup race of the year. After staging well the last few races, I got stuck towards the back and knew I would spend the first part of the race working my way to the front. When the whistle blew I set to work getting up to the front. The pace immediately was high and the field was strung out single file working its way around the course. On the first three laps gaps already started to form as the pace was slowly spitting people out the back. I could see Drew and Brandon sitting in great position in the top 10 for most of the first half of the race, but I didn't see Andrew. I didn't think anything of it until the pack came around through the start finish and I saw Andrew in the SRAM neutral support pit. I would find out after the race that he clipped his pedal and went down on one of the first laps, luckily, outside of some more road rash, he was ok.

Before the midpoint of the race I had finally made my way up to the front and comfortably settled in the top 10. A few small breaks would try to go up the road but would never get more than a few seconds on the field and the crosswinds on the backside of the course made it extremely difficult to maintain a breakaway. The race was pretty uneventful from there until 3 laps to go when the pace visibly slowed as everyone seemed to be saving themselves for the final sprint. Drew went to the front a couple times to keep the pace high and the field strung out. The main field was still together as we crossed the start/finish line for the final time. Drew, Brandon and I were all sitting top 20 at this point and we started to move up the field to try to position me for the final sprint.

On the final straight-away Drew took a strong pull and went to the front and gapped the field, with me right on his wheel, according to our pre-race plan. Turns out Brandon was the victim of someone taking a bad line through the final right turn and he was pushed off the course into the grass, so the Monkey lead out train was now just Drew. He pulled into the cross wind and put me in great position to start my wind up for the final sprint into the inside of the U. I wasn't sure how big my gap was when I pulled around Drew, but I may have taken off a little early as the finish would prove to be about 50m too far for me. I came around the second to last bend in first place with John from Rhythm Racing on my wheel. John took a quick pull on the front and then I rotated to the front and saw Quentin from Project 5 go flying by. I tried to spin up to catch his wheel but couldn't catch on, and a gap slowly was opening up between him and I. Coming into the finishing straight I was in second place. I didn't look back because I was hoping I would have enough to hold on. Turns out, I didnt as I got swarmed just before the line and rolled across for a 9th place finish.

Even though I didn't end up with the result the team and I wanted, I'll take Saturday as a learning experience and put the lessons learned to use in my next race. Thanks to Drew, Andrew and Brandon for the team effort, next time hopefully I can get the result. Thanks also to the residents and volunteers of Prairie Crossing and all those involved for running a well organized and on time event.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Grayslake Race Report Cat 4

The pavement won today. I clipped a pedal in the second 90 degree turn. I wasn't able to hold it up hit the ground again.

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!
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Monday, August 2, 2010

We came this far, we might as well make a statement!

Alright so 6 weeks back some yahoo from Wisconsin rode up under my teammates Bryan's handlebars and crashed him out resulting in a broken arm. After five weeks of recovery and one week on the bike he was ready to roll up the start-line again. A three man wolfpack (Bryan, Dan and I) ventured to Indiana for Parkview Cycling Classic put on by the Men of Steel Racing team. We would throw down in 3/4's race followed by a 4's race.

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.

3/4's race
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.

Between races Dan and I decided with a small field anything less than a podium spot would be a failure in the 4's race.

4's Race
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

On the podium finally!

Thanks to the spidermonkey leadout train of Bryan "I only do classics" Witry and Danny "just throw the damn bottle" Pollard I was able to claim a spot on the podium at the Parkview Classic in Fort Wayne Indiana. They delivered me fourth wheel to the last corner and I was able to take down one rider to finish 3rd. Dan held on for 6th and Bryan claimed 8th after a lap of dragging the field at a blistering tempo. Huge thanks to the teammates today, I did the easy part!

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Friday, July 30, 2010

Parkview Cycling Classic 1.0

6 Turns:
3/4 at 2:45pm:
Cat4 at 6:30pm: Check
Shoes: Check

A few lone wolves are heading to Indiana tomorrow in search of strippers and cocaine 2 races of fun. Its my first race back, and i'm excited.

Boogity Boogity Boogity, Lets Go Racin'!!

Saturday's Race

Myself, Bryan and Dan are heading to Fort Wayne Indiana to tackle the Parkview Cycling Classic. We will have an opportunity to race twice on Saturday which was attractive to us. The course is 1k long with 6 turns, updates to come.

Note to fellow racers, when planning to race in Indiana consider the effect of time zones in your travel plan.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Its transfer season!

We have reached one the the most interesting parts of the pro-cycling season, transfer season. With the biggest names in the sport likely on the move prior to the 2011 season including the entire 2010 TdF podium this could be one of the most important transfer seasons in years.

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?

Quick Step

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

Jonathon Vaughter has openly gushed about Contador for years and 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.

Radio Shack

This isn't going to happen, but it would make the most sense. He is familiar with the team and the director, even if they don't always see eye to eye. This team doesn't have a true GC rider for the 2011 season (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

The tour is over, what does a cycling addict do?

Now that the tour is over I am not sure what to do. So here is what I came up with, a poll of sorts. I think it would be interesting to find a little bit about the people who read this blog. So I am going to list my favorite riders in pro cycling, and then I am going to ask you post your favorite riders in the comments. Lets see how it works.

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.

Tyler Farrar - Its great to have an American sprinter for an American team and they are building a rice leadout train for him too. He really came into to his own at the Giro this year.

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!)

Favorite Classic Rider - The classic cycle races are the most prestigious one-day professional cycling 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

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 Domestique
Favorite Sprinter 
Favorite Team 
Favorite Classics Rider 
Favorite Tour Contender   

The Office at Le Tour

Did you guys know that Steve Carell actually won stage 9, not Sandy Casar, (FDJ).... He apparently isn't leaving the office to pursue movies...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Race free weekend

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Making Statements: Three Cheers to Versus

Fun Tour... Even the last stage was not without controversy when Lance decided to show some fashion sense which turned into JerseyGate. But I will say, Versus had some really good coverage, its sad that its over. I really enjoy coming home from work and watching the stage of the day-it was a good 3 weeks. This commercial was one of my favorites, the full version only seemed to air during the morning showings of the stage in between breaks from Paul and Phil.

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

A remarkable performance

Over the last two and a half weeks I have completely changed my opinion on Andy Schleck. Prior to this tour I thought of Andy as Frank's brother. They were a package deal. However when Frank lost control of his bike and broke his collarbone on the cobbles everything changed. As Frank lay on the side of the road Andy's wings took dreams. Spartacus powered across the cobbles with Andy in tow giving him an advantage of 30 seconds over his main rival. The ball was in his court at the Tour de France for the first time.

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)

So that left it to today, the queen stage with the finish atop the famed Col du Tourmalet. Everyone knew Andy needed to get at least a minute and a half in order to have a chance to wear yellow into Paris. Schleck left everything he had on the Tourmalet attacking with 10k of climbing remaining. He tried to ride 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
Schleck's attacks up the Tourmalet were jaw dropping. As he rode through hoards of screaming fans in all sorts of costumes (I am partial to the banana, its classic) he continued to dish out pain by setting a brisk pace all the way to the line. He left everything he had on the mountain and after today I am a fan of Andy Schleck. (Photo: © Roberto Bettini

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Making Statements: Stage 16 Jens

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.

vid: Saxobank

Making Statements: Chris Carmichael

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.

Chris Carmichael

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Making Q & A Statements: Lantern Rouge (sp?)

Fun Tour so far, no?

Q: How do you spell Lantern Rouge?
A: Lanterne Rouge

Q: What does Wikipedia know about the Lanterne Rouge?
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

The Diaster that was Willow Springs

This was a course I was excited about. However in bike racing some days you have it and some days you don't. Today was one of those days where I just didn't have it. Lots of squirrels in the field today, and to be honest I was one of them. I sucked today!!!!

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. 

DJ is rocking some serious socks!

Those are glittery silver socks!

Fun fact: when DJ wants to go home he just clicks his heals and says "there is no place like home"

DJ you are my idol!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Superweek Kickoff in Gevena

Yesterday myself and three teammates (Drew, Dan and Matt) headed down to Geneva Illinois, a great destination or a bike race. In my opinion the best place for a race is in a town's downtown area... and today that is where this race took place.

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.

As I cooled down I saw Dan and Drew, I knew they did well. I yelled "how did we do?" Dan said "Drew won!" I screamed with excitement, he then said "I was 4th!", what a day! When the results were posted we saw that Dan was pipped at the line by about a half of an inch and finished 5th, still an incredible result. (Photo Credit: John Wilke)

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.

Another great day of Superweek

The good times keep rolling, Geoff Scott claimed his first Superweek top 10 with an impressive 9th place finish, I crossed the line close behind with a 13th place finish and Ken competed hard as he always does, and he makes it look soooo good.

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

Making Statements Stage 8: Say it ain't so...

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