My sleddogs

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

campy shifter rebuild.....

It doesn't look like I'll be moving to SRAM or Campy 11 speed if this shifter rebuild goes well.  I just got my rebuild kit and will attempt to rebuild.  If it's a success I'll be ordering three more kits for my other sets and hopefully this one will be good as new.  I'm told a newly rebuilt shifter is the bomb, but I'll have to see for myself.  Wish me luck!!!

Monday, September 16, 2013

blaaaahhhhh.....being sick sucks!!!!!

I've been sick since last Wednesday.  I was couped up in bed on Thursday and Friday, but now I've just felt like shit the last three days.  My body is teasing me by pretending to break this cold!!!!  I'll be damned if I'm gonna spend my next weekend in bed!!!!!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Year in review and season preview!!!

Wow, I had to actually read my blog to see where I left off!!!  All I can say is it's been a while, only one post for the whole 2012 year and it was about this same time last year.  A lot has happened since then.  I was on track to have a decent Chicago Cross Cup last season and hovered right around top 10 for the first few races I did.  Then I took a sabbatical for dryland dogsled racing.  On the up side I had really good results in the bikejor and scooter events, and placed in all the races.  On the downside I wasn't racing cross and my fitness was wavering.  When I did get back to cross I had missed around five or six races.  I could really tell my fitness was nowhere near the level it was at the start of last season.  Anyways, Melas Park race was a miserable 20 something finish, and the Montrose race was horrible.  I had a bad start, crashed, broke a shifter and got on my pit bike.  I had it all season, but only used in on a few warmup laps.  Needless to say the bars were loose, I was feeling like shit, I lost a bunch of places, and just not feeling it, so I called it a day.  

As I said goodbye to last years cross season I said hello to the xc ski and sleddog racing season.  I was training the dogs pretty regularly and I was practically living in Wisconsin training myself on the ski's.  I hadn't been on xc ski's but one other time in my life, but I was able to take to them pretty easily after a rough start.  I did a race series up in Waukesha every week, and when I wasn't there I was up in Minneapolis training and racing.  I did several skijor races and was able to place 2nd or 3rd in those races and the one major xc ski race I did I was able to place 2nd in my age group.  I was able to do well enough to earn sponsorship from Howling Dog Alaska, an equipment manufacturer, and Wolfmoon kennels, who supplied my dogs and have a race sled waiting for me to pick up.  This season I have high hopes as several of my dogs I used last season were only around 10 or 11 months old.  This year they should be stronger and more experienced.  Only time will tell.  I also plan on doing more individual xc ski races, without the dogs for the upcoming season.  I've also teamed up with Howling Dog Alaska to help promote the sport of dogsledding and urban mushing.  It'll be another busy winter.

With all the ski and dogsled racing over the past winter I was a bit burnt out to carry on my training and start hitting the bike hard.  At this point of the season I've usually got 20-30 road races under my belt.  I decided to take a break and train only for the upcoming cross season.  I did just that and managed a couple late season crits to test my legs.  I did Tour of Elk Grove and two races at the Wood Dale crit.  The Elk Grove race was definetly getting the cobwebs out and surprisingly at the Wood Dale crits I had some good jump in my legs.

Fast forward to this past weekend and I did my first cross race of the season.  I had the choice of either the Sheboygan race up north or the Patriotcross race down south.  The distance was the same either way.  I decided it might be a little cooler up north and it was also a part of a bigger series whereas Patriotcross was only a two race series. 

I thought it would be a mud race because I drove through a nice rainstorm from Milwaukee to just outside Sheboygan.  When I arrived at the race I was pleasantly surprised to find out there was only a sprinkle and now the sun and heat was out in full force.  I signed up for the Masters 35+, and CAT123 races.  Before and during my warm-up I could tell I had tired legs.  This wasn't a priority race so I trained as usual with a hard long ride on Wednesday, some hot laps on Thursday with a new team I'll be riding with for this season called the Sasquatch Squadron.  They seem like a good group of guys.  The biggest killer was going for a run on Friday which really zapped my legs pretty good.

Now to the race.  There were 22 guys signed up for the Masters 35+ race.  It's not cross cup numbers, but other then the cross cup, 22 isn't too bad.  I was in the second row in the middle.  As we started I tried to get a good jump, but a guy to the right cut right in front of me and then stopped.  I had no idea what he was doing.  I got around him, but now had to fight to catch the lead group.  There was a lead group of about five that were slowly rolling off the front.  myself and two others were keeping pace, but not making much ground.  The course sucked, not in a bad way, but just not my type of course.  It was 90% hard, bumpy, grass, and 5% woods, and 5% gravel fire road with one near vertical short climb.  Nearly everyone was getting off, a few were able to ride it.  A few times I made it to within about five feet of the top, but had to get off.  There really wasn't any point in riding it because the few guys that did were absolutely spent at the top.  I pretty much rode with the same two guys, but I faded towards the end of the race and got passed by one guy to finish 9th.  I was too baked to do back to back races so I just cooled down and headed home.  Overall I was happy with the result considering I wasn't at 100%.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

new beginnings, CCC Jackson Park race.....

Wow, can't believe it's been almost a year since I last posted. A lot has happened since then. I broke up with my girlfriend of almost five years a few months ago. That's all I'm gonna say about that one. The road season kind of came and went. I didn't do as many races as I would've liked, but the key was to be ready for cross season which just started yesterday, I'll have more on that later. I also got a new puppy to add to my pack. I named him Ovi, after the hockey player Alex Ovechkin. I now have Skates, Teemu, Ovi, and Wilma, whom I didn't name. Ovi is a welcomed addition and should help out Wilma in two-dog bikejor racing and to our clubs team in general. He's a happy go lucky dog. He just turned seven months and has already started light training. He's coming along nicely and is turning out to be as advertised. He's starting to fill out his skinny frame. He's all legs right now, but over the last month I've been able to notice his strength when he pulls. It's kind of tough right now to fit dryland races in with the cross season in full swing. I currently have a couple on the calendar. The Dirty Dog at the end of October and then Woodstock in November. There are a couple others that I'll try to squeeze in. The cross season officially began yesterday with the Chicago Cross Cup series race at Jackson Park. I hadn't ridden my cross bike other then a stroll down the street the other day just to run through the gears. There was a race I wanted to do last weekend near Champaign to get the cobb webs out, but wasn't able to make it. I hadn't done any races or really hard training rides for about a month and was anxious to see how I'd do. With 72 racers in our field I was lucky I pregistered so I'd get a good start. They went by Crossresults.com points and it was good enough to put me right in the middle of the second row. I was a little worried at the start because it was warm out and I didn't take a water bottle. I usually need water to clear out my dry throat I usually get during races. I took a gel at the start with nothing to wash it down. At the whistle it started fast and a paceline formed. I was around 10th place or so. The course didn't really play to my strengths as there were a lot of power sections and not much technical stuff. I'm glad I made an adjustment to my handlebars after a few practice laps because it made a difference. A few guys were able to gradually roll off the front. I maintained my position with two or three guys for a while before swapping positions with several guys. During the switchbacks I could see about five guys breathing down my back. A guy washed out behind me and I told the guy in front to pick it up and he did. We were able to put some distance on those guys. The only incident I had was later in the race with three or four laps to go. There was a Sram guy I'd been with the whole race and he slipped just before the first set of barriers. I had already dismounted, but it was too late. I buried myself right into him. I shouldn't have been right behind him on the barriers. I untangled my front tire and I was off. I was able to finally put a gap on him, but now I found myself dueling out with another chase guy who eventually passed me. I stayed with him though. We traded positions the last two laps. I don't remember how I got around him, but I found myself in front for the last lap. I told myself I was in a bad position and thought he might try to outsprint me at the finish. I guess I had enough of a gap but sprinted it out just in case he tried to do the same. I ended up 11th out of 72, just out of the top 10 I was hoping for. Next up is USGP at Madison next weekend.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Last and first race of the season.....

It was a busy weekend for me. I had to work on Friday so I didn't make it back to St. Louis. It also helped that there was a dryland dogsled race yesterday. The Missouri State CX championships was today as well as the Illinois State race here in Chicago. I decided to just stay put and do my/our first dog race and then do the Illinois state race today. I was a little disappointed I couldn't improve on my 2nd place finish in the Masters race from last year.

Todays race was at Montrose Harbor, right on the lakefront. I wasn't really feeling it, my motivation to race has been a little low. I don't know if it's the commuting, the weather, or maybe because dogsled season is around the corner. To make matters worse, I knew I wouldn't get a good start position so the thought of starting in the last row was a real downer. I think staging was done in order of Chicago Cross Cup points, then Crossresults.com points. I figured at least I could get into the mddile of the pack. The next thing to figure out was which race to do, the 40+ masters or the CAT 3. The promoter emailed me stating there were only 55 preregistered in 40+, 85 in CAT 3. 40+ it was.

40+ was the first race, 8:45. I got up around 3:45 and started to work on my bike. I hadn't done anything with it since the Mt. Pleasant Winery bloodbath. I cleaned it up, tweaked the brakes, and cleaned the mud out of the right shifter. I got all packed up, made it Starbucks, and then headed out. For somebody who doesn't usually register until the last minute I actually made it there before registration even opened. I love when the preregistered line has 20 dudes in it and the day of line has nobody in it. I signed up and rode two laps. I got 1.43 miles per lap. The race had a nice mix of features. a couple sand pits, some twists and turns, and then a nice little climb straight into a headwind.

There were roughly 65-70 racers. We staged and I didn't even make it to the middle of the pack. I was propabley two to three rows from last. I was able to make up some ground on the long straightaway, but once we got to the first turn everything bottlenecked. I had to take some risks and I ended up going down on one turn, but I was quickly back up. I could see two groups forming in front of me. I thought maybe 20-30 guys in front. I had such a bad position to start from that catching the lead group was a pipe dream. I ended up picking off a few guys and then at the end I was in a battle with about three guys. I caught and passed one. I traded the lead with the next guy, but then he faded. The last guy had a sizeable gap, but I ended up keeping pace and then he must've faded. I caught him just prior to the last lap and I just stayed on his wheel until the twists and turns. I passed him and gassed it out of the corner. I slowly grew my lead on him. Even though I wasn't in contention just catching and passing some strong riders was a victory in my book. The IL CAT 3 champ from last year could only muster 2 places in front of me.

Chicago is a whole different animal then Bubba. There's twice as many guys in each field, and that includes three masters fields, which Bubba doesn't even have. That's no knock on Bubba, but Chicago has so many more racers to draw from. I've gotten a few people saying I need to CAT up, but they are the same people who haven't raced up here. While I've been pretty consistent in Bubba(especially after a few updgrades), having all top 10's and several podiums, I'd be hardpressed to say I'd be that consistent up here. It would be nice to see how I would've faired in the CCC series. I may still CAT up and next year concentrate on Masters and CAT123.

Now for the first race of the year, my first, I mean, our first bikejoring race. I met the Green Valley Dog Drivers group once last year, before I left for Kansas City, and then once last weekend. They let me take out an 8 dog rig for the first time. The most I'd done was four on a rig and on my bike. Anyways, I made the 2 1/2 hour drive up to Fond du lac, WI. It was raining when I got there and continued to rain off and on all morning. I decided to enter the four and two dog class. They were pretty laid back and ran rigs, scooters, and bikes all in one class. I was hoping to run my dogs with one of the strong lead dogs from the group, but as it worked out I ended up using my dogs in lead with two unknown dogs in wheel position. Kasha looked just like Teemu, only she was all white, and Kormack was a tall lanky husky. Nothing went right. My phone went to roaming so I had no maps on my phone gps and I had to call Jess for directions, then I wanted a Starbucks, but once again, couldn't dial one up on my phone. Then I went to prep my bike wanted to strap my gps and video camera to the handlebars. It wa just too cold and wet to tape the camera up. We finally got them staged to go. sFrom the start Skates and Teemu were enthusiastic and were perfect lead dogs. They were really going. I had no idea what to expect from Kormack and Kasha, but they both did great. Kasha pulled her little heart out. My first bikejor race didn't go without a hitch though. Kormack decided to take a poop break, then I took a good spill. The dogs were really going and there was a big long puddle right at a turn. I hit that puddle and there must've been ice at the bottom because my front tire washed right out and I ended up plowing right in that huge puddle. I was up and back on pretty quick though. My next hiccup was when I got to another transition. I ran into a fork and had no idea where I was going. I decided to get off the bike and run the 30-40 yards so I could see the next marker. I got my bearing down and then we finished it up strong. I brought the dogs to the car and gave them some canned chicken. We had about 20 minutes before they had to go again. This time the enthusiasm wasn't quite there for Skates and Teemu. Right from the start they just trotted out of the chute and found the first tree to pee on. Then then Teemu had to go poop. It wasn't until after about the first mile that they started to go. They were pretty tired. Since this was an all class race I was told to either not pedal or take off the chain. I just didn't pedal, but I did use it scooter style and pushed my bike with one leg. In the four dog group the GreenValley club had four of the top five spots. I ended up in 5th, about four minutes down on 1st place. In the two dog I ended up in 4th. All in all we had a great time and I learned a little bit more about this sport.