My sleddogs

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Monday, April 28, 2008

Tour of St. louis, Carondolet crit...

Well, after almost considering not doing this race, I was able get the urge needed to get out the door. I've felt a little blah lately about racing crits after the Hermann and Dogwood races. After some fun road races to begin the season, I just wasn't feeling like doing a crit and especially knowing that I had to go into work that night meaning another 24 hour day of being up. It's not fun to begin the work week like that. Oh well, enough bitching, the bottom line is I need a new job!!!!!!!!!! Wait, where are my priorities, I need a job to afford to bike, ok, priorities are in line again!!!

Now, back to the racing. I arrived late once again, as proven by the fact that I arrived at the registration tent a half hour before start time and there is nobody there to register me. I finally get registered and I get in a total four miles or 15 minutes of warm-up in, good enough I suppose. We've got four Fishes in the race, denny, casey, matt, and myself. Right from the gun the pace gets fast and furious as there are a lot of attacks, it seemed like it was attack after attack. A few stayed away for a while, but all were reeled back in until the final several minutes when a group of four got away. Somehow they just snuck away and seemed to have been forgotten. Now with this group away were down to several laps to go and as we come up the small hill I'm with Casey. I hammer up it like a bat out of hell determined to lead Casey to the lead group of four who are within sight. As I jumped Casey followed and we put a gap on the group. I led Casey around to the backside, and I must've pushed too hard because as Casey passed, I could not go with him. He put a bit of a gap on me and so he knew our efforts were futile so we both shut it down and got back in the peloton. During the race, I told myself to go either go outside or inside up the slight incline to get a free pass to the finish. Well, what do I do? I stay right behind a bunch of riders and before I know it it's too late to make my move to the outside. I end up finishing 22nd, Casey got 5th, and Denny was just behind me and I'm not sure where Matt finished. I have no idea how Casey slithered his way up there. I would've liked to have done Forest Park where I took 3rd place last year, but work had my name this weekend. There will be plenty more races to come.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Passenger Jets are meant to fly with one engine!!!!

So I come into work the other day only to find out that I'll be missing half my crew. As it turned out, one of our airplanes, which was flown by a friend of mine and a fellow cyclist, had landed in Belleville. We don't fly to Belleville!!!! Well, let's just say it had engine trouble and made it there on one engine. I wouldn't say this happens all the time, but these guys are trained for that and I've got to commend my buddy for doing his job and my mechanics for changing the engine. There's nothing like changing an aircraft engine at a remote airfield, outside, mosquito infested, with limited resources, but it's just part of the job and my guys did a great job to get it flying again!!!!

http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/stories.nsf/illinoisnews/story/F318B303633AB2BB862574340011F21B?OpenDocument

Monday, April 21, 2008

Tour of Hermann.....

Well, the weekend is over so that mean the Tour of Hermann is over too. It was a long, fun weekend of racing. Saturday was my first road time trial. I was scheduled to go off at 3:21 and arrived in time to pick up my registration and get about 15 minutes on the trainer. Conditions were still somewhat fall-like, and a little windy. I felt a little out of place as I didn't have any aero bars or fancy deep dish wheels, but nonetheless, I don't claim to be a time trialist. I run what I brung!!! Although, that's not to say I won't have a makeshift tt bike for my next race. I've got a couple things in the works and an extra frame just screaming tt. First though, is to build up my new dogfish CAAD9 frame without parting out my current bike since that will be my training bike.

Getting back to the TT, the plan was simple, go balls to the wall without blowing up and hope to have something left for Sundays road race. It's funny, the guy lined up right in front of me has a tt bike setup using the same frame I've got in my closet!!! It's time for me to go, all ready for action. Heading out I notice it's windy, but not as bad as most people are talking about. I do notice that I could've propably used some clip-on aero bars at the very least. I'm out and back in a time of 25:34, not a great time, but within a minute of most of the other CAT 3's. I was satisfied with that time.

Sunday rolls around for the road race. I'm not sure my legs are quite up to it, I'm really skeptical about what the day has in store for me. We have Matt D, Denny, and Casey in the race joining me. I don't get in much of a warm-up in as I use the first couple of miles for my warm-up. The race starts and we cruise around town before hitting some of the first climbs of the day. They come early and often on this hilly course. Great!!!!! Right on the first steep climb my chain starts to skip in the largest 3 cogs, the ones I'm going to need!!!! The one thing I failed to check out before the race was to make sure it was shifting perfectly. I have no barrel adjusters on my bars, only on my rear derailleur so I'm screwed. I'm not about to stop. I'll have to put an adjuster on now after this race. Well, after the first few climbs, even with the shifting problems I now find myself towards the front. My legs feel like shit, yet I seem to be able to stay towards the front. As we end lap one and head into town we pass the feedzone and hit "the wall", something like 18% grade, and I'm still around top 10 grinding my gears all the way up. I tried to soft pedal up, but that just wasn't happening. I wasn't about to power up it and make my legs suffer, so grind on I went. At the very least, it gave me a wide berth for some unobstructed climbing. I guess the guys didn't like what they were hearing!!!! To be honest, that climb was not too hard for me, it was the next couple gradual climbs right after that that I hated. After that first climb out of town we put a gap on some of the other racers. Casey was with us as he came along side me. I passed Denny on the way up and I had no idea where he was at. I looked around and did not see him. After a few more miles I notice my buddy Ron from ABD, and Denny. I guess they had to bridge the gap, but now they are able to get on. Denny said it hurt, but they did it.

Now on our second lap the Mesa kids are all up front, they push the pace a bit. Everybody is waiting for Shawn O'neal to go. He tries a few times, but he's covered and nothing ever develops. Finally, about mid lap, three guys go, including a Mesa kid. Nobody covers that attack and allows it to get up the road. I don't know if nobody thought it would stick or what, but we truck on. A couple minutes later, Dave, from Cycleworx, goes, but nobody follows. A couple minutes later, grasshopper Casey goes, once again nobody covers and he's allowed to get up the road. The group starts slowing and nobody seems to be concerned about the guys up the road. At this point there are five guys up the road.

We are now in the feedzone, I'm good and I don't grab anything, ready for lap three. As we hit "the wall" once again, my chain starts skipping, but I make it up with the our group. We drop a few people and unfortuneately Denny is one of the culprits. He was pretty beat up by that climb and didn't have anybody strong enough to help him bridge. It's now just me in our group of about 10-15 guys, including Shawn, and Jim V from Get a Grip. I'm waiting for them to make a move, I'm thinking they will not let that group stay off the front, but nothing ever comes. At one point some guy yells at us to paceline and catch the lead group. The Mesa kids aren't about to go, I'm not about to go either, so we just go at our own pace for a few more miles. Finally Jim V starts to make his moves, but are all covered. He's a one man wrecking crew with his accelerations, I'm sure we must've dropped a few more guys. Needless to say, our pace starts to pick up. Several other guys start to attack, but all are covered. We go through the town of Berger and I'm about fourth or fifth wheel, I'm hoping to stay in this spot to the end and fight for a top 10. Our group is now down to about 10. Two or three mesa kids, Shawn(Ghisallo), Jim(Get a Grip), Ron(ABD) a Trek guy, a Gateway guy, and a few others that I can't remember. As we hit the last KOM about half way up somemore attacks start. My legs start to lock up so I can't follow, I'm just off the lead guys over the KOM. I try my hardest and pass one guy on the descent. There is one guy drafting me and we now have three guys going into town. The lead group are only about 50m's in front of us, but we're not making up any ground. I end up finishing 14th. Casey got an awesome third place finish for Dogfish and Denny came in a few minutes later for 21st.

This is now my favorite race edging out Dogwood. I didn't stay in town, but it's an awesome venue and gotta give credit to Jeff for a well run event. I guess there was a problem with the officiating in the p1,2 race, but that's no reflection on Jeff or the weekend. This weekend is the Tour of St. Louis, but I think I'll just be doing the Saturday race. Now, off for a ride.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Tilles Report.....

Well, first off, what's up with this f@#$!@$ weather??? What had been clear skies and warm weather the weekend before turned into cold, dreary, windy fall-like weather this weekend. The plan in the a.m. was to do both races, the 3/4 in the morning, go home for a bite to eat and then head back for the P1, 2, 3 race in the afternoon. Let me just say that when I got home and laid in front of the tv for a few minutes there was no prying me off of that damn couch, especially since I was going to have to pull an all nighter at work that evening. I did manage to get off the couch for a few minutes to get some McD's ice cream cones..............about the time I should've been lining it up for the P1, 2, 3's race. So, needless to say, I only made it for the 3/4 race.

As for the race, it went pretty good. We had five guys in the race and we did a lot of work at the front mixing things up a bit. I even had a scary moment, not so much for me, but the guy behind me when we attacked and put a little gap on the field. We were about 40 meters off the front and I turned around to see what kind of damage we had done and the next thing I know is I feel and hear that dreaded wheel touch. Yeah, the gateway guy behind me had been on my wheel and apparently we both looked back to assess the situation and when I turned back around he must've still been looking back and drifted right into my rear wheel. I was just waiting to hear that unique noise a bike makes when hitting pavement at 25mph. I looked back once again to see him off to the left in the grass outside the barrier. The guy saved it, I gotta give my hats off to him as that was propably no easy task and propably had to change his bike shorts after that one. I was told later that he rode alongside the group in the grass and got back on. After playing at the front for a little longer, unsuccessfully chasing down a prem, I decided to ease back on the throttles and just take what I had left to the finish. Well, that was a mistake. In doing so I ended up losing positions and then had to try and make my way to the front again on the final laps. This was no easy task to do on this narrow course. Everybody was jammed at the front and there was nowhere to go. The field never did string out. All I heard from everyone after the race was how they got boxed in. I won't let that happen again......right. Forutneately, I didn't have a guy totally uncontest the final sprint and sit up in front of me like Denny did. I was able to weave and pick my way back through the front pack for a top 20 finish, I think I was 18th or 20th as they didn't have me scored, but there were two unidentified riders in those positions so I'm claiming one of them!!!

It was a fun, hardfought race. Denny, Casey, and myself, toyed at the front at times to make things interesting, cover a few attacks, put on a few attacks. Basically for me and Denny, did a lot of work for nothing other then get in a great workout. In fact a couple times Casey took off and I just said to myself "he's going to burn himself out." Well, I was wrong, young grasshopper still had enough in the tank to get an awesome second place finish in the sprint. Mr. Consistency Sven got eighth, and Matt was up there too. Great finishes for everyone and a good race for Dogfish as a whole. I talked to Casey later to find out he also took 9th in the P1,2,3 race. Casey's been on a roll here lately. He's had some good results and the seasons just begun. I'm gonna have to start charging him for gas now that he's bringing home some greenbacks for his results.

Up next is Hermann, hopefully there will be some sunny skies to debut my new team frame.

Friday, April 11, 2008

why am i watching america's next top model????

oh, because there's a bunch of materialistic, immature hot chicks. did i just admit that i watch that show? guess i did. my weekend is winding down and will culminate with either one or two races tomorrow. i've already come to the conclusion with having to work tomorrow night it will be another marathon day.......and night, and morning. the tilles race is tomorrow, which isn't really a priority, but need to get these races in when i can. i'm still not sure if i'll do the 3/4 race in the morning or the 1,2,3 in the afternoon. heck, i just might do both. i love going into work like a zombie, i'm there, but nobodies home comes to mind. i've heard that statement more then once!!! after dogwood last weekend my legs were junk, but i was finally able to get out yesterday after the storm rolled through for about three hours. it was a good ride, long yet slow. i kept my heartrate low, and mostly spun the whole time. i thought about going out some time today for just an hour. with winds howling at 25-30 mph, my motivation is low, but i'll get out at some point!!!!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Dogwood RR...

My race day started at 4:30am with young Grasshopper Casey arriving shorty after for our drive to Bradleyville, MO. It was an uneventful drive with only a few close calls with the highway patrol, until just outside Sprinfield. I lookd into my rearview mirror only to find johnny law. Yes, I got a ticket for 82 in a 70, nice way to start out the morning!!!

We finally get there, register, and change with just enough time to make it to the start line. As the race gets underway Shawn Oneal, as usual, goes off the front. He got a bit of a gap, when Jim V, from Get a Grip decides he's had enough and sets off to bridge. Nobody cares to follow and we finally see the last of the two of them. As the race heads out of town several people take up the pacemaking until it hits some of the steady climbs and teammate Jeff Yeilding starts to lead the group. Next thing I know I'm in front setting the pace. I was out there for a while when I decided it's somebody else's turn. Well, nobody came around so I stayed out there a little longer. Finally, somebody else takes over and shortly after the attacks start coming and guys try to get away. The wind didn't help them and all were caught for some more uneventful riding until the KOM. As we start hitting the climb I find myself about third or fourth wheel until about 3/4 the way up and my legs start to growl at me. I slow a bit only to find Grasshopper flying up the left side taking the pack KOM. Later, I found out Denny had told Casey he better go now and Casey heeded his advice. At this point I found myself about 9th up the climb with a gap between myself and the lead group of eight. Myself, Denny, and an Accelerade guy are caught in no-mans-land. We try our hardest to catch the group, but couldn't make up any ground. After a few miles the rest of the group catch the three of us. At this point there's about 12 of us and we try to get something going, but nothing ever really develops. Between the guys just sitting in, the guys just trying to survive, it was a very chaotic group. Not much organization or communication going on. We pretty much stay like this until the last 10 miles when we hit some of the last few climbs. I try to fight my cramps and stretch out while on the bike. I almost fell over one time when I'm stetching out one leg while supporting myself with the other and that leg cramps up!!! I can't imagine it being a pretty sight. As we make it over the last set of climbs we find ourselves down to about a group of seven. We end up with a sprint finish, I finish last in our sprint as I wasn't able to get out of the saddle without cramping.

As for the team, we finished strong, and Casey got a 6th place finish. Jeff, Denny, and I finished 13th, 15th, and 17th in that order while finishing together. Flatlander Matt Dawson, finished just behind us. I was happy with my performance while having to fight through cramps. My legs were tight from the start, so I'm happy with just making it through and being competitive.

Next up is the Tilles Park crit. I'm pretty sure I'll be doing that one.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Dogwood preview....

This upcoming Sunday is Dogwood, one of my "A" races for the season. I'm gonna try something different before this race, I'm going to keep the long rides at a minimum. I'm also going to try something different during the race, I'm not going to go out on a solo effort right before the first major climb, and I'm going to bring extra water so I don't run out like I did last year!!! I'm actually glad it's raining this morning, I don't feel too bad for not getting out there. I did do the Tuesday crit however, and am happy with the way I did considering I'm usually pretty sleep deprived from a long week at work. It was actually kind of weird doing the A race, I found myself in unchartered territories, riding at the front for a few laps with some heavy hitters. I was propably third or fourth wheel for a few laps before I realized it so I backed off so I'd have something for the finish. I ended up finishing top 20 somewhere which wasn't bad considering it was my second A race. I know, it's just a training race. Over the next few days I'll propably just get out for a couple hours for easy rides with a few hard sprints to get the legs and heart going. I'm going to keep the rides short!!! Hopefully next week I'll have some good race results to report.