Monday, January 14, 2008

Ride the World Cups #2

Saturday afternoon Rob Evans put on the second of 3 track races benefitting the ProMan UCI track team. It was a very cool event, with 3 points races, a raffle, DJ Snead spinning vinyl
Rob was pretty happy that he got to race, too...100 laps of pure points race fun...
a great bbq featuring ribs, sausages and burgers
Niki and Kristina sold raffle tickets and awarded some great prizes
Shelley was pretty happy about something...must have been the fact that her favorite mechanic (well...second favorite mechanic) finally showed up at a race and did something to her bike! hmmmmm, maybe that's the look of sheer joy you get when you find out that Ben JM is doing your race, too...
Ben was pretty stoked too...or maybe he was gagging 'cuz his helmet broke and he had to race in my slightly sweaty Giro...
There was some great racing as well. Michael Hutchinson was drilling it in the A race
So was Steve Palaez, who i think is the entire Phillipine National Mens cycling team
See, i told you Shelley was pretty happy to race w/ Ben...
I did my first mass-start track race ever, and managed to tie for second in the hotly contested C race. Five of us got away about half way through, and managed to not crash ourselves out and give the race away.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Dorking out

At the USGP races in Portland back in November Rachel and I were pitted under the Thule tents so graciously provided by Eric Wallace. Also under those tents were Stu Thorne's Cyclocross World racers, and the SRAM tech folks. Stu is a really smart guy, and has been around CX racing for years. Being such a smart guy means that he knows how to make his job as easy as possible. Cross racers at the elite level are a fairly psycho bunch, and tend to get pretty twisted up over things like tire pressure. They (Rachel excluded) always seem to want to change the pressure by a pound, or even a half-pound, thinking this will give them the edge they need to win. It's pretty much a pain in the ass to run around w/ a floor pump and a pressure gauge, changing pressures all the time. In an effort to make my life at the races a bit easier, I followed Stu's lead and got one of these...
PhotobucketActually, i got one of these's pretty cool, battery powered, rechargeable, nice little digital gauge on the back that reads to 1/10th lb accuracy and it pumps a cx tire up to pressure in just a few seconds.
I didn't really read the box all that well, but as i was leaving Sears, i thought "man, this thing is pretty light..." , which it was because it didn't come w/a damn battery. Or, a charger for said battery. Soooo, i went back to Sears and tried to find the correct 19.2v battery, which they did have in stock (for $24.95) and the stupid charger (for $54.95) which they didn't have in stock. Due to my normal excellent pre-race planning, this was taking place 2 days before leaving for CX nationals. No way I was showing up w/o this damn thing, I had to have it. I wasn't going to give up this easily, so i kept looking around and found this...
A nearly-as-nifty-as-my-handheld-tire-inflator 19.2v cordless drill. Which came w/ the proper batter (also 19.2v) AND the damn charger. For $74.95, which means (if you were paying attention earlier) that I got the battery, charger, AND a damn drill (w/ bits and screwdriver attachments) for $5.00 LESS then the battery and charger would have been if purchased seperately. Dohhhh...
I am now a slightly happier and much cooler mechanic. Probably be the only guy at the upcoming track World Cup in LA w/ a cordless tire pumper-upper thingy.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

New Years Day mountain ride...

Got together w/ some friends and rode yesterday. Rode, and rode, and rode. We (Eddy, Cory, Niki, Sam, and Julia) met at Paradigm and headed for Eldridge Grade. We bumped into Rachel Lloyd and some guys part way up, and they rode w/ us for a bit. Cory and Julia split off at Northside trail as they had to get back to their respective kids, so we kept on climbing up to the top. After reaching the top of the mountain, we put some jackets and vests back on and took off down Railroad Grade, and stopped at the West Point Inn. There were a ton of people hiking and a few people riding on the south side of the mountain. After a short break to fill bottles, we rode down Old Stage, and headed for Coastal trail. Super scenic, fast, smooooooth single track was really fun, but a bit windy. We jumped on Highway 1 and rode to Muir Beach, and then went up Green Gulch (where Sam worked on her wheelie/fall over in the bushes trick) and then Coyote Ridge. Down Miwok, and up Panaramic Hwy to the Mountain Home Inn, across Gravity Car, up Railroad Grade a bit to Hoo Koo e Koo, down the Kentfield Coasters to King Mountain single track finished up our 4.5hr ride. I'm feeling a bit sore today...only been riding for an hour or 2 at most lately, and that was only my 3rd ride on the new Yeti which is a bit heavier than my CX bike, and the 10lb camelback full of stuff helped too! It was a great ride w/ great friends!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

I got a new mountain bike...finally!

'08 Yeti 575, '08 XT w/ XTR rr der. Fox Float fork. Sweeeeeet.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Cross Nationals, Kansas City

This last weekend the National Cyclocross Championships were contested in Kansas City, KS. I flew out thursday w/ Rachel Lloyd, her bikes, my bike, and our bags. When we got in to Kansas City, we discovered that management (you know who you are ;-p)had reserved us a standard size car, and all the company had left was a bunch of convertibles. It was about 30°, not the best weather for a droptop even if all the stuff would fit inside. We got the cheap upgrade to a nice SUV, and all the bags and bikes easily fit in, AND it had all wheel drive...which would come in handy. We went to the course after putting the bikes together at the hotel and did a couple of very muddy, cold laps. The conditions were pretty terrible, with wet soupy mud in some sections, sticky mud in others, and a small amount of wet grass. I raced on friday afternoon, the last race of the day. I got called up 96th, which guaranteed lots of fun for me. Steve Tilford got the holeshot and pretty much killed our race. I rode around and tried to destroy part of the fencing around the course. Out of 119 supposed starters, i finished 63rd, which was actually more pathetic than it seems 'cuz about 30 guys didn't start, and about 10 more dnf'd. I pretty much suck.
The next morning were the U23 races, w/ the women going first. I dragged my wheels out for Amy D. to use, and brought my camera as well. I walked to the course w/ Fred Dreir of Velonews, and he somehow mistook the fact that i was letting Amy use my wheels for her b bike as meaning that i was her "personal mechanic". Pretty funny how it says in Velonews that i was running around in the pit washing bikes while i was actually running around everywhere else taking these shots...Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
That's Amy on the way to her second straight U23 championship. And Natasha Cowie got on the box too...
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Congratulations to 2 wonderful racers who will undoubtedly have great racing careers!

The weather was pretty bad on Saturday, with snow throughout the day, and most of the night. We woke up Sunday to clear skies and no wind. Rachel was pretty fired up about the conditions, as she is probably the most skilled bike handler on the circuit. At the start of the women's elite race she got bumped around a bit, and came through in 5th place. By the 2nd lap she had moved up into 2nd, and was slowly catching Katie Compton. As the bell rang for the final lap, Rach was about 30 seconds behind Katie. She pulled back some time, but finished 22 seconds back. It seemed to me that there were a ton of people that were really happy to see Rachel come back to cross racing and get such a great result. I wish her the best of luck in Europe and wish i could be on that plane in January!
Sunday night was the post-nationals party, which started at Dave and Busters.
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After many cocktails and some ferocious video game action the crowd moved downstairs for some...
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of this. I had never tried riding the mechanical bull, but it was a blast. Barry liked it too...
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Andy won himself a nifty new jersey in the Masters 30-34 race, and got 6th in the elite race...but...
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he got launched. It ended up being a pretty fun night...

Monday, December 10, 2007

USGP rounds 5&6, Portland, OR

Holy shit...Portland was a mess. Very similar to the mess that was the CX nationals in '04. Cool course, really sticky mud for the round 5 on saturday. After much rain overnight, they changed the course a bit and it was a bit less muddy, but no less epic. Rachel had a rough time w/ her shoes and cleats on saturday and finished in 11th. On sunday she got a great start, and was riding in the top 7 when things started happening. Things like Lyne B. crashed and ended up getting soaked from neck to toes. She pulled out right around mid-race, too cold to go on. I yelled to Rach that she had dropped out and to keep going hard. The next lap Katie C dropped out and i lost a bit more of my voice yelling at Rachel. She was catching Wendy Simms (who looks better in a dress than her b/f Norm, for sure) and i gave her the time gap. She caught and passed her the next lap, taking over 4th. With a lap to go, she was 15 seconds behind Alison S, and going faster. If the race had been a lap longer, Rach would have caught her and finished 3rd, but she ended up in 4th, a great result after saturdays problems.
I also helped out Stu Thorne w/ the guys, we had 2 guys per rider, Stu and Mike from Mavic Neutral support taking care of Tim Johnson, and Marc and I taking care of Jeremy Powers.

Bring on Nationals!