Sunday, September 28, 2008

Race Day at Manawa

The last chance for Cross-Country glory took place yesterday at Lake Manawa. I was for the first time licensed and ready, ready was perhaps not the correct word choice going into my first ever expert race. Optimistic might describe it better.Either way it was clear from the get-go that I wouldn't be experiencing any of that aforementioned glory.

The race began on a paved road, guys with gears rode like they had gears and proceeded to fly past my itsy bitsy 36:17 gear.I tried to keep pace for a bit then it was well I'll just try and keep them in my sights type of thing. I could still see the lead group and was chasing with a few other guys when a branch became lodged in between my frame and chain, I tried to ride on and just force it out, but the momentum just caused the chain to pop off like magic. Five minutes later I rode for 10 - 15 feet and it falls off once again. A half lap later it decides to really piss me off and yes, pop off.
After that I see a man yell from beside the trail that the race had stopped, I thought that's great but I'm gonna keep rolling. That lasted for about ten seconds when I was greeted by a caravan of riders coming towards me. I didn't really know what had happened at the time, I just knew it wasn't any good. But during the restart I was able to re-tension the chain and had hopes of a comeback swirling through that head of mine. The race resumed and I felt good for awhile,I mean for the first time in the race I was screaming through corners,hitting sections with a fury instead of braking and riding like a scared puppy playing catch up.

In the midst of my chain issue fix I spaced re-filling the bottles, And ended up with legs tightening up and twitching with each pedal stroke. Damn Cramps! Yeah so there were some forces against me today,Perhaps the biggest was my inability to start a race fast.My body is so used to those long miles in the saddle, not a gut -wrenching push right from the start.
Oh well, it will happen.

Its time to deliver sandwiches to the masses-

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Cross Steed # 2

One is never enough-

Monday, September 15, 2008

Cross Steed

Changes to be implemented-
*White Industries Crank (Black 42 tooth)
*Salsa Bell Lap Bar
*Record Levers
*Salsa S.U.L. stem
*New Wheelset of some sort, Any Suggestions?

A formal warning to all Cross SingleSpeeders, I'm coming for ya.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Saturday Night Special

Some people go to parties Saturday nights, some have a date with that special someone and some folks just go out with one goal in mind, to get wasted. I get out as well, out on my bike.
The deliveries kept coming all night as the weather couldn't make up its mind. It would rain enough to soak the roads, making me question each turn I made until I finally set in and got comfortable. Drinks seemed to pop up on each delivery ticket, each with their own specific instructions of ez ice, extra ice or no ice at all. People can get quite particular with their fountain drink orders.

At one point in the night I took a delivery to an old man who opened the door and just laughed, when I mentioned that he owed me 17.50$, his laughter grew louder. The man still laughing while he handed me the money, then called for his wife, saying " hey this guy rode a bike" hahahahaha he continued. I apparently didn't get the joke, and wasn't laughing. I bit my lip and rode off, wanting to stuff his italian night club sandwhich and pickle down his wrinkly old throat. But I rode off, and had many other thoughts of things I could have done to the pathetic old soul.

All of a sudden the rain had made up its mind to downpour. This didn't make things go well, as the brakes on my dale crumbled in the rain, right in the middle of traffic on a Dodge St. descent. I had to do something quick, so I unclipped my right foot and skidded to a stop at 30th St. After the delivery to Walgreen's I cruised back to my house nearby on 35th St. I quickly made a bike swap and was out the door with the Karate Monkey in hand. As I began to pedal away I was reminded of the 36:22 gear which caused me to spin a higher cadence than my street legs were used to. (ahem like polar opposite of the 50:16 dale setup)
The good thing however was the Avid bb7 brakes which made stopping somewhat of a breeze, as well as the monstrous WTB NanoRaptor's plowing through alley's and backyards. Which gave a new, unforseen aspect to delivering which I had never felt... The Fat-Tired Bike.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Sitting One Out

The State Championship road race will take place tomorrow,without me. September sixth was a date I had circled on the calendar since the woes of the poor result at the Omaha Cycling Weekend. I was motivated after that, waking up in those early morning hours and riding that bike of mine with gears. Trying to do all the necessary things in my life like.... eating right, stretching,rides with fast guys,personal time,rides in little chainring, hill repeats,keeping a journal of rides and long rides that make legs all jell-o like... in hopes that the race would be one to remember.

Then life suddenly comes at ya fast, school is in full swing with deadlines to meet and people to please. I feel as if I'm behind in so many things, and it's not a great feeling. So mentally I'm just not were I need to be. I need a simple weekend to myself were I get back to the basics. Basics of delivering sandwiches to the good people of midtown Omaha perhaps. Which has the habit of putting a smile on my face.

Have a killer race tomorrow and Don't fret fellow road racers, I'll be back.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Five-O

Another great weekend in the books at the Dakota-Five-O in Spearfish S.D. I rolled out of town in the space capsule Sprinter van courtesy of Midwest Cycling Community, with Mark, Anne, Rox and a few other folks. We arrived Friday evening greeted by WarAxeSam, and some of the Lincoln crew. The gathering was just beginning however, as people trickled in most the night giving the Omaha/Lincoln Wrecking crew over 20 members.
The following day found us waking early for a ride into Common Grounds for some espresso, and their tasty bagel sandies with egg and bacon. Shortly after that we donned our spandex racing suits and piled back into the sprinter vans with race map in hand headed for singletrack and a little pre-race ride. I was completly over-geared for the ride with a 36:17, straining up hills and pedaling out of the saddle.
Following the ride Sam helped me out by putting on the big boy 22 tooth freewheel,(which seemed ridiculous to put that big of a freewheel on), but these were freaking huge hills. They call these sections hike a bike, I thought going into the race that these would be no big deal and I could just grit my teeth and power up em. But that was clearly wishful thinking as the pre ride proved.
The race began Sunday morning around 7:30, I had a nice frontline start with the rest of the crew, initially the stomach was in splish-splash mode causing me to get a slower start than I had wanted in the gravel grind to the singletrack. I entered the dirt with the second group from the lead then found myself with MOD, Nate and Jesse as we steamrolled through and started to reel in riders left and right. The course was sneaky technical at times with a few creek crossings and descents that made my bones rattle. I stayed with Nate and Jesse up until the second checkpoint, when my biggest fear going into the race had begun to creep up on me,how the body would handle riding rigid?
My hands now had blisters popping up beneath the knuckles and on my palms, my grip was suddenly not as strong causing me to ride differently and cautiously for the next 10 or 12 miles. It also killed the rhythm I had been in, resulting in getting passed instead of the once great feeling I felt of passing others. After stretching and relaxing the muscles in my hands while pushing the Surly up those hike-a-bike sections, My hands seemed to rejuvenate enough to ride more aggressive and try to pull in those pesky riders now ahead of me.
After The grueling climb up to HoboCamp at mile 38 I began to pick things back, through sections of red clay, and back down to the final section of singletrack where I passed up one... then another and another. Suddenly the dirt spewed back onto gravel and I knew the race was just about complete. I rolled in with a time of 4:38, good enough for a ninth place finish in the singlespeed category.

Could I have gone faster? yeah I think so.
Does it really matter? Nah
Was it fun? Oh yeah

I had a great time, riding with the crew and meeting other folks who enjoy much of the same things, like getting hopped up on coffee, camping with large fires, gorging on food and racing bikes.

photos ripped from MOD