Monday, August 18, 2008

The CCC 2008 Recap

Nebraska's Corporate Cycling Challenge (CCC) came and went yesterday. Billed as the Midwest's largest single day bicycle ride, it was estimated to have 4000 entrants. Apparently, it broke the attendance record. Perhaps it would have been higher if the price of gas remained around $4 a gallon, but at $3.50 I'm sure quite a few bikes returned to the dark recesses of the garage to await the next oil crisis. Still, a record is a record and 4000 bikes are a lot to throw on any street.

There's some 100 corporate teams that formed to raise awareness and funds for Nebraska walking/bike trails. There are three distances to choose among: 10, 25 and 42 miles. I opted for the latter and joined the big guns of UP that included Wes, Shim and Ed.

Road, mountain, hybrid, tandems and recumbent bikes were all in force. Even Munson had a little surprise by showing up on his new mount: a Gary Fisher Wingra commuter that he's been tinkering on at the wee hours of the night. This crouching panther has aggressive geometry, is lightweight (aluminum) and is black as night. While it came stocked with a flat bar, he swapped it for drops and has added a few special touches. One such add-on is a handle bar granny pack. The jury's verdict is still out on that one. I liked it, but I could tell that Shim nearly stroked-out when his eyes fixed on to that beauty. One thing's for certain: the air dam that pack creates at 25+ mph results in a massive low pressure vacuum that pops ears within a city block. Nice ride, Munson. Enjoy it!

Let's be frank, every year there are a lot of challenges in this ride, but the biggest challenge is in the art avoiding the plastic water bottles that are littered within a mile of the start. It seems as though freds who don't know any better accept hand outs from the freds (handing out the freebies) who also don't know any better and fail to advise them against strapping the ill-fitted bottles to their bikes. Complicating the matter is the route that winds its ways through an industrial area with two sets of railroad tracks and one of the worst maintained roads in Omaha by Carter lake. It's a recipe for disaster.

This year, I decided to avoid this hassle by jumping up to the front row. You'd think that no one up there - where Nebraska men with shaved legs and cycling jerseys are plenty - would make such a blunder. But alas, there I was on the Carter Lake "technical section" of potholes when I was nearly taken out by a Gatorade bottle ejected from a Serotta road bike with a rider wearing a full kit. Is no one immune to this pandemic?

Shim said that the another challenge was the long climb at the beginning of HWY 75. Apparently in years past, only a handful of riders remained together at the top of the hill. So with unresolved issues from a lack of hill climbing performance on Wednesday's club ride, I stepped up the pace with visions of a CCC KOM jersey in the mind's eye. After cresting the hill, Shim and another rider broke away from the group while the remaining fifteen of us formed a disorganized group. Attacks and poorly managed pace lines failed to catch the breakaway riders by the turn around point at Ft Calhoun. From there, I re-grouped with Munson and BikerBob for an up tempo ride back.

Citius, Altius, Fortius
Latin for "Faster, Higher, Stronger", this motto has been a theme of the Olympics since 1894. Perhaps the Beijing Games has driven a meaner, more competitive edge to the CCC this year than in years past. Bryan, who was absent from yesterday's ride, would have been happy to know that the Zorinsky hammers were out in numbers during the final drive into Omaha. Because of the staggered start, nearly all participants complete the ride together. That makes for a lot of traffic near the finish. For most, this is a time of prudence. I mean, there are very young children on Barbie bikes, burley trailers and such on the road. But for the thrill seeking, this just only ups the ante. Indeed, with freshly ejected water bottles from titanium bottle cages, the Z-hammers were lighter and more aggressive than ever. All of those days of training at Lake Zorinsky served the singular purpose of successfully navigating the humans-on-bicycles slalom course and pot holes at a blistering pace around Carter Lake. What a rush!

Next year, I'll be even more ready than ever for the the hills, spills and thrills of Nebraska's Corporate Cycling challenge.


  1. A Serotta lost a bottle? Must have been a newly minted dentist at the helm, then.

    You forgot to mention that most Zorinsky Hammers probably only did the 10-mile loop. While it's three miles longer than the usual route, it's the most thrilling 35 minutes on wheels.

  2. Rats, you beat me to the Dentist post. My dentist has a Serotta, I saw is on his rack on his Porsche 911 this past spring when I went in for a cleaning. Really.

    He looks like a happy, mustachioed Mark Spitz, albeit older, and less verbose than the current version of Mark Spitz. He is divorced, has no halitosis, and has semi-hotties working as Dental Hygenists. He was taking his bike out to Colorado to ride with his grown daughter, and no doubt, hit on her friends. (And why shouldn't he).

    Let's not let Brady on/near a carbon-framed/aluminium framed climbing beast. If so, I'm afraid he'll abandon his Irish roots as I did. While I chose to become Italian/Murphini, I think Brady's slighter build and firey temper pegs him from the Basque region---He may "Basquedy" or "Brasquedy" (Since many of you may have attended the University of Nebraska, let me pronounced that for you slowly. "Bass-Kady" , or "Brahss-kay-dey")

  3. My wife and eleven year old daughter did this ride for the first time, albeit only the ten mile ride. It was great fun, though, and I'm sure my daughter will remember this event in a positive light.

    We did ride in from home (10 mile RT), so in the end, we did come close to the medium 24 mile ride.

    We did get the free bottles, but quickly tucked them away into a pannier I brought along, so no worries about hitting them in the street.

    On the way home, we stopped by Patrick's Market downtown and picked up some groceries. You can take the boy out of the commute, but you can't take the commute out of the boy! :)



  4. The best 35 minutes on wheels... you're pretty funny Bryan.

    John, as I'm sure you've heard, "N" stands for 'Nowledge in these here parts.

    Anyway, both of you better hope that your dentists don't read steel-cut.

  5. Wait - Brady has a temper? I think that some stories are in order. All I hear about is Papa Murphy's temper - and something about one of you stealing a golf cart.

    Murphini - Please provide examples of Brady's dark side - and a link to where these posts might be found. Thank you.

  6. Scott: good job on getting the family out. That's dangerous - you might inspire other families to do the same. Also, keen insight into the water bottle thingy by putting them into your panniers. Patrick's is a terrific store. Good produce and such and a dandy way to cap off the CCC. What nationality is Redd? Bohemian or something?

    Way to call Murphini out, Fred. Oh and by the way, screw you for not riding in the CCC. Jerk. And doubly screw you for not writing anything in weeks. Yes, my CSG Triathlon report was two weeks late, but I got it out there nevertheless with a backdate of July 31st. So put that communist Ayn Rand's book down and take a pull for a change. Jerk.

  7. It was a good time indeed. I'm planning on doing the Wed night group ride if you want to join. I will be riding the Wingra, but my vortex creating handlebar bag will not be in effect. Sorry.

  8. What? Omaha could use some rain, even if it is induced by an artificial low pressure front. And you call yourself green. Hah!

    I'd like a crack at Ponca hill mountain again but I've got a date with the Ms Katherine tonight. Sorry. Put Shim in the hurt locker.

  9. Brady's dark side....hmmm.... I'll have to pepper in a few things along the way. His eyes do sort of a David Banner thing--his body still stays twiggy-esque thought. Ask him about the time he totally whigged out a cop. Papa Murphy's temper is legendary, and understandable. Lots of stuff from all of us and our loving mom shoved and packed tightly down deep inside his gullet that only needed a slight void to vent. It's all good, mostly anyway.

    And for those of you who wondered how truthful my Dentist (whom I really like by the way....) post was, check out Dr. Morton and Mark Spitz. I rest my case. In a good way, he'd be the guy you'd want to hang out with at a bar where all the tricky stewdardi hang out after their flights land and they want to unwind over few margarhita's with Pablo Cruise softly playing in the background. Ohhh...or Michael Buble squeals Brady.....

  10. Yeah, the dark and troubled David Banner! Awesome! Whigging out that cop - only a rebel without a cause would act so brazenly. Hanging out in smoky lounges with seductive Stewardi and...wait a tic ... Michael Buble?! What the?