Friday, May 27, 2011

Lawns Are For Mowing

While the patch of zoysia I keep on my front yard for my golf short game is still brown, the Kentucky bluegrass has finally starting taking hold. The recent re-seeding and the wet spring has sprouted into lush green that is now ready for mowing.

And yet people are already talking about cyclocross, or "Lawn Racing", as Shim derides it.

Mod got the cyclocross discussion started on Facebook this week:

I've been working on something special for CX season. It's about ready. Full zip, ankle to hip warm up tights

Really, 18 comments on cyclocross and it's not even Memorial Day yet?

Not to be outdone, Bryan Redemske dropped a cx bomb of his own:

Cronus CX built. And now I wait for my new shoes

Did anyone else catch that, or was I the only who detected a note of impatience from Bryan, who, having just built a top-of-the-line cyclocross bike, also has to go through the indignity of waiting for new shoes?

I've got two words for you, Bryan: boo hoo.

Now for goodness sake, can the two of you psychos show some constraint, already? Yes, yes, we all love 'cross. And as much as we're dazzled by your latest bike, shoes and zippy pants, cyclocross season is like four months away.

Oh what's the use. I give in. The truth is that I'm simply green with envy over Bryan's new bike and Mod's new duds. There, I admit it. I'm jealous. Yes, it's a cool bike. Enjoy it, Bryan. I wish I had one.

Oh well, I can probably afford to put in an order for the warm up tights.

Yes, you may even catch me wearing those warm ups on a cool summer morning. On that day, I'll zip up those full length jobbies, walk past the Madone, and choose to take my lawn rig out for a spin

At least for now, lawns are for mowing.

Happy Friday, everyone

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Capital City Crit Cat 3 Men Recap

This past weekend, I raced the Capital City Crit in Lincoln, NE with five other Cat 3 Midwest Cycling Community teammates. We were by far the largest team out there of any race. With a large team like that, you have a lot of cards to play, and we used just about every one of them. In the end, I won the race, teammate Ryan Feagan won the field sprint and our team took both premes. Not a bad day's work.

In fact, it was Ryan Feagan who tweeted about working with the MWCC team pre-race,

and I'm excited to work with a team during a crit! @TrekO_Midtown represent

I couldn't have put it any better. As a newbie to cat 3 racing, I haven't had the opportunity to truly race with a team until now. For any of the cat 4 or 5s out there reading this, it does make a huge difference when you've got teammates working with you. It's almost like having insurance. I had the confidence throughout the race that if each of us did our part, though some of our individual efforts might fail to stick, our team's chance for a successful outcome was very good.

Here's my perspective of how the race went down.

Bryan Redemske (MWCC) drilled it from the whistle for the first couple laps. The field was strung out single-file and I was tail gunner. Then the attacks came. When our team sent Lucas Marshal, Team Kaos/Allegent Health chased him down. Then Kaos launched a counter, and we'd have Bryan Redemske or Matt Tillinghast pull him back.

photo credits: John Peterson, Nebraska Cycling News

Then at some point, it was my turn. I got away right as John Lefler Jr called a preme lap. The jump I got on the peleton gave me a comfortable margin to win that preme and stay away for another lap before being brought back in. But by then, we had Eric O'Brien, Lucas and Ryan Feagan well rested to go off the front once more.

About half way through the race, it was my turn to attack again. With Tillinghast on the front and Redemske third wheel, I just rode away from the peloton. When I was away, I punched it hard for a lap. Again, I was by myself. On the next lap, Nathan Hicks (Team EMU/Zealous) and Logan Evans (Univ North Dakota) bridged. Then came Vaughn Pierce (KAOS/Allegent Health). There was 30 minutes to go. We had a gap of 15 seconds on the peloton. Although none of us were sure at the time, this was the break that was going to stick.

On the final lap, Logan Evans turned on the gas. I jumped on his wheel. We came around the final corner and Logan stood to sprint, but his final burst was to be short lived. The dude just put out some massive wattage pulling us around that last lap and much of the break. In the end, I was able to sling around him and take the line with Pierce and Hicks nipping behind.

celebrating with a victory punch

Ryan Feagan wins field sprint

In retrospect, I ended up where I was in large (if not most) part due to my team. I attacked three times: the preme lap, the successful break and then on the final sprint. In between those efforts, I had the support of my team to help recover the legs, but more importantly, the peace of mind in knowing that if I should fail, there'd be another one of us to fill the void. And on that day, with our collective strength, it could have been any of my teammates.

Thanks goes out to the Lincoln's Bike Pedalers for hosting the races and to John Lefler Jr for calling them. Lefler does a great job keeping it exciting. But most of all, thanks goes out to my MWCC teammates.

Indeed, it was truly good racing with you, buddies!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

John Muir; Psalm 23

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread,
places to play in and pray in,
where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.
~John Muir

I shall not want.

I'm given rest in the green pastures

I am led beside the still waters which restores my soul

I am lead down the paths of righteousness for his name's sake

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever

Monday, May 16, 2011

How to Ramno a Bass

This past Tuesday, I joined Rafal Doloto, Noah Marcus and Alexander Sanchez for some hill repeats in Council Bluffs. There are some monster hills over there. We did about 20 miles of them before calling it quits. It was a good one.

Post-ride, Rafal tweeted:

WTF? RT@rafal78: on the ride tonight some kid ramnoed a bass
with a bow . awesome !! Oh there were hills too #fb

I've got this one, Bryan.

Rafal, Noah, Alex and I had just crossed the Bob Kerry Pedestrian bridge and were riding along the north river front trail. Suddenly, Rafal became quite animated. Out of his mouth came a sort of pidgin mixture of English and his native Polish language (Rafal is from Poland). And because of the excitement, Rafal's speech was rushed. I could make out about every third word or so. I heard something like this, "DUDE" blah blah blah "RAMBO" blah blah blah "BOW FISHING." I followed his line of sight down the bike path and to the banks of the Missouri river below. Only then was I able to put the pieces together. There, down along the banks was a rambo looking dude, and he was bow-hunting fish. This wasn't the actual image, but this is what it looked like:

This wasn't the first time I had witnessed bow fishing while riding a bicycle. A few years ago, I was doing a time trial workout at Lake Manawa when I came upon bow-hunter fishing. At the time, my blood was boiling lactic acid from the TT effort. To compensate, I was practicing a mental imaging technique that my friend and cycling sage Mike Munson taught me. When Munson's blood brimmed with lactic acid, he'd distract his mind by thinking of images that were the opposite of pain. For him, that equated to bunnies and lollipops. But as much as I tried, the lollipops and bunnies weren't working for me. That's when I came upon the two bow fishers. One was a stand-in for Ted Nugent. The other was an Athena warrior-princess, and she was bow fishing carp in a camouflage bikini. From then on, the bunnies & lollipops were out when I time trialed. In its place was Ted Nugent and his girl friend bow hunting carp.

After this past week's bow fishing episode, I wondered if there was a connection between cycling and bow fishing. Apparently, there is this on

Anyway, back to the present. Our group did the hill repeats in CB. Cooling down on the way back, we re-encountered the bow fishers. Their hunt? fish? was quite successful. Again, not the actual picture, but it looked something like this:

There you go Bryan. That's how a bass gets ramnoed [sic] with a bow.

Happy Monday, everyone.

Post Script:
Congrats to Rafal for winning the single speed division in twelve plus hours in this past weekend's running of the Almanzo 100 gravel road race.

All done 12 hours plus ss 1st place common sense Last place

Good job, buddy.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Roach Coach Diet

Yesterday, the infamous UP lunch ride got diverted from its typical routine.

Normally, the UP lunch ride consists of leaving the rack at 1400 Dodge St at 11:45 for a 50 minute group ride. The pace is a moderate 16 mph avg, with as many as ten riders joining in. Occasionally, there are some short attacks and spirited tempo work, but mostly, it's simply good group riding time.

But as I said, yesterday was different. We paused to take in the sights, sounds and flavors of Cinco de Mayo.

So at 11:45, we left downtown for South O.

There was great anticipation and excitement among the group on this beautiful day.

Near Spring Lake park, my friend Bill got the yips and attacked, leading the only breakaway of the ride. It lasted all of 30 seconds before he blew up and sat in.

Fortunately for Bill, we were just a short distance from our Cinco de Mayo celebration, already underway at 24th Street and Vinton.

Whoops. Not much happening here. Oh yeah, the real party was going on across 24th street.

Yes indeed, the roach-coach parked in the O'Reilly Auto parts lot at 24th & Vinton is where it was at. After dismounting, we scanned the menu board for the best tex-mex chow on wheels around. Alhough the "Cuatro Taco Combo" was the crowd favorite, I threw down two burritos and a horchata drink.

Roach-Coach Nutrition
Of course, such a diet can wreak havoc on your training. Every once in awhile, it's okay I suppose. But I got to thinking how some of the my fellow local cyclists might think about the nutritional content of such tex-mex fare.

On the one hand, there's Marc Walter. As a coach that actually earns a living researching nutrition, Marc would probably poo-poo the entire idea.

On the other hand is Mark Savery. As a professed foodie, Mod would likely join in on the festivities, but after eating, would then produce some sort of road side 'cleanse' kit from his saddle bag and quickly duck into the nearest port-a-potty.

Shim would be all over this, too. In fact, he would order something that looked and smelled like it came from a port-a-potty. I know, ick. It's called menudo and it's a very acquired taste. But as yucky as it looks and smells, he'd chow down on it with gusto.

And Rafal? Well, he'd also take the menudo, add a little chorizo sausage and then chase it with a gallon of Tequila and three gallons of corn syrup.

it better not rain WTH am i going to to with
gallon of montezuma tequila and 3 gallons of corn syrup ?

For simplicity's sake, here's a convenient primer you can use the next time you get a hankering for roach coach grub

Simply look for the bold lettering on the menu board : CUATRO TACO COMBO. Proceed to stuff face.

Instead of taking the cuatro taco combo, point to any item on the menu board and say you'd like X number of those. Proceed to stuff face.

Step forward and confidently order what Shim's having. Pinch nose, stuff face and chase with what's in Rafal's cup.

Happy Seis de Mayo, everyone