Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008: 34 races later...


2008 included 8 RR/Crits, 8 TTs, 3 nights of track, and ended in 15 cross races. The season started slow and then just got rolling for me. In the end, 12 overall wins and nearly 200 hours of training. Once again, that was planned with a late season peak. And, hopefully that will happen in 2008.

Now, onto the goals for 2009:
1. Top 5 "B" overall BA cross series and do well at UCI Cross
2. 24mph+ at Presque Isle
3. Place well (top 5) at local crits like RATL
4. Compete with my MTB
5. Then like an extra training goal is to run consistently into cyclocross.

2009 will be as selective as 2008 with about the same amount of racing. A few less TTs and a few more mountain bike races, which are nearly like TTs, just longer with more skills. Sounds like cyclocross doesn't it? Time to get ready for 2009.

Getting Ready


indoor training
Originally uploaded by Robert Sroka
Getting ready for 2009 and all its joys. Of course that includes indoor training. Actually be X-training as of late, indoors though. Weights, rowing, treadmill, it's all great. Speaking of treadmill, I forgot to check the weather this week and got snowed in from my run yesterday. But, since it was one of my first times on the treadmill, I enjoyed it.

I'm working on my recap of 08, preview for 09 as I speak so expect that before midnight. Rollers tomorow, run Friday, then off to the Maruts.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Saturday Suffer-fest


saturdays group ride
Originally uploaded by Robert Sroka
Dad and I hit up the group ride heading out from Valley Parkway and Brecksville. Had 21 in the group total as we headed east on Valley Parkway. Tony, Bill, Shawn, Ernie, Pete, Willy, Jane, Scott just to name a few. Rode past our house and went down State Road. After about four or five more miles, dad, Josh, and I pulled off and headed back towards the car. We ended the day with some serious mud on the legs and 25+ miles. By no means a hard ride, but once or twice I had to go a little harder than wanted. Good ride ending up with about an hour and a half of fun. Might be able to get outside the next few days also followed by a few more days of recovery and back to easy scheduled training. drills, drills, drills!

Friday, December 26, 2008

fridays ride

Spoiled is an understatement...

Well, before I tell you what I got for Christmas, I'll tell you I told everyone what I wanted and didn't get much else. So.. you really can't blame me, right? So here is the quick run down of the TOP 10 CHRISTMAS GIFTS OF 2008:
1) Sram Rival Carbon Shifters from dad and Julie
2) Sram Rival Carbon Rear Derailleur from dad and Julie
3) Belgium socks, cycling cap, tear-off tights, HP Photosmart M425 (used) and vids from Julie (KCCX)
4) Nikon D40 from Mom and Gary
5) Cannondale Optimo2 black (purchased before Broadview Hts. race) from Mom and Gary
6) Full size ping-pong table from Mom and Gary
7) Garmin 705 from Grandma Sue, Aunt Suzanne, and Korn
8) Paintcan of goodies from Chris with my pics all over it
9) Various sums of money or other great gifts (cross related) meant for new Hincapie clothing purchases. And last but definitely not least...
10) Sram Red Crankset from SANTA! (also a desk built with 53t chainring off of Sram red, already a single ring!)

Thanks for a great Christmas everyone! Now, I have to go fast! But I get major style points too!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Cross bike for SALE!


PIC_3869
Originally uploaded by Robert Sroka
Not mine, of course. Julie's spare bike that she wil not part out! HERE is the listing on ebay. Reserve is $300 and current bid is $102.5. Weighs in at 21lbs. w/o pedals. Nice durable frame, disc brakes. Size: 52cm.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The past two days I've finally been able to hit up B.A. and get some much needed cycling stuff done. Swapped out the stem on Optimo1 for a super light 3t 90mm one that MikeV hooked me up with, then flipped the old one on Optimo2 around. Both bikes are identical in fit now with proper seat height and handle-bar drop measured up by Sean. Both bikes feel good with an extra inch or so reach and inch or so higher saddle. Also picked up a few needy accessories as I was running low on Hammer Gel, tubes, and Bike Authority bottles.

Speaking of B.A., they are putting on a time trial series during the winter. 3 mile TT on the computrainer. Check out the web page HERE. The thought though of racing within in a few weeks is absurd. Computrainers should have cross courses where is you pedal to much into a corner, you're in the tape.

Hoping to get out for a ride tomorrow, maybe even over an hour. Thinking of taking the single speed out in the bad weather before a non-white Christmas. Weather sez 50F+ degrees on Thursday. Freeze your snowmen now.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

'09 is Coming Quick


trio of weekend
Originally uploaded by Robert Sroka
The past few rides have been really a nice treat and are really an added bonus until real base begins. Today dad and I got on the rollers for a short ride and also adjusted my Sidi shoes. My ankles were hitting the chainstays a little too hard. The cleats only moved a little but I can feel the difference. Feels nice too. Also been trying out some Atomic Balm embrocation. Works pretty well too.

Been working out my new goals fo 2009. Got a few races mapped out including RATL, Presque Isle, NEO Power series, and of course, cyclocross. UCI came out with cross schedule, too. Looks like maybe another trip to Michigan and Cincy.

Speaking of big time training, a possible long distance trip is store over Spring Break. More to come soon including year recap and 2009 goals.

Friday, December 19, 2008

I ride outside in the winter?


PIC_3839
Originally uploaded by Robert Sroka
Thursday night dad and I got out for a good loop around the Brandywine ski area. We started at Station Rd. and the ride mainly consisted of dirt roads, dead end roads, and towpath trail. Finally got out on the MTB for just over an hour. Nice climb to start the ride so you can ride easy later and be toasty. Lots of snow covered stuff on this ride so we got in a little techy sections, too. Plan on the loop more often for harder rides, though.

Next few weeks just peicing together easy rides and getting the bike's position dialed in. Trips to Bike Authority soon!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Cornering from the Pro's



1. Set your self up, get in line for the corner
2. Slowly make your pedal stroke slow down and look at the corner
3. Plant inside foot at 6 o'clock position
4. Start looking where you'll come out of the corner
5. Come out of the corner following your great line
6. Sprint hard out of saddle
7. Keep sprinting and prepare for next corner
8. Repeat

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Winter Bike Built

Finished up the main part of my cross turned winter bike. Spec still includes 9speed tiagara but I bet will end up around 20lbs. in the pits at cross with single ring. Parts looking to upgrade: shifters (preferably rival), cranks, derailleurs (rival), and wheels (already have, just need to mount) Also can pull off hand brakes and swap out stem/saddle. Move over down-graded parts from the main cross bike like brakes. But for winter, just what I need.

Planning on a MTB ride tomorrow, maybe hit up Reagan Park trails if the freeze comes tonight. Off to check CAMBA.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Thinking Base

Saturday I finally got up to Second Sole and recieved a real pair of trail shoes. Super comfortable and low key, perfect for the 2+ times I'll use them a week. Also when we were at Second Sole, I picked up a pair of liners for cold winter riding days and running.

Other than that, the days have been spent cleaning my bikes to the fullest. Today the temps will rise past freezing so I plan on spending some of the day washing outside. Looking at Optimo1, I still only have a few things left to do including:
1) Get in new road tires, Challenge Gara Clinchers
2) Swap out pedals
3) Swap out stem
4) Wait til Christmas to put back into a double ring road format
5) Look for lighter brakes and cranks

Then for the Optimo2, I still need to:
1) Mount fenders
2) Put on used road tires on either AIR wheels or Vistas
3) Swap out saddle for something thinner
4) Wait til Christmas to put on lighter build and single ring
5) Look for light 39t single cross chainrings and guards

Most of the riding I'll do until January will be on the Optimo2 and Lebron bike, mainly for cleaning and gear reasons. Also I am on unscheduled riding til the 3rd of January so looking to catch some good base miles and RAYS! I also need to learn how to run!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Your MTB(s) Miss You...


ergon grips
Originally uploaded by Robert Sroka
The last few days off the bike it has occured to me how much I've been neglecting my mountain bikes lately. First, I didn't compete in one MTB race this season, and second, most recently, I've been taking my cross bike to the trails.

This really says something: my mtb needs to lose more weight and gets some style points to attract me to ride it more. More spent money = more riding time. But not really on this one: I want to put on a single ring on my racing MTB which will be at most: 2 chain-ring guides. Then to get some serious cool points and cut some weight: get a pair of GX1 Ergon Grips.

Those will go on the race bike while the older, hybridy version will go on the single-speed mountain bike. This project should be well under $75 and get me to my MTB more. It will also drop around 75g on the handlebars and a good bit more around the cranks. Plus chop off about an inch of handlebars from loss of climbling bars and lefty shifter.

Speaking of mountain biking, I've got seven races on the schedule for this season including Westbranch, Reagan TT, NEO Power Series and Alum Creek. Both bikes will be great for base miles and slow riding. Maybe start a group ride on Valley Parkway, MTB or single-speeds? Any thoughts?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

It's Over?


08 ba cross series
Originally uploaded by Robert Sroka
2008 racing came to a close Sunday mid-day in 20F weather. It started in 20F weather at the Arnold Challenge.

I've decided to make Optimo2, black, my winter training bike. Collected some full fenders as a prize at Leroy and will keep the 9-speed Tiagra until the sun comes to stay. Also will keep my lightly gear double, a 42-30 until my power re-arrives. Then I will keep it as cross ready for the rest of the year.

Not much going on after the season, taking a full week off, then three more weeks of unscheduled riding. Julie and Dad head out tomorow morning for Nationals. Julie has a front row after a 3rd place last year, and dad gets a 7th row for not placing. And why he didn't place last year, he started 5th row and the guy in front crashed 1rst corner. How lucky?

Getting ready for Ray's Indoor MTB Park as I know I can't get hurt during peak season. Looks to be some serious updates this year including the best: indoor heating. NICE! Can't decide whether to run treaded tires to benefit outdoors or run slicker tires to help at Ray's on the single-speed. Probably going to tready and Ergon Grips.

Seems the crowd like the edited photos from Flickr so I'll keep 'em coming.

Monday, December 8, 2008

TLE Cross Finale: Copley: Report



Originally uploaded by prudence rabbit
The week leading up to the race I had something in the back of my head saying you'll lose all of your skills if you don't ride and you're power will be gone you worked so hard to achieve. But all in all, it just worked out better resting.

I went to the race confident and rested and hydrated. I still wouldn't be on the top-form still suffering from the aftermaths of my illness (which I still don't know what it was) but I did everything I could to be ready which included some (confidential info) 1-minute intervals (spin-ups) on Saturday.

The first warmup lap I did was on my black Optimo2 and it was not the tire, pressure, or bike to use today. I quickly set that one on the trainer knowing I didn't want to use that bike to warmup again because it was spotless. The course was fast and slick was how I would describe it.

Then I went to the trainer for about 15 minutes of getting the legs loose before opening them up on the next preview lap. I used Optimo1 with two Michelin Mud2 clinchers around high 20s low 30s. I had the front squishy and the rear solid (around 35psi) to start. The way I described it to dad was I simply felt like god with that setup. My idea of lots of frontal weight with my shorter stem, better tire pressure and wheel setup felt awesome. It really did make the difference today. I followed this lap with about 10 more minutes of staying warm and removing layers on the trainer.

At the start, I was dissapointed to see only 8 strong, oppenents. No Paul D. or Johnny (more on him later) followed by 4 more juniors. I knew I was fast on the straights down and out knowing the good lines at tire pressure. I made sure to be leading into the corners knowing of the crash possibility (I almost bit it 1rst lap too). So I lead into the chicane and stand up into the wind and hit the gas. And drop the field. I was just consistent enough over those straights to get a huge lead I couldn't imagine. But I knew with the wind factor I needed to ride hard the rest of the race. So I killed the straights, kept it upright on the corners, and shrugged the trees in the single track.

Before you knew it I was getting the bell knowing I had a huge lead so I kept the pressure on and gained more time. The ground was getting soft on the uphill so I was actually going in a bigger gear each lap (only 3 laps today). You know you're feeling good then.

The last thing I though about was riding the straights in my biggest gear. I haven't even touched the biggest gear all year until.. the snowiest race! My legs felt the best ever and my pride too as I collected my "C" overall prize and taking home 4 wins of 6 (best four counted). Great way to cap off the year and get my goal of the year accomplished.

In the B's Johnny (remember the track star at Kirtland; 2nd in the C's) took 3rd overall. Sweet ride and keep it up! Zach took 2nd junior while Julie won the Women's race again on a pimped ride and won the Overall in the Women's division. She also almost scored a top 5 in the B's! Keep it up for Natz! Tony and Shawn were 2nd and 3rd in a hard fought A race that was won by Paul Martin in the last uphill stretch. Funnest race to watch award was also recieved. Shawn was 2nd Overall for the series and Tony finished 4th overall. Nice racing this year guys. You better take the overall next season Tony!!

Dad was 2nd Jeff 3rd Derek 4th Bill 5th and Chris 9th in the A Masters. And they finished with Dad taking 2nd overall, Jeff 3rd, Bill 4th, and Derek 5th. The Speedgoat stingers showed up and took 1rst in the masters to Gerry on a 34-18 single speed and took top honors in the Overall! Ernie took 3rd overall in the A series too!

Great season ended today for us not heading to Natz! Looking for some EN riding soon and catching up with plenty of updates.

Copley Race Photos...


PIC_3742
Originally uploaded by Robert Sroka
Are now up on my flickr. Look for a few more picture collections on the blogs as I saw quite a few cameras going around. Especially the woman in the red jacket. I hope she has a flickr because she took I bet 500 shots.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The End is Near...


IMG_3437
Originally uploaded by FatherOFinnegan
Kind of dissapointing cross season because it flew right by! The results were great though. Seems like every week I trained dilagently knowing I had a big cross race that weekend. That really kept me on track with everything.

My Michelin Mud2 clincher I got via-ebay still hasn't arrived and dad already shipped the best wheels/tires to Kansas City for Natz so... My genius mind is thinking of running one Mud2 tire in the front with a super light and fast-treaded tubular bringing up the rear. Or praying my clincher comes in to run on those Easton Circuits.

One to go, lets finish strong. Bring your trainers on Sunday!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Welcome to the Club


tony's_blog
Originally uploaded by Robert Sroka
Team Lake Effect stud Tony Marut has a blog now. Finally, Bill's was just getting a little old?

Here is a mosaic of T over the past two years. From left to right: Chagrin River Cross, Spin Cross, Kirtland Park, and last seasons Spin.

Nice racing Tony and see you at Copley.