Tuesday, September 29, 2009

following the script

What is bought in Michigan, is brought back to Ohio. Saw these every time I walked to the course from the car but couldn't pass up such a good deal. So I finally contributed to a family purchase of tubulars, the fourth set, these being one of the most popular match-ups in cyclocross for versatility in all weather conditions. Kysyrium SSC tubular wheels with Dugast Typhoon tires that really would have been perfect for Kent but didn't get them glued up in time. So now, these are leading the race for this weekends planned set of races because of the 10-day weather forecast : Cap City #1, Leroy Cross.

I also played the role as 'hardman' today riding in the rain for my daily dosage of LT/sprint intervals. They seem to be keep paying off week by week on the weekends so these are a must outside in my mind. And tested out full race kit for rain, clear jacket, super embrocation, and even a pair of gloves. Starting to get on top of my game for Cincinnati next weekend.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Kent State

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Stark put up a cool first time race at a sick venue. Totally glad it was part of our series to but one serious note: if you live in the GCA and are a fair weather racer, how does one survive on the few chances to race here in and around Cleveland? Sure, I do ride the rollers generally if it starts raining before a ride but during, there is no way I'm turning back! Just saying you really missed out on a fun hopefully annual event.

Anyway it went pretty good in my race. I totally disregarded the high chance of rain in our race and went with the 'slicks' grifo XS. Worked great warming up but when raced with at slick high speed downhills, I do not recommend. So first corner I go in third behind John, and a BVR racer and LOCK up the brakes so they work. Immediately from two wheel drift to two wheel air! Dabbed my foot hard and kept it upright with momentum, the highlight of the day (Rick Parr told me about how we came out equal even with me turning without wheels) It was basically a fast and sloppy as turn as the beginning of Wellens vs Nijs.

Then I pretended to do the teammate thing and not attack but John was wayyy gone by lap one anyway so I got to do my own race. I think I then rode between 4th and 7th again most of lap two during the downpour of buckets of cats and dogs of rain. It reminded me of Ollie Williams, its raining sideways! But I did well in it. Fell real hard once and that was it. Bike did the bull riding motion and I went flat on hip.

Then I went through with places 5-7 and they started yelling halfway through the lap, last lap. So I thought there would be one more to go and paced it a bit just holding there wheels. Then through the last two turns Drew is screaming this is it after the final corner. Then I mustered up the final cranks to lead through the turn, off the brakes, and floor it. Sprint so far past the line so I didn't have a repeat of last week and reflect on my first top 5 finish in a B race. 5/49 overall and with teammate John Prop-Pee pulling off the win. Epically short at 26 minutes 59 seconds. That cost my mom over 75 cents a minute of racing. Cycling is expensive.

Then began the heckling. Do those folks have shirts on? No.

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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Kent Stark Photos


Came out OK all weather considered. Full report tomorow.

Michigan Double Cross

So here I am writing about my racing last weekend the day of the race this weekend. This report so easily got away from me but courtesy of the great photos/videos I knew I couldn't just disregard it (so you better like this!)

Friday we drove up to Michigan for the Double Cross weekend. Probably in the top five races of that weekend in the country between prize money still there and some bigger names. So I didn't get to ride Friday so my legs were a bit tight Saturday morning for the race even with a serious trainer warmup. But it seems as always I start way to fast for my ability. They made all the juniors (all 2 of them) line up back row to get out of the way for the real race. Except, I got a great start and jumped four rows of racers in seconds and was fourth overall into the first corner.

Then it happened. Too many spacers in between my chainring and guard and I dropped my chain getting almost elbowed into the grass transition into a hole (thank you tubulars) and it was stuck between BBG #2 and my chainring. Then I pulled it out and was DEAD last and ten seconds back. So I just worked my way back slowly and had fun riding the sand pit four consectutive laps. Trying not to ruin my bike or my legs for Sunday in the killer B race. Ended up doing one FAST lap then got unmotivated and saved it up with a 22nd overall trying to figure out the 'orange crush'. 29.5 psi rear, 28.0 psi front.

Saturday night we fixed my bike at the hardware store (reduced spacing and removed a chain link) and then went to Dairy Queen so I was already feeling better.

Did the same warmup Sunday with three more laps of the new course and was liking it a lot better but still too much road even with the 54 turns per lap! Totally missed my pedal at the start but when I was front row, still went in 4th to first turn. Hmmm.. maybe I should always start front row.

The first two laps I was riding really way beyond my abilities and soon had to back it down so I didn't crack on lap 3. I was up with about 4th-7th place the majority of those laps and taking my pulls but getting gaped on the orange crush my chances thing. Then I got dropped from that group and started pulling around another.

I stand up the whole uphill section and make sure we don't get caught by 11th place. Then a dude attacks me on the downhill road and he's gone. So I am riding with another guy who came from WAY back to catch me. And we are riding for 9th and 10th position (exactly where I told everyone I would be on Sunday). We get the bell and I just put down my second fastest lap of the race railing everything with all the power I've got left and letting him wheelsuck. Get a small gap through the barricades, make sure I don't bite in the turn, and sprint! And... lose by 5 1/1000ths of a second. Darn you chip timing combined with poor sprinting ability!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Double Photos

Here are my shots from Michigan Double Cross. Weekend went good for me, great for team. Need to organize Day 1 + 2 but these are all 250 some photos. Real race report to come. Also got some new wheels for the family your sure to like.



Thursday, September 17, 2009

So Pumped

Dvorak Photos.
for the weekend at Michigan Double Cross featuring the Orange crush flyover, super off-cambers, and very little road. Training has been super specific the past three weeks for cross and specific. Tuesday has been my hardest day consisting of 6 LT intervals followed up with some shorter stuff that you see more of in the races versus longer stuff. Then Wednesday I have been doing starts with a skill mindset for the race practicing particular parts of the course that are similar. Such as for this weekend, steep short steps, flat fast dismount/remounts and off cambers. And last week was practice sand and low barriers just like Wendy. So it has been going well so I am going to keep right at it. This weekend I will be racing 15-18 B men but the real question is will all the top guns show up even though there are no UCI points up for grabs?

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Tuesday's 6x2 LT, 4x30 second sprint, 2x10 second sprint. All on one steep hill.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Wendy Park


I can never decide if this course suits me or not specifically but it is wicked fun so I am going to say it does because it puts me in a good mood. As good as mood as you can get when your heart rate is over 200 beats per minute.

So Sean put together a real trainer workout for me that is short but sweet (27 minutes) which I did then rode 2.5 laps of the course figuring the lines and such. Therefore I was pretty warm at the line and got a front row position. Little did I know what I was really in for with the other 70 racers on the line!

The start was fast but not as hard as the starts Coach and I did in training last week. I let Drew and a Steel City guy literally elbow for the first corner. Then I stayed put there until the steeper chicanes where I didn't have quite the nerves to fly at their pace down the side of the cliff. Then Johnny and his train came flying past so I was about 8th going into the first road section. I probably should have lit it up here as I conserved a bit at the start. But move up and close to top five after the barricades after lap one.

Then it all blends together. I can clearly seeing Gary about 15 seconds up but I thought the race would seem really dragged out so I conserved a bit more and rode with a group of four. I don't really think I could have caught him but I could have gotten away from our bunch. And we still can't catch Gary even drafting totally in-sync on the paved stretch. I put in a few moves and sit in until the last lap where I blow it, again. One dude bridged to Gary and snags fifth overall. Then we lap two dudes who sit up on the off-camber and I have to go way around and way slow but that is all it takes and I can't close the gap. 9/69 place it is.

I felt really good about a top 10 in my first B race. I know top 5 in a single event is possible and only 46 seconds away time wise. My power was there and so were my barricades but cornering wasn't up to par with the guys I was with. This course was totally ment for tubulars by the way. My back was killin' during the preride with too much pressure clinchers.

Notes to self:
- 26.5 psi rear, 28.5 front Challenge Grifo Dry tubulars
- sketchy on off-camber and gravel stuff
- good power on the road and felt faster than my group who was probably riding neutral
- it takes more than one attack to drop 'B' racers
- I had heck of a lot of fans, and a racer during the race pointed that out to me while racing. Even 'throw my hands up for 2nd' Steevo was cheering, best story ever
- remember to set-up pit bikes tire pressure and gear selection
- Results

Thursday, September 10, 2009

trying hard to look PRO

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Here it is, spec included, The A bike:
Frame - Cannondale Optimo Blue 52cm
Fork- Slice Ultra SI Carbon
Rims - Wheelsmith Tubulars circa 1984 (that used to come on Richard Sachs bicycles)
Hubs - Dura-Ace front, Ultegra rear
Tires - Challenge Grifo Dry White Tubulars
Pedals - Time Atac XS
Crank - Sram Red standard (non-BB30) 39t single
Chainguards - BBG Bashguards 39t Blue Superlights
Chain - Sram non hollow link 10 speed
Rear Cogs - Shimano Ultegra 12-27
Bottom Bracket - Truvativ Mega X-O
Rear Derailleur - 2009 Sram Rival
Shifters - 2009 Sram Rival, left shifter gutted
Handlebars - Vista ITM 40cm
Handlebar Tape - Sram with White Hudz
Stem - 3T Team Issue 90mm
Brakeset - Tectro Oryx Cannondale Branded
Saddle - Fizik Wing Flex Pave Sport
Seatpost - Bontrager Race XXX Lite
Extras - Various Ti bolts and grease filled bottle cage bosses
Weight: 18.78 lbs.
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All set for Wendy

Monday, September 7, 2009

the 'work on roberts bikes' weekend

So I managed to flat a tubular and break a brake, all within a little of four hours of training this weekend. I guess this really brings out the advantage of having a father who is the head mechanic at the LBS. But at least my 'A' bike will be working this weekend with tubulars and a front PAUL brake.

Dad even gutted my new lefty Rival shifter and pulled off all the housing still laying in the handlebar tape. So now my bike is officially the lightest it will be at least for this season. He even lent me a 15mm wrench to swap all my pedals and those little spacers you put in so you don't whack your kankels on the chainstays. I dropped another 88 grams using my XS Time pedals, plus upwards of 12 more grams using grease in my bottle cage mounts vs. steel bolts. Then approximately another 40g in shifter guts, housing, cables, and that little peice that runs the cable up to the down pull front derailleur. Now all that is needed is a final weight (hoping sub 18) and maybe someone to make it go fast!

Time XS - Expensive, heavy, reliable

BBG 39t Superlight Bashguards at Westbranch

Friday, September 4, 2009

Clinched

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I finally got around to posting up a few of my spare wheels for this soon approaching cross season. The official spare wheel set is my Easton Circuits with the uber stiff easton double threaded stock spokes. The other is the slightly heavier easton vistas, stock with Dura-Ace cassettes on both sets, 12-27 always. These wheels will mainly be my training wheels but used on the B bike in the pits during different weather conditions at the races.

This also brings me to another one of my many favorite topics: tire tread. Below is what is on my wheels as we speak. To the far left is a Michelin Sprint Green clincher, ideal for dryer courses with lots of turning, note the edging. Pretty light and gets style points, too. The second tire is a Michelin Mud 2 that is new and has a relatively smaller base for being a true mud tire. Comes stock on quite a few bikes but is rarely seen on a 'racers' bike. Well, if you run them low enough, or high enough (splatter-effect) I really like these clinchers for the mud. The last tire I in my current selection is the race wheel tubular, Challenge Grifo Dry. Super fast rolling, dry courses mainly, and I have heard ice too. Ability to run very low pressures and not bottom out or flat.

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Short riding today trying to reboot the lungs after a few days of nothing. Then this weekend hopefully has some mountain biking involved.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

44.2 inches of fun!

So I finally got back to Big Valley after a two year hiatus. I have ridden the course about a half and dozen times and really love it for single speeds. Mild climbing, few short pitches everyone has to run, and basically built for speed. I lined up front row and got the whole shot to the engraved totem pole (they should give points for that or something) then turned to downhill and I got passed by everyone. 34-20 on the flats and downhills at 115 rpm+ just didn't seem possible for that long. That is again why I love this course, the gravel two-track seems to be all uphill, so not spinning at all! I marked on MVC single speed and tried to stay near him. But it was so bottlenecked near the back of sport and everyone was going so much slower at the back, the front got huge gaps opened.

This basically went against my thoughts that a mountain bike race is an individual time trial on dirt. Anyway, I lost control on a slow switchback about 3 miles into the 10 mile loop and lost my sole HEED bottle. I didn't notice until I went to go climb and noticed the weight difference in the bike. Just kidding, I tried drinking like a minute later and no bottle. So I got my 'cross practice in with no water for about 40 minutes or so during a hard effort, something I can't get myself to do on a training ride.

Back to the race- passed a few on all the uphills and don't think I ever got passed the first lap after the whole shot for 50 yards thing. Single speed helped through the climbs in open sections. That brought me to a younger looking racer, who I asked if he was in the U18. He said yep so I guess the race was on. He opened up a huge gap when I slowed to get some water from Groovy Rody at the aid station after lap one. Then got some more with his descending skills. I caught him right before we caught Julie and I jogged up the run-up and got a gap. The first time I've ever got a gap running.

Just tried keeping it smooth and not falling on my face. Avoid getting stung by wasps. Even stopped to get my water bottle and couldn't see him after a few minutes so I pushed on for the rest of the lap by myself. Cramped up with literally .5 mile at most to the finish line. Weird. But rolled across the line with my first U18 sport win and the lead in the NEO Power Series.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

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Originally uploaded by justysia1

I know you have been very nervous about my Big Valley race report coming out so I thought I'd give you a taste of the great photography at the race. I am going to wait until tomorrow to post up the official report with all sorts of great photos from different parts of the course screen printed and all! I also am suffering from the 'just started school and my immune system is not ready for this cold,' so I am told to take riding easy until the swine flu bug dissipates my system.