Saturday, November 28, 2009

breaking records one at a time

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I seem to have this fetish for carrying lots of stuff in my jacket pockets. But, the other day I simply decided to not were a backpack while riding to the shop but still ended up with a new world record (of mine): 22 items in a single three pocket jersey. 12 Vanilla hammergels, 6 Heed subtle melon packets, 1 pair of Sugoi recovery compression socks, 1 bottle of NUUN, and a small set of front/rear lights. Just saying add it to the record books.

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Wednesday I had off school and hit up the Bike Authority for some much needed love to the pit bike. Now A and B bikes are set up exactly the same, 120mm oversized C4 stem. And some new handlebars (same ITM brand) that makes the bikes really feel EXACT. Same fork with matching handlebars equals same stiffness and overall feel. Perfect if a bike change is needed.

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Even saved .22 lbs with longer stems/ wider handlebars because of cleaner setup (ie. single spacer) and that wicked nice C4 stem. Even added handlebar tape to the drops.

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State Champs tomorrow. Rode for almost an hour scouting up the course. Turny, bumpy and fast are the impressions. We'll see how much I regret doing to two races soon.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

conversation with a 9th grade fitness teacher

I have to get this sheet signed for a future absence from Wednesday the 9th - Friday the 11th for Cross Nationals at school. My teachers have to sign it and give me homework in advance. I don't know why I had my gym teacher sign at all because she obviously didn't know what the word cyclocross was:

Teacher: "so I didn't know you were into motocross, dirtbiking is what my son does"

Me: "no this is real bikes in real parks"

Teacher: "I didn't know you were into BMX"

Me: awkward silence.... and I walk away.

I was even afraid to compare cyclocross to maybe the TDF or if she had any idea what a Lance Armstrong was. I'd bet she say I didn't know you were into weight lifting.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Kirtland Park

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After totally sucking big time at this race last year and letting that guy who got 8th in the A's this year beat me (I only mention that to him every time I see him), I was ready to redeem myself. Saturday the TEAM got in a great setup and went through with my idea of going up the amphitheater and Jeff Craft's idea of having a 'ride able' option on the one set of stairs.

So lets get to the point. The legs were feeling good and I again went with the file treads cause they were so darn fast through the start finish area. I knew I would need the most help there too. So I get to the line early, start picking the old gear selection and align right next to Gary B. in the soft mud at the worst spot in the front row. How did the series leaders get this! Whatever, that is why we make the start so long and treacherous at this course before the riding of the stairs. So I rode up the stairs and immediately about half a dozen were dragged in front of the field.

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Big 'B' names like Heffner, Shelmire, Henterly, Donatelli, and Karpanski and the newbie to cross Brent Thompson. Aaron Shelmire (I looked at the results to find his name) threw down a first lap attack that only I stuck with. Then once more but it wasn't really an attack as much as his race pace. So I rode mine and he rode his, away from mine. Eventually Bill Henterly caught up to me with about 3 to go. We worked together with me doing the majority in the techy bits, and him the majority on any flat or power section. Then we made an agree to not attack the last lap and continue to work together. He says he wants 3rd and nothing else so I 'attack' up the stairs and I tear through the S turns for 2nd by about 10 minutes or so from first.

I honestly, finally rode a smart, quality race where I wasn't red-lined the whole time. Aaron just had a lot more power and everything else. Total, I bet I could have went twenty seconds faster, which is really nothing compared to previous races which could have been closer to a minute or so. And the fact I finished I bet two or three minutes down from first didn't make me worry about twenty seconds.

The A race was pretty sweet to watch today. HERE are some shots Julie and I took on the D40. That was a good b-day present, letting Jules use my camera, right? Or was saying happy birthday on my blog better?

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

amphitheaters are sweet

print_screen1 Kirtland Park is great course. We can change it every year and it still comes out cool. Its small, right by Lake Erie, and deep in the hood. Yet, it still is one of the most architectural parks with an amphitheater, five full length stairs and dead flats on the north part of the course. So, we have a lot to work with but the course generally is way under a mile. And its hard to decide what to include without flyover ramps. This year, or since last year, I have tried to convince people we can go UP the amphitheater and I think I have finally mapped it out. You also may want to remove those toe spikes, because there will be AT LEAST two sets of stairs (each with about 4 sets of fives) DSC_0017 This is our first of three setups at kirtland, hence the pre-pre-pre cross feel. Don't worry about not making it up the amphitheater, there will be a turn-a-round top spot that Johnny was wheeling up on his 34-18 fixed mountain bike. As long as its dry, we shall go up and you shall love it. DSC_0042 And here is my favorite (only) video kirtland from my california boy Scott Thor, going down the amp with a barrier, from three seasons ago:

Monday, November 16, 2009

Kent State


From this SATURDAY, and I finally organized Brett's weekend, SATURDAY and SUNDAY

I'll keep it breif as most of you have heard another one of robert's great race excuses (aka my blog). We missed the slightest things from a perfect course. The start sucked, the gravely U-turn seemed to take down about three dozen in each race, and after the real downhill, the right-hander we missed a few roots and cut it not wide enough. Rumor is we won't be getting this park again so I really wish it could have been perfect, wide woods, smooth transitions, swoopy turns, and a few parts to slow you down, aka steep uphills.

But anyway, I did some uncharacteristic stuff of me:

a) crashed on the first lap; I'm usually a mid-race kinda a guy

b) I started in a ditch and was not top five through the first few turns

c) worked my way up through the field

d) ran at a clip no one laughed at.

After crashing and falling to the very bottom of the top 15, I was this close to pulling the plug. Then I saw Gary Burkholder (my 'nemesis' in the overall points) was right behind and not on his usual form either. So my goal was to get by all the super locals, and finish top 8 to knock out my 9th place Wendy Park.

The depth is amazing in the 'B' field now, you are riding top 15 thinking you are winning. So it was wicked hard to pass and stay away from people. First, Rick Parr- then Scott Marut and I work together for a bit and get Jason Leaman with a few others and then Scott himself on the hill #2 when I RAN FAST. I went off in search of good buddy Paul Donatelli from last CX season, get him with half a lap left. DRILL it up the step to the swirl and unleash a mad sprint. 39-12 on the grass directly at Lynn. I am sneaking up and jump so hard for 7th, John Heffner, but lose by half a wheel (if that) to do a total endo after crossing the line.

Then proceeded to cramp so hard I couldn't get up AT ALL because I didn't want to break a strand of tape after the finish line.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

locals need to read this

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Gotta write quick because I couldn't get wireless internet fully done. So, still on the VirginMobile $20 plan with only like 12 hours a month.

Sunday a dozen of us went out to scout of the new venue of KSU. We pretty much solely rode with the Marut's choppin down the 'natural barriers.' We eliminated a run up by making it ridable, but added a shorter, steeper one no one could ride with the leaves still down. The overall venue is really small but the course was about 1.8 miles or so total. That includes about 1/3 double track, pretty passable if you want, one run-up, and one super steep long climb to finish off the woods. So far just one dismount a lap. A few artsy grassy turns, and paved start and a longish loop of gravel crushed stone path with a spiral finishes an approximate 7 minute lap on a dry day for Shawn Adams. File tread do-able if it stays dry. We got some serious cleaning to do Friday and Saturday morning though because there were three separate flats of a group of a dozen or so including a tubular of Nate Sz.

My dad also gave up on the Dugast Typhoon 30c we bought used. Shawn also had an extra grifo 32c he let me have for the rest of the year, thanks! So we (my dad) got it glued up this week and I can try it out in case the mud comes back this year. I even pulled ou my mom's Mitutoyo calipers, that cost nearly as much the tire new, and it did measure of to 31.88mm. Pretty much one of the closer tires that co-inside with their labels.

I am also trying to recover from a bit of road rash I received on Sunday. I thought adding this basketball court would give you a faster lead-up to the hill but quickly found out fresh painted basketball courts, morning dew/rain, and file tread 32 tires don't mix well. But I still finished off a great build week for nationals with 9 hours, what seemed like a thousand intervals, and 3766 feet of climbing not trying to get in climbing + Sundays ride which I bet was another 10,000 ft. Maybe.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

call ups

I am the worst at making decisions for big races. I want to peak at Nationals, but also want to do well at States. But I don't know what category to go with at States. Options: Cat 3 Men or 15-16 AG or both. It seems a bit overkill to do both as in an hour fifteenish straight up of cyclocross but it is my favorite course at John Bryan SP. But I need to decide soon or else I'll get a crappy start position in both! It won't be like the local races where I just pull up 10 seconds before the start on the way side of the front row, or how Chris Nicula will save a front row for me, thanks. The junior is free entry and only half an hour, the cat 3 is the 'B' race and is still a state championship race but costs $20 not that price really matters when we are driving 3/4 across the state. So I still don't really know.

We also pre-registered for Nationals in Bend, Oregon. I'm doing the B non-championship race on Thursday, 10-29, followed by the 15-16 AG race on Friday. Totally planning on getting my butt kicked in both races but getting an idea for what I really need to do next year to hang with the kids my age.

This weekend is supposed to be 60*F plus each day so looking for some more endurance today along with a test out day at Kent State tomorrow. Then a road ride afterwords in case we get too many laps done. Seems to be a 1.8 mile course with 1 or 2 runups and some double track, from what I've heard. A full report with some pictures of the course tomorrow or Monday. Maybe even get to use the XS tread again because they are literally still this clean!

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

i have a nikon camera and nokon sealed cables

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I saw on a. myerson's site about how he ran full housing on his shifting cables. Though I'm not nutty enough to drill open the cable stops on my new carbon Van Dessels like him, I looked up the idea with my dad. Tuesday we finally got around to it or I did, and he pulled out some Nokon housing and 'fittings' (aka the little silver cups you can adjust length with while protecting the cable.) I guess these were 'the thing' about ten seasons ago. I noticed some quick pro's: lighter, NO openings, easy to adjust length; and con's: time to install, slight increase in friction, SUPER expensive. But since these were throw-aways in that back room of the LBS (MSRP - $56 for one rear derailleur cable marked down to free for past nine years), and my dad is a wrench, this was perfect.

The whole process took about 1.5 hours of distracted working. We glued in my cut down piece of down tube holding rear derailleur cable and perfect! Cable is already stretched a bit but is as smooth without cable stop openings with 100% less chance mud can go into my housing and affect the cable/shifting. This should also work better cleaning bike without anything to shoot into my housing. Now, the only thing that can slow down my shifting is sticky mud like last weekend. Pictured is Ehrlinger's rear derailleur after saturday's mud festival. Got two weeks to get this thing perfect.

*Posted from my new 10.2" hp notebook. Wow I am pro.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Chagrin River Day 2



You don't have to watch all 410 pictures, view them as thumbnails HERE.

How one's luck can change so dramatically in twenty four hours? With equal legs and similar people showing up, and less crashes, you would think I could pull the same result, wrong!

In fact, the start was so awkward I didn't know how to react. Lets start over, I went second into the first corner. I jumped. I lead into the off camber around the telephone poll thing. I took the dry line to the left and the tap pulls my front brake lever down for me. I stop. It takes me and Paul Donatelli to get it out and everything is backed up. I guess that is what happens.

So I lead through the pine needle tree alignment section on lap one with five or so in tow of the 30 man field. I take the sharp left towards the RV trailer at about 15mph and get one wheel in one line and the rear in another... I flip flop over the handlebars into 6th whacking myself against these wooden planks. ouch, but I slowly got up and see Gary (3rd yesterday) throwing down the smack as I limp around the barriers. It takes me a whole lap to get Jason Leaman who knows to jump right on board.

I take the majority of pulls and he helps when needed. Like four laps pass as we slowly gain on Matt Brockbrader. Now there are three of us going into one to go fighting for 3rd, 4th, 5th placings with 2nd a long way up the road. I take it fast through everything and clean it up through the woods and sprint it up for 3rd. I'll take it. And Gary ended up winning.

Totally a learning weekend. Cool course, perfect for the secret mountain biker in me. And I took home a few bucks and now and am not too far out of overall contention in the series.

Great racing for TLE also today. Shawn Adams let me borrow his 32c Grifo Ksyrium front tub and it worked perfect. He then ran his file tread and bike switched to win the race on a clean bike, man that was cool. Matt Weeks took second ahead of the P.A. boys rounding out the top 5 with Tony in reach. Leader Bill picked up some more series points and showed Gartman who was boss. Johnny showed up with the hair-do-no-more and got 8th/9th A right near the Paul Martin guy with my dad not too far behind him. Scott Marut also killed it and got 7th 'B' not chasing me down today.