Sunday, March 28, 2010

First Race of 2010 - Hell of The North

The first bike race of 2010 is in the books. This was the second annual Barry Roubaix, held in Middleville MI. I am dubbing this the U.S. version of The Hell of the North (the real Paris Roubaix) Here are some of the numbers for the race. Up at 3:50 a.m. loaded the car and headed to pick up Josh J. and Nicole B. to head up for the race. The temperature was hovering around 30 degrees at start time which was backed up a little due to the large field. Last year the race had a little more than 200 racers and this year they went over 700! The options for this race were a 23 mile option, 35 mile and 65 mile. I choose to due the 35 mile race since it is early in the season and the race was being held on gravel and dirt roads with a mile long sand and rock garden section thrown in for good measure. Here are my numbers for the race. I burned 2367 calories with a finishing time of 2:05 for 34.5 miles. I averaged 247 watts and a 159 heart rate. Average speed was 16.75 mph. Maximum speed was 33.57mph and my max heart rate topped out at 174bpm. My finishing time put me in 29th place out of 50 in my field.

Now a little more about the race. Like I mentioned the race was mostly held on gravel and dirt roads. The race started with all 700+ riders in a neutral rollout. This was not the smartest thing to do and they even promoted the race with staggered starts based on category. Even though they asked the riders to stay within their category during the rollout most riders tried to move to the front which caused a few wrecks. Once the escort vehicle cut us loose the race was on, that was until we hit the mile long section of 2 track sand and rocks. I was probably mid way back in the field and the wrecks started coming left and right. I had opted for road shoes and pedals and this was a mistake. I had to shoulder the bike and run around people on several occasions. This caused my cleats to get filled with dirt and rocks and made the task of clipping in nearly impossible. I can say that the riders who were wrecking probably should have read the race description a little better and not brought a bike with slicks. Most riders in this race opted for cross bikes or mountain bikes. This mile long stretch cost me several minutes and most likely a spot near the top of my category since the winning time was 1:51.

The rest of the race was probably the most interesting race I have ever done with dirt and gravel roads, lots of climbing and some very beautiful scenery. I worked with a few other riders during the race but mostly picked my way thru the field trying to regain the spots I had lost. About 22 miles into the race I started to experience a lot of cramping in my calf muscles and I am not sure if this was from not taking in enough fluids or the climbing but they finally worked themselves out. I felt great other than the cramps so with about 10 miles to go I put the hammer down and let it fly. I came across several of the elite riders that were also on their first lap and ran into my travel partner Nicole B who had opted for the 65 mile version. Nikki is coming off another strong cross season and also another major ankle surgery which has put her training a little behind but nonetheless she was battling thru it. After getting around this group I kept the power up. I finally reached about 7 miles to go and had another rider sitting on my wheel. I tried to ignore the fact that he was sitting there and I was doing all the work but I really did not want to sit up. Coming into the finish I was cruising at about 26 mph and feeling good when in the last 50 yards the rider that was on my wheel wanted to sprint me for the finish. I was not too happy with this since I had just pulled his ass along for 7 miles but hey I’m game. We ended up crossing the line at the same time.

When I got back to the car Josh J. my other traveling companion for the day was at the car. He had opted to do the 65 mile course but after the first lap pulled out due to some fatigue issues. He was pretty disappointed but Nikki and I assured him there are plenty of races left this year and he will do just fine.

After a few more hours Nicole rolled in taking 4th place for the elite women. She expressed that this was the hardest race she has done in her 20 years of racing.

All in all I am pleased with my decision to do the 35 mile expert race and feel really good about my fitness right now. There is a lot of racing left this year and I know I will only get stronger.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Mid Feb Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day! Yep it’s here. Feb 14th. I am not really a big fan of holidays like Valentine’s Day but I am a fan of the midway point of Feb. My riding outside has been non-existent. I am not a fan of riding when the temp drops below the freezing point and at this point in the year don’t see the need to. I am also not a fan of riding on the roads when you do not have a lot of room to maneuver due to an out of control driver…You know with all the texting and people on their cell phones added to the slippery roads. Not a good combination.

I have been putting in miles on the trainer but have to admit I am getting a little tired of the basement. My office is in the basement so when I am not on the road I am working there. When I am finished with that I head back to the basement to ride. Not much fun.

I have a lot of projects going on in the house right now that should last for a few more weeks. I am remodeling the half bath on the first floor plus putting in new counter tops and adding a window/storage seat in the kitchen. I am also going to add an above the range microwave and need to do a little electrical work and add a new cabinet to make that happen. We are giving most of the rooms a new coat of paint and adding some other new decorations and such. All in all it will take our all white house and make it our home.

Until next time ride safe and think warm thoughts!

Monday, January 4, 2010



Well it is a new year. What do we call it? Twenty Ten, Two Thousand and Ten? Whatever we call it doesn’t it have to be better than last year? If you are a reader of this blog and are in the RV or Boating business you know what I mean. 2009 was the worst year in our industry that many can recall. Many plant closures and layoffs. This affects us all. But hey, it’s a NEW YEAR and I plan to make the most of it.

I have big plans or should I say I am planning big things for 2010. Nancy is doing the same. She has signed up for a very challenging race in September. I know she will do well. I will let her go into details in her blog after all, this is my space!

In 2010 I plan to start by increasing my training level in the winter months to be ready to do some spring races in Indiana and Ohio. My focus for road racing this year will be the three day Tour of the Valley hosted by Carbon Racing in Youngstown, Ohio. This will be the second year of this race and from what I have heard it is a great race. There is a time trial and crit on Friday, a road race on Saturday and the final crit is on Sunday. It should be fun!

After I wind up my road racing season it will be back to cross. This year I have several races planned but the highlights will be at least 3 USGP races and nationals. Nationals will be in Bend, OR again so this will be a stretch but I hope it comes together. Cross season will be another busy one but that is half the fun. I so enjoy going to new race venues and meeting the local race organizers. Visiting local restaurants and pubs is also a favorite thing of mine.

Speaking of restaurants, this year I pledge to cut down on the trips through the fast food windows. If you travel a lot like I do then you know this is always the easy thing to do. I have to stop, or at least reduce the amount of times I do this. Of course Starbucks does not count!

Well, that is all for now. I hope to post more updates as time allows. HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL! Make it a good one!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What Am I Thinking....

I admire people that have a drive to do something 100%. I try to do things this way but it does not always turn out. I have been thinking about all the work I put into being a better cyclist. I have trained more over the past year than I ever have for anything and I continue to get mixed results. Do I spend all the time I can training? No. Do I do all the right things with my diet to make sure I am getting the most out of what I eat…HELL NO! But I am ok with all of this. I have a lot of things going on in my life that take time. My family, my job and other interest outside of bike racing. The question I am now asking myself, is all this training worth it? Am I having fun? The answer to all of this is YES!

I enjoy the camaraderie that cycling brings. I enjoy the people I race with on Team Lake Effect. I enjoy going to different cities and racing on new and challenging courses. I enjoy getting out and training when I am not crunched for time. It gets a little boring sometimes out there for hours on end riding alone but that will change. I am ready for new challenges. Not that I am getting out of bike racing, I still have to reach that podium! What does all this mean? Well let me tell you what I am doing and maybe you will talk me out of it.

As I travel to all the different races I see youth development teams popping up. There are kids as young as 5 getting on bikes and racing and having fun. Most of these opportunities did not exist when I was growing up and there were no youth development programs for cycling around Warren, Ohio. These children, along with their families come out in large groups to the races. The one thing I notice…They are all having fun. They are constantly on their bikes riding around the venue, playing tag with each other, cheering each other on, having large picnics and just plain downright enjoying the sport of cycling.

Katie and Robert are now at the age that they are ready to start riding more and Robert will probably start to do some junior races next year. (Yikes…More bike expense!)

I have contacted the folks at USA Cycling, the governing body for cycling in the United States, about starting a youth development program in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I have also started to contact other successful programs in the Midwest for guidance on putting such a program together. I am not sure I can pull this off but I am going to give it 100% of the spare time I have trying. If you are in the Fort Wayne area and are reading this I will need help. I will be forming the club with USA Cycling shortly and will be starting a campaign to secure sponsors. This may not work, but I know there are a lot of kids in this area who enjoy the sport and I am going to try to bring them all together.

Wish me luck. I will post updates as they come!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

This blog post is long overdue. I owe my fans more than one post every few weeks. HAHAHA!!! I couldn’t resist. I am sitting at the Miami airport with some time to kill so I thought I would get this done. I have been quite busy with working, training, racing and not spending enough time with the family. I knew this was going to be a busy time of the year but I don’t think you can ever really be prepared for how much it wears you down.

For my second cross race I headed to Wisconsin for the Planet Bike USGP. I had never raced a USGP event and let me tell you it was first class. All of the big teams and names of cyclocross were there. I got in on Friday night just in time to get a few laps in before the rains came. It pretty much rained all night so I rode on the mud tires Saturday. I started near the back due to the timeframe that I registered for the race and finished about the same spot. I am not a very good technical rider and with the wet conditions it became a very technical race. The next day was drier but I crashed on the barriers on lap 2 and dropped my chain so by the time I reconnected I could not pull back. After 2 more laps I was passed and the day was over for me.

I headed from there to Wisconsin Dells for another trade show. Sunday afternoon we set the show up and worked the show Sun night, Monday and Tuesday. On Tuesday I started having some pain in my lower back and by the afternoon I could not walk. Luckily my roommate was helpful and carried my luggage! I was not feeling good at all. Wednesday I drove back to Indiana. By Friday the back felt pretty good but I decided to take the weekend off and make sure the back was ok. I had a doctors visit the following Tuesday and he did x-rays and everything was negative so that was good news. The pain in my back was gone and remains gone today but I am having a pain that goes down my left leg so I am seeing a nerve specialist to hopefully get the problem solved.

Fast forward to last weekend and I headed to Covington, KY for the OVCX UCI 2 day event. I headed to KY on Thursday and by 3pm it was raining and it rained pretty steady all afternoon and night. They were calling for 4-5 inches of rain before the system moved out. The first day of racing was set on a hillside adjacent to a golf course and it actually used several of the cart paths for the race. The race was probably held in the worst conditions I have raced in since I started cross. I would bet that you had to run or have your foot down for more than a quarter of the course. YUCK! My field had about 80 racers and I finished 37th so I was not too upset. Congrats go out to my roommate Josh Johnson who finished 3rd in the cat 2-3 and teammate Tony Marut who finished 5th. These guys are incredible racers and have many years of racing ahead of them. (Both are still in high school) Congrats also goes out to Nicole Borem, team DRT for finishing top 10 in the women’s pro race. Thanks for the accommodations Nicole and great racing! Saturday’s race was held in Middletown Ohio in much better conditions. I was again about 5 rows from the back and off the start I did not feel the legs were kicking on all cylinders. The race was in a residential park with a lot of twists and turns and a double sand pit. You went into the pit came out did a 180 and went back through. On the third lap I dropped my chain and that was it. The chain got stuck down between the chain keeper and I could not get it back on. My day was over. I packed it up and headed back to Fort Wayne to change out the clothes and see the family and then head to Miami for a business trip.

 My plans were first to head back to Ohio this weekend to race the Spin race in Willoughby but I bagged it and instead we went shopping for the kids some new clothes and Halloween costumes. We had a great afternoon. That’s it for now. I will try and update this more often so these are not so long in the future. Next weekend we are heading out on Friday for Louisville, KY for the USGP of Cyclocross.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Day After

One to go...That is what the official said as I turned the corner for the stretch into the lasat lap of the first cross race of the season. Overall, I was feeling pretty good. I had settled into a good rythem and started to think ahead of what I could do better for the next race. Team Lake Effect members met on Saturday to set up the course at Wendy Park in Cleveland, Ohio. We spent about 4 hours laying the tape out and putting up flags. Jeff Craft brought a leaf blower and cleared away a lot of glass and stones that were on the course. The park is the site of an old dump so you have a lot of broken glass! Sunday started early, 6am to be exact. I had some coffee and left to get Jeff and head to the race. We finished all the detail setup and then at noon the C racers went off. They had a great group with first timers and juniors. It is really fun to watch the kids. Next year will be Roberts turn! Our race had over 70 participants so the start was going to be rough and rough it was. I did not get the best position and got caught behind a lot of riders going thru the first few turns. I regained a few spots and just rode my race. I made a few errors in the lines I took and had a few shifting errors but overall it was just good to get the kinks out. That's it for now.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Hills are ALIVE

Took off today from East Liverpool and wanted to get some hill work in. The one bad thing about Fort Wayne is that there are not many hills so I am really lacking in that part of my training. Left and headed north on route 7 and ended up in Boardman. Stopped at a Pilot and refueled with Gatorade and then headed back south. Got in just shy of 50 miles. The ride was good but the hills were killing me on the way home. Some of the hills are 15-16 percent grades. Now I know this is not a big deal for you out west or even up along Lake Erie but trust me when you have been training in an area where the biggest grade is 5% it sucks. Oh well. Made it back in one piece and then got to have corn on the cob, hamburgers, hotdogs and visit with family. One more day here in Ohio and plans are to hit West Branch early and then head home mid-day. The first cross race is now less than a week away. They are calling for rain so it should be fun!