Sunday, October 24, 2010

Flatwater Lincoln CX Race

It was really great to see that big of a 1,2,3 field at a CX race. I think more promoters should make a note of what Lefler and and the Flatwater crew did by not paying the 3's but paying 15 deep in the open field.
Speaking of the 3's, Noah Marcus and Tyler Whetstone did battle for most of the 3's race. It was really good to see a real back and forth battle. Tyler is one of my closest friends, and even then I would not want to jockey for position with him. He will push you around if he gets the chance to get inside your head. However, Matt Maxon came out of nowhere (like Sioux City?) with like 2 to go, charged to the front, and never looked back........not like we haven't seen him do that before. Dudes got a motor!

I threw my hat into the Open Race to see if I could break even on the day. Big Field, had a really good start, rolling in the top 12.

Photo Cred Dan Farnham
As things sorted themselves out on the first lap I saw that Jeff Bonsall was right behind me, so I figured I would have someone to work with.

Bonsall: In control.
As I came across the Start/finish I saw MG laying on the pavement looking kind of dazed and missing some skin (Get well buddy!) Then in one of the corners on the lower part of the course I got a little to big for my britches and went down hard. I knocked my front end out of alignment and banged my knee up pretty good. It definitely took the wind out of my sails. I dropped like 10 spots and proceeeded to chase for the next 50 minutes. One of the most demoralizing things about racing with the 1,2's is that if you fall off the pace there is not a lot of chances to make the bridge back up. I think I got 19th?

photo cred NOA
I consoled myself with refreshments on the run thanks to CVO, Malcolm, and all the Lincoln Hooligans.
I even snagged a dollar! Those guys definitely set the bar for super fans!

I really liked Lefler as an announcer.......He does a phenomenal job keeping fan up on the action, and it lets the riders know where they are. Good Show! I also like how the officials did not mess around, the results were posted and awards were done very quickly.The Flatwater crowd runs a pretty tight ship.

Looking forward to another great Lincoln weekend next month!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Oakley Night Cap Cyclocross

So on Friday I jetted out of work to meet Jeremy Cook so we could head to Des Moines for the Night Cap Cyclocross race presented by Bike Iowa at Mullets Bar and grill.


This was a awesome event. Awesome fans, the social lubricants were flowing, and the fields were pretty big. My only complaint was that the course was relatively short, but they used every inch they could.
Me and Jeremy talked Econ the whole way there, and got registered with time to spare. it was a especially cool evening that was compounded by the fact that we were right next to the River. As we were kitting up Jeremy whipped out some Mad Alchemy Mellow embrocation and offered me some. I have always been skeptical of embrocation. I know a lot of cyclists love to wax poetic about how great it is when its cold outside. Me, I prefer to wear warm clothes. So with a little bit of trepidation I slathered my legs up, pulled on my BGR fleece lined skinsuit and hit the levy trails to try to warmup. At first I would not call the sensation of embrocation was more of a mild intermittent burning sensation. It did not feel warm all the time either, the tingle came and went. What I did notice was that my feet were cold, I banged my toe on a barrier on the warmup and it really hurt. However, even with a thin pair of full finger gloves my hands felt fine from the application to the ol' leggers. (Word to the wise: watch where you put you hands post application)

After what seemed like forever, they finally sent us all off for a sixty minute race that would be 19 laps. I really have no idea how I did. You were never really out of the traffic, and there was never a long straight stretch. It was one of the more technical (in a non-muddy sense) with a ton of turns and sketchy dark descents. 90% of the course was really well lit, but that dark off camber descent was dicey, fun but in a dangerous kind of way.

One of the Alegant Health racers from Lincoln absolutely destroyed a tubular rear wheel. I mean ripped spokes out of eyelets, rim bent and broke in multiple locations. It was spectacular, but even with his wheel having multiple 90 degree angles, his tubby was still glued firmly in place. I thought that was impressive.

We also got to see Shim before our race. Turns out he ripped a derailleur off in his race.

Jeremy and I did not wait around for results, since we were heading back to the big O that night, and I had to work early the next morning. Did not get home until 2 am. Suck. Many thanks to Jeremy though for staying awake and being a great conversationalist on the ride home.

Afterthoughts: I am going to order some Mad Alchemy Medium or Madness (Mod or Brian if you have any in stock let me know and I will be by the store). It did not occur to me until later that I could apply embrocation to my feet which are always cold. The Mellow is great, I never even realized I had it on once the race started, but you really have to make a conscious effort to wash it off. When I was laying in bed that night (morning) I could still feel the backs of my legs tingling. I figure a nice pair of wool socks cost at least 20 bucks, and if the embro' adds a little bit of warmth to a cold race experience it is worth every penny.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Three is company

So despite being 25 weeks prego Ali asserted that we were going for some tandemming on Sunday. Who am I to argue with a woman like that?

We rode to Silver City, and upon realizing that there are not restaurants or stores, we rode back to Mineola to eat at the infamous "taco ride" establishment.

When we got home, it was nap time!
Good times! Even prego, her Al-ness cannot be contained!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Tires and tubes and rims, oh my!

First, the UCI is stupid. Its not like you should expect anything different, but I am just pointing this out because of their decree that no CX tire shall be greater in width than:

"1.3.018 Wheels of the bicycle may vary in diameter between 70 cm maximum and 55 cm minimum, including the tire.
For the cyclo-cross bicycle the width of the tire (MEASURED BETWEEN THE WIDEST PARTS) shall not exceed 33mm and it may not incorporate any form of spike or stud."

The average rider will gain more from wider tires than more advanced riders regardless of whether they are tubular, tubeless, or tubed clinchers. Tire volume allows a rider to utilize a wider range of tire pressures. The voluminous nature of tires is a factor of several things, but I am just going to focus on rims and tire size.

See below

On the left is a 40c Michelin Transworld sprint mounted on ZTR 355 rim(19mm wide), and on the right is the same tire mounted on a Ritchey Pro rim (17mm wide). Even a 2mm increase in rim width creates a tire that is substantially more voluminous with a broader tread profile.

Now lets look a a more realistic CX tire selection, Hutchison Bulldogs 34mm

The ZTR 355 rim is on the left, and Mavic Open Pro is on the right. Visually the results are not as stunning as with the 40c tires, but you can definitely see that the ZTR creates a tire profile that is less rounded and more boxy. This boxy profile is essential if you decide to run lower pressure (<30psi) style="color: rgb(255, 0, 0);">
Late edit: I am not hating on anyones wheels, I just wrote the below statement in regards to a recent velonews article
that totally ignored the impact that Stans has had on CX tubeless
Road tubeless wheelsets: maybe its because I do not own a road bike, but I have never really gotten the big deal over Shimano's Ultegra(~$650) and DuraAce (~$1100) tubeless wheelsets or the Mavic Kysriums for tubeless use in CX. They are (in my mind) over priced and will never allow you to run pressures as low as I could run with a Stans ZTR rim. I do not doubt that they are awesome for road, but for the same pricepoint I could have ZTR 355's laced to Chris King Hubs (32 spokes with DT Revolutions). With the left over money (compared to DuraAce) I would buy a set of Mud tires (Michelin Mud2's) and a all around set of tires (Hutchison Bulldogs). If you already own a set for on the road, then I can see the utility of using them for CX, but buying them solely for CX doesn't make sense to me.
I actually just commissioned a new set of gravel/CX wheels. Big Poppi's is lacing me up a set of the new Stans Alpha 340 to Chris Kings. I have had the hubs for a while, but was waiting on stans to bring another round of rims out of manufacturing. The Alpha 340's are a narrower rim than the 355's so I am reserving judgement until I get to play with them.
As an aside, one of my all time favorite CX tires was the dirt cheap IRC Mythos CX Slick (I last bought a set at Capp's in Topeka for ~$30 for a pair). They were a super durable tire that lasted through CX season and gravel season. I actually won the 2008 Dirty Kanza SS on those tires. I haven't seen these tires in at least a year.
FYI: Big tires are not light, but neither are tubes.
Bontrager tube

Michelin Transworld Sprint 40mm

Hutch Bulldog

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Omaha CX Sunday

After having been laid up this past week with grain dust induced/aggravated cold and cough I decided to forgo the 1,2,3 race and just stay where I belonged, in the 3's. After a bit of warm up I did not feel to shabby, but the faces I saw at the start line made me realize that this was gonna be a real suffer fest. As the numbers were called at the start line I realized that I had my number pinned on the left side, while the official was going to be on the right. Made a mental note to call out my # every lap.
Whistle blows and we are off. Things quickly looked grim as Kaos rider Vaugh Pierce goes off the front with Mike Miles laying down the power, giving chase. That lasted about a half mile as Miles took a pretty good digger right in front of me and Jeff Bonsall. Jeff picked up the slack, and was making tracks with me in tow.
I looked back after a lap and we had a pretty good gap on the 2nd chase group. Jeff pulled another lap, and then let me take over for a bit. I came around and might have gone 100 yards before I ran into (literally) a downed rider that had fell off the pace. He tried to extricate himself asap, but I still managed to clip him. Bonsall came around.
It was at this point that I started to realize just how much better Jeff was in the corners than I was. He was putting seconds into me in the chicane sections, as my tires were squirming about (tire pressure was way to low).

I shamelessly jacked this image from Lucas Marshall's Gallery.
I managed to catch back up to take my pull for a few laps. With 2 to go we got caught by a Powerade rider that had been chasing hard the entire race. The Powerade dude was absolutely crushing the flat open sections, and that had Jeff and I worried. Jeff decided to make a break for it.

He came around and created a gap of at least 5 seconds as he just destroyed me and the Powerade rider with his cornering skills. At this point I had given up hope on 2nd place and was just gonna try to hold on for 3rd. However, once we hit the high point of the course I saw Bonsall, and managed to make the bridge back up to him. Not really sure what happened, but I imagine that he must have went down. I managed to slip by before we started the descent back to the volleyball sand pit.
If you have ever worked around Thoroughbred race horses you have seen the wild eyed, foam flecked sprinting that makes horse racing exciting.
That was what ensued for the last half lap.
I just tried to keep it laid down, knowing that we were going to sprint at the finish. Jeff stayed right on my wheel the whole time
Sprint, we did.
Managed to hold on to 2nd place by a wheel.
Good times. Lots of smiles were had by all.

Mod managed to come back after some disappointing mechanical problems the previous day. He rode away to take the Win on Sunday.