Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Nothing to Give

I had no power at TNT. I had my slowest time ever. Plenty of aerobic capacity. I averaged 170bpm. Same story as at black dog last week. I can't get my legs moving. Must still be the after affects from France. I can't wait for this funk to go away.

Casper seems to be coming around again, and had Timmer's number. Shishilla has definitely found his form. Charlies Jacobs and teammate Paul Rennert posted fast times as well. All of them much faster than me.

Jodan rode a 32:24, around a minute slower than 4 weeks ago. He must be suffering from the same funk as me. He hasn't had much time on the bike lately, but that will change soon.

Results Posted

We hung out afterwards, tossed a few back, and ended up racing Jordan's circus bike around the parking lot. Jordan got the best of us all. Man, was it hilarious. I'll post pics once I get them from Timmer.

Monday, July 30, 2007

My Superstar

Maren was a little jealous of Jordan's medals, so we awarded her a spectator medal at the Grandstay Criterium. She was sooooo happy (ha ha).

Carla, please don't sell the boat!

We haven't been using the boat much this summer, but we got out Monday afternoon/evening for the 2nd week in a row. Weeknights are so much better on the St. Croix than weekends. Little or no boat traffic, and calm waters. We cruised down to the Kinnikinnic junction, and beached it for some fun in the sun. We had a ball. Carla, being the greatest wife and mom in the world, packed us a nice picnic dinner. I even caught a brief nap. We capped off the night with some serious tubing fun.

Gulliver's favorite place in the world is at the beach.

Life is good.

Coming of Age

Photo circa 2002.

It seems like just yesterday I was back home in Minnetonka, running cross-country for the Hopkins Royals. Here it is, 23 years later, and my daughter Maren is starting high school, and joining the cross-country team.

Hudson High School held their athletes code of conduct meeting Sunday night. It basically is states students must keep their grades up, attend class regularly, and stay away for drugs and alcohol. If they don't, the can't participate in sports. They were just starting a similar program at Hopkins when I was there. As a student, it seemed so lame, but as a parent, it takes on a much different light.

There are so many pitfalls for kids these days, every little bit helps. I was a very clean kid in high school, and it's easy for me to simply think my kids will be the same. The reality is, you have to talk to your kids, and constantly remind them how important it is to live a clean life, and study hard. More importantly, tell them you love them, and that they can come to you with any problems, big and small.

I'm way excited to watch Maren run. She's growing up so fast, I'm glad she's taking advantage of all that life has to offer.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Masters State Track Championships

I made my annual trip to the track Saturday to race the Masters Districts. Jordan joined me, hoping to get on the track for his first time. I did the Kilo and the 3000m on my road bike (sorry, no track bike).

There has been some discussion about the fairness of using a road bike vs. a fixed gear. My opinion is that a track bike has a slight advantage, due to the direct connection and momentum of the fixed gear. I only shift once, just after the start, to get into my chosen gear (53x17=93.3in), and then resist the temptation to grab the next bigger gear(53x16=101in), which is too big, and will hurt me at the end of the pursuit. I've ridden both fixed, and road bike, and my best times are on the fixed gear, but not by much.

Tainter and Currell were the fastest of the evening. Tainter killed everybody in both TT's. Currell was best of the rest. I squeezed out a win in the 40-49 Kilo, and rode a respectable time to score a second win in the 40-49 3000m. A barely 30 year old Tone Coughlin came up and showed us he is quickly recovering from his shoulder injury. Skibby scored a bronze in the 3000m, silver in the points race, and gold in the team pursuit, albeit there was only one team.

Jordan spent the evening riding his circus bike around the infield. He was doing hot laps, timing himself how long it took to do the infield oval. He went over the bars once when he went off road. What a laugh. He even ventured out onto the track.

After all the racing was over, Jordan took to the track on his road bike. I asked him to keep his speed up, and start on the blue apron, then move up to the sprinters lane, then above the red line, then above the blue. He didn't even hesitate, he was totally comfortable riding high on the banking. After several laps, I could tell he was a little tired, but I thought he'd have fun doing a Kilo. He threw down a respectable 1:40. Not bad buddy.

Results Posted

The Odd Couple

With Baker laid up with a pulled quad muscle, Treb is replacing him as stoker for the Firehouse 50 next weekend. We dialed in the positions as best we could, and went for a ride. Treb doesn't look very comfortable, in fact, we're a pretty funny looking crew.

Jordan is wearing the tires off of the circus bike Donimator gave him. We're headed up to the track tonight for some TT's.

Friday, July 27, 2007

You gotta love the Dog.

Pics from the 7/25/07 Black Dog.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Don't let a little rain stop you + France Pics

Jordan and I snuck out from 8-9PM Thursday evening for a quick ride after the rain stopped. Did you bag it, or brave it?

Several people have been asking for france photos, so here are a few.

Climbing the Col de la Colombiere:

Cancellara suffering on the Col de la Colombiere:

McEwen suffering on the Col de la Colombiere:

Half way up the Cormet de Roselend (check out the valley we came up in the background):

Just a couple of the switchbacks of Alpe d'Huez:

On top of the Col de la Croix de Fer on the Iron Cross. This climb went on forever, with lots of changes in gradient, including descending into, and back out of 2 intermediate valleys:

At the top of the Col du Mollard, the second climb of the death ride. We were all overheating at this point:

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Black Dog Recap

It was a hot one tonight, with a rare headwind on the way out. Lighter than normal turnout. Most times were expectedly slow, with a few exceptions. I suffered in the headwind, and my HR was running very high all the way back from the turn around, and I posted a 15:18. I know I'm still feeling the effects from France and the stage race this past weekend. I can't expect miracles. Shishilla blew me away with a 14:56. Bucholz also beat me with a 15:06. I ended up 3rd in the 35+ crowd. Everyone that rode tonight gets bonus points for not melting in the scorching conditions.

Casper and Mulrooney - 14:38
John Shishilla - 14:56
Dave Bucholz - 15:06
Alec Kloss - 15:10
Jimmer - 15:18
Binkowski - 15:21

Jordan fared much better. He improved on his time from 2 weeks ago, but fell short of his PR (18:14). Lunatic Biker rode a PR, and Kristy was suffering from too much racing, including Dakota on Tuesday night. Way to keep the friendly rivalry alive guys.

Jordan - 18:36
Lunatic Biker - 19:01
Kristy Kreme - 19:22

Monday, July 23, 2007

St. Cloud Crit Finish Line Photo

A great shot of two of the future MN cycling stars duking in out for 1st place at the St. Cloud Crit. The high speed photo doesn't represent how close it really was, but it's still a great shot. What a competitive finish. Thanks to Bruce Brasaemle for the photo.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

ROY Update

Jordan sealed his win of the MCF Juniors under 15 Rider of the Year (ROY) with his win at Northfield. Timmer's second place in the St. Cloud Omnium seals his win of the MCF Cat 1/2 ROY. Congrats Jordan and Timmer on a fine season thus far. To steal a quote for American Flyers, "Once you've got it up, keep it up."

In the Masters 35+ Category, including the St. Cloud Results, here is what the ROY standings look like in a close competition between Loon State and GrandStay:

1. Jim Cullen - Loon State - 665 points
2. Charles Jacobs - GrandStay - 562 points
3. Paul Rennert - Loon State - 534 points
4. Steve Cragle - GrandStay - 522 points

St. Cloud Stage Race Recap

I know I'm just a little insane to do the stage race 2 days after getting back from 6 days of riding in the French Alps. Some might even say I have an addiction? My excuse was Jordan wanted to race, and since I'm there, I might as well race too.

Jordan experienced his toughest competition yet against MNJRC newcomer Aaron Shaw, age 14. In the road race, Aaron dropped Jordan and won, with Jordan coming in second, Nora Bengal 3rd, and Jake Mittlestedt 4th. Just a few short hours after the road race, Jordan won the TT, beating Aaron (who rode stock) by almost 30 seconds. Jake was 3rd. This tied Aaron and Jordan for the omnium, which meant who ever won the crit won the overall omnium.

Momma Carla came up Sunday to watch the Crit, and brought along sister Maren and her friend. You'll see Carla occasionally at the races, but it was a rare chance to meet my 14 year old daughter Maren. We rewarded her patronage with a spectator medal.

I asked Jordan not to ride the front, and save a little for the sprint. The older and younger juniors all started together, but it had just started to rain. A few laps into the race, Cody Scott and Aaron crashed in a corner, and Jordan narrowly missed going down with them. Cody and Aaron were scraped up a bit, but OK. They both took a free lap, and got back into the race. At this point 2 older juniors were off the front, and Jordan was with Aaron, Cody, Alex Meyer, and Nora Bengal.

With a couple laps to go, Aaron attacked hard, and got a gap on the others. Jordan was forced to chase. He clawed his way back up to Aaron, and dropped the rest of the group in the process. At the bell, it was clear it would be a 2-up sprint between them. They came out of the last corner together, and sprinted side by side all the way to the line. It was so close, but Aaron won, just a half a wheel in front of Jordan. Wow.

Jordan was upset at first because he wanted to win so bad. But then Aimee Bagley and I helped him understand what he had accomplished. It was by far, the hardest race he had ever done, and he rode so hard, he dropped the other older juniors. Once he put that into perspective, he was all smiles. He and Aaron, along with the other juniors, hung out a lot this weekend, and really got to know each other. They've become good friends in a very short time. It's such a great experience for Jordan.

As for my race, my legs were definitely tired, but not as bad as I thought they would be. I struggled a bit in the road race when the pace amped up in the tailwind sections. The mountains sapped the speed out of my legs, and I was almost dropped every time we hit that section of the course. Pete Maxwell was on fire, and kept attacking over and over. For the road race, the Masters 35+ were combined with the Cat 1/2's, which made for complicated racing, especially for an omnium stage race. I ended up 7th in the Masters 35+ road race.

In the afternoon, I was able to scramble to a 2nd place in the TT, well short of Charlie Jacobs, who beat everyone except Doug Swanson. Binkowski was 3rd in the TT. This put me in 1st place in the omnium, just 1 point ahead of Jacobs, and 8 points ahead of Binkowski.

My strategy for the crit was to stay up front, and stay out of trouble. The legs were better than in the road race, but it was really hard to stay in the top 5. Every lap, I'd lose a couple spots, and have to claw my way back. I chased a couple moves off the front, figuring it would come down to a field sprint. Pete Maxwell drilled it for the last couple laps, and I got caught way out of position on the last lap. I moved up a little in the sprint down the final straight, but there just wasn't much room to get through. I ended up 11th. Charlie Jacobs won convincingly, which sealed his overall victory in the ominum as well. Charlie, as well as Maxwell, have definitely got some form right now.

Fortunately, because of my strong performance in the TT, I was able to salvage 3rd place in the omnium. Steve Cragle's 3rd place in the RR and Crit, balanced out his modest performance in the TT, leap frogging him all the way up to second in the omnium. Brent Binkowski ended up 4th, and my teammate Paul Rennert rounded out the top 5. Nice Job by all.

In the Cat 1/2's Marcotte won the Road Race and the Crit, but rode stock in the TT. This gave him 3rd in the omnium behind Doug Swanson, 1st, and Timmer, 2nd. Koeneman was 4th, and Hanna 5th.

In the Cat 3's, Michael Woell dominated by winning the TT, Crit, and omnium, after missing the break in the road race. P-slim (aka. Patrick Horrigan) had a fine showing, with a close second in the Crit, combined with winning the RR field sprint for 5th, to give him 2nd overall in the omnium.

I'm skipping riding Monday evening, and going boating. See, I have balance in my life, really. See you all at the Dog on Wednesday.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Suffering on the Col de Glandon

This is a shot of Painman (right), and I (left) as we approach the summit of the Glandon. Treb is just behind us. What a sufferfest that was. You can't make us out too well, but the shot certainly captures the incredible scenery we rode through all week long.

Unfortunately, Baker pulled a leg muscle on the way up the Glandon, ending his day prematurely. All of us are wishing him a fast recovery.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Summary - A week in France

6 days of riding
35.5 hours in the saddle
410 miles
16 mountains
59,780 feet of climbing

Out of 48 people, only Treb and I started and finished every ride.

Death Ride

This was definitely the most physically challenging thing I have ever done. Especially considering the previous 5 days riding.

First we descended the lesser known north side of Alpe D'Huez, down to the Croix de Fer. The Croix de Fer was beautiful, and difficult. The gradient changes a lot, and has some really steep pitches. There are 2 mid-climb descents, which alway suck, knowing you have to climb back up again. The Iron Cross was really cool.

Next we descended down the north side of the Croix de Fer into St Jean de Maurienne. However, the valley road is closed, forcing us to climb the short, but steep Col du Mollard. Ouch. Our lunch stop was the half-way point. The food was very good, but left us all stuffed, and worried about the rest of the ride.

After lunch, we headed up the valley to the base of the Col du Glandon. It was by far the hardest climb we did. Way harder than the Telegraph/Galibier. It's 18K, and with 6K to go, I was so knackered, I stopped at the sag van, and dropped everything I could. I was overheating so badly, I even took off my helmet for the rest of the climb. I know, me, the preacher of wearing helmets. I figured since I was only going about as fast as a brisk walk, I was safe. The last 2K is dang near straight up. I was completely wasted at the top.

The descent down the Croix de Fer was awesome. It is more open than most of the other descents, so you can really carry speed. I maxed out at 57.5mph.

Several people bagged on the ride headed up the Glandon, and even more did so before the final climb up the north side of Alpe D'Huez. I think 15 people started the death ride, and only 5 finished. All the 3-star riders bagged it, including their guide. Only our guide (Andy), Painman, Treb, myself, another rider named Ben made the full monty. Well done fellas.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Party on the Galibier

Complements of Velonews. Click the link and check the 6th photo - Thanks Alex.

Just a brief recap of today's ride. Everyone was feeling much better today. Everyone rode. Stamm and Russ conquered the Telegraph and Galibier. Baker conquered the same, plus Alpe D'Huez.

We Rode over the Telegraph first. Amazing climb, and the legs felt very good. Bumped into Todd Schmidt and the boys from Quality at the base of the Galibier. The scenery on the Galibier is amazing. Really no way to describe it. Our vantage point was 5K from the top, which was perfect. We could see the riders coming up from the valley below on the switchbacks. We couldn't ask for a better place to watch the stage unfold. I heard we were easy to spot on VS's coverage. I'll check it out when I get home.

Afterwards, we climbed the final 5K of the Galibier, followed by an incredible 50K descent to the base of Alpe D'Huez. The climb was every bit as challenging as they say, especially after climbing the Galibier first.

Tomorrow is the hardest ride of our tour. 100 miles over 4 climbs totaling 16,000 feet of climbing. Baker, Painman, Treb, Russ, and I are giving it a go. Time for some rest.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Chad Sandwich

Painman moved into our 10x10 room and slept on the floor between our 2 single beds last night. Talk about close quarters. 3 women could never pull it off.

A Rest Day?

I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow last night. I woke up around 3:30am for bladder relief (a sign of good hydration). As I make my way silently through the tiny dark room to the bathroom, I step on something. Suddenly, it speaks! WTF? It's Painman sleeping in the hallway. Turns out Baker got sick in the middle of the night, and he sought refuge in our room. I slept through the whole thing.

At breakfast, Painman stated he wasn't feeling up to a ride today, so the LSC crew was down to just Treb and I. Turns out, a ton of guys were taking the day off from riding.

Our route was simple. A descent down from Meribel to the valley, climb up to the famous Courchevel, and then traverse back to Meribel. The climb up to Courchevel was the most scenic yet. There are several villages at different altitudes, including the olympic ski jumps from the 2002 Winter Olympics. Way cool. We went all the way up to the airport, through the famous tunnel.

After our summit, we descended to one of the villages and scored lunch at a restaurant where they didn't speak of lick of english. It was definitely one of the highlights of the trip so far. We finished with 36 miles in 3 hours. A whopping average speed of 12mph.

On tap for tomorrow is the HC climb over the Col du Galibier for our 3rd and final viewing of the Tour De France. We know it will be tough, especially knowing that at the end of the day, we have to climb Alpe d'Huez to get to our hotel. I can't believe we're excited about that much pain.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Flu bug hits tour group

A flu bug has hit our tour group hard. To date, 8 people have come down with the bug including Stamm and Vanderwiel Sunday morning, and Baker Sunday night. Bummer.

Executive Summary of Sunday's Ride:
I neglected to start my Garmin when we left lunch, and missed the data for the 14 mile descent of the Roseland. Total mileage - 86 miles, total climbing - 4 mountains = 11,000 feet. The Roseland was a beautiful climb. Our vantage point was again, only 300m from the top. We were all much fresher when we got to the vantage point than on the Columbiere. The final climb up to our hotel at the Meribel ski station was a killer. I was so far gone, I was ready to bag on today's ride. Thankfully, a good nights sleep cured me of my sanity, plus Painman's comment "That sting in your head? That's Pride effing with you." motivated me.

Detailed Summary of Sunday's Ride:
After Saturday's tough ride, the A and B group numbers did a complete flip-flop. Most people did the longer A ride on Saturday. Today, only 7 of us did the A ride (from our 2 star hotel group), including Treb, Baker, Painman, and myself. Stamm was sick, and opted to ride with the luggage to our next hotel. Russ was sick too, but decided to ride in the sag, and maybe give riding a go later. The 4 of us were pretty concerned about them all of a sudden getting sick, along with the others, since we all ate and drank the same as them, and were concerned it was food poisoning.

With angst, the ride started with a climb up the Col des Saisies. It was tough climb to start with, and I rode it pretty hard, while the rest took is easier in preparation for the tougher Cormet de Roselend. After refueling at the top, we started the technical descent off the Saisies. I attacked it with vigor, and Baker was game for the fun. It's not the speed that is the thrill, it is zipping into the apex of the switchbacks, braking at the last minute, leaning hard, and sprinting out.

The Roselend starts right at the bottom of the Saisies. Russ decided to get out, and give riding a try. Unfortunately, our Guide blew through the roundabout, but only Baker, Treb, and I were with him. Since Painman had missed a turn earlier, I stayed back to make sure the rest of the group made it. However, I didn't know for sure who was back. Russ came through, and I waited a couple more minutes, and continued on.

I figured they would wait for me before starting the climb. I rode slowly through the busy town checking all the cafes to see if they made a rest stop. Through the gates at the base of the Roselend, reading 20K to the summit. They must have started without me. As you might guess, I was a bit pissed, and rode like a man possessed in pursuit. I slowly worked my way through Russ and the others until I finally spotted the LSC 3. What I didn't know is that our guide hadn't waited at all. He zipped through town and left Baker and Treb to their own devices. In fact, Painman had just caught up to Baker and Treb, right before I caught up, and was a bit pissed as well.

I hammered by them in anger, without even giving a look, and cursed "Thanks for waiting Chad." Chad hesitated a bit, and then started to join me. After a few minutes, I had ridden the anger out of my mind, and looked back to see Painman just behind. I slowed to join him, and he filled me in on the debacle. Apologies all around. All is well. We continues to ride a moderate pace, and noticed Treb and Baker making ground, so we waited to make friends.

With the competitive nature of the climb put behind us, we started stopping and shooting photos of the amazing scenery. The final 5K of the climb is a picture postcard with switchbacks lined with fans, and rock out-croppings. The last 2K opens up a bit, throwing a nasty headwind at us. We conquered the climb and dropped back to our vantage point for some food, and to look for the Red Lantern.

Red Lantern showed up after a few minutes, and soon the caravan was coming through. I scored some more schwag including 2 foam PMU green hands. A huge score. We stood up on the top of a knoll to watch the race. The helicopters were right on top of us as the tour came by. What an amazing experience.

We started our descent down the Roselend immediately following the end of the racer caravan. I led Baker down as before, and we worked our way through all the other riders and traffic until we were in front of everyone except the tour caravan. What a blast.

At the bottom of the Roselend, riders from our tour group started piling into the sag vans, until they were full. The rest were left to ride the rest of the way to Meribel, including a tough final climb up to the hotel at the ski station.

We rode out of the valley a bit, and then started a short descent. I took second wheel behind Peter Thompson, the leader of our Tour Company. As we descend, one of the riders keeps cutting inside Painman on the switchbacks, and swinging out into his line. Once, Twice, then on the third time, he pushes it so hard, he slides out and crashes, just about taking out Painman.

On top of that, another little guy (from the same team), does the same thing to Baker, and pushes him off my wheel, then tries to push me off Peter's wheel. I was pissed. When we got to the bottom, I talked to Baker and Painman about what was going on. I went over to the bonehead that tried cutting inside me and shared some terse advice about letting people 50lbs heavier than you lead you down the hill, and not cutting inside on a switchback.

All that excitement aside, and we proceeded to the climb up to our hotel at the Meribel ski station. The climb completely kicked all our butts, and had me considering taking Monday off. And I paid for this?

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Happy 43rd Birthday Treb

Sorry, no pictures, can't download them until I get back.

Today was like a fantasy come true. Our expectations were very high for today, and they were easily exceeded. Thompson Tours is an A+ operation. The route was great. We viewed today's first mountain stage only 300m from the top of the Columbiere. They had the Tour (in english) on TV, just as promised at our vantage point. It was absolutely crazy on the mountain. I felt absolutely great today, and was able to keep up with the front guys on all the climbs (basically the LSC crew, led by Painman).

We left at 9AM with 3 climbs on order prior to reaching our vantage point. The first was the Col D Aravis. Right at the bottom, one of the riders started pushing the pace. We let him go, but then early in the climb, there was a short descent, and I bridged up to him. He is from New York, and has a British accent. He knows Matt Henry. He said to say hi from Phil from Sids Matt. I followed him all the way to the top. We pressed harder than I wanted to, but I just couldn't contain myself (big surprise). We knew we had a 30K descent after the climb, so I wasn't to worried. We summit ed just a couple minutes in front of the rest of the LSC clan.

The descent off the Aravis was fun. Our guide Eric led us down at a fast pace, hitting the switchbacks with a lot of speed. Once the road opened up, I asked Eric if I could go ahead, and he obliged. It was amazing. I was careful, but definitely tested my descending. My tires are gripping very well, and I had a great feel for the brakes. Baker was about the only one who would follow.

Next up was Mount Saxxonex, and it was tough. 10-12% all most of the way up, plus most of us ran out of water. Painman and a couple others set a torrid pace, that I could barely sustain. At the top, a nice frenchman filled our bottles from his home. What a great place. The drivers are exceptionally considerate of cyclists, and do a very good job of sharing the narrow, and sometimes busy roads. I don't know that I could be that patient.

We descended of Mount Saxxonex to the beginning of the Col De Columbiere. Treb, Painman, Baker, and I rode with a couple others at a very reasonable pace most of the climb. Every kilometer got a little more crowded, and lots of people cheered us as we climbed. Towards the top, it felt like you were riding in the tour yourself, with tons of people lining both sides of the narrow mountain road. I arrived at the Vantage point exhausted, just in front of the others. I wanted to stop, but the ladies motivated me saying "You're almost at the top." I remounted and went all the way up. I could barely move at the top. The entire road was filled with spectators.

I went back down to the vantage point to join the others. We ate and drank till it hurt. After a little while the publicity caravan started rolling through, and started tossing schwag. I got some cool stuff.

It was great people watching. People of all kinds were up there. A couple guys dressed like Elvis, the Germans with their tight lycra shorts, etc. Finally, about 2 hours after we got there, the race arrived. The first 6 riders each came by solo, then a pretty large group with all the GC favorites. I got some great pictures and video.

The decent off the Columbiere was challenging. Everyone is coming down off the mountain, and picking your way through the pedestrians, cars, and slower bikers is an exercise in patience. Our ride leader showed us how it was done, without taking any dumb risks. Once we got down into the finish town, it was wall-to-wall cars. The bike (or walking) was definitely the way to go. We continued to pick our way through traffic, and made our way back to the Col D Aravis, which we had to climb back over to get home. We took it very easy, and enjoyed the casual ride up.

The descent off the Aravis was my favorite. Lots of switchbacks, plus we had to work our way through a few cars, which is actually pretty fun (especially, since they expect you to come through them). Once again, Baker and I slipped away from the rest, mostly because it is tricky to stay together since it's easy to get stuck behind the cars, when the guys up front make it through.

What an incredible day. Red Lantern joins us tomorrow at our vantage point on the Cormet De Roseland. Our route is from Megeve, over 4 mountains, to our next hotel in Meribel, near Corcheval. Can't wait.

Friday, July 13, 2007

1980 World Championships Climb

Our first ride in France was awesome. We didn't get going until 6PM because we had to travel from Lyon to Megeve, and then assemble our bikes, which were delayed a bit.

The weather was picture perfect. The roads were quite a bit busier than any of us expected. There was no shoulder, but cars gave us a wide berth. I was a good little cyclo-tourist, and stayed behind the lead guide the entire time. The group was a bit large, around 25 or so. Later we split into 2 groups, and it was more manageable. The descent into Domancy was narrow, twisty, and fast. There was just enough room to pass oncoming traffic. You definitely had to be focused and careful, and everyone was.

The climb was pretty brutal, at least for the first 1/2 or so. Our guide Eric, rode a tough tempo up the lower, steep slopes, and put most of us in the red. Then we regrouped, and headed back to Megeve. It took us an hour to ride 15 miles. I wanted to get some more riding in, and headed back out solo to do the same loop again. It was much better the second time. I knew where I could open it up on the downhill, and my legs felt much better the second time up the climb. In the end, I got 2 hours, 30 miles, and 3000+ feet of climbing.

I got back just as dinner was being served. We had an starter course which I didn't eat much of, but the entree was bow tie pasta with chicken, beef, and mushrooms. I loved it. Dessert was a fruit cocktail. Russ managed to fumble a plate onto one of our compatriots named Rob. It was good for a laugh.

After dinner we wandered over to the town square, where they had a luminaries parade, followed by fireworks, I assume associated with Bastille Day. It was pretty cool.

Tomorrow, we view the first Mountain stage of the Tour 300m from the top of the Col De Columbier. The day includes 4 mountain climbs over 90 miles. It's going to be a gas.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

We made it to France

All 6 of us made it to Lyon without incident. We head into the French Alps tomorrow for bike assembly, and a quick ride up the steep climb of Domancy.

Thanks to everyone for making Jordan and Carla's night at Black Dog. Both of them had a blast. Carla loved meeting everyone, and even helped out at the race. Jordan loved the presents.

Jordan and Kristy Kreme tied last night in 18:43, which Jordan thought was really cool. Ray scored a 19:58, sneaking in under the 20 minute barrier yet again. Nice job guys. Timmer busted out a 14:06. Keep it coming Timmer, because I plan to be faster when I get back. I know I can't beat you this year, but maybe I can lick your heels a bit.

Monday, July 09, 2007

le alle'ge' vitesse ultime est pre'pare' pour France

Translation: The Litespeed Ultimate is ready for France.

Complete overhaul on the drive train, new tires. Changed the computer to Km. She's ready for the Alps. Grand depart on Wednesday.

Sub-18lbs for a 59cm full titanium bike. It may sound heavy compared to the carbon dream bikes some of you little guys ride, but I trust this baby with my life. Donimator, you need one of these.

Greenwood Finish in Pictures

50 feet from the finish. My max heart rate hit 187. Check out how long the finish straight is.

Reaping the spoils (by my recount, the only other time I raised my arms in victory was at Osceola in 2001):

By the way Treb; yes, that is your old bike.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Successful Wisport Weekend

Jordan and I did the Greenwood Dairy Days Road Race on Saturday, followed by the Stanley Time Trial on Sunday.

I forgot how tough these short Wisport Road Races are. I was all by myself against a couple tough teams: Brone's Bike Shop & Eau Claire Bike & Sport. GP also had Mairs, Piche, and Bernet. Brone's kept sending guys off, and forced the rest of us to chase. I bridged a couple times, only to be brought back. Nothing stuck. With about 15 miles to go, I countered as we caught a small group off the front, and got a good gap. No one came with me, so I rode hard, but not 100%, knowing I wouldn't hold them off solo, and hoping someone would bridge up. No dice.

After they caught me, I sat in and recovered, and didn't feel real good. I had gone through all my Gel, and both water bottles. Man, was it hot. The finish was a 1K long flat fast straight with a tailwind. I knew people would go too early, so I went into the final corner with about a dozen riders in front of me. The sprint was completely disorganized, and I came up the left side. With about 400 meters to go, I saw someone coming up the right side, and I gunned it. As I approached the finish, I looked back to see I had a gap, and threw my arms up as I crossed the line in victory. I don't know what came over me. I think it's kind of cocky and lame when people do that, but it happened nonetheless. I think I've done it maybe one other time.

Jordan won the juniors under 14 against 3 others. He didn't drink enough, and bonked pretty good. I had a heck of a time getting him to drink and eat post race.

Greenwood Dairy Days Results

Another hot day greeted us at Stanley. There was a saving grace in the form of a west wind. I had tough competition in Lance Niles, Mark Brone, and Brian Abery, among others. Lately Abery's had my number, so I was hoping I could pop a good one.

No such luck. I ended up 5th, just 2 seconds behind Suntken and Abery. The result was satisfying, being that I was that close to Abery.

There were 6 juniors under 14. What a turnout. Jordan had an unbelievable race. He won by 5 minutes over Will Metza, son of powerhouse Dave Metza. He improved his time from last year by over 15 minutes. He improved from 55:44 last year, to 40:34 this year.

You can view the overall results below:

Posted Results @ CVCC

Another Win for P-slim. Donimator Brakes Frame.

P-slim (aka Dr. P, aka Patrick Horrigan) knocked out another huge win at Hopkins in the Cat 3's. Donimator managed to break his Trek Madone 6.2 with 4 to go, when he hit a manhole. Not sure what the weight limit is on that frame, but I think he needs something a bit beefier.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

French Extra Credit

Baker came over for one final ride before we go to France. The plan was to go out for 3 hours, and take in a couple hills. We hammered in the tailwind all the way to Trimbelle, knowing there would be a price to pay at the end of the ride. We hit the sequence of 4 climbs in the bluffs between Cty O, Cty OO, and Hwy 35. We hit 57mph on the OO descent, a new record.

On our way back, we decided to take in the "Triplets of Beldenville", which are a series of 3 climbs near the town of Beldenville, WI. These wore both of us out. I pretty much bonked headed into River Falls. Gatorade and a snickers was no answer to the 5000 calories I had burned. The heat definitely got the best of me. Thankfully, Baker towed me back to Hudson. We ended up with almost 4 hours with 8 tough climbs. More than we planned, but it will pay back in spades in France.

Even as I type this, my appetite is still missing. I'm drinking as much as I can, but I haven't been able to eat enough. I definitely can't let this happen in France.

Below is a shot of Painman, Baker, and I climbing together at the Horribly Hilly 200K. What a crew.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Northfield Crit Recap

Jordan won the Juniors Under 15 at Northfield today. Only 4 kids showed up, and he lapped 2 of them. Carla, Maren, his Grandmother and Aunt were there to see him race. That makes him 7 for 7 in ROY events this year, sealing his 1st place in the Juniors Under 15 ROY Category. Congrats buddy.

Northfield is always a great venue for a race. It is great for racers and spectators alike. My family had a great time watching the race. People kept coming up to us and asking questions about the race, and how it worked. I love to talk about my favorite subject. A lady with some kids from a group home came over and introduced herself to us. One of the kids, named Steve, was blind, and wanted to meet me and Jordan. I told him about tandem racing with blind stokers, and he was fascinated.

My goal was to finish the race, without crashing, with t-minus 1 week till we leave for France. I did just that. I rode the front for the first 15 minutes or so, until the field sorted itself out a bit. Then I went to the back, and spent the rest of the race following Scott Flanders around. Scott had already won the Masters 50+ race, right before ours. I knew he was a nice safe wheel to follow, and the whip effect on the Northfield course is minimal. I planned to move up through the field when Scott moved up for the finish, but I didn't quite commit all the way. I rolled across in 14th.

Charlie Jacobs got away with John Redmond with a few laps to go, and Charlie won. Nice job fellas. Pmax had a small gap on the last lap, and just held off the field. I didn't even know anyone had gotten away, and frankly, I didn't really care. I just wanted a safe race. Having those 2 up the road kept the swarming in the final laps to a minimum, so that was nice. You can see the Masters 35+ results in the photo below:

Sunday, July 01, 2007

DOMS Big Time

I got DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) big time today, from yesterday's running race. It not as bad as I thought it would be, but it's still pretty bad. I can ride, but walking is a problem, especially up and down stairs.

Jordan, Waataja, and I did an easy 2 hour ride yesterday, and another one today. It seems to help a little, but in the absence of a massage, it's simply going to take time to heal.

I bumped into Doug Swanson and his wife at the Chocolate Ox (local candy/ice cream shop). I felt less guilty about having the Paul Bunyan Cone, once I saw Doug indulging his sweet tooth too.