Sunday, December 31, 2006

Goals for 2007

In bike riding, I don't think New Year's resolutions are applicable. However, setting goals are very applicable and important. I just finished my last ride of 2006 and the 38 degree weather got me thinking about sunny summer days and things I want to accomplish. So, here are the things I going to committ to. Of course, having a 4 year old will probably throw a monkey wrench into some of this plans, but it's good to have a list to aim for.

  • Elevation Goal: 150,000 feet in the year. I'll still use my Polar altimeter to track this. I know there are those fancy GPS models, but I'm still happy with my Polar (and getting my $300 worth of good use).
  • Mountain Biking... A least 3 races this year. I'm planning to focus on this more than the century rides. Alittle competition is good for cross training.
  • Test of Endurance... Complete the 12 hour solo again (miss last year). In the 2005, this was the hardest and most awesome bike ride I've ever completed.
  • Death Ride..... I'm going to do it this year. No free trip to Hawaii with Denise, so no more good excuses. Registration opens Jan 1 and they do a lottery selection of 2800 riders on March 1st, so let me know if you to road trip with me and sign up.
  • RAMROD.... I'll sign up again and hope I get picked. This is an epic NW ride.
  • Torture 10k... I've skipped this one the past couple years. No more excuses.
  • TransRockies.... Sign up on November 1st!!! This looks epic - need to do before the big 40.
  • Cross Racing.... Upgrade to Masters C class and finish in the top 25.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Big Time Cross in Portland - 11/19/06

The "big dogs" came to Portland for the USGP series final race. The race was out at Hillsboro stadium and the weather was PERFECT for a cross race (rain and ALOT of mud).

I was recovering from a cold I had all week, so no racing for me. However, I couldn't miss a chance to see the big boys and girls ride. My cross buddies Neal and Evan did brave the elements and survived the slug through the mud.

It was amazing how much better these national guys/gals were. They opened up some serious gaps between them and the top riders from Oregon.

Chris Horner (raced in the Tour de France, lives in Bend OR, rides Specialized like me - however, a nicer bike) was there. I actually got to chat with him after he pulled up next to me as I was watching at the start line. He made a point that he was just doing this for "fun". How cool is that!!! Here he is slugging in the mud.

Barry Wicks is a fellow that grew up in Corvallis and is now racing the national mountain bike and cross scene. I chatted with him while he was warming up on the trainer about Cornvalley. I think he likes the sunny weather in CA now ("big time" must be going to his head). His teammate, Ryan Trebon, and him are called the twin towers because they are about 6'-5" and skinny as a rail. They also kicked butt (Ryan won the series).

Here's a article in Velonews about the race (note the hot tub photo - only in PDX - way cool): VeloNews

Way cool awards party afterwards. Congrats to my buddy Evan who placed with the A crew.

Until next September - cheers to CrossCrusade.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Estacada Cross (Cross Crusade #6) - 11/12/06

Luke and Denise joined me again as I traveled to the fine town of Estacada for the Cross Crusade .

It's kinda off the beaten path, but that's probably a necessary thing for a cross race.

Weather turned out great. The rain and the big predicted storm held back. However, it's been raining the past week, so the course was nice, muddy, and slick.

The course wined through the park. There weren't any hill climbs or steep nasty sections to run up. They set out a section of 4 smaller logs which were great for a bunny hop (took a couple laps to nail down the technique). There was a nasty off-camber turn that required a dismounted run otherwise you'd slide down the hill. Overall, a nice fast muddy "stroll" through the park.

I did have one slippery corner close encounter with the mud. Went in alittle to fast. Luckily, it was a nice soft landing. Did scrape my scabbing knee (that was finally healing from the 1st race). Noticed a couple holes in my favorite $150 bike shorts when I got home - another LESSON LEARNED.

Wow, this photo makes me look really fast. I think it's my favorite.

No "computer enhancement", of course.

Well, this is probably the final cross race for me this year. It's so sad that it's coming to an end. Good thing the Crusade Party next week has free beer and a raffle for free cool stuff - can't miss that.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Spooky Cross (Cross Crusade #4) - 10/29/06

What a weekend - Beavers beat #3 USC and a great day for Spooky cross. Can't ask for a better weekend. In honor of the Beavs, I made a last minute costume change to Captain Upset. It was a hit for the spectators and it got me $5 off my entry fee. There were some killer costumes out there. I still can't figure out how the girl in the blow up Sumo outfit got over the barriers.

It turned out to be a nice sunny cool morning. The course was great. Reminded me more of a mountain bike course, but you don't ever jump over a COFFIN in a mountain bike race. There were some technical turns in the trees. I kept the speed down in the corners for recovery (learned that one in Hillsboro after 4 crashes). There were a few straight away hill climbs to max out the lungs and pass the slackers.

An extra bonus was FREE beer at the keg stop along the course. I decided to pass during the laps since it was on the dark side. However, it hit the spot after the race was done. I mean, you can't find a better time on a bike than a cyclocross race.

Denise and Luke joined me at the race. They took some great photos below. What a great way to spend a 12th wedding anniversary day (not sure if that's what she had in mind).

Catching the Competition


My Favorite Fan

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Cross Crusade #2 - 10/15/06

The weather was perfect for cross on the 2nd Cross Crusade event. Plenty of rain to slicken up the playing field. No-more sunny summer stroll in the park. It was time to get wet, muddy, and exhausted.

I placed myself to earn a free six-pack of Mac's in the first race (landed on the lucky number 7 with 17th), so I was geared up to perform. Unfortunately, my bike handling skills on the new steed were alittle lacking in prowness. By the 3rd or 4th crash around a muddy slick corner, I realized that a conservative appoarch in the muddy corners would save me time.

Denise and Luke showed up part way through the race. They captured a few photos of the effort shown below.

Some lessons learned....
  1. It takes a lot longer time to crash and recover than to take it slower in the muddy corners/gravel.
  2. I guess it's a good thing when the doc gives you alittle something and says "normally I tell people to suck it up and don't worry about it, but your's is really looking infected". Guess I better shave my legs after all.
  3. The free beer prize sure tastes good later that day.

31st out of ~105 folks in the rookie class. I'll take it.

Putting down the hammer

Negotiating the "six-pack" barriers

Muddy with a big grin

Luke is wondering "what is dad doing?"

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Cross Crusade #1 - 10/1/06

The first cross race of the season was at Alpenrose for the Cross Crusade.

It was also my first race with the Specialized TriCross bike that I'd been using for commuting this year. Wow, what an improvement over a retro 90s converted moutainbike I used last year. It worked like a champ.

The weather was beautiful (not really appropriate for a true cross race. The course was lots of fun through the Alpenrose area - up some stairs, up the velodrome side, and a lap in the velodrome.

Finished up at 17th in the rookie class. The extra bonus - the lucky number was 7, so I won a six-pack of Macs.

I put together alittle setup in the backyard to get some practice (here's a photo).