Sunday, December 30, 2007

Ice Biking

Well I finally got around to mounting my Nokian Hakka WXC tires that I bought last year. These tires have 300 carbide studs and are quite knobby. With all the trails around here covered in about 2-3 inches of ice, I figured it was about time to get out for a ride. At first I was kind of unsure about how well the tires would grip the ice. But the further I rode, the more confident I became in the tires ability to dig in. I tried walking a section of the trail because it just looked too slippery. But as I found out I was better off staying on the bike and just riding it. The tires provided enough traction that I could actually put some torque on the cranks and they would dig right in. Even the sections that had a lot of ruts the tires would just slip off the rut and dig in. I didnt try riding any of the technical single track, that will be for another day as it looks like the ice will be here to stay for quite a while. They seemed to provide pretty good lateral traction also.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Trail Running

I got out for a run on the trails today. There was about 2" of ice pretty much covering the entire trail. I stopped in at Hansons and picked up a set of STABILicers SPORT for my shoes. These things slip on over your shoes and they work really good. I was able to run at close to my normal slow pace. I slipped a little bit a few times, but nothing too bad. I was able to run the off camber, downhill sections without any real problems. $39.99 well spent!


Sunday, December 23, 2007

Xmas, almost

I am looking forward to see what kind of shiny new bike parts Santa is bringing the next couple of days. I have been doing my fair share of santa`s work though the last couple of days. Sometimes deals come along and they are just too good to pass up. I found a FSA riser bar, and Thomson stem, Bontrager carbon bar, and a Ritchey stem that will be joining all the rest of the of the parts in my basement. I have wanted to try a riser bar on the top fuel, since I have not been able to get comfy on the bike yet. The last adjustment after my second fitting seemed to help, but still it wasnt right. So of course the bar is a 31.8 and my current bar is 25.4 or whatever it is. So off to ebay and found a great deal on a used Thomson stem. $30 how can you pass that up? Then of course I am trying to get my pit bike put together for cross and someone was selling a Bontrager Race X lite bar. So that will go on the Orbea. Nashbar is having a sale on Ritchey stems, so another $30 and I picked up a stem for that bike. The next investment for the cross bike will be a crankset. I am really liking the SRAM Red crank. But that will have to wait until I find a good deal on it.

So when is the next race? It hasnt even been a month yet and I am really missing it. I finally got to watch Mikes (Mashers Media) Iceman DVD. It was really good. So much better than what has been done in the past. I am going to throw the Cyclocross DVD in next. Of course it will just make me want to get out and do some racing. I have been out doing some trail running lately. That has been fun, I wish I would of done more of it in the cross season.

Random Image-. Hudson Mills 2005. Too bad they havent done any races out there in a few years, it was a fun course.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

End of another year

Another year comes to an end. I dont remember what my goals for the season were but they were something along the lines of, Iceman in 2:15 or less, Top 5 in the TT series, and top 5 in cross series. I was able to finish in 4th in the TT series, 10th in the XC series and 8th in the cross series. Iceman well that was a bad day of racing for me, not sure if I will be doing that race again next year or not. But it will be our first anniversary of our engagement, so that right there is a good reason to head back up there. I did about 20 races this year, that is the most I have ever done. I am trying to get goals set for 2008, so far I want to move up to B`s in cross and at least place respectable. Do a few road races, for something new. And try to log 3500 miles. Looks like I will be close to 3000 this year. There are a few mtb races that are a must. Stony, PLRA TT, Owasippe are some of my favorites that I would like to do in 2008, but with the wedding it might be tough to make some of the other far races.

Here are some of my favorite pictures of the year.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Michigan State Championships

What a day for a race. Finally some real CX weather here in Michigan. Snow, ice, rain and mud.

I am not sure what really went wrong in the race. Sure I had the wrong sized cassette on the bike, and my tires sucked in the slippery conditions, but there must be more than that. I couldnt get anything going in the race. It was a strange race, each lap got faster and faster, which is not normal for a cross race. For our race the course was mostly snow covered, by the time the rest of the classes raced there was a nice mud trail to follow, and the pavement sections had a nice line in them also. 2nd from last! How does that happen? I am going to blame on the bike. Just a wrong tire choice I guess.
The course was a nice set up with quite a few tight turns, and tricky sections. It would been a lot easier if the weather was better. So in way it really made this race. There were 3 running sections, a bit of pavement, and some of the bumpiest, frozen grass you can find.

I am sad to see the season end, but at the same time kind of happy that it is over. I am looking forward to just getting out and riding for a bit, and not worrying about get a specific workout in. I learned quite a bit this season, about what not to do mostly. I think I am going to concentrate fully on cross next year. I am looking forward to doing some road races, which will be a new thing for me.
Check out all the pictures I took of the B, Masters and A races.

I am already looking forward to next season!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Munson Park CX

I finally got a set of new wheels for the bike last week. I was able to find a killer deal on a set tubular ksyriums. I had kinetic systems put on a set bright yellow tufo tires, wow it looks cool! 19.77lbs right now, my goal is to get it down to 18 so I can put it on plusone laps blog!
Munson park, flat, windy, and one big hill in middle pretty much sums it up. More of a roadie course, but this year they did mix in some cool technical sections and 3 runs.
The race, well it kind of went downhill fast for me. When I had the bike in the shop I was told to double check everything to make sure it was all tight. Well I didnt double check everything, I missed one thing, of course the part that was loose. I rode the bike saturday with no issues. Then sunday about 3 minutes before the race I realized the seat tube was loose! There was some tape that marked the height that was kind of holding it up, so I had to rush over to Jack`s bike shops tent and luckily one of the guys had a multitool. Well the problem was I didnt get the seat back up to the correct height, I was probably an inch or a inch and a half too low. Soon as the race started I could feel it in my legs. I was able to ride with a group, I think we were 7-10th place most of the race. I pulled one lap, Brian on the rhino`s pulled for a lap also. On the thrid lap I was just about to make a move and attack my group, I shifted up to the big ring and my chain fell off! Then I couldnt get it back on, got my glove stuck in between my chain and the chainring and my group was long gone. I wound up in 11th place, just because of one mistake. That is really the most annoying thing about only racing for 30 minutes, it is just about impossible to recover from a problem. I am going to look at my points for the series this week and see if there is anyway I can get 5th. I am thinking probably not, if that is the case I am going to do the B race in waterford. I am planning on moving up next year anyways.

Mike was out filming again, here is the latest.

Iceman 07

I dont really know what to say about the Iceman this year. The whole weekend was a rush, changed plans etc... On the plus side I got in engaged on saturday after the race, but downside was that I thought I broke some ribs and separated my shoulder. The race started out bad for me, I dont know if it was the lack of sleep, hydration or what. But pretty much right from the start my legs felt tight, and never really recovered. I remember one of the first little hills, and my legs were just screaming, I didnt know how I was going to go another 20 miles, with a lot hills at the end of the course.

I got a good start there were over 100 people my group, so we lined up on the line and gave it a pretty hard sprint.

I was able to hold up a decent pace for about 7 miles, but I could not get my heart rate to come down. Eventually I just backed off the pace, and spun all the hills. I had to walk a couple, mostly because of traffic, one because I just needed to walk it. I crashed once in the sand, it was either that or plow into a slow rider in front of me. I made all the hills at the end, and was got tangled up with one of my teammates at the end in the sprint. I ended up going into the fence in what was I am sure a very spectacular crash, judging by the sound of the crowd and the applause I got just for getting up and back on the bike. I really thought I had broken some ribs, which I guess I didnt. The soreness went away that night, but my shoulder was quite sore for a few days after the race. My seat got all messed, my gps cracked, and I was finally over the line in about 2:24. Still faster than last year by a few minutes, but no where near my goal.
I had planned on popping the question on friday, but noelle got stuck working that day. So the next idea was going to be after the race, but I was no shape to do much of anything. So we just went back to the condo and everyone else went back to the race, and I just asked to her right then. That was by far the highlight of my weekend. We had everyone over from the team for a after race party, so it was fun to share news with a bunch of friends.

You can order your own copy of the video from mike:

Monday, November 05, 2007

Vets Park Double Header

What a great place to do a double weekend. Veterans park has to be one of the best cross venues around, lots of elevation, some flats, off camber sections, really the possibilities are endless.
The weather was much more cross like also, at least for the lowly C race`s which I did.
Saturday the course was set up with really steep run up, some other steep climbs behind the pavilion.

Sunday the course was set up in the opposite direction, for the most part. The steep run up from Saturday was a steep downhill, and the area behind the pavilion was a downhill as well. I really like the setup on Sunday, I felt it was a more technical course, than Saturday.
I didn't really know what to expect this weekend. I was sick with a sinus infection starting last week Saturday. I stayed home from work on Monday, and only worked a 1/2 day on Tuesday. Pretty much all I did was sleep, even later in the week. I got out on Friday for a easy hour ride, but I was pretty tired by time I got done.
Saturdays race I was really feeling the lack of riding, and effects of being sick. The run up was my biggest problem, it was the only place I got passed. I never really felt like I could make up any ground or hang with any of the guys that passed me. I ended up in 10th, not really what I was looking for, but all things considered I guess not too bad.
Sunday I was pretty sore from Saturdays race, and it was another cold morning. The lungs were really feeling the cold, and the legs were feeling the results of Saturday. The race started really bad for me. I lined up second row, big mistake, behind someone that turned out to be quite slow off the line. I don't know how many guys passed me, but it was a lot. My legs were burning by the time we hit the first little hill and I was not expecting to have a good day. I was able to move to front of the group that I was riding with though, and stayed with them for about 1/2 the lap. Soon as we hit the second flat though I just hammered it. I was able get away from my group and I was feeling pretty good. I rode the rest of the first lap with a rhino and decided to attack him also. It worked and, I was working up towards the next two guys. I rode with them for a while, not really sure how long, and tried to attack a couple of times with no luck. Finally it worked and dropped one of the guys. I kept pushing and I was by myself with a nice little gap. I caught some lapped traffic on the last lap, and wasnt really sure who was and wasnt racing against me. I just kept pushing and was able to ride in for 7th place. Needless to say I was pretty happy with results.
This race I actually started to feel like I did at lower huron. I just wonder how much better I could of done if I wouldn't of got sick last week. Oh well it was a fun weekend, and even coming in dead last at cross makes for a much better weekend than not racing.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Lower Huron Race

Lower huron, I dont know what it is about the park and the race, but it is one of my favorites. I remember my first time doing the race a few years ago, and seeing the run up for the first time. I actually had second thoughts about doing that race, it is a really steep hill. But I really love the course.
There were a few changes this year, less riding down by the river and more up top. The start was on the pavement, and into the grass at the end of the road. This year they mixed in a volleyball court and a couple of tight turns, before you hit first set of barriers by the bathrooms. Two barriers before the run up, and the log on the downhill was removed by the park, so at least there was a little of recovery after the run.
I started out my race with a good pull from the start. I was sitting in the top five and was feeling pretty good. We hit the sand and a few guys tried to ride it, but getting off and running was the better option. John was on my wheel and pushing me to go faster. I attacked a couple of guys, and we were sitting in 2nd/3rd spot. Just before the run up, I let john go around so I could sit on his wheel for a bit, into the barriers and up the hill. I picked a bad line, and didnt run it as hard as I should of. 3 ? guys passed me on the run up and time I got to top John was long gone, and so were the rest of them. I managed to catch back up to 4/5th place, and rode with them. Then the run up on third lap cost me yet again. I went to mount the bike, didnt quite time it right and snagged my shorts on the back of the seat and lost some time. I just didnt have enough in me to close the gap the last lap up to 5th place. I had to settle for 6th. Just missing my goal of a top 5.
This is one of the first races this year that 1/2 hour didnt feel like a hour to me. It went by quick. Must the be the training is finally starting to work. Too bad we are 1/2 through the season, but I think the competition this year is much better than the last few years. All I can say is I love cross. It really is my passion, I really dont see myself doing as many mountain bike races next year. I will be looking at them as training races for the cross season for sure.

Looking forward to a double weekend at veterans park. I am getting ready for a lot of running uphill in that one. I cant wait!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Stony Creek CX Race

So what month is this? It feels like July but it looks like October, the trees are changing colors, pumpkins and halloween decorations are out, and we are 4 races into the cross season but it is 90 degrees in Michigan. Very strange for this time of the year. I knew it was going to be bad when I was getting dressed for my race at 9:00 in the morning and I was already sweating.
I was feeling good coming into this race. I had a light training week, and even took saturday off to spend some time with noelle and get some stuff done around the house. The course was a challenge. They had 3 running sections and a set of barriers. Two of the runs were rideable to some extent, both were through a volleyball court, the first however was a 180 degree turn. The last run on the course was a long run on the beach, 75 yards is what they were saying. Each lap I thought about just running in the lake, sure it might be a bit harder, but it would of felt much better.
Right from the start I knew I was going to have a hard time. The heat really gets to me when I am racing. I did a little research on this tonight and found the following study
Basically it said people with diabetes dont cool off as well as non-diabetic people do. I knew there had to be something going on there. After I get done with a race in the heat, I always have goose bumps, chills and I never do all that well in the hot races.
Anyways I wasnt doing great in the race, but I was at least doing ok. Then on the third lap of 4 I heard something rattling on my bike. My seat was coming undone. It was still attached, but the screws were loose. I decided it was probably a good idea to stop and tighten them up instead of trying to mount the bike with a loose seat. I ended up stopping 2 or 3 times on that lap before I finally got the seat tight. By then I lost about a minute, and I had no chance of getting a good result in the race.
I must say I felt much better with mounts, and dismounts than at bloomer. One positive thing at least. I have a few new ideas for training this week that I want to work on also. I am looking forward to the race at lower huron, it is one of my favorites each year. Hopefully the cool weather shows up as promised for the later in the week.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Bloomer CX Race

What a huge turnout today for the Bloomer race. The C class had 38 racers! Last year there was only 29. It is good to see the events getting bigger each year. There were a quite a few mountain bikers that did their first cross race today also. The weather has been very uncross like also, which probably gets more people out to race.

The course was similar to last year, but they added in the short steep uphill on the side of the velodrome, and moved one of the sets of barriers around. It seemed like a combination of the last 2 years races.

Lots of pavement and lots of long straight sections. They mixed in a little bit of trail riding as well, similar to last years course.

This was the biggest week for my workout routine doing the hardest workouts to date. I was feeling pretty good coming into the race, and fairly well rested. I was expecting to do decent, I placed 6th here last year on a similar course. But nothing really went my way right from the start of race. I lined up in the front row, after getting a good warm up in, and was feeling pretty good. The whistle blew, and we were off. It got tight really fast, I was leaning on the guy next to me and then got pinched out and had to drop back. I sat in the pack as we hit the first grassy section, I could see my teammates, John and Todd in front of me a ways so I was working to try and regain contact with them. I was able to get on John`s wheel, but Todd was leading the pack out. Now this was Todd`s second ever cross race, and he got a great hole shot off the line that put him up in first. Myself and John worked most of the race together, we kind of stayed in our group and didnt make up much ground on anyone. Some guys would come around, but it seemed like when they did, it usually ended up in a crash. Speaking of crashes, the downhill on the side of the velodrome was the cause of many of them. This picture was from the B race, but it looked the same in the C race.

Basically we worked together for all the 4 laps changing places with a couple guys and never really could get any separation. We were faster in the more technical parts of the course, they were faster in the flat sprint parts. Finally on the last lap just before the velodrome we decided it was time to get around a couple of guys. This worked really good, John jumped and I followed, we were able to open up a bit of a gap. We hit the trails, and I took a turn hot and ended up getting caught up in the sand it forced me into the woods. Time I got up and going again the guy we just attacked rode past me. I caught Lloyd on the sprint to the line but I couldnt close the gap back up to John. So 4 laps of pain and 20th place. Not really the result that I was looking for. My times were consistent with last year, so that tells me that the field was pretty deep today. I was sloppy though, going over the barriers, and just in general. I didnt feel like i was riding to all my ability.
Oh yeah that Todd guy, he got 4th place in the race. The first TSB racer to place in one of these races. I am still looking for my first one. Maybe lower huron, I always seem todo good there and it is one of my favorite courses.

Next week is stony creek. Get ready to run on the beach, looks like it is going to be 80 that day so maybe I will run a little closer to the water.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

KTR Double Cross Weekend

Wow did the stars ever come out for the races this weekend. As my teammate John said "these are probably the most famous people ever in Davisburg, Mi".
Jonathan Page

Adam Myerson

These were just a few of the many pro riders that raced this weekend at the KTR Double cross.
This was the first time I have ever seen professional racers, race. All I can say is wow!! Right from the start of the race the pace was just amazing.

I must say I probably had the most fun I have ever had a race this last weekend, and it really makes me wish that cross was bigger in Michigan. It was just such a great atmosphere, this is what bike racing should be all about. Mountain bike races, even big ones like Iceman dont have the same kind of vibe going on as this race did.

So how did I do?
Well the course was pretty challenging the first day, a lot of off camber sections, one little run up, and we even got to spend a little bit of time in the woods. The off camber sections proved to be difficult for a quite a few people in my race, and caused a lot of chaos. The second the course was a little easier I thought.
I got a good start, I was sitting in second through most of the first lap. This is not a spot I find myself in all that often and wasnt really sure what was going on. I felt good, but was that because it was a slow pace or was I just having a good day? Well I found out that the pace was slow when a few riders came around us. I was able to stay with the lead group for a while, but slowly a few more made it around. I got tangled a few times in different crashes or had to take a bad line to avoid a crash. I never crashed, but it was enough to let a few more people around each time. The last lap I passed 3 guys all near the end and rode in for a 9th place finish. Not bad at all for me.
Sunday the results werent quite so good. I was cooked. I got a good start again, John and myself riding up near the front of the lead group. But by the end of the first lap I knew I wasnt going to be able to keep that pace up for the entire race. I let john go around, and I just settled in. It was a long race, it hurt really bad. But, even with all the pain and people passing me, it was a blast. I rolled across the line in 24th place, happy that the pain was over, but wishing for more.

Bloomer is up next. It was a fun course last year, and I am looking forward to it.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Cross Season Kick Off

Finally the season started, I have been waiting since December for it to start back up. This race was a new one this year and turned out be a cool race. I was told the park had all the hills in the entire county, so it was a natural place to host a cross race. This was also my first race on the new bike. I did the practice race with the hopes of shaking all the bugs out the bike last week.

The course featured 2 sets of barriers and one run up these big steps, I think they were seats for the amphitheater. A few of them were pretty big steps!

The course ran us up a sled hill with a set barriers and then on a s-turn there was another set.

The course worked out to be about 1.5 miles.

It was cold at the start of the race, low 40`s maybe, upper 30`s probably. With a little bit of confusion finding the start line we got all lined up. And then the whistle blew and the pain started. The first lap I settled into 4th place, until the downhill after the sled hill run up. Then the 3 guys in front of me all crashed and I found myself alone in the lead. This didnt last long, I hit the flat section of the course and they were able to close the gap on me. I guess it helped that they crashed on a downhill and able to get up quickly. So the lead group reformed and I was back in fourth place. The race was only 3 laps. The second lap nothing much happened. The start of the thrid lap I started to hear this loud squealing from the back wheel and the bike was not rolling good. I pulled over and the back wheel was hardly turning because the brake was all clogged up with mud and grass. Time I got it cleaned out the 5th place guy passed me and the 6th place guy caught up to me. The thrid lap I worked on catching back up to the guy in fourth place which I couldnt quite do. I gave it a hard sprint at the end but no luck.

I must say I felt pretty good in the race. I should of had at least 4th place and maybe could of done a little better.

Looking forward to the UCI race this weekend and start of the series. Just need to figure out to tweak in the brakes to get a little more mud clearance.

Friday, September 14, 2007

CX Seson Kickoff

This is the first weekend of the cross season. The first race I will be doing is the Ithaca Grand Prix of cyclocross. This is a new event and I am looking forward to the race. Being that it is the first race of the year it is going to hurt. I know this, and every year I look forward to this pain. I forget how much it is going to hurt, but I will be quickly reminded once on the bike.
I have been following a training plan for the last week. I wish I would of started it sooner, but that is alright it was too hectic the last month as it was. Now I can just focus on cross and not have to try to fit in the mountain bike training.
I am hoping to do decent at this race. Doing a practice race this week with the flying rhinos really helped I think. Tomorrow is the clinic, maybe I will be able to learn how to mount my bike like a real cross racer. That is my goal at least.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Insulin Pump

I got my new minimed insulin pump about 2 weeks ago. I also the got the real time sensor system. So far I must say that I am very impressed with the sensor. I was able to get 9 days out of the sensor. I probably could of got more, but it seemed to be getting a little bit inaccurate and I wanted to see what the site looked like. The FDA only approves it for 3 days. But at $35 each, I want to be able to stretch it out as much as possible. The sensor\transmitter is comfortable to wear, and I had no problems with it what so ever.

Here is the graph from yesterday.

Not the best day but I mostly stayed within my target range.
Using the sensor while I was riding also worked out quite well. It was pretty accurate but I think a lot of that has to do how stable I was able to keep my blood sugar throughout the rides.

I miss not having it on already. It is really is nice to see what your BS is doing throughout the day or how certain foods affect it. Notice the ice cream I ate on the right side of the graph.

So far I feel that the system is totally worth the money. Hopefully the insurance companies will start covering the supplies. I will put it on next week again, I am bit nervous yet about riding hard with it on until I figure what type of tape works best.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Ruby XC

The middle of July and it is time for the Ruby race. The weather turned out to be about perfect, the trail was in great shape, and we had a lot of racers.

Saturday night was the TSB pre-ruby race party. Dave cooked up some spaghetti and the team got to hang out and relax a bit before the race.
It is always fun to get to see everyone, and this is nice because it is not race day when everything is always a bit chaotic.

Bob even hooked up a projector and we watched the team video from the first year. Watching that video there were a lot of people on the team that I didnt recognize. That is definitely not the case with the team last year and this year as well. I think the team has really grown over the last 2 seasons.

Race day!
I decided not race again this year and to help out on the trail instead. It was really amazing watching how fast the elite racers tear through the course. They put up 22 minute laps. That is really impressive considering how technical the trail is.

Team Sandbag was well represented in the race of course with multiple top 5 finishers. Ruby is the type of trail that if you know it counts for at least a minute or two a lap over someone that doesnt know the trail.
We had a lot good feedback on the trail, and on the event that Ruby is becoming. Of course there were a lot of people that really didnt like the wall all that much as they were climbing it, but that is to be expected I guess.

I am training hard for the Stony TT. I have re-evaluated my training and decided to take a month off from racing and try to see some improvements. This year has not been what I was hoping for. We`ll see in two weekends...

Monday, June 25, 2007

DR Lawless

I raced TK Lawless for the first time this weekend. This was the 3rd race in the TT series here in michigan. This was my first time riding this trail, it was not what I expected. I guess the best comparison is either holdridge, but flatter or novi, but hillier. There is 10 miles of single track that is tight and twisty but not overly technical with some two track riding added to the start and the end of the race to add to the distance.

I started out with my teammate John, we were the second group to go out. I tried to hang with him but by the time we hit the single track he had already dropped me.
My legs were burning, it wasnt adding up to be a good race and I was only a few miles in.
I backed off the pace at about 5 miles, when the legs began to cramp up. Most of the hills were yet to come, so I wanted to save something for the end of the race.
I never really recovered and I didnt pass a single person, after about the first 1/2 mile. Not a good sign at all.
The last couple of miles really hurt, but I managed an 1:15 minutes. Not really all that impressive for sure.
I am not sure what is going on. I just had nothing in the legs almost right from the start. I am looking forward to getting my new insulin pump that also monitors your blood sugar in real time. I really hope that this really sin my racing and recovery. I think that after my rides my muscles are not rebuiliding either because not enough insulin or too low glucose. Hopefully with the new pump I will be able to manage this more closely and it will make a difference... I hope!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Wheels, wheels and more wheels

Today was my first ride on the Ksyrium wheels that I bought a few months ago. These wheels are fast. I now know why everyone says that wheels are the most important upgrade on the bike.
I finally got the cross bike put back together. I changed out the crankset to the Ritchey WCS compact and I picked up 2 FSA chainrings, a 46 and a 36. I figure this will be a good setup for racing. I left the 50 that came on the crank, and swapped out the 34 for the 36. I was hoping to get this done in time to try it out at the stage race a couple of weeks ago, but it didnt quite work out. Riding it on the road today the bike felt really fast and the 50 tooth chainring seemed like it was ok for the road. I am used to pushing my 53 tooth on my DA crankset, which you really can fly with.
I put the cosmos on and hit the trails. The compact crankset felt really good and I liked the gearing choices that I had. Shifting was smooth and crisp. I really love the bike, it handles so good and feels so responsive I really cant wait until cross season.
My other project which is finally complete is the Trek Top Fuel 110. I have been looking to get a high end wheelset for this bike for sometime now. I was almost sold on a set of Crossmax SL, then my next idea was to build up a set of wheels. I was thinking Mavic 717 rims and DT 240S hubs. Then I was looking at the Industry Nine hubs, which look really cool. But I was able to land a good deal on a brand new set XTR wheels.

The first time I saw these wheels at one of the LBS`s around here I thought that they were really cool, and lightweight wheels. Putting them on the scale they weigh in at 1550 g for the set. A little bit over the 1525 g that Shimano claims. But still a huge improvement over my previous wheels that weighed in at 1800 g. I am going to try out the Maxxis High Roller with Stans on this wheel. A few of the guys on the team are running them, and have a lot of good things to say about the tire. I had my XT center lock rotors from the bike build up so at least I didnt have to buy new rotors for these wheels, being that I just bought a set a few months ago.

One of the cooler parts of the wheels are the skewers. I love the X on them.
I cant wait to try these out. I am waiting to pick up a new cassette, SRAM PC-990. I had one before and didnt like it, but I have heard that it is a little bit beefier than the first model that I had. So hopefully it shifts better than the older one. 2 of the guys on my team are running it and neither of them have had the problems that I had.
I will post back up once I get a couple of rides on the new wheels.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Stage Race

I have never done a stage race before and the concept sounded cool. 3 races in 2 days. Race #1 was a time trial on the Torn Shirt trail at Brighton State Rec. Area, race 2 was a short track race, and the third race was a XC race on the Murray Lake loop. The short track race was what I was really looking forward to. It has been way too long since the last cross race, and I have forgotten how much pain is involved!
Torn Shirt is a tough trail. It is only about 5.5 miles, but it has a lot of short, steep climbs, blind turns, roots and log piles. I pre-rode the trail about a month ago, so it wasnt totally new to me, but I really couldnt remember most of it. Nothing too exciting in my race, I started out feeling pretty good, but I held back quite a bit. Not knowing what was around the next turn, which there were a lot of, kept my speed down. I did the race in about 39 minutes, nothing spectacular there that is for sure. It put me in 5th place for the race.
The next race was a short track race, aka cyclocross without the barriers. The race was only 4 laps, and took about 13 minutes. For this race I tried to use some of my cross tactics, get a good start, and push through the pain. I got a decent start, until the first turn where I got clogged up with the single speeders that started ahead of us. The race hurt, I am not in cross shape yet. My first and last lap were my fastet, but I still finished last, well 3rd.
Sunday was the XC race on the Murray Lake loop. This is a fast flowing trail, nothing too technical a few decent climbs. They just cut in some re-routes, that were pretty soft and added to the pain.
Right from the start I had nothing in the legs. The pack started and left me right off the line. I rode with one of the Paint Creek riders through most of the race, but he dropped me on the last lap. My lap times were consistent, but I just didnt have it from the day before. I just finished out the race and ended up with a fifth place.
Overall for the weekend I took home 3rd place. It is sort of a hollow accomplishment in a way. I finished last or almost last in each of the 3 races, but through attrition I was able to pick up 3rd. At least it is a lot of points for the team, and that is really all I am going for this season.
I am not really sure where to go from here. I ride a lot and have been getting in a lot of miles, but the results just arent there.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Pontiac Lake TT

Well the first race of the year was last weekend out at PLRA. It turned to be a really nice day, the sun was out, but there was a cool wind. All week leading up to the race all the talk on mmba was about how bad the trail was going to be. Well guess it what it was just about perfect come race day.
Usually this race is not until about a month from now. Pontiac is not an easy place to start the race season, so I really didnt know what to expect. This was also about my 4th or 5th ride on the new bike, which I just had fitted a couple days before the race.
The legs were burning at the start but I got into a rythm and by about the time I hit the first big hill I was moving along at a decent pace. I passed my teammate Todd at about the first mile, he was on the side of the trail with a broken chain. Which he broke again later in the race.
My time was 53:00, which is my slowest race time in the past 3 years. But this was a early race, so hopefully that is the reason why this was the best that I could do.

I really like the way the bike feels now after the fitting. At first it felt like the seat was up way to high, so I lowered it just a bit. But the bike feels like it handles much better than it did before. I wish I would of had this done earlier, but I am happy that I finally did it.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Bring on April

Well with today being the last day of March I guess can say that this was a good month for me. I got 2 new bikes put together, and ended up with 311 miles on the bikes.
I set a goal to get 300 miles this month. I made with it was a few days to spare. Good thing too, because my legs are feeling pretty heavy right now. So the plan is to take a couple of days off and then pick up the training again.
We got a ride in at Pontiac Lake Rec. Area yesterday, the first time I have on the top fuel for any real distance on the trails. The bike felt really good. Still a few little adjustments to make, but overall I am quite happy with the way the bike rides. I took it easy being that it was the first trail ride of the season, and on a new bike. I didnt want any negative experiences before the first race.
Isnt timing everything in life? I was looking for a new set of wheels for the ciclocross. I have been watching ebay, scouring the online sites and looking in local shops for a good deal on some cross wheels. Just so happens that a friend was in the bike shop and got to talking with someone who was selling a set Mavic Ksyriums SSC SL`s. More wheel than I could afford to buy brand new. I was looking at the elite model, but didnt know if I wanted to even spend that much on a set of wheels. But a good deal is hard to pass up. These wheels are from 2003 they are the Tour de France edition, which weigh less than a normal set of SL`s and are numbered. They are number 354.

These wheels have the a yellow spoke to signify the 30th anniversary of Mavic in the TdF. I am a little hesitant to use them for cross racing however, due to the limited number of them that have been made. Maybe they will be my good weather cross wheels, and the Cosmos will be used when it is messy.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Trek Top Fuel 110

Well the bike is finally done. If you remember I found a crack on my klein back in November, just before iceman. I have slowly been gathering up parts for the bike over the last 3-4 months and it is finally done.

The bike is light for a XL frame, it weighs in at 26 pounds. I know I could take some weight off the bike in the wheelset and the fork. But I am happy with it as it is. So the final build is as follows:
2007 XTR Dual Control Shifters
XT Disc Brakes
2007 XTR Front Der.
2007 XTR Rear Der.
2007 XTR Cranks
Thomson Elite seatpost
Easton carbon bar
FSA XC-300 wheels
Egg Beater pedal
KMC chain
Specialized grips
Specialized saddle
Rock Shox Reba fork
Planet X stem

I did my first ride on the bike and I must say that the new XTR components are really nice. I really like the DCL shifters. They feel so much better than the previous version did. The shifting is instant.
I do need a longer stem. I will be getting a thomson once I figure what size I need. I am really happy with the way the bike turned out. It looks really good, and rides even better.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Ciclocross Build Up

I moved all my parts from my road bike over to the new Cross bike this weekend. The build up is:
9 speed Dura Ace cranks
10 speed Dura Ace rear der.
9 speed Dura Ace shifters
Ultegra front der.
Thomson seatpost
Reynolds stem
Specialized bars
Mavic cosmos wheels (for now)
Cane Creek SCX-5 canti`s

I havent ridden it yet other than just around the parking lot. Hopefully this afternoon I can get it out for a little ride.

Check back in a few days for some pictures on the mountain build up as well. It looks pretty bad ass.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Pyrenees to my door

Today is a big day, a new member of the family has arrived. All the way from the Pyrenees, my new cross bike is here. It is an 2006 Orbea Ciclocross. This is my second Orbea that I own. I have a 2003 Lobular Starstarship road bike, that is just plan fast.
The Ciclocross is a very nice looking bike in the Euskaltel Euskadi colors. Nothing else screams Orbea like these colors do. I ended up with a 60 cm frame. The 57 was just a bit too small, and not much of a size increase over my JTS.
I rode the 55 cm bike just to get a feel for the frame. This bike feels really fast. The lobular tubing is supposed to help smooth out some of the vertical shock while staying horizontally stiff.

The down tube has a interesting shape to it. It flattens out at the bottom bracket.
I am still trying to figure out how to build this bike up. For the time being I am pulling all the parts of my road bike and putting them on here. By the time that cross season rolls around I should be pretty comfortable on the bike and will have it built up how I want it. I am going to put it on a scale tomorrow and see how much the frame and fork weighs, and then again after the final build up.
I can not wait to get out and give it a try.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Hard to say good bye

Well this is a first for me. I actually sold one of my bikes. I decided that the cross bike was too small for me and it was time to look for something that fits me correctly. So I sold the Jake the Snake today. I miss it already. I really liked the bike, too bad it didnt fit me right. At least it is going to a good home.

Here we are sharing some good times together last fall :)

So now I am trying to figure out what to replace it with. There are a lot more options out there than there were when I bought the bike. Stay tuned...
February was a really bad month for me. I only managed to get 70 miles in on the bike. It was a really cold month, I was on vacation for a week, and I was sick for a week. March is much better already. I have about 100 miles this week, and I plan to keep the riding going. The first race of the season is April 15th, which is not that far away.
The Trek Top Fuel is almost ready to be built. I am just waiting for the shifters and brakes. They should be in this week, and I hope to be on the bike by this weekend. Hopefully the transition to the fuel from the klein is not that hard, they are very similar bikes.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

January`s Done!!

Well month 2 of of '07 just started this week. The days are getting longer, and the weather is getting colder. Go figure. What happened to El Nino? January was a decent month for riding this year. I pulled the info out of sport tracks today to see my mileage for the month. I have set a goal to ride 3000 miles this year. I knew going in the first couple months of the year will probably be my lowest mileage months. I ended up with 162 miles.

50 miles on the single speed
72 miles on the geared bike
40 miles on the CX bike

Overall not too bad. I just need to keep that up in February. March things start to turn the corner around here, you dont need the lights to ride after work. The wind chill isnt usually below zero etc...

I cashed in a couple of gift certificates to get the latest addition to the bike build project. It is the Shimano XTR FD-M971. The claimed weight is 125g, but on my home scale it weighed in at 5.2 oz, or 147 grams this is with the small little piece of green plastic and a couple of stickers still on it.

The goal is still to have the bike complete about a month before the first race of the season, so that really only gives me about a month to get rest of the parts in and on bike.

Monday, January 22, 2007


Finally some snow on the ground to make the riding interesting. 4 of us got out on saturday and hit some of the local rail trails for a nice little 40 mile loop. It was 25 and sunny, a perfect day to spend 3+ hours on the bike. We hit the macomb orchard trail, then the paint creek trail and back home. The original plan was to ride the poly ann trail as well. But by the time we pulled into Lake Orion, we were all a little sore from the ride up there in the snow, and with a head wind. Of course we had to stop in at Paint Creek bikes and checkout all the cool new Niners and all the high end stuff that Keith carries.
I rode stony creek last week just after the ice storm hit. The logs, roots etc had a nice glaze on them that made them pretty slick. There were a ton of trees down on the trail. I did my part as a MMBA member and cleared what I could off the trail. Some were to big for me to move by myself though, but I think I made it a better ride for anyone riding after me.
I was planning on riding tomorrow night, but I found out that my sump pump check valve is shot and water is spraying out of it everytime it runs. So it looks like a trip to the plumbing store and then fixing that is in store for me.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Bike build up

I am adding to my collection on new parts for the build up of my new bike. So far I have the 07 xtr rear der., Reba Team fork, King headset of course, Thomson seatpost. I debated long and hard over which crankset to put on the bike. 06 XTR, Race Face Dues, 07 XTR, XT, etc... Well I picked this up tonight.This is a light crankset. The claimed weight 797 grams. I weighed it out at 870, so I am going to re-weigh it to see if it is really closer to claimed weight or not. I cant wait to get it on the bike.
The middle and small ring are a composite material that is supposed to save weight and also last longer than previous versions.

The next thing I guess I am going to pick up are the 07 XTR DCL levers. I have the old version and love them. The new ones are supposed to be even better. Then the 07 XTR brakes, a stem and the 07 XTR front der. and I will be all set.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Is it winter?

Well now that the holidays have past, and we are into Janurary my riding is starting to pick back up again. Typically this time of year the temps are only in the 20`s in the day, but this "winter" we are mostly in the 40`s with a lot of rain. It has made for some good trail riding in between the, seems like, daily rain storms. Of course it would be much better for the trails if it would just freeze up out there and let the ground firm up. I must admit I am enjoying the warm weather, thanks to global warming and El Nino. Not so good for the polar bears though.
I am still waiting to get the new bike all built up. I am working on collecting parts for it, my goal is to get it all put together about a month before the first race of the year in April. The most recent purchase has been a Reba fork and King headset. I am trying to decide between the new XTR Dual Control shifters or the new XTR Rapidfire shifters. Not sure about the about the DCL due to fact that you have to use Shimano disc brakes with them. I would like to have some choices. I have the old style of DCL shifters on my current bike and I love them. So will I miss them if I go with the RF`s I dont know. Too many decisions, too many ways to blow my money I guess.