2012 ~ the year of the fat dude?


Maybe I should consider racing Clydes?

With the world coming to an end in just 353 days, I figured that I had better get a little scientific about my race plan this year.  For the last 2 years I’ve only averaged about 4,000 miles (that’s 6,400 Km for the roadies), but I’ve also managed to average a ride every other day (year-round).  I have never really done any focused training “program” and I tend to burn out halfway through the year.  My strategy has been ride whenever I can, and ride as hard as I can.  Usually that means quick, early morning rides before work.  No LSD miles in Spring, no recovery rides to speak of, no focus on weaknesses, in fact no focus at all.  

As much as it sucked to think about it, I picked up some training books and got a new HR strap for the Polar monitor collecting dust in my closet.  I structured a plan that will get me to peak fitness for ToAD, and leave me fresh enough to finish WORS too.  On paper it looks good, even though my mileage will go up by somewhere between 25 and 50% (depending on the end of season tapering).  The real challenge will be embracing a plan that makes me better without sucking the life and fun out of riding.  As far as my weight, I’m not a twig like most of the guys I’m racing.  I usually focus on gaining some weight in Fall/Winter, but this year I’ll focus on taking it off too.

Today felt good, but it’s Day 1.  Even crack addicts can probably stay focused for 1 day.  The real test will be my results and overall fitness this year, as well as avoiding mid-season burnout.

I’m excited about doing some real road racing this year, and moving up to SS Open @ WORS.  I’m not really built for the longer courses, so hopefully the focus on my weaknesses will pay off.  I might even try to dial in my diet a bit, although a quick Google search reveals that “cake” and “beer” are the top 2 diet choices among competitive cyclists.

Now, if I can just avoid crashing…

2011 racing season – that’s a wrap!


AKA – the continuing evolution of a fat dude…

Here I am in summer of 2006.  Riding an old mountain bike on the road with my other fat old friends –  Bob Roll and Greg LeMond.  OK, we’re not really friends – just fat.  I had taken many years off of the bike, and was inspired to get back on for the Trek 100.  I did the 32 mile route that year.  Slowly.

My Official Return to Cycling - 2006

That was enough incentive to get me rolling again, literally.  I had so much fun, and it felt so good to be doing something I loved so much, I started making time to get on my bike.  Just a little at first – probably only did a handful more rides that year, but I did one very important ride: on the trails of the Southern Kettles.

My off-road skills were anemic, and that’s giving me more credit than I deserved, but I knew they were in there somewhere.  Covered with years of rust and beer and God knows what else.  I was slower than a stampede of turtles.  Hill-climbing?  That’s where my dominance really showed!  I could climb anything under 10 feet tall in less than an hour.  Maybe.

I rode a little more the following year, even got a road bike.  I remember telling my friend Mark how proud I was after a 15 mile ride where I had averaged 17 mph.  (This year I did a 161 mile “fun” ride and averaged 19.6mph).   Late that summer I was really starting to feel the mountain bike bug again.  My fitness was starting to shape up a little, and I had started trying to get out and ride a bit more.  The whole idea of a single-speed bike really seemed to make sense to me.  After all, I was a reformed BMXer – not a roadie.  On the road, I had nothing, but get me into some single-track and I could at least hold my own with stronger guys by riding smart.  In 2007, 29″ wheels were just starting to get some attention – most bikes sold  still had 26″ wheels.  Trek took a chance and produced a small run of Travis Brown inspired 69ers.

NOTE: When it comes to “stuff”, I am not a technical guy, I’m an impulsive guy.  I’ve never researched a major purchase.  I liked the idea of a single gear (only later did a I realize that you might need to change out the gears for different courses…) and I liked the idea of the 29er, but I wasn’t sold on it.  The 26″ riders liked the cornering and climbing of their bikes, the 29″ riders loved the way their bikes flew on the flats and rolled over everything at speed.  A 69er seemed to make sense so I bought one – without riding it.

2008 was the year that the MTB virus really took hold.  I started riding the singlespeed quite a bit, getting out to the Kettles or Crystal Ridge occasionally to grind out a few miles.

Fast forward to 2011:

2011 - Year of the fat boy!

My 2011 season started with the Burnham Racing Spring Super Criterium on March 26th, and yes, it was snowing when we started.  My 3rd road race ever, I managed to finish a respectable 13th in the Masters 4/5s and avoid getting crashed out coming into the sprint.  Did a few more road races and 5 WORS races.  Managed to get (3) 3rds, (1) 1st and (1) DNF, so 2012 will mean a move up to Singlespeed Comp/Open to get my butt handed to me.  Even though I raced less than I wanted to, I rode more than I thought I would (and I’m still riding of course).

2012 should be a great year for me.  I have a great Team that keeps getting better, and I’ll have more focus and more experience.  I plan to do more WORS racing, more ToAD and even a little CX.

As always, time will tell.

Schlitz Park ToAD Criterium pre-ride report:


So today begins the Tour of America’s Dairyland with a Pros-only race in Shorewood.

Mere mortals like me will be working, picking up kids or mowing the lawn while some of the WORLD’S best and brightest professional cyclists scream around the streets of Milwaukee at warp speed.  I plan to do a few races (Masters 3/4), but I am way more comfortable on the WORS courses with fat tires and no derailleurs.

Having said that, should I get the chance to do Tuesday’s Schlitz Park Criterium I wanted to at least ride the course a few times to get a feel for it.

So, this morning I met some friends and did 17 relatively easy laps of the course.  It’s definitely a steep climb, I would imagine that if any breakaways go, they will happen halfway up 2nd street (at Vine).  The hill flattens as it crosses an intersection, then resumes at a much less steep pace for another block.  The 125-pounders will be able to accelerate like everyone else is going backwards at that point.  Probably a sweet spot to watch the action too.

Don’t get me wrong, going up that hill for 50 minutes will suck (in fact – going up once will suck), but now that I’ve ridden  the course I am more concerned about the left-hand turn coming down the other side.  It’s a pretty steep decline that cranks through an intersection with older pavement and 2 manhole covers that just happen to be in the middle of the perfect line.  I would anticipate riders over-cranking that turn or getting squeezed and ending up on the sidewalk – hopefully all in one piece.  I blasted down it a few times trying to find a smooth line and was surprised one time by a car that almost rolled the stop sign.  Thank God for Dura-Ace brakes and rims cleaned with Simple Green or I would have been a Toyota Camry hood ornament.

Either way – spectator or racer – I plan to at least make an appearance on Tuesday.  Good luck to all the racers, and to anyone else near Milwaukee on that day – come out and see some World Class action!

2011 Bone Ride report


“When the clouds, take the sky 
Does the storm give you life?”

 – Led Zeppelin

25th Annual Bone Ride.  5/18/2011.  Schuler’s house.  7:30am.  50 degrees and raining.  155 miles to go.  Awesome.

Not sure how many riders rolled, but it was substantially less than last year’s idyllic conditions.  We were rained on for the first 20 miles or so, then the rain gave way to mist and wet roads.  Roads stayed wet for most of the day, and the sun decided to come out for 10 minutes when we were almost back, then it disappeared again for good.  I’m no Andy Hampsten, but rolling 155 miles in the grimy rain felt pretty cool – not unlike our own “Spring Classic”.

I rolled out with the group and immediately felt the effects of my “over-hydration”.  With the low temps and no real sweat happening, all that water was just sitting in my bladder waiting to go somewhere. I spent half of the ride to Madison looking for places to stop and then bridging back up to the group.

A delicious burrito in Madison with the Team, a group picture and then back on the road.  Since I was so hydrated on the way there, I neglected to drink much and found myself with empty water bottles halfway back.  Not good.  At 135 miles I started to feel like a raisin, so I ducked into Attitude in Pewaukee and slammed a Gatorade and rolled back to Schuler’s with a strong guy from Appleton.

I had enough foresight to put a 6 pack of Anchor Steam on ice in the morning, and I handed them out to anyone standing around when I got back.  Success never tasted so good.

Team Wisconsin Whitnall Spring Classic


The Big Red Train rolls out!

My first race in the new kit, hard not to feel fast in this gear!  This was my 2nd road race of 2011, and that means the 5th of my life.  Great time, but I still have a lot to learn.  12th overall in the Masters 4/5.  I’m just not getting up to the front on the last lap fast enough.  All on me.

Team Wisconsin had a very strong showing, especially in the 3s where we took 1st and 2nd.

Now onto Iola where the real season begins!

2011 ~ Race # 1 is in the books


My idea of racing the Barry Roubaix for the first time this year seemed to fizzle out when my potential racing partners ended up with alternate plans.  So, against my better judgement I made a last minute decision to drive down to Illinois for the Super Spring Criterium.

Weather was fantastic… for ice fishing.  24 degrees with occasional flurries and high winds.  Despite the winter freeze, the field for the Masters 4/5 was about 75 strong.  Since it’s actually a car racetrack, the course has about 3 inches of elevation change over a 2 mile loop, and the pavement is as smooth and crack-free as Whitney Houston in the 80’s.

Dennis, bc and I all lined up together and then we were off.  Took a nice easy pace as everyone scoped out each other’s winter fitness or lack thereof.  I’ve been riding outside with bc and the Spokesmen all winter, so the temps were no problem and I settled right in with the early pace.  I have always been a mountain biker, and last year was the first time I ever spent so much time on a road bike.  I’ve always been a cycling fan, and I understand the dynamics of road racing, but my actual racing experience is pretty much limited to drinking PBRs and cheering at the Great Downer race every year. (mmmmm… PBR…)

Everyone stayed fairly cordial until the bell lap, and then you could just sense the nervous energy ramp up to 11.  I stayed close enough to the front to monitor any breaks, but (stupidly) not really close enough to be in them if they did happen.  The pace ramped up throughout the lap but I could tell that no one was really going for it.  Now, hindsight being 20/20 and all, this is where I was supposed to jump, but I just sat there waiting for SOMEONE to go.

Rounding the last corner everyone got on the gas and I heard someone go down HARD right behind me  (medical had to pick him up).  As we headed up to the finish I found a nice open space on the left side of the course and started hammering.  I was making up spaces quicker than I thought I would, and then I heard someone else go down to my right.  That guy knocked someone into me, and I was forced to ride into the grass to stay upright.   By the time I got back onto the pavement, my sprint speed was more like dial-up.

So I rolled across the line in 13th, further testament to what could have been.  I’ve only done 4 road races, but each race I do I get a little more experience and each race I end up wishing I would have just aired it out.

One of these times I’ll just pretend it’s a WORS race and FINISH IT…

 

Drugs in cycling – AFFIRMATIVE.


Why is there so much controversy about drug testing? I know plenty of guys who would be willing to test any drug they could come up with

–       George Carlin

Have you heard, they busted another pro cyclist for doping.  Yawn.  In an unrelated story, the sun came up today.  It’s not that I don’t care, but I don’t care.  Pro cyclists are dopers.  All of them.  So are NFL players, and MLB players and Olympians, etc., etc., etc.  Since when do we care so much about drugs, but ONLY in cycling?  In 1980 there were (3) 300 pound guys in the entire NFL.  In 2010, there were 532. That’s a 17,733% increase. I’m sure they all just eat more bacon now… that explains it.  When was the last time you heard about the Federal Government going after the NFL for doping?  Never?  So why cycling?

I’m not defending these jack-wagons for doping, I think it’s ridiculous to train your body to be among the fittest athletes in the world, and then inject synthetic chemicals into your body to purposely push it beyond the human limits.  I understand that if “everyone’s doing it”, it’s impossible to compete if you’re not.  I understand the money that’s at stake, the fame, etc.  I don’t understand the witch hunt though.

I will never be paid to ride a bike for a myriad of reasons, number 1 being I’m just not good enough (by a LONG shot).  But I will always ride.  I will never have a bad day on the bike, ever.  Cycling IS my drug, but that’s me.  Whether you think these guys are clean or dirty, what does it matter?  Do I think that my son will do drugs because Alberto Contador “ate some tainted meat”?  No.  Do I think the FBI will be visiting the set of 2 ½ Men to piss test Charlie Sheen anytime soon?  No.  Sheen’s an admitted drug user who is publicly spinning out of control, so why are we spending millions to go after household no-names like Yaroslav Popovych?

I guess the only point I have is that Spring is right around the corner, and I’m excited for the cycling season to start again in earnest.  I will watch any and all television coverage I can find of the pros, and I will ride my bike anytime that I can.  If this year’s TdF winner is NOT involved in a doping scandal of some sort, I will consider that to be newsworthy.

Here are some recent “feel good” headlines:

Sports Illustrated “The Case Against Lance Armstrong”

Sky may relax ‘zero tolerance’ doping policy

Now let’s see some racing, jack-wagons!