Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Typing one handed

I'll be typing things one-handed for the next 4-6 weeks, cause i broke my collarbone tonight. crap!

I took some pictures of their pictures . . .

My lovely wife accompanied me.

Nice threads, huh . . .

I was out riding my bike with charlie (the dog), and he cut right in front on me and took out my front wheel. i went down hard on me left shoulder. i got up, and immediately knew what i'd done. suprisingly it didn't hurt that much, as long as i kept my arm still. if i moved my arm, it was another story. btw, the dog is fine. and btw, we were at the end of the ride, and i was 150 feet from the house. i guess charlie was in a hurry to get home.

like i said, last sunday was my last race for the season. is that good timing or what?

oh, well. let the winter rest begin . . .

Sunday, October 28, 2007

State 'cross Race Report

I'll keep this short because I'm short on ambition. I did the cross race in Newton this weekend. Cool race, cool course, and cool peeps. I'd do it again in a heartbeat. It was a great race on which to end my season!

The course was PERFECT. Just enough slime to make it challenging, but not so much as to make it life theatening.

Oh, yeah. I won some Oakley stuff. Marco was on strict orders to not pull my name for a bike, and that worked out. But I did win some cool new Oakley shades, a back pack, and a t-shirt.

Oh, yeah. Bryan Moritz rode over with us, and he got 2nd in cat three, so the truck was heavy with hardware on the way home. I'll take my small victories however I can get them.

Maybe I'll post some pictures later. Maybe not. We'll see if they turned out. I took some sweet pics of Bryan, Christy, and Charlie on the way home.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Much Better Now

Does this look like the face of a guy that is depressed? I didn't think so. It's funny. As soon as the weather cleared, so did my mood.

The next (and last) race for me is the Iowa State Cyclocross Championship in Newton this Sunday. I'll be there, but don't expect me to be competing for a title. I'm afraid that's not my thing. I'll be hanging out, racing my bike (as it were), and watching the next "Cross Out Crohn's" raffle winner walk off with all of the fame and fortune that the title carries. Its been a wonderful year for me, but I'm ready to hand over that sceptre to the next heir to the throne, whoever that might be.

See you all on Sunday - rain or shine!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


OK. I admit it. I'm depressed. Maybe its because there is only one race left on my calender this year. Maybe its because I skipped out on the now epic race that everyone will still be talking about years from now. Or maybe (likely) because we've now had RAIN for 5 days straight! This sucks. Oh, well. I guess my long winter break started a few days early.

I'm hoping for total slop at Newton on the 28th! I'm gonna be there regardless of the conditions. I've had my 'cross wimp out for the year.

Sunday, October 14, 2007


–noun 1. a weak, ineffectual, timid person.
—Verb phrase 2. wimp out, a. to be or act like a wimp. b. to show timidity or cowardice; chicken out.

OK. I wimped out today and didn't go to the second day of Spooky Cross (more like Rainy Cross). I'm sitting here drinking coffee and watching rain of biblical proportions falling outside. The truck is loaded with bike and gear, but I'm not going anywhere. I've been in total slop races before, and they just aren't any fun. Total slop days are also expensive. There is no better way to fry a drivetrain.

I'm a wimp.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Spooky Cross Day 1

Just a brief report on the day. It was only a little muddy. I've raced in worse. In the first couple of laps I was riding with Scott Sumptner and Taylor Web. After a while it was just Taylor and I, as Scott decided that he wanted to go faster. I chased Taylor until the last lap, when he let me by. His words at the time, "What took you so long?". I stayed ahead of him for exactly 1/2 lap minus 2 feet. I say minus 2 feet because he caught me at the at the line (according the the offical scoring - I'm still not convinced).

I was happy with how the race turned out for me. I got to hang with some cool peeps. It was a good day. We'll see how it goes tomorrow.

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Many Names of Mud

With rain in the forecast for the weekend, I was looking into some mud riding tips, and found Dave Carr's Mud Index. I hope we don't see it this weekend, but here goes:

Dave Carr's Mud Index

Mud is ranked on a scale of 0 to 10, zero being hard dry dirt and 10 being liquid water. Other properties include material content, color, stickiness, and so on.

Grade 0 - Dirt, and all facsimiles thereof like adobe, clay, hardpack, dust, rock and pavement. Fails to give your bike and body that virtuous muddy look that lets people know you're a cyclocross god. Not really relevant to a discussion of Mud.

Grade 1 - Damp Earth. Nice and soft, tacky. Makes a pleasant sound as tires roll over it. Fun and effortless to ride on. Ultimate traction. Never separates from the ground, or if it does it doesn't stick to the bike. Your bike could be so clean after a ride that friends think you never went out.

Grade 2 - Adobe Clay. A bad kind of damp earth, found in certain regions of the US. Soft and sticky enough that it sticks to shoes, but doesn't separate from the ground very easily. Slows down the bike and drains a rider's energy without apparent cause. Low moisture content. Fills the pedal cleats on the shoes, rendering them heavy and useless. Following a rain, this type quickly transforms into Grade 3.

Grade 3 - Play-Doh. Water content is up to about 20-30%, leading to major sticking action. Literally jumps from the earth to your bike. Accretes to the tires, filling the treads. Fills up the tight spots between the tire and frame tubes, and in between the cassette cogs. Causes the bike to gain ten pounds in a matter of minutes. Requires pressure sprayer and brush to remove.

Grade 4 - Peanut Butter. Less sticky than Play-doh; more likely to stay on the ground. Moisture content is up to 40% or so. This stuff is sticky enough that one can't really plow through it, yet it's slippery and makes it hard to control the bike. Ruts form which may yield to a tire, or send the bike careening off in an unanticipated direction. Requires ferocious pedaling to keep momentum. Occasionally a piece sticks to the tire and is thrown into the air; subsequently lands on another rider's face.

Grade 5 - Goo. About as thick and sticky as the energy gel you eat during a race, only brown and slightly less tasty, and more likely to be lumpy. Like Peanut Butter, Goo stays on the ground, but is less resistant to the advancing tire. At East Bay CX races this type often includes some content of cow dung or rotting flesh. In more pleasant venues Goo may be found on the verge of a wet grassy area where a few tires have passed.

Grade 6 - Slime. This is the level of mud where a rider really begins to have fun. Slime is wet enough that it sticks to everything but doesn't really build up on the bike. Sticks together well enough that it will fly through the air in large masses. This grade is used in TV commercials for four-wheel drive trucks, in which the truck slides around all over the place shucking mud in every direction. In a 'cross race, Slime often is found in corners where it can wreak havoc with traction, leading to a slide on your butt on the wet ground.

Grade 7 - Glop. This is the wettest consistency of mud that can still hold a shape. When tires pass through Glop, a furrow is left that heals up slowly over time to a smooth surface. Liquid water may come to the top. It's better to have thin 'cross tires to slice through this stuff, while fat MTB tires will float and plow and generally make a mess. Imparts a shiny appearance to bicycle and body parts.

Grade 8 - Slop. The bottom of a very wet mud puddle that is not refreshed by a creek. Still retains some lumpy qualities, unlike Grade 9 Soup. Splatters very nicely and stains clothing better than any other type. Renders your glasses completely opaque. Remember not to smile at your friends after a dunk in this stuff unless you want them to laugh hysterically at the mud between your teeth. Requires a good hose-off to clean, plus a few cycles in the laundry.

Grade 9 - Soup. 80-90% water, heavily laden with sand, particulate and goo, but without the lumps characteristic of Slop. Scientists might classify this grade as a "Non-Newtonian Fluid." Typical of a stream crossing where the stream flow isn't fast enough to refresh the mud. Will soak your jersey completely, while leaving the particulate matter all over the front. Doesn't stick to the bike, instead just runs off onto the ground.

Grade 10 - River Water. Might feature some residual brown color but doesn't stick to anything. Just wet and cold without any redeeming qualities other than it may loosen up thicker grades of mud from your tires and shoes.

Stolen from here . There are also some nice pics of that various grades of mud.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Barrier Hopping Nonsense II

I went out for a ride today with Bryan and Alex.

We started at Ada Hayden and went to McFarland Park, where I had stashed my 'cross barriers. Once we got to McFarland and set up a 'cross course, we sent Bryan off as the rabbit. I started off chasing, but that didn't last long. Alex went around me and grabbed Bryan's wheel. After that I was able to keep up only by skipping the run-up on most laps. It was fun to watch from my perspective, until Bryan went down on an off-camber corner with Alex on his wheel. Ouch!

We decided to slow down after that, and carried the barriers back to my place.

You can guess what happened next . . .

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Barrier Hopping Nonsense

Bryan and I are going to meet at the Ada Hayden north Shelter at 4:00 tomorrow. We're gonna be riding 'cross bikes on gravel to McFarland. At Mcfarland we're going to do some more of that barrier hopping nonsense. I've got to work on my form so that I can defend my 23rd place in the cat 4 ICCS standings this weekend at Spooky Cross!

All are welcome. You don't have to ride a 'cross bike to come with us, and we won't make fun of you if you ride around the barriers. OK, we might have a little fun with that.

Oh, one more thing. Remember this weekend when I told you to go ride your nbike in the nice weather? It gonna be cold tomorrow (high of 52 with gusty NW winds) so dress the part. Its time to drag out the winter riding gear.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Nice Fall Ride

I went for a fun ride in the local dirt on Saturday. It had a littel bit of everything

Some tall grass prairie:

Some singletrack (natch):

Some gravel:

A little woodland prairie:

Some two track:

There were several nice views of the river:

I wore my new Oakley Radars with G30 lenses. These things rock.

Their field of vision is huge, and you can wear the G30s in everything from full sun to dark shade. If I could only have one set of sunglasses (the horror!) these would be it.

Good this I saw this before it saw me. I wouldn't want to run into it.

Apparently Fat Tire has hit the mainstream. It is now consumed by guys with pickups and gun racks that chuck empties out on the side of the gravel road.

Go ride your bike. These nice days won't last forever.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Newton Cross Race Report

Like I said earlier, two days of 'cross racing took a toll on me. But it's a good kind of tired.

Saturday was a little warm for 'cross racing, but you take whatever weather comes along this time of year. Once we got to Newton I was a little anxious to get my bike out and try my new set up on a real 'cross course. The course at Woodland park consisted of triple barrier run-up (two at the bottom, and one at the top), a sand pit, a mud pit, and a bunch on tight, twisty off-camber stuff. I did a pre-ride lap with Kyle, where he pointed out spots where roadies would go down on the first lap. He was amazingly accurate. I tried riding the sand pit during the pre-ride, and was slow, but successful.

Once the race started, I got a pretty decent start and tried to stay upright by all of the first lap carnage. I must have seen 6-7 guys on the ground in that one lap. I tried to hold my position going into the sand pit, and ride it while others ran. That was a mistake! With the traffic there was no room to float, and I had to stop riding about halfway through. I lost about 5-6 spots and was seriously red-lined. I got back on and tried to maintain my position. After a few laps I got pretty comfortable on the run-up (although nowhere near as fast as the antelopes). During the race I would gain time in the technical sections,, and give some back on the run-up. I traded spots back and forth with a few guys. Towards the end I was working to hold off one last guy when I dropped my chain carrying my bike into the sand pit. He got by me and I really had to work to get that spot back by the finish. I ended up with a solid mid-pack finish (12th of 22). It was a good hard effort, and (for me) a good result. I'll take it.

I've talked many times about burning matches during a race. You only get so many matches to burn during a race, and when they are gone you are done. Did you know that you can also burn your matches for the whole weekend in one day? I found that out on Sunday.

The course on Sunday was more roadie friendly. It was more wide open, hillier, and much less technical. On the first lap my legs felt absolutely dead. I had nothing left and I hadn't even started. I got passed by all of the guys and most of the girls in the first two laps. I did manage to hold off this one ten year old girl, but even that was work. It was still fun.

I was talking to Steve Robinson after the race about training for two day events. He said the best training is to just do some multi-day events. Eventually you body learns to recover a little quicker. I guess I'm going to have to try that.

Here are a few of my favorite pictures from the weekend:

Bryan, "Dude, those things go a lot faster if you ride them."

Thad was a little camera shy and tried to hide when I took his picture.

Bryan wiping his ass during the race.

Marco getting some air.

Christy doing a "Water or Beer?" hand-up for Rob.

This was Rob's view (and Rob's glass) during the race on Sunday.

Rob never rode anything faster than a rake on Sunday.

Tonight I went out and did about an hour of spinning on the local dirt on my Dos Niner. After two days on the skinny tired 'cross bike, even the limited Niner suspension felt very soft and comfortable.