Thursday, August 30, 2007

Special TBI Wednesday Nighter

Last night Lalla and me made the drive down to Ft. Worth for the last Wed Nighter of the year and another reason: Ivan Muksa, the TBI rider who's life ended way too early last Friday night here in Wichita Falls (see Story).
Surfer, Crozzy, Dave O, Nathan, Matt, Colt, Parker, a few more horsepower and myself raced together in TBI jerseys, the team Ivan was racing on while leading the Junior Open category in the Texas-Cup. It was a whole lot of fun and they had primes EVERY lap. That was sure the most $$$-stacked Training Crit I've ever done (but all winnings went right back to the promoter for Ivan). Nathan and me were in a 4-man move for probably 6 laps or so and I would pull and he would win the primes ;-) Later, Crozzy and myself were in a break of three and I sent him off the front solo (I think he hated me for that...). Finally, it came to a sprint of maybe 15 guys and Dave O saved it for our little mixed/all-star/tribute-giving squad by edging out Wed Night King and soon-to-be married Justin Wallace.

The race and several donations that day came up with a total of $3,000...not bad at all! Andy Hollinger and friends are setting up an Ivan Mukasa Memorial Scholarship Fund and if you wanna help email Andy at

HHH and the "Alex Show"

Okay, I'm back in the country since Wednesday evening. And, finally, got to ride my bike Thursday the first time since 8 days. Not the perfect preparation for a 75min Crit and 100mile RR, or?
Fortunately, I have teammates who show up 20minutes before race time and win solo style, like Alex Welch did Friday evening. After I had to ride towards Interstate 44 so they would know where to turn to the race course (...) we got Fid's and Alex' number pinned on and off we were. It was fast and furious, but comfortable sitting in the big pack. I knew I didn't had the fitness like 2 weeks ago when winning Day 3 at Tour of KC but the legs were good enough to go with some moves and light it up a few times.
The HHH director mentioned prior to the Crit that the last thing he wants is a Mercy rider to win the race - oh Boy, that motivated us even more ;-) Alex made the crucial move with about 10 other guys at 30min to go after crashing (!) just 10 minutes before. You can read the entire story here in the local paper. He soloed away with a lap to go and the SL and Toyota guys never saw him again. Thanks to Alex's efforts, I could chill in the pack, take a Festina prime, and roll in w/ what was left from the main bunch.
After an early wake-up call we started off at 6:50am to take on the 100mile RR. Well, you can hide the lack of fitness in a Crit but not in a 100mile race in the win, heat, and chip-'n seal road of North Texas. The plan was obviously to try to keep Alex out of trouble but we didn't really had the numbers and horsepower to pull it off. We sent our African, Speerchucker, in the early break hoping that he would make us some $$$. I did what I could for the first 45 miles and then, out of nowhere, Alex sneaked away from the field, w/ out a whole lot of people recognizing it. Some Successful Living guys and couple of others came up to me on the way to Burkburnett asking where Alex is ;-) That was funny. He made it up to the break like he did last year and everything looked to be set. Fiddler jumped across later, too and I was again the domestique sitting in what was left of the pack. By mile 70, my legs said "no more" and I decided for my own good, after doing what I had to do, to call it a day and I rode home w/ Thacker Reeves of RBM who was pretty exhausted, too. We stopped at Friberg Church, found a water hose, and enjoyed gallons off water in an attempt to hydrate our bodies. It was fun. Alex ended up 14th on the day and 4th Overall. Not bad at all considering we didn't really had our A-squad here this year and I was well-off my form after honeymoonin' it in Germany. Time will come and I'm back!

Monday, August 13, 2007

5-3-1 - go! Tour of KC

After missing out on last year's edition I went back to the Tour of Kansas City this time around. And it was going to be a weekend to remember.

Friday: I got up way to tired as the night before was a busy one working a new part-time job for the local newspaper. I even slept through my appointment with the Physical Therapist...after a caffeinated 3 1/2 hour drive to Tulsa I met up with Alex and Jane and with the help (?) of "Maggie" we got to KC at 8pm; 30minutes before the start. My eyes were about to close after being up so long. The heat and humidity in scary empty downtown KC, KS, was brutal. But we gotta do it and I went with plan B - tail gunning it for 30minutes. I felt better and better later on and was off the front for a couple of laps but the batteries were only halfway charged so I was swallowed up by the field not too much later. Trek/VW and Jensen rode - again - an aggressive race and my teammates did a good job being in the moves, too. Mat managed to get 5th, Nick 7th and I buried myself the last 1 1/2 lap to set up Chad for the field sprint - with me ending up OTB in 39th place ;-(

Saturday: Did I mention it was HOT (102F) in KC? For all of you who don't know what the Cliff Drive circuit race is - it's like an Miss'N out race on the road with some nice little, steep climbs in KC, MO. Survival is probably the most appropriate word to describe the goal for most racers when doing 18 3mile laps on this challenging course. Along with the theory "Attack is the best defense" I jumped with Steve Tilford, Bill Stolte, a Bagel guy, and a Mesa Cycles rider after two laps and we quickly built a nice lead. After a couple of more laps a group with the contenders came up to us including Jensen, Dziewa, Dickey and my teammate Alex. I wanted to keep on going but Alex, "Mr. Calm" himself, told me to wait and we told our "feed zone chicks" to give Mat and Chad the order to bridge up to us. And they did. So we were 4 Mercy guys in the front move now. Skinny Alex looked the best and he went with Tilford one more time and was later joined by Jensen, Dickey and two BIG sharks. Alex got third, Chad 6th and I let Mat pass me just before the line because until that day he was our Omnium guy (your welcome!). The last tim eup the hill I tried to go as fast as possible but halfway through the engine overcooked ;-)

Sunday: The local weather center issued an "Extreme Heat Warning" for the KC area and, yes - it was not too much pleasure to even think about riding a bike that day. I was dripping' sweat by just standing in the shade looking at my bike. "Oh well, gotta get ready for HH100", I thought and put my clothes on, soaked myself in ice-cold water, and waited in the shade on the sidewalk until 10 seconds before the start (I don't like standing 5minutes on the start line). I followed plan B again. And it was good. I could relax at HR 150 tail gunning it and waiting to pounce. Chad was our Omnium man now but we had plenty of cards to play. 30 minutes into it I set for another suicide-move (as some people called it) and got quickly 10, 15 seconds on the field). I knew that Jensen had the Overall locked up pretty good and my guys would just wait and chill 'til I come back. Well, they did wait but I didn't come back. I held it steady around 20 sec. for many laps and when I read 66 minutes into the 75+5laps I had almost 40 seconds. My teammates did a great job jumping with stuff, and messing up any kind of organized chase. As soon as I would see guys getting closing in on me I just went over my threshold and full out on the little rises and chilled on the flats. The last 5 laps were like in trance, just cruising around the corners, hoping not to crash and waiting for that final stretch of road.
Thanks to Amber, Helen, Becca, and Mr. Bick in the feed zone - I must have taken 15 bottles and at least 20 full-on-face-cold-water-splashes ;-)

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

40K time trials

Sheri and me drove down to Houston for a quick 40K time trial last Friday and Saturday at 11am we were already on our way back to WF. I LOVE those 7hrs days on the road ;-) As far as results go, I thought I did what I was capable of with a 53:58min. Wenger & Seagrave SMOKED the course and set a new course record. I passed 6 guys and thought I was on track but maybe faded a bit towards the end? Got me 5th place and that was it for the weekend.
Next up is tonight's Wednesday Nighter and Tour of Kansas City from Friday - Sunday. Should be fun.