Monday, November 23, 2009

Getting dirty...

It's been a while since I did a MTB race, 2years Wichita Falls. So Sunday's Mellow Johnny's Classic out at "The Ranch" was definitively a litte bit rough for me but I was there for the fun - and a lot of fun, and pain it was. Those 2:20min off up-down-left-right-jump-descent-mud-log-slippery-rocks will for sure rank in the tough top 10 of things I've done on two wheels. Hats up to the guys who seemed to fly over that course and made a roadie look awkward out there. Finishing 30min down to the winner (JHK) over a 24mile course (in 28th place) would get you a automatic downgrade in some road races...but I guess in XC it wasn't too shabby.

Congrats to Bryan Fawley who showed everyone how it's done in Texas (only current US XC champ JHK was quicker).

Monday, November 9, 2009

20 years ago...

...I started watching Baywatch & Knight Rider. I tasted Mars and Snickers for the first time. Matchbox cars and LEGO became regulars among my "tools". Coca-Cola and Sprite tasted pretty sweet. And best of all: I got to go to West-Berlin, and slowly the rest of the world.

Here's a pretty good video/slide-show of "The Wall" coming down 20 years ago, November 9, 1989:

Final Days at Southland

Stage 8 marked the final day here in New Zealand at the Tour of Southland. We were still in the hunt for something special but Mike started to get a bit sick and it seemed doubtful that we could walk away with a stage win. BUT...Bang, Stage 8 ended up being our day as both Mike and I made it over the KOM (where I got 4th) of the day along with Chadwick, Heath, Bauer and U23 leader Findlay. The rest of the field started to split off the back. We were hammering in the tailwind and I got a new speed-record I believe: 38.2mph for 24minutes. We did the 79K (50m) stage in 1h29min! I was red-zone towards the end and had to let Mike and the other 4 guys roll away after I sprinted for some intermediate sprint points. I settled in a group of ~25 guys with the Bissel duo, Landis, MacCauley and the 2nd GC guy + teammates Greg + Kevin of course! Mike took the stage ahead of Chadwick and I ended up 10th on the day. Peter Jackson was one happy plumber that day!

After a few hours of rest at the Middle Pub in Winton (without the beer or fish'n chips) we got ready for the final 65K into downtown Invercargill. This was NOT a easy, all-things-set, last stage. As soon as the official's flag goes down, 100 guys start racing = attacking. The gale winds were ridiculous once again and 15k into the stage we had probably 5 different groups all over the road. After I gave it my all this morning to help Mike I was officially "fried" for the rest of the day. We were going 8mph on a downhill section at one point...that's when I realized this will be a tough one and I decided to "just ride it out" with a group of ~30guys to the finish @ Queens Park. Mike ended up 13th or 14th on the day and both Greg and Kevin finished a few spots ahead of me. I ended up somewhere in 41st GC and 12th in the Sprints. Oh well, it's over now. Thanks to Robert, Graeme & July, Sue & husband, Peter & wife, and everyone else involved in making things easier for Mike, Greg, Seth, Kevin and me down there.

I decided I definitively have to come back to this beautiful country one day. Probably without a bike and 3 weeks of time to explore everything here.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Stage 6 & 7 - Up and down into the wind

Lots of action on yesterday's Stage 6. After 100k of rather uneventful racing up towards Queenstown we hit the "Wall" with 20K to go and a little selection (including the yellow, Mike and I) was made but 30 or so guys rolled back on after 10K. The break of 4 was up the road and we raced for 4th place. Mike put the hammer down on the uphill slopes to the Crown Range to finish 7th while I barely squeezed into the Top 10 with 10th place. Beautiful scenery, too. Mike now sits 15h GC.

Today's Stage 7 was another 160K trek to Te Anau, in the Western Hills of the South Island. A break including some big guns and GC threats went off 5K in and we never saw them again. The field (incl. the Yellow) was desperately chasing but to no avail. Mike and I made it over the top of the big climb at 115K with the Yellow and the Bissel Boys and Bauer (yellow) was flat out riding 45kph trying to catch the dangerous break with 40K to go. Kevin and Greg rolled up to our group with another 20 or so and suddenly all 4 of us were in a 30-40 strong group 2minutes behind the Blackgrove/Landis break. Unfortunately, Mike missed the split when Bauer (again) attacked and rode away with 2nd place GC guy and Yates to catch the leaders. They never did and Blackgrove is back in Yellow now!

We ended up 20th, 21st, 22nd, and 23rd on the Stage - a unique and great thing for the Jackson Plumbing Team and our Sponsor here.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Stage 4 & 5 - battling the wind

Another double-header today with Stage 4 & 5 in the west of the South Island. The 50miles up to Tuatapere didn’t look too tricky on paper but everyone knew going in it will be a battle with the wind today. Lots of crosswind and 100guys trying to get to the front made for a pretty hard stage. I’m feeling that my body is still a bit banged up from that crash a few days ago and the legs don’t quite have the “snap”. But…to open up the legs I decided to go for the first few intermediate sprints. To explain, they have about 10-15 intermediate sprints in EACH stage for the sprint points jersey and a few bucks from local businesses (usually $25-$50). That was a bit taxing but I felt better afterwards actually. I almost got in trouble a few times but was mostly in good company with some good teams so we made it back quickly to the bunch.All of us from Jackson Plumbing finished all in the field of about 80 guys. The sprint points got me in 8th place in that competition now. But that’s all just for fun to be honest. Hopefully we’ll see the prize one day…

The 2nd part of the day was a bit more brutal with 50 of the 100K being raced right on the west coast of the South Island which made for plenty of gusty wind and some rain. Not as bad as in previous years, though where guys got blown off the road. The short 1 1/2hr break between stages was a bit odd, you try to rest a bit but don’t want to have your body too much in “rest-mode” as another 60miles were ion tap. 10-15K in the Sh.. hit the fan and guys started going everywhere. I was positioned well but could tell the legs are worn out and slowly faded and ended up in a group of about 25guys who were still going fast. After 20miles, the field – or what was left of it – was about 3minutes up the road but the guys don’t call a grupetto down here; they just keep going hard even if it is for 45th place. Well, it finally got me and I ended up riding in with 3 other guys (one of them Heath’ teammate and a world-class rower who just got recruited for this Tour). Finished 15min down on the winner and moved down to 68th place in GC. I don’t care too much about that anyways but will try to help Mike Olheiser in the remaining stages as he sits Top20 and got a few seconsds on the field today.

3 days and 4 stages to go!

Check out and for results, pics, and live updates from the Tour. Also, teammates Mike and Seth have blogs up here:,

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Stage 3 - the easiest 100miles so far

After the double-header on Monday, Stage 3's 100miles from Invercargill to Gore felt somewhat "relaxing". A few "gutter"-action in the beginning and once the break got off we just rode Tempo towards the finish. Well, Heath' Zookeepers/Cycle-Surgery team did the work and 100 of us just rode behind at a manageable 40kph. A few of us (Kevin and I) tried our luck in an attempt to catch the final break but w/ out luck. Mike almost made the final break of 4 guys who ended up stating away to sprint for the win. He got 14th as best-placed rider for Jackson Plumbing today. There were one bridge-crossing and three left-hand turns within the last K of the race. 4 guys stayed away to sprint for the win and the four of us all finished safely in the bunch. 4days and 6 stages to go.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Turbulent start down in Southland

The Tour started at Queens Park in Invercargill with a short 8k Team TT on a 4-corner course in the morning. Our Motel is only 5minutes away from most starts here in town so we got plenty of time in the mornings usually. The TT was a good warm-up and we did a 11:01 which put us in 15th place of the day out of 25 teams. An okay result considering we (Seth, Kevin, Greg, Mike + I) never really raced together, especially not a TTT. Actually, Mike and I did a Team TT together just over a month ago at Univest GP. But, who would have thought, the conditions are way better here down in Southland than back at Univest where we had rain and 50mph gusts.

After a quick lunch we headed back to the Park for Stage 2. Yes, double-days are quite common down here. The toughest climb of the day was thrown into the first day and we got to race up Bluff Hill, a 20% steep climb on the very end of the “South Island” and at the end of Highway 1. That was not the toughest part, though as we all figured out about 45K into the 80K stage. After a crosswind section (one of too many that day) a Subway rider lost it right in front of me once we were at full-speed with a nice tailwind, going around 50-55kph. He slid across the whole road and took out a bunch of guys including me. I haven’t wrecked like that for a long time. I went straight over the bars upon impact with his (now trashed) Avanti bike and found myself on the ground with probably 40 other guys. I checked myself and the bike and besides some cuts+bruises on the knee and a nice road rash on my cheek everything seemed fine. After some quick adjustments to a twisted saddle + bars we got rolling again until they stopped the entire race for 25minutes because of the large number of riders involved and the severity of the injuries of some guys. I actually fell on my head a bit and had to ask my teammates + Robert, our DS, for some basic stuff, like “Where are we”, “How did we all got here to NZ”, and such things. I never had crashed so hard on my helmet/head before and was “out of it” for a bit for sure. It was tough getting rolling again but I started to get back into the flow. It was weird for sure. I ended up talking to Landis for a while as he broke his bike in the wreck, too and somehow we even talked about the two hip replacements of my grandma. I barely remember that now, though :-) Well, the field ended up splitting into pieces towards the hill climb thanks to some – now in full force – winds and gusts coming off the Ocean. I dug deep in my 39x28 and made it to the top without having to get off my bike like I saw some folks do! My average cadence was around 48 for the last 600m I believe. That crash definitively took more out of my body than I had thought.

Mike finished the day in 20th and is our GC guy now. I think he can get close to Top10 over the next 5 days. Seth is out unfortunately, as he ended up breaking his nose in that nasty pile-up. Better than a collarbone or leg, though as some apparently did.

Tomorrow should be a bit more “relaxed” with a 165K stage and a bit more mellow elevation profile and a sprint finish.

Invercargill Velodrome, brand new, 250m indoor track. Nice!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Hi from Invercargill

Well, I made it to New Zealand...after a long trip from AUS, to LAX, AUK, Christchurch, and finally to Invercargill here in Southland, NZ. Only problem we have now: all our bikes are M.I.A. - hopefully they'll be here by tonight.

We got some great food from our hosts, the Irvines, settled in our sweet little Motel and now are waiting to go and meet our sponsor, Jackson Plumbing, at the local pub. Yes, pub. NZ has a lot of British flavor to it.

The Tour starts Monday with a 8K TTT in the a.m. and a 50mile circuit race in the afternoon.

@Auckland airport....maybe in the USA one day ?

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Cross Season is here! Well, the weather is not really "cyclocross-like" here in Texas but nevertheless there's some good, hard racing available here down South thanks to some promoters like Rob Kane who put on a weekend of CX in San Antonio.

I took out the Addict CX RC for it's first real ride. Fast course with only a few obstacles for us "roadies". 15minutes in I realized the legs were going well and I took off, putting some pressure on the boys and just rode consistent laps to win the 1st CX race of the season. Thanks to Pam+Rob Kane for hosting us at the Police Academy Center. And of course Robert Biard for letting me use his wheels, Austin Bikes/Doug Looney for some 'quipment, and KC Crosby for some sweet shades!

Friday, October 16, 2009


It's been a while. Quite "interesting" two weeks in Texas bike racing. Did two in Crits in Denton and spent a good weekend at "home" in Ft. Worth. Results-wise it was pretty average as being "solo" and having field-sprint-esque courses/races did not suit me so well. Saturday's race was very cool and I tried hard to force a serious split but it came down to a - almost -field sprint. Sunday's race was much easier by looking at the numbers, even though 10 of us lapped the field. My old teammate Mat Stephens showed that he's still got the sprinter legs and won while I got 6th. Some great riding north of Denton, Horse County & surrounding area

A week later, a training ride to Johnson City was long overdue so I rode out West with a few THSJ guys and it was a pretty good ride. 5 1/2hrs, half of that in the rain, and just sub 120miles. The cool temperatures made the time/distance feel very manageable comparing to doing rides in the 100 F heat a few month back.

A few days later some news broke which were quite upsetting, disappointing. I felt cheated on. At the same time it's a 'positive' thing as it shows that guys get penalized who cheat; very knowingly cheat to be exact. Knowing I (and a handful of others) can ride faster than someone who is "juiced up" to the top makes the whole thing quite funny, actually. Why would you take stuff if you can't even beat the "clean" guys? Oh well.

The week finally turned back into a good one as the State RR was on the schedule. I had lots of fun and Kolt and I did our best. He was in the winning break for 94 miles, just the last few rollers got onto a few guys and the field caught Kolt, Lalla + Adam G. Six guys stayed away for the win (JT Cody!). I still scratch my head about some teams' tactics...If you're not in the break why not chase? Oh well, none of my business. Sunday's race was held on the same course, with similar temperatures, but with a bit rain and only 66miles. The turn-out was not as great as the day before but that made the race actually quite a bit harder in my opinion. After being in a 7-man break for most of the race I gave it one "shot" at the last climb and Helmig + Vargas came along. It was a mix of tactics, discussions, and strength which followed for the next 10miles to the finish. In the end, Helmig got me pretty good in the sprint for the win but 2nd was okay at that point. Even though we're both foreigners by passport, I got another blue-red-white jersey since I'm more of a permanent Texan...:-)

The next few month will actually be quite exciting rather than just another "boring" off-season: There's some Driveway left, a few punchy Cyclocross races, a trip Down Under, the local MTB race p/b Mellow Johnny's, and finally some "real" winter time back home in Germany.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Breast Cancer Awareness Month October

If you know a family member, friend, co-worker, or teammate who's affected - find out how you can help and/or donate by visiting the National Breast Cancer Foundation !

Or, come and ride your bike with me October 25th at the Livestrong Challenge in Austin, TX.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

1 + 1 + 13 = 1

Fun weekend in Greenville, TX! Kolt Bates and I lined up for a 7:30am, 85mile road race and I made the right split with the right guys (incl. "Big Daddy") and we were able to hold off a charging field. Kris French, C. Trant, Dille and I rode away the last few miles and I was able to win the 40mph false-flat downhill sprint to the line.

The TT at 6:30pm was short and painful but just like the the South Mopac TT in Austin a all-out effort and a 10/10 on the "pain-scale". The lone Austin Flyer, Brant Speed, finished in a respectable 2nd place, only 13 seconds down on me.

Since the whole thing was based on points rather time, I just needed to watch a few guys in the crit and it was very unrealistic that someone would come around me for the Omnium win. A rear flat with 6 to go and a on-form Russ Walker made things a bit hectic in the end but I just had enough points to win the Omnium.

Thanks to teammate Kolt for working his a$% off and securing us another Mercy win in a Texas!

Greenville's newspaper, The Herald Banner, as a good story about the road races here.

road race win
(photo courtesy of Mike Brooks,

Monday, September 14, 2009

Univest GP

Just got back from three interesting days in Eastern Pennsylvania. Great event, great host house (Thanks to the Balzer's!), and some very fanatic fans everywhere made those 3 races pretty epic - along with 58F and drizzling rain :-) More later.

Stage 2 Road Race Video

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Racing 4 races in 5 days here in Austin was a rare highlight. Maybe we can have a 5day stage race in 2010? I guess only Willis knows :-)

My race legs are coming slowly back under me after a little time off and vacation pre-HHH. Thursday's Driveway was (yet again) - the hardest race of the 4 race days - at least by the numbers. Thanks to the THSJ boys and Mark Purnell a.k.a. "The Announcer" we had a very exciting and interesting race where I ended up 4th.

Friends Lalla, Francis, and JPurcell came into town on Friday and we had a little MSU cycling team reunion at the house for the whole weekend. Manda RR was a total miss and I barely finished in the Top 30. Sunday's Pickle Crit went already better and I was able to squeeze into the right break w/ 2xTHSJ, Colt T, and PMc. For the 3rd time this year I was only able to see Heath' rear wheel and had to be content with a 2nd place. Riding w/ out a team here (the 'A' squad was at Gateway-Cup) definitively makes it a bit more tricky to get into the right moves.

Labor Day's eRacing Stigma Crit ended up in a bunch-sprint this year and it definitively felt harder then the inaugural edition last year. Besides some extra $$ in primes and a 12th place I couldn't achieve anything noteworthy comparing to last year when I was able to score a win out of a 4-man move.

Thanks to Andrew & Co. for giving us such a great event here in Austin. Daniel Norton took some cool pictures over the last 3days. Check them out here. I also hope "The Announcer's" voice is back by the time he's reading this :-)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Hotter'n Hell 60

Well, I/we did the 100miles but it was actually quite chilly - 60.8˚F to be exact at 6:50am on Saturday morning.
Friday Night

I was part of a two/three-man team for most of the 3days and it was rough. After 5 days in the sun (see post below) - and having no bici with me - I definitively lacked "the legs" to be competitive. Still was good enough to help out Chad in the Friday Crit (he got 3rd) and finish 4th myself in Day 3's Crit. Due to an unfortunate mechanical mishap (always tighten your saddle bolts!) we lost 2nd place in the Omnium on the last day and Chad slipped to 7th.

random shot somewhere Northeast of WF (check out the TALL Team Type 1 dude)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


After a busy month of July and lots of racing in early August we headed for 5 days of R&R to the Dominican Republic - a country of contrasts to be honest. Host to the (then) biggest city in the "New World" (Santo Domingo) you can discover lots of colonial history and follow C. Columbus' footsteps around the island.

...just back-up to the water beach and enjoy a "Presidente"

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Kevin Underhill

I did not know Kevin Underhill but got to see him on the RunFar TT last Tuesday evening. He did pretty good with a time of 21min considering being on his road bike. Now he's gone. Show up to a weekly training crit and you don't return home. Wow. I'm speechless here.

We are having "a minute of silence" way too often in this sport. I think over the last 6-7 years I probably paused 6 or 7 times before a race for some rider, friend, and/or fellow racer who got killed riding or racing his bike. That's 6-7 times too many. May he rest in peace.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

el crono

After a few years of trying it finally all came together and I was fast enough to claim the 2009 Texas State TT Championships. On top of that, I was fortunate to do the P12 Team TT with a a few good friends (Patrick, Travis, Robert) the next day and we came in 4th, just 10seconds off 3rd place.

Castroville is actually a cool little place to spend a weekend away from the city and you should definitively visit sometimes if you've never been there. If you need a place to stay make sure to contact the Betty at 3 Cedar's Ranch Bed & Breakfast. They even have a fresh baked cake ready for you when you arrive!

Thanks also to Holland Racing, "Big Daddy" Russ Walker, and my team for the continuous support.

1st 51:07 Yours Truly
2nd 52:19 David Wenger
3rd 52:23 Mitch Comardo

And you think that was fast? Check out John Frey's 40K record back from 1990 - a 47:35 (!) in Moriarty, NM. Wow. I feel slow now.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Jens, wir lieben Dich!

Jens Voigt doesn’t read books. He simply attacks until the books relent and tell him everything he wants to know.
Waldo can’t be found because Jens dropped him on a hill training ride… on K2.
Jens doesn’t spin or mash the pedals… he kicks them into submission.
Jens Voigt puts the “laughter” in “Manslaughter.”
Jens Voigt climbs so well for a big guy because he doesn’t actually climb hills; the hills slink into the earth in fear as they see him approach.
If you are a UCI ProTour rider and you Google “Jens Voigt,” the only result you get is “it’s not to late to take up Football, Fred.”
Jens was a math prodigy in elementary school, putting “Attack!” in every blank space on all his tests. It would be the wrong answer for everybody else, but Jens is able to solve any problem by attacking.
Jens’ testicles are bald because hair does not grow on a mixture of titanium, brass, steel, and cold, hard granite.
Eddy Merckx was actually a neo-pro at the same time as Jens, but Jens dropped him so hard that he shot backwards in time to the 1960’s, where he became a great champion.
Jens once had a heart attack on the Tourmalet. Jens counterattacked repeatedly until he kicked its ass.
Jack was nimble, Jack was quick… and Jens still drove him to quit racing bikes and become an ice dancing commentator on Lifetime.
If Jens Voigt was a country, his principle exports would be Pain, Suffering, and Agony.
If Jens Voigt was a planet, he’d be the World of Hurt.
Jens Voigt doesn’t know where you live, but he knows exactly where you will die.
Jens Voigt doesn’t have a shadow because he dropped it repeatedly until it retired, climbing into the team car and claiming a stomach ailment.
Jens Voigt once challenged Lance Armstrong to a “who has more testicles” contest. Jens won… by five.
When you open a can of whoop-ass, Jens Voigt jumps out and attacks.
You are what you eat. Jens Voigt eats spring steel for breakfast, fire for lunch, and a mixture of titanium and carbon fiber for dinner. For between-meal snacks he eats men’s souls, and downs it with a tall cool glass of The Milk of Human Suffering.
Jens Voigt believes it’s not butter.
Jens Voigt can eat just one.
The first time man split the atom was when the atom tried to hold Jens Voigt’s wheel, but cracked.
Jens Voigt doesn’t complain about what suffering does to him… but suffering constantly complains about getting picked on by Jens Voigt.
Jens Voigt can start a fire by rubbing two mud puddles together.
Guns kill a couple dozen people every day. Jens Voigt kills 150.
Jens’s tears are so tough they could be the world heavyweight mixed-martial arts champion. Too bad Jens never cries.
Jens Voigt rides so fast during attacks, that he could circle the globe, hold his own wheel, and ride in his own draft. At least as long as he didn’t try to drop himself.
Jens Voigt nullified the periodic table because he doesn’t believe in any element, other than the element of surprise.
The grass is always greener on the other side. Unless Jens Voigt has been riding on the other side in which case it’s white with the salty, dried tears of all the riders whose souls he has crushed.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Just got back from 6days of racing in Bend, OR - an amazing place to have a stage race! Never been to that part of the country but it was well worth it. Other people apparently thought so, too, as they had a field limit of 150 but 240 Pro/Cat1's wanted to race and they finally cut it off at 187 starters!

I rode again with Mike Olheiser's team out of Alabama and the past 6 days of racing flew by quickly. After two weeks w/ out any racing and just training I had a little hard time to adjust to the speeds on Stage 1, but it went alright and we all finished in the pack. Unfortunately though, Mike missed the break of 20some riders who rode away before the KOM and the feed zone. 4min down on G :-( Stage 2 saw a very quick run-in to the last 10miles of uphill. We did like 30mph in the first hour on that stage and it seemed like nothing would stick until they finally let a group go. And again, the feed zone was used to try to break up the field. Weird. And I thought amateurs get called out for doing that in the big races...We raced to the base of the climb and - of course - there was a pile-up in the middle of the field 40riders down. I had to unclip, chase back on and later felt that my legs are not quite there yet...Ex-Euro badass Oscar Sevilla showed what he can do and solo'd to victory.

Mike and I "hiding" at the front during Stage 1 (photo J. Devich)

The TT the next day was a quick 16mile affair with 8miles going out (and 1000ft up) and 8miles going back down. I had the pleasure to be "sandwiched" somewhere in between CX champ Ryan Trebon and time trial king and NRC points leader Tom Zirbel. Well, i passed 3 guys including Trebon but - of course - Zirbel went by me 3mph faster before the turn-around and ended up winning - I was 3:50min off and came in 50something place. Okay. Too much uphill for me.

Stage 4's Road Race was another killer stage. 84miles with the first 16miles going pretty much uphill, climbing 2500+feet to the base of Mt. Bachelor - one of those snow-covered giant mountains around Bend. The road was wide open, maybe 4-6% steep and Mancebo + Hugo Pena % Co. set a blistering pace for Rock and their leader Sevilla. It was manageable until the 1K to the top..The field was already shattered and maybe 30guys were still in the front group. Mike and I were there, but I was in the red zone...2 guys from OUCH and a couple GARMIN kids were with us and we went 30seconds short on the front group through the first feed zone on top of the climb. Luckily, they really wanted to catch back on quickly and after descending for 5 miles we caught the front group and it was back to "business as usual" again. Another silly crash happened with 15miles to go - again, in the middle of the field, people touching wheels and 10+guys go down. I had another lucky day and only had to clip out and chase for 10sec and was back in the field. The finish was tough, it really kicked uphill with 3miles to go and I rolled in 60ish something place in a group of 10guys. Legs were feeling better than the days before.

The crit/Stage 5 was held in downtown Bend (Bond & Wall St) and pretty fast at 29.3mph but thanks to the constant Driveway races I was used to that speed :-) After 90min everything ended up in a field sprint and I just cruised through in the middle of the pack. I couldn't do anything other than sitting in and holding the wheel in front of me while we were going 35mph on the straights and I saw 600W on the deck computer.
thinking about what recovery drinks to chose...

The final and 6th stage was held on the same course like Elite Nats and was a tough little 16mile circuit. I was well out of contention in GC so I figured I might try to do something early while Mike was supposed to "chill" and wait for the final laps where it gets really hard in order to move up in GC a bit (he was sitting 23rd). Those first 15minutes of the race were some of the hardest I've done for a while. At 3500ft you feel your lungs pretty good, especially when you go from "zero" to all-out. Even Landis joined me in one for the early moves and although I was able to stick with "Mr. 53x11" they (the field) wouldn't let anything go that day early. So I just tried to stay where I was and help out Mike as much as possible. After - another - crash we had to chase back one because someone decided to go down in the middle of the field again, causing a few broken wheels and bones (?). Halfway through I had nothing left and barely made it over the last KOM in before the caravan and - adding to my "luck" - I flatted my front on the downhill. I called it a day right then, rode back to the feed zone to help the team and just rolled back to the host house to get at least some miles in my legs.
trying to get into the early move (photo J. Devich)

Overall, a pretty cool trip with lots hard racing miles which will hopefully be beneficial here in the near future for the upcoming regional races.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Lawrence, KS

The 3rd weekend in a row in Kansas City is wrapped up and the inaugural Tour of Lawrence is over. Was lots of fun and some good competition with some good prize $$$. Friday's Street sprints were obviously not my cup of tea but I had tons of fun hanging with the gang anyways. Chad made the frontpage of the local paper, though :-)

Saturday went better but it wasn't good enough to win. Heath and I rolled off the front with 30min to go in the 70min and we never looked back and did a pursuit-style 2-man TT to hold off the chasing pack. 2nd was not bad, though and I losing to him ain't a bad thing ;-) After some dinner at Freestate, some frozen custard at Coldstone and a visit to the Eldrigde it was time to head home to the Marshall residence.

Sunday's circuit race was definitvely one of the harder races I've done in the past, although 55miles wasn't too bad. Would it have been 80miles like originally planned (?) maybe 10guys would have finished that race. The KU campus is a beutiful place to have bike race and I wonder why not other places like this can have a bike race like that. Joe and I were always in the front group but when Sullivan attacked with 1 to go I didn't had anything left to throw in the game and had to be content with 8th on the day.

This is for you, Russ "Big Daddy" Walker:

and this one is for you Todd :-)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Tour of KC

After a few mellow days in KC we raced the "new" Tour of Kansas City this past weekend. New courses, new organizers, and a decent prize list attracted a few powerhouses from the region. But still the Tour of KC Part # 2 in August will happen, too.

Day 1 was pretty technical and more like a circuit race with some false flats and lots of turns. Scott Moninger came out of retirement and him and Alex rode away half-way through the race. So the chances were 50/50 and that only "ok" but not perfect if you wanna win the race. I got away from a little chase group with about 5 or 6 laps to go and could distance myself from the field but didn't catch Alex/Moninger. I got close but had to settle for third and "The Cagle" did what he does best and just jumped the field for 4th place. Mat A. rounded out the Top 10 with a 9th place. 2-3-4 is solid, but we knew we gotta win one of those days here. Also, it was great to see some new faces on the team: Joseph Schmalz and 52x14 junior Chris Wallace rode very well and did lots of work for the team.

Day 2 was over in Lee's Summit, MO. (That's the place where I sent LOTS of paperwork - and even more $$$ - since the Dept. of Homeland Security Center is based out of there...) It looked like it would rain before the race and everyone I asked told me it wouldn't. So I left my MAXXIS rain tires in the pit and went with the slick Michelins. Not the best choice since it started pouring on us 20minutes into the race. Above mentioned Chris Wallace made the race winning break with 3 others and while the peloton was busy chasing each other and not crashing, the leaders rode away. Alex and Mat made the split with a few others, too and the field got lapped with 1 lap to go. It was a bit "problematic" to figure out who's who in the last lap and we ended up with a 4th, 5th and 7th place while Moninger - yet again - took the win. First crit in the rain this year and it was actually not bad at all once the dirt was washed off and we could go fast again.

The final Day of ToKC was held in downtown and was a pretty tough, short and fast course. It was just below 1K in length and we ended up doing 54 laps on it - ouch! The best lap time was a flat one minute or 32mph, courtesy of "The Cagle". Hats up to the organizers for finding that course. That was challenging and fun at the same time. 25minutes in I found myself in a break of 10 along with teammates Joseph and Mat - 2 Big Shark guys incl. Moninger and 4 (!) Trek guys were with us, too. That was a tough one to crack and I wasn't really sure how we can get a win out of this. But, things turned in our favor when Mat came from "almost-getting-dropped" to attacking over the S/F-line along with Hartman and C.Hall. The three rode away and the rest of the break (we already had the field lapped once) took it easy for the last few laps. Mat's group of three ended up lapping a few riders again and Chad gave him a killer-leadout to take the win. I managed 7th while Joseph got 10th. Not bad and we finally got one win out of the weekend.

Next stop: Tour of Lawrence next weekend.

Alex showing some golden shoes and making funny faces...

Chad and Alex taking over Marshall's backyard after a rainy crit on Day 2

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A cyclist's guide for Kansas City

I spent the last few days in Overland Park riding, working on some new business ideas, and checking out the town with old college buddy Todd. I've been to KC a few times but didn't get to see much other than crit courses and a few restaurants.

But there's actually lots of stuff to see and do here in the Midwest. Sunday we checked out Shakespeare's Pizza in Columbia, MO. Apparently that's a favourite among the locals and one of the highlights of student life at University of Missouri. The long wait was well worth it and a 12" is definitely "eatable" after 84miles of racing in the heat of Winghaven.

The +100 temperatures definitely made training a bit more challenging but I can't complain "growing up" in the "Falls" in North Texas. On Tuesday Todd and I rode out to to the local "Tuesday Nighter". To quote Mr. Wallace, "no Stefan, it's not the Driveway" but still competitive and I got a very solid 40minutes of racing in once I found myself in a break with a few locals. I also had a teammate, Chris Wallace, a very good junior rider who's already done CX World's once and will one to watch on our team in the future. We rode back home with the organizer of this weekend's Tour of KC and am already looking forward to 3 days of Crits here. The "Cactus Grill" in Overland Park had some Mexican Food and deals on Margaritas. Nothing beats the "sans-alcohol-license" Black Sheep in Austin, though :-)

Something you gotta check out when visiting KC is Shawnee Mission Park, just west of town and a great place to ride some miles on trails without cars and - during 100 degree heat - pedestrians. Great for intervals or to just go for an easy spin. Watch out for deer, rabbits, and plenty of bluebirds - they're everywhere. The only downside is riding through on the busy East/West roads but once you're over the Interstate it's not worse than riding in any other metro area around the country.

If you're ever (always???) in need for some cold refreshments you'll need to visit the Flying Saucer in Downtown. They have more than 200 different beers and +50 on tap from around the world. Lots of German Pilsner's, Bocks, Ales,Wheats, too. Until we talked to the bartender, I didn't even know that Austin has a location, too, so will have to check this one out in the future!

Today I did some intervals on Tomahawk Rd in the Mission Hills area. Good "urban" road with smooth asphalt, plenty of $$$ homes left and right, and a Country Club in close proximity. Was lots of fun to ride fast there except for one soccer mom in an Audi S8 who ran a stop-sign and almost t-boned me. I'd hate to have an accident with a $96,200 base-priced piece of German-engineering...

Tour of KC starts tomorrow and should be plenty of fun with the whole "gang" being in town for a few days. Just one week later is another - bigger - Crit series here in the area, the Tour of Lawrence. When was the last time you had 3 big cycling events back-to-back-to-back in the KC area, two of them brand new events? I think that's pretty cool and good for the region.

Oh, and if you ever wondered what's fair game and not in a Crit, check out Steve's latest blog entry. A bit detailed, but he makes a very good point.

Monday, June 22, 2009

28 hot laps at Winghaven

After an eventful week with team changes, 30hot laps at the Driveway and some traveling from ATX to KC I drove with Todd C. over to O'Fallon, MO for the Winghaven NRC race. I've never done it but only heard good things about it and teammate Mat won it back in 2006. It's a really nice, new neighborhood where they have the race and the 3mile course was definitively challenging to say the least. Combined with a few pro's and 100degree heat those 28laps in the middle of the day made for some good, aggressive bike racing. We had probably 8 or 9 guys in the race and I was looking forward to it as I've done way too many crits in the past and a 85mile RR sounded like a nice change.

Alex started off the race by going into a two-man break with Jensen and they stayed out for a while. This was really a Jensen course and as soon as they were brought back he went again in an attempt to go for the KOM laps/primes. A few others followed and Mat made it into a 10-man move chasing the leaders. By that time (halfway through) the pack had split into two groups, leaving a bunch of guys OTB and DNF'ing early. It was weird in our group or what was left from the "field". We would go 15mph at some points and guys would just ride away solo. Than someone decided to chase and soon after we would go super slow again. Unfortunately Mat cramped up and suddenly we were out of the race and there were only 10laps to go. I was really ready to call it a day since the race was up the road and we were in no-men's-land. But it got a but more interesting when we could a group of 10 or so and suddenly we were still racing for 14th place. With a $15K purse for the Top20 some people found a little bit extra juice and we were going a bit faster again. Still, the 13 guys ahead of us ended up lapping our diminished "field" on the last lap and we sprinted for 14th place. Thanks to my new/old teammates Joseph Schmalz I got a good spot before the last round-about and found the wheel of big Slovenian sprinter Ilesic of Type 1 and ended up 16th on the day. Not really what we had hoped for but considering this year's competition, the course and way it played out we can be happy with that for now.

Next stop: Tour of Kansas City 6/26-28, then Tour of Lawrence July 3-5, and a well-deserved break after that.

two-man TT at Thursday's Driveway with PMc
(photo by DCM Photography)

Todd "arguing" with the order-screen at McD's on I-70 in Booneville, MO

What you probably shouldn't eat before a 85mile NRC race...still was delicious. BBQ Pork w/ coleslaw!

Some pictures from the race are here:

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I heart Crozzy !

Teammate won Tuesday Night Crit again- that's 6 (SIX!) in a row!

UPDATED 6/9/9 - 7 (SEVEN) in a row

Photo by Lee McDaniel Photography

Monday, June 1, 2009

Tulsa Tough

Another End of May, another Tulsa Tough. After a quick 50min Driveway warm-up we drove up to DFW Thursday evening and got to spend some time on Trinity Trail in Ft. Worth. Later that day, we arrived at the best Host Housing we could ask for - that of teammate Chad.

rest-stop Texas-style

Night #1 was rather uneventful. Rode out to the course, met up with friends and teammates, watched Jed Rogers sprint to 2nd in the 1/2 race, downed some energy drinks, and did a 65minute Twilight crit. There was not much to do for me in that race as the field sprint was pre-determined with 10laps to go and Chad already found his spot behind the winning Jelly Bean squad around eventual winner and former teammate Brad Huff! CC ended up 13th which was a bit disappointing since he was 6ht wheel going into the final turn but a OUCH rider decided to go against the laws of physics and dived into the final corner way too hot, rolled a tire, and crashed - causing a major rumble in the front.

Day#2 was already more exciting. We got to pin our numbers at the Soundpony, had more energy drinks, and socialized with (some already intoxicated) cycling fans on Main Street. After a quick rest stop at New Medio (the media/PR company behind Tulsa Tough and one of my teammates' employer) we rolled to the start in the Brady District with a nice 90 F heat around 6:30pm. It was - yet again - fast and furious and it took me 10laps to move anywhere to the front. When I finally did, I punched it through the Start/Finish and about a dozen guys came with me. Every major team had at least one if not two guys in the break and we rolled pretty good for a few laps. The pace there was so much harder than chilling in the field. I would go 200W less in the peloton vs. riding in the rotation in that move. But, the break was probably a bit too big and once Floyd Landis punched up the little rise on the backside the break fell apart and I was back in the peloton. I recovered, and recovered some more. With 10laps to go I got CC on my wheel and got him in the Top20 when I saw an opportunity to go off the front. Adam Bergman was dangling off the front of the field with 15seconds and we're kind of going slow. I punched it up the rise by the Soundpony and quickly joined him w/ 9 laps to go. We rode hard for a few laps before they rang the bell for the biggest prime of the day - $500. Since I'm not gifted excessively with fast-twitch fibers I figured I need to get this. So once again, I rode flat out over the rise on the back-side of the course and my race was done with 5 laps to go while collecting some change for the day. Chad came in 11th so we're improving from day to day :-)

this is for you, BigDaddy Walker

Day#3 usually suits me well with a hilly crit course but not this time. Somehow, my legs were MIA after going okay the last two nights. I was there for 50minutes and then had to call it quits. Weird. One day you roll, one day you're slow. CC saved the day for us with a Top 10 and an 8th place in the Omnium while "Huffy" dragged his through-cheer leading-formed body over the hills of Riverside and held on to the Omnium lead. Impressive.

scene on "The Hill" during Stage 3's Riverside Crit