Wednesday, March 25, 2009

2nd in Fayetteville (again)

Our mini team of Crosby, "Big Daddy" Russ Walker, and I came back with a 2nd place in GC from another TX race. Winning would have been of course nice, but THSJ's MVP Heath Blackgrove was unbeatable this weekend.

Dinner at the "Third Base" in Warrenton started off the weekend where K-Schae, Crosby and I got some pre-race burgers & fries along while enjoying some Texas Country Bar scene. Even though Saturday went not perfect (a break of 5 rolled off the front) I was still in contention with only 40sec down and no real big TT threat being in that group. Even though I went 5 seconds faster comparing to '08 (which got me 2nd back then) I only managed 5th in the TT. Uh? Texas Cycling is getting better and better and kids like Lawson Craddock (TT winner) show us how it's done. Impressive.

Going into Sunday's RR we had 8th GC, less than 40seconds off of overnight leader Korioth. The 2nd day usually makes the GC since it's a bit longer (96miles) and we do a bit more rollers, too. And that's exactly how it folded out as Heath, DW, myself and a few others rolled off the front with 3 1/2 laps to go and we did a 7-man team-time trial with nobody skipping pulls until the last lap. It was nice to be actually "racing" and compete instead of waiting for the finish. Heath was 4 seconds ahead of DW and me and the the "virtual" leader on the road now. When he went with 15miles to go I did not respond since there two SS in the break who's GC win was up the road right in front of us. I did a few half-hearted pulls and went for it the last time we saw real head-wind with 10miles to go. Knowing I can't catch Heath, I was racing for 2nd and TT'd towards the finish with young kid Schmalz, Carter + DW chasing. I felt like the "rabbit" but I figured they must be going hard to catch me. So it was and only Carter managed to get up to me, and we dragged each other to the line. Every second counted for his GC and I didn't even try to sprint vs. him - so I got 3rd on the day and 2nd GC. That's all we could do that day.

Thanks to Crosby + Russ for being there early and holding up the TX Tough colors while I was still "chilling" at the back :-) That's now the 3rd time I got 2nd in this one, maybe another time things will work out.

Now it's off to California with Alex Welch for Redlands. A shout-out to teammate Tyler Jewell who should have been in this spot but is still side-lined with a few broken bones from his crash. Get well!


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Scam or Real ?

The other day I got this email from Nigeria. I thought it's hilarious!

So the question is: Scam or Real?

Stefan Rothe-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Request for Coaching Training
Date: Sat, 21 Mar 2009 06:04:35 -0700 (PDT)
From: Ayuba Bawa

Good Day,
My Name is Ayuba Bawa, am a cycling coach with the Ministry of youth and sports kaduna state, Nigeria west africa.
I am writing you to know if is posible to train an amateur coach for for more improvement in the field of cycling.
Thanks am especting your response please.
Ayuba Bawa
Coach Cycling
Phone: 234 8026634991

Monday, March 16, 2009

Cool Bike Stuff Review # 1 - LAS Istrion

So after years of sporting the GIRO brand my teammates and I get to wear some 'euro' protection on on our heads now. The stealth-looking LAS Istrion is the model of choice for this year's TX Tough team.

At 275grams it's very lightweight and still very stiff and handy at the same time. The one-size-fits-all approach really favors people who usually have to pick size Large when it comes to buying helmets > me! Comparing to a Large Ionos (what I used for the last 3 years) the LAS Istrion is a bit smaller in general yet still fits me thanks to the single-size adjustment system on the back part of the helmet. You can go from 53cm to 63cm circumference in a few clicks by using the red adjusting system in the back of the helmet.

Another cool feature is the set of winter and summer-style pads it came with. The winter-style pads feature a large net made out of COOLMAX and is a bit warmer during the cold month whereas the few summer pads are very slim and lightweight and keep the air flowing through the helmet. Oh yeah, "air'! Comparing to its rival Ionos, the Istrion has 6 more vents - totaling at 27! You almost don't feel that you are actually wearing a helmet.

One of the most convenient things this helmet comes with is the securing / strap system. You can compare it with putting on a pair of Oakley's - it just fits! You don't have to do a lot of adjusting, cutting or re-aligning in order to get the straps run smoothly around your ears and head.

Overall, this helmet is a definitive "Buy" as it not only features some innovative technology but also has a sleek, Italian look to it and is very light.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tulsa One-Two-Step

Tyler J. and I went up to Oklahoma this past weekend in order to get in some solid training miles and race two local races up there organized by the Tulsa Wheelmen/Tulsa Tough crew. Having 3 teammates living there makes always for some good times and justifies the LONG trip from ATX to TuLsA.

After some Blueberry Pancakes at the Bluedome in downtown, the five of us rode our bikes out to Mannford on Saturday morning where the Salk Creek Criterium was held. I've never done that race and it was like a mini-version of PaceBend - mostly wide-open turns, pretty fast, and a few rollers but nothing super hard. I started at the very back and let the games begin until I made a move 10min in and "the legend" Steve Tilford was on my wheel. Funny, how we always end up in breaks together. Anyhow, we just did a 2-man TT for probably 70minutes until his teammate Brian Jensen and Mercy's Schmalz showed up. Ouch! Our tactics went alright until exactly this point when I was outnumbered by a bunch of Kansas guys :-( After half-a-dozen attempts to drop me it came down to a sprint and to my very own surprise I was able to take the win in a slight uphill sprint. I never really put much emphasis on sprints but this off-season I definitively worked on it a little bit - especially when you train with Tyler, as he wants to sprint all the time :-) So we took 1st and 4th through 6th (Chad, Alex, Tyler) that day. Old friend Nathan Leigh hooked me up with some special "recovery drink" post-race:

I had done Sunday's Cowskin Road Race out by Westport before so we kind of knew that this is gonna be a tough one. Again, we rode out 30miles to the race and it got a little bit close with the time since my cheap training tires (which I won the race on the day before) finally gave up on me when this nail on HW 412 wanted to punch my tube/tire so bad:

Anyhow, Chad's super-fast "downing" of a PowerBar gave me something to pouch tire with and we made it in time to the race without any further flats. The competition was pretty much similar like yesterday except that Trek probably really wanted to win this time around. The course was a 4 1/2 mile loop we had to ride 14 times and included a good, long but steady climb. Early into the race it all split up and a few "chunks" of riders where in different groups. Finally, Alex W. and I found ourselves in the break of the day along with Brian Jensen. He's always a thread but it was only his second race of the year (after yesterday) so I was sure we can win the race again. Well, it looked like we had 1st and 3rd secured with half a lap to go but we (all three of us) didn't make the calculation with Steve T. Not surprisingly, he bridged a 2min gap from the chase while we were going super-slow up the climbs and thought it was already a sealed deal with the 1,2,3 finish. His presence changed things a bit and we lost Alex in that time. So it was me vs. two tag-teaming teammates again - Ahh, how much that can hurt. Like yesterday, a few attempts of riding away from me were made but to no avail. So Jensen gave Steve a killer lead-out and he only had to deliver while I had to dig deep to get around him on the outside. It was not meant to be and I lost by half (?) a wheel and got 2nd. Oh well, I guess I'm not a least not downhill at 40mph. 2, 4 6, 8 was our share of the Top 10 this time around. Tyler and I held our word and rode the 30miles back to town finishing up a solid 120mile day on the bike. Charleston's on Preoria Ave was the choice of recovery food that night. Gotta check it out.

All in all a good weekend and each team got their share of the victory.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Lago Weekend & The KB show


4:00pm pack 1 wife, 2 bikes, 8 wheels, some beer, in the Vdub
4:30 stuck in rush-hour on N. Mopac
5:00 Buy dinner stuff + ice cream at H-E-B in Cedar Park
5:30 arrive at "The Shores" Condo # 2002
5:45 go ride with TxTough-mechanico John Brown (while counting deer on Boggy Ford Rd)
6:45 get home by darkness but with loose legs
7-10 eat aforementioned dinner + ice cream, watch movies and catch up with teammates
11pm checking in with Eric Marquez + Don Hutchinson while picking up race-numbers


8am getting up, out and check temperatures
8:01 go back to bed
8:30 out and riding on the course cheering for some Master's and getting the legs a little spin (& avoiding deer)
9:00 getting warm again and eating lots of breakfast
9: 30 sleeping
10:00 tune-up bikes and send off the wife for her race, taking photos of some races
11:00 hanging out with teammates (+ their kids) and talking about life, bikes, racing, etc.
11:02 checking out Tyler's anti-deer whistle
12:30 lining up for Day 1 of Primavera, lots of horsepower in this field
2:30 after 50miles of sitting in trying to see how my teammate Alex is doing in the break
3:20 catching Alex - both the field + the break is out of sight :-(
3:45 team takes 3rd, 4th, and 5th behind Tilford/Blackgrove. Those were not to match today
4:45 while checking on the results, unnamed (and new favorite) race official hands me a SPATEN beer
5-7 sleep
7:45 in true Texas-Style, watching final 10 laps of NASCAR race..don't even remember who won
8-10pm team dinner at the Godsey's with pasta, ice cream + red wine

Note: I can't believe how many folks are running 808's or other deep dish wheels in those windy + hilly Texas races. Certain races (like today) require hard training (on shitty 32spoke wheels) and some simple low-profile rims. I see you wanna be aero & all when it counts but most definitely not at Lago V.


8am getting up, step outside and check temperatures
8:01 go back to bed
8:30 obligatory early spin, cheering for Wichita Falls sprint ace Les Akins (2nd Master 40+!)
9:30 Lots of coffee + self-made banana-pancakes
10:00 bike tune-up for half of the Austin Flyer's Women's team
10:30 sleep
11-12 hanging out with teammates talking about how not to get embarrassed by 10 of KB pro's showing up, deciding on race tactics
12:30 lining up for Day 2 at Lago Vista with 130 (?) other dudes.
12:55 race tactic executed, Mat and I in the early & strong break
1:30 loosing count of # of KB riders in the break, they all look alike
1: 35 SS's Dille and I are hanging' in there
1:36 a few more common Texas faces come into the break, but soon after are gone again
2:30 still hanging in there with Heath and 4 KB dudes
2:45 KB constantly re-shuffling/exchanging their guys in the break
3:00 still averaging 25mph on the course, and around 300W so far
3:10-3:20 getting worked over by KB
3:20-3:25 getting more worked over by KB
3:26 Polish-last named rider makes his winning move, we don't/can't react
3:27 trying to ride away but there's always one guy glued on the wheel.
3:34 we're going 15 mph downhill, playing cat & mouse
3:35 I go w/ Canadian/Olympian Zach Bell and don't even try to sprint against him
3:36 getting 3rd, teammates getting 9th and 14th - solid weekend for us, the 'V' was impossible today
4:30 Thanking Don Hutchinson for (yet another) great race weekend
5:45 eating way too much Pizza at Cici's on 183 & HW45

Alex about to sprint me hard for 3rd just before slamming on his brakes :-)
(c) by Libby McDuff

Dille, Heath and I "co-starred" in the KB Show

Editor's Note: Congrats to Les Akins for guessing the correct name in last week's Music/Free T-Shirt contest. "Danger" Russ Walker is the "author" of the special song from my last post...