Sunday, April 30, 2006


Most of my parts for the Rush have been here and the frame looks like it will be arriving next week. Unfortunately the fork is backordered but I may be able to borrow a team member's fork for a while. I did get our new uniforms yesterday and our new shoes from Diadora, now owned by our sponsor Cannondale.

At least I'll look cool as people pass me.

Update on Sunday afternoon

I went for a four hour ride with a pair of these shoes this morning and had zero problems, no hot spots or anything like that. They felt comfortable the whole ride. I did have one shoe strapped a little too tight but that was easily taken care of.

I'm not sure if it was the shoes or not but while riding on a rail trail this morning a squirrel darted across the trail directly into the path of my front wheel. At the last second the squirrel jumped onto my leg and then back off, returning to where it started. Maybe the shoes blinded him and he got confused? It sure shocked the heck out of me.

Friday, April 28, 2006

It's 2:30 in the morning

Well it's that early in Germany as I start this update. But I'm home now so it's only 8:30 in the evening. That means I've been up for hmm, my brain's not working, wait, 20 hours except for a one hour nap on the plane. And what did I do late this afternoon when I got home? Went for an hour and a half ride on a SS.

The workshop I had helped prepare went well and I may have to go back a few more times this year as we work on developing a new position within ITM, a full time business consultant. My current assignment will probably change to work in this capacity on a permanent basis. For now I will continue to do what I have been doing as well as helping to develop the training portion of the new roles.

I got spoiled flying on the corporate shuttle, a big plane but only 12 rows and 48 seats total. The seats almost totally reclined, when sitting up right I could stick my legs straight out and not touch the seat in front of me. Full service for the entire flight of 8.5 hours including the bar. Plus we have our own terminal at each end so it was quick in and out.

Since we left Mnday afternoon that meant we arrived early Tuesday morning German time (12:30 am Detroit) and a few hours sleep was necessary before we started the day. Fortunately I had a few hours sleep on the plane as well. In the afternoon we visited one of the large Mercedes factories where they employ 40,000. Later we stopped at the new Mercedes museum across from the soccer stadium that will be hosting world cup games this summer.

After we headed to the Springfest, a temporary carnival that included beer tents. The rides looked like they were permanent but they are all put up just for this event. We spent several hours in the beer tent where they had a live band and ended up sampling some of the favorite beverages. The entire place would be singing and dancing to the music and we obliged on several of the songs as well, standing on the benches with everyone else.

The next two days were pretty busy with actual work but when it was finally over Thursday night those of us from the US went to the downtown area but were only able to shop for about 15 minutes before the shops were required to close at 8:00. All of the stores are along a pedestrian only avenue and up until closing time it was crowded. Very nice and different from what we have here.
I'm not sure what this shop sold but I can guess their clientele.
After shopping we went to a Mexican restaurant to celebrate a successful conference. We were also able to continue celebrating at another bar and tried one more after that but they were getting ready to close.

I hope to be able to get back and spend more time so that I can get a better sample of the German culture other than the limited view I had. Maybe time it in September for the UCI Road World Championships.

I did use the Compex unit on the flight home, I had a seat near the back so I didn't have to walk too far down the aisle after changing into my shorts. I also had warned my seating companion what I was doing and kept a blanket over my legs. Going through the baggage check-in in Pontiac they took a hard look at the unit and asked me a lot of questions about it but in Germany they didn't say a word. Instead they asked me to open my suitcase to see my can of shaving cream.

Now it's time to catch up on sleep and try to get ready for the race next weekend at Fort Custer.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

A weekend of firsts

This weekend was the first time for a lot of things. The first Redwing and Pistons playoff games, the first grass cutting of the year, and my first win of the season.

I won my age class at the Yankee Springs Time Trial, a race I've never won before. I also had my best time ever and I think I could have been faster but I didn't pre-register which means I got held up by a lot of people that I had to pass. Next year if I'm racing it again I'll try to get my registration in early.

Most of the team was there today too and and they have gotten a lot faster over the winter. Time gaps between various members of the team have gotten a lot LOT closer. It should make for some great inter-team competition.

Tomorrow I fly to Germany on business so I may not be able to update my blog until I get back. It also means no riding but I'm taking the Compex so at least I'll get in some muscle work. We are on the company plane, I wonder what my flying companions will say when I put on my shorts and hook myself up while we are flying?

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Nothing special

Seems like a lot of other racers are posting the same things on their blogs this week. The weather has been great and we are all in our preparation phase for the races. The first really big one here in Michigan is this Sunday, the Yankee Springs Time Trial. It usually has the largest attendance until Iceman in November. Everyone is anxious to get out racing again. Hopefully the weather remains nice.

Looks like my frames won't be here in time to build one up for the race but maybe I can have it for the Fort Custer race in a few weeks. I leave for a week in Germany next Monday so I couldn't do much with them anyway.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Happy Easter

Happy Easter to everyone. I got out early this morning for a four hour ride. I did about 3/4 of my hill route, a 75 mile route that contains most of the big hills close to my house as layed out using Gmap. Big is a relative term but here in SE Michigan it's hard to find much elevation change. I could pick some of the biggest hills and keep doing them over and over but I wanted to see what combining all of them within 10 miles of my house would be like.

Riding the course in its entirety would net about 4600 feet of climbing. Today was only 3400 feet because I ran out of time and had to get home to get the ham on the grill. I worked up an appetite but it will be another three hours before I can eat. I guess I can snack on the Easter candy while I wait.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Lost a few teeth at Yankee today

Some of the team went out to Yankee Springs today to get in a few laps before the time trial there next Sunday. What a beautiful day, warm temperatures and sunny, things are really starting to green up.

I was doing intervals but began to notice that my bike was ghost shifting which it had never done before, at least not with Sram XO on it. I kept fiddling with the cable adjustment but it didn't seem to make a difference plus I couldn't tell which way it was jumping. I stopped a couple of time to look at the rear end thinking something was loose. Finally I noticed that about half of one of the middle cogs was broken off. I have heard of breaking chains but I've never seen this before. Thankfully I could still ride but I had to skip that (half) cog. I've got a brand new cassette I'll throw on there before the race.

Last night my wife and I went to the Professional Bull Riding competition at the Palace just down the road from us. We have watched it on TV and a few months ago at work when we found it was coming to town a couple of us decided to get tickets. It was a good time but those guys are crazy. Not a lot made the full 8 seconds and quite a few seemed to be hurting when they got up.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Extra protein for the ride

Today I spent a couple of hours riding the rail trails near my house. The weather was the warmest so far this year but a little windy. Things are starting to come alive in the woods, fields and marshes the trails pass through. You can also tell it's spring because the bugs are back. Every so often I would pass through a swarm of them and get some in my mouth. You couldn't see them until you rode into them and felt them hitting you. I saw a couple of snakes on the trail which is not unusual, and I ended up running across the tail of one because I didn't see it until too late. It appeared to be OK though. The joys of riding in the country.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Warm up

After complaining of the cold weather we finally got the first truly warm day yesterday and the first day I have ridden in just shorts and a short sleeved jersey. It felt good but the body has some adjusting to do. Long range the weather should stay warm for a while even if it rains. The Yankee Springs TT coming up on the 23rd is still too far away to forecast but I think I've raced it in everything from snow to 90 degrees. The course can usually handle whatever Mother Nature throws at it.

Speaking of Yankee it looks like a bunch of us will be back out there this Saturday, and probably a lot of other people too since it will be the last weekend to pre-ride. With any luck our new frames will arrive in time for us to get them built for the race.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Paris Ancaster race

A little mud never hurt anyone.

The first race of the year is over, the Paris Ancaster 60K. Chris Werth and I drove up yesterday afternoon to pick up our registration material and check out the last hill at the finish. It is a 300 foot climb on a gravel road in just over a mile. Just the thing you want after riding 37 miles.

The morning of the race we met up with Mike Simonson, last year's winner, Jason Lummis and Joe Brzuchanski, all are from Michigan and they gave us a ride to the start. The also led us on a warm-up ride down the first couple of miles of trail to try and show us where the first bottle neck climb was. We kept riding looking for it as the race time grew closer. Finally we made it back to the start shortly before the gun. Unfortunately there are 400 people in the first wave of all classes so it helped if you could line up early. Imagine 400 riders trying to fit into a 15 foot wide rail trail after the first mile of road.

When the race finally started it was about a minute before those of us in the back were able to move. A lot of the race is rail trail, double track and public roads, both dirt and paved. There were some sections through the woods and fields that were very muddy or just slow. For the rest of the course getting into pacelines was the only way to survive.

I rode my cyclocross bike and it seemed the best choice except for a few of the muddy downhills, or mud slides as they called them. I was able to move up fairly well despite the starting position and felt strong on the hills. The narrow tires on the 'cross bike cut through most of the mud and allowed me to gain traction.

Toward the end of the race a large group of us came out of the nastiest mudslide and turned down the two track road only to find out in a few minutes that we were going the wrong way. Of course we now had to go back up hill to get on course. Looking at where we turned there were no markings at this intersection. The rest of the course had been pretty well marked or manned with someone to tell you which way to go. Overall we lost about 4-5 minutes and it may have cost me a chance for the podium. That's racing though, as it was I finished 4th out of 82. Chris had a good race finishing 7th in SS and the Michigan crew had a great day overall with Mike successfully defending his title.

This race is now the largest single day race in Canada with over 1600 riders. It was well organized, inexpensive, and a good early season tester. They even had the results posted online the same evening of the race. I think I'll be back next year.

Last minute race preparation and Chris getting his magic pills ready.

Friday, April 07, 2006


I've been waitng on a bunch of parts for my Rush build. I came home today to find a notice on the door that Fedex had been here but needed my signature before they could deliver. No problem, I drive over to the Fedex station and find out that they only handle express packages, mine had been sent ground. And the ground station has no counter so I have to wait until Monday. Oh well, the frame and fork were just ordered on Monday so I couldn't have done much with them anyway but stare at them.

In the package is my SRAM XO kit including shifters, derailleurs, chain, and cassette. Also some tires, Thomson post and a few other odds and ends. My Mavic Crossmax arrived on Monday and I had already gotten my Magura Marta brakes and Shimano XT crank and BB late last year in anticipation of a new bike. I am using the older style XT with the Octalink BB; they are cheap, I've never had a problem with them, and I've got them on two other bikes. It is nice at an endurance race to have another bike with the same parts for cannibalizing if necessary.

Still to come are some Fizik saddles, Syncros carbon bar and an XTR front derailleur. Hopefully it will all be here when the frame and fork arrive.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

It's not my fault

I almost put away the snowstakes marking the driveway last weekend but left them up "just in case". Usually if I put them away we will get a good snowfall, sort of like washing your car guarantees that it will rain. It's been spitting snow off and on today and now the bigger flakes are coming down and some of it is starting to stick.

I stayed on the trainer today, didn't want to fight the cold and wind. Hopefully the weather will improve so that I can do some riding outside before the race this weekend. But if not, at least the snowstakes are still in.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

This morning Chris, Todd and I set out for a long ride without too much intensity. I wasn't sure my legs could take it anyway. Our ride was mostly pavement and rail trail on the mtb's but we were able to maintain a pretty good pace without blowing up. The sun didn't stay out for long and the wind picked up making it feel colder than was forecasted. I was surprised that after the previous two days riding my legs were feeling good. They really only protested when standing and climbing. I ended up with over 5 hours by the time I got home.

This week will have a few short intervals as I prepare for the Ontario race on Sunday. Local racer Mike Simonson is going back to defend his title. Speaking of Mike I just found out he works for DaimlerChrysler and is in the same complex I am. He emailed me at work about the race and said he was running a cross bike with a 34t rear just for the last hill close to the finish. He also said to watch out for a some ditches you have to dismount for as well as some downhill mud slides that could be interesting as most people are trying not crash on the way down. Sounds like a fun race.

Saturday, April 01, 2006


I didn't realize it had been awhile since my last post but there hadn't been much new to report. Just keeping in the training groove with more VO2 intervals sprinkled in. I think this weekend is one that will test my endurance. yesterday was a series of VO2 intervals, today was three hours with 40 minute intermediate intervals and tomorrow is a 4-6 hour ride at a moderate pace.

Today Robin, Shari and I made it over to Yankee Springs to do a few laps, it was my first time on some real trails this year. I had a hard time sleeping last night in anticipation of today. Even with all the rain we had last night the trails were in perfect shape. I rode better than I thought I would in the tight stuff but I was starting to feel it a bit in the legs on the second lap. Shari posted some lap times faster than her race lap last year and she was riding at less than race pace today. Robin and I both have the same size Scalpels but he borrowed one size smaller for the ride today and he and I have both come to the conclusion that the smaller size seems better for us. Lighter and more maneuverable, it looks like we will be ordering new frames and selling the old ones.

They have done nice job with some reroutes on a few of the hills. Now if they would remove the logs that are pointing out waiting to impale a wayward rider on some of the downhills it would be appreciated.

Tomorrow I'm riding with Chris and Todd for 4-6 hours. The route will not have many hills on it and be mostly rail trail and pavement. The idea is just to put in the time.