Sunday, April 26, 2009

Ronde van Skandia Race Report

Yesterday's weather forecast had all the racers prepared for absolutely miserable conditions. It wasn't unusual to see racers geared up with double booties, waterproof ski pants and balaclavas. The thermometer was hovering around 34 degrees. There was a light rain falling as we began the 17 mile rollout, but the wind wasn't gusting at 24 mph as the forecast indicated. The first 17 miles were an uneventful tour. There was no preem sprint up Green Garden Hill, instead the group stopped at the top to take a nature break as the rain subsided and gave way to warmer temps.

As the course turned off of US 41, the race was on and the attacks by Chocolay Ace immediately began. Tom Mahaney went first. He got a short ways up the road and Derek Anderson tried to bridge. Jesse grabbed his wheel, knowing that Anderson could potentially stay away all day. Anderson and Bell continued past Mahaney and got a good gap on the field. Bell soon realized that Anderson didn't want this break to go anywhere and wasn't going to do any work. The two sat up until they were bridged by Anderson's teammate Andy Langlois. With better numbers in the group, Team Ace decided they'd give the break a go.

Bell, Anderson and Langlois worked fairly well together for about 10 miles until they were joined by two more Ace guys, Dave Grant and Matt Colligan. At this point Ace began attacking Jesse relentlessly. Jesse's competitive spirit kept him responding and riding hard with the group despite the fact that he had absolutely no chance in a breakaway with four guys on the same team. Anderson and Langlois eventually got off the front until Langlois and Grant flatted. Bell tried to close the gap on Anderson with Colligan in tow, but didn't have the legs. He eventually sat up as Juntti and Pernsteiner came by taking Grant and Colligan with them.

Bell dropped back to the pack where he rejoined teammates Lerlie and Carpenter. The group stayed together until Sporley Lake Hill when Langlois, Schmidt (Red Jacket) and Bell got off the front. They rode together the remainder of the race back to the Cycling Haus. Carpenter finished with the main group and Lerlie and Hill were close behind.

Wes, Grant and Colligan sprinted out the finish for 1, 2, 3 with Pernsteiner earning the victory. Anderson made a wrong turn and came in soon after his three teammates. The post-race feast supplied by race hosts Tom and Mary Mahaney refeuled even the hardest bonked racers.

The post race buzz centered on the gorgeous podium girl Mahaney recruited to kiss the winner and spray the champagne.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Ronde van Skandia Route Leaked

The highly anticipated Ronde van Skandia semi-classic is scheduled for tomorrow. Traditionally the route is kept a secret until immediately before the race when it is distributed on special paper that disintegrates when looked upon. This year, however, the route was leaked by a source close to the race organizer and Chocolay Ace Director Sportif, Tom Mahaney.

Here it is:

Monday, April 20, 2009

Reynolds DV46 Wheels

So, I've got these sexy Reynolds carbon wheels built up on a PowerTap hub. They're stiff, light and look great. Only problem is I've blown a spoke on my last two big rides. Once was tolerable, but twice in such a short span is not.

Reynolds was the center of a lot of ridicule this weekend after I DNF'd another group ride. However, they're talking a good game so far. The company promptly returned a phone call from Matt at SISU Cycles and indicated that this type of problem is not at all common. They asked that we send in the wheel ASAP. Within one day they'll either send me a new wheel or identify and fix the problem with the current one. If that happens, I'll be a satisfied customer.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

This weekend I had the opportunity to join the Chocolay Ace Hardware Cycling Team for a team training camp. Matt Colligan graciously hosted us guests at Camp Wounded Knee, located just north of Felch, MI. Matt, Dave, Tony and I arrived Friday afternoon and were treated to seventy degree temps as we toured gorgeous backroads on knobby-tired bikes.

We left the woods and returned to pavement about 20 miles into the ride. Dave made a cheeky move, pulling his teammates up the road and leaving me off the back.

We regrouped a ways up the road and the tour continued through Matt's hunting property. We scared up 3 deer and a turkey and 3 turkeys.

Later in the evening, as we enjoyed a can of sparkling water and a game of euchre, we were joined by Andy, Wes and Mike. At about 9:30 pm, Andy received a call from Ace team Director Sportif, Tom Mahaney. Mahaney reminded the team that their curfew was quickly approaching. Pillows were promptly fluffed and "lights out" was called at 9:45 after everyone was tucked in.

Sharing a room and a pillow, Wes and Andy sighed with a sense of relief in not having purchased Powertaps and discusssed an article they read explaining how many pro cyclists are moving away from power-based training in favor of a new RPE scale. The RPE scale ranges from "easy" to "done".

Everyone slept well, except Dave, who was tormented by nightmares of drowning in a sea of not-so-fresh chamois.

The morning ritual of fueling up for the day was almost comical. Scoops, calories, bars and ounces were carefully measured as the men attempted to find the balance of optimal nutrition. We departed Camp wounded Knee to meet the rest of Team Ace at the Moose Jackson Cafe in Iron Mountain prior to the 10:00 am departure. The departure time was to be strictly enforced so as not to enable any would-be late-arrivers. Derek, Tom and Jeff arrived just in time for a group photo. The Ace/SISU team rivalry made me feel unsafe and uncomfortable at many times throughout the weekend. I just tried to be as friendly as I could so as not to make any enemies.

Andy attacked from kilometer zero as we climbed Millie Mill out of the parking lot. He led us on a scenic ride all around Iron Mountain. The pace was sometimes comfortable, sometimes not. Mahaney always seemed to be on the attack and Lackey went for all the sprints. I tried to suppress my competitive streak and save my legs. Despite a few attempts, the team was not able to form a paceline that lasted for more than about a minute.

Our first stop was at 2 hours into the ride--we stopped at Norway Spring. Here we learned that the water bubbling out of this roadside pipe is the best water in the world and that it is just loaded with minerals. In fact, the son of one passerby works at the DEQ and owns his own business. This business-owning, DEQ employee has previously indicated to his mother that the water bubbling from the roadside pipe in Norway is so loaded with minerals that it should be called "mineral water". This revelation was overwhelming to several of the Ace guys who just exploded off the front after drinking the "mineral water".

I had a similar reaction to the water. About 30 minutes after consuming 16 oz of the mineral-laden water, I was effortlessley cranking out 1400 watts going up a hill when I blew a spoke in my Reynolds wheel. Given that this was the second time I'd popped a spoke in 8 days, I knew just what to do: hitchhike! I walked about a mile barefoot (because you just can't walk in road cleats) and hitched two rides back to the Moose Jackson. Thank you for picking up barefoot bike-carrying hitchhikers!

Apparently, the ride changed considerably after I left. The report was that the team immediately formed a paceline that averaged 30 mph for the next 50 miles. The roads from there on out were as smooth as Buffalo Road and I missed the best part of the ride, and was reminded of this fact repeatedly.

We arrived back at Camp Wounded Knee at 4:30 and fired up the grill. DS Mahaney measured and distributed portions of vegetable shish-kabobs to each athlete. The portions varied depending on body weight, calories burned during the workout and deviation from target body weight. Anderson was permitted only two mushroom caps and three florets of broccoli, while Colligan was offered an entire bell pepper and an onion. The way these guys eat, its no wonder they're all so svelte.

Team soigneur, Mike Brunet, arrived just in time to give Team Ace their bedtime massages. The team had hoped he would bring with him a couple of assistants to speed up the process, but their disappointment wore off quickly when they learned that the Tour of Flanders would be preceded by 2 hours of Formula racing, compliments of Lackey's remoteless DVR.

Looking forward to another big day of riding, everyone retired to their respective corners of the cabin for another good night's rest.

Anxious to ride no matter the weather conditions, we woke early and prepared a light breakfast. Then the call came. Dawn was on the phone to let us know that not only did Maya have a fever of 103 degrees, but one of the Lackey's East Side neighbors had fallen ill and would need all of us to respond immediately. We broke camp and were on the road in the blink of an eye.

Thank you, Matt, for hosting a wonderful weekend!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Read this:

Levi says he puts out 6 watts/kg on a long training ride. At 84 kg, I'd have to push 500 watts to match him. I can do that, but only for a few minutes. This really puts into perspective how weak I am and how strong the pros are. Of course, if I weighed 132 pounds...

Monday, April 13, 2009

McDonalds vs. Burger King

I went out for a long easy recovery ride today by myself and on these rides I usually find myself daydreaming of different things I'll do when I retire like build my dream camp, hike the AT, ride the Continental Divide, see the Tour in person........, but today I decided to take a survey. As I was navigating my way down Buffalo Hill Rd. (lots of new pavement by the way) a car passed me and shortly there after I see a McDonald's bag ejected out of the passenger side window. I've noticed more trash than usual this spring on the sides of the road, so I decided to count the number of fast food bags and containers during my 50 mile ride. The results of my survey are LAZY people prefer McDonalds 3 to 1 over Burger King. Maybe a deposit on the fast food bags and empty cigarette packs might help keep the sides of the road a little cleaner, what do you think....

Saturday, April 11, 2009

SISU Cycles Race Team enters.........

The roads are open, smooth pavement, a fighting North wind, the smell of Lake Superior, and friendly 8 ft. wide shoulders..............Figure it out yet?

Still haven't figured it out?

You got it. SISU Cycles has entered Red Jacket Country. I made the trip up to the Houghton/Hancock area for the weekend. I would like to say I came up here just to ride but I am visiting the In-Laws for the Easter Holiday. Well up here I thought it would be a great chance to ride some wonderful roads and throw in a 3 day training camp.


Friday started with an easy, or what I wanted to be easy but the wind made it a bit slow, ride from L'Anse to Dollar Bay. I had my wife drop me off at the Holiday station and completed the rest of the journey by two wheels instead of four. The temperature was good but the heavy Lake Superior North wind made the ride a bit chilly and slow. Needless to say I completed the 40 mile, 2 1/2 hour ride just fine. Knowing the weather was only getting better for the weekend this made a great opening ride.


My training called for another easy 2 hour ride but I wanted to stretch it out a bit since I was riding in a place I usually am not. I used the helpful and mapped out a ride that brought me to just about every town in the Keweenaw. This happened to be one of the most beautiful rides I have ever been on. It offered great views of just about everything. What made it even better is every road I was on, it was as if they were made just for roadies. Wide shoulders, low traffic, long hills, rolling hills, and straight flat stretches. Oh man it was awesome. The route made for a perfect zone 2 rolling hill kind of day. I ended up doing 52 miles in 3 hours. Definitely going to have to come do this with the whole team.


My goal for day 3 was to find a long gradual hill, I had some skepticism but I found one on just about every corner! I decided to do my warm up ride towards Lake Linden and train on the Calumet Hill. The Calumet hill is about 3 miles long with a gradual incline, some spots steeper than others. I climbed the hill in 8 minute intervals in the big ring at a 50-60 cadence and repeated this 5 times. It got really boring by the 3rd time, I couldn't even look forward to the down hill anymore it got so boring. Any how, I ended up riding 40 miles in 2 hours. 12.5 of it up, 12.5 of it down, and 15 of it flat. All in all this was a great weekend.

Yesterday I met up with several guys from Chocolay Ace and KMK Cycling: Tom M, Derek A, Matt C, Dave G, Wes P, Karl Z and Mike D. The afternoon started off on the wrong foot when Derek backed his truck into his bike, trashing the carbon fork. He had to resort to the CX bike for the long ride ahead.

The skies were clear, the sun was shining and the wind was blowing out of the N/NE. We headed south on 41. Capitalizing on a pit stop soon after the turn East on 94, Wes and Dave attacked catching the bunch completely off guard. After a few minutes, the six of us remaining organized a chase and tried to catch them, but we gained time very, very slowly...and we were hurting. Either they're really strong or we arent'. Hmmm. We finally came together around Dixon, but only because Wes and Dave sat up. They could have stayed away much longer. We cruised the rest of the way to Au Train and took it fairly easy up M28, with the exception of one weak attack on Shelter Bay Hill.

I flatted just before Sand River and Derek and Wes were kind enough to hang around assist with the tire change. Just a few minutes after getting moving again, I blew a spoke which renderd my bike unrideable. Derek and Wes headed up the road to get a car to pick me up, but I was lucky enough to be picked up by a passerby (thanks Amy!). I rode 59 miles, in just over 3 hours. I think the rest of the group got in 69 miles in about 3:30.

Monday, April 6, 2009

SISU Cycles Acquires New Sponsor

Ishpeming, MI-

In a press release dated April 6, 2009, SISU Cycles Race Team confirmed rumors that they have inked a sponsorship deal with Rudy Project. Rudy Project designs and manufactures hi-tech sunglasses, goggles, helmets and accessories. Rudy throughout the years has been a champion of sponsoring and supporting athletes at every level of competition. It is no wonder that Rudy Project products have been worn by many greats including Bernard Hinault, Miguel Indurain, Jan Ullrich, Erik Zabel, Claudio Chiappucci, Abraham Olano, Michellie Jones, Spencer Smith, Laurence LeBoucher and countless others. Rudy Project sunglasses can be purchased locally at Downtown Eye Care in Marquette and can be viewed online at

Get your new Rudy Shades today!

Weekend Miles

Day 1
As you read from the earlier post, this weekend was offiically are first training camp. We didn't have everyone one around because of schedules but the ones that were around were dissapointingly split up into two different groups. One group (Matt and Jesse) headed south to Iron Mountain and a few of us (Tyler, Glen, Tom) elected to stay around the area. Regardless of the split both groups had some great rides. Saturday we started at 10 a.m. with hopes of getting 3-4 hours of riding in and because the weather was so good we ended up doing 65 miles in 4.5 hours. The sun never stopped shining and our racoon eyes are true proof to that. Saturday was more of just miles on the legs, we worked on pace lining a few different times until we felt we were in sync. It came along well and was needed to get us use to working for each other. After a few efforts of pulling we all commented on how good our legs felt after 4 hours and contributed it to all the early March rides we had been getting in. We are all true believers of the early season easy rides, sure makes riding fun too. It sure feels good to feel and know the endurance is building. The legs felt even better after I gave the guys a tutorial on how to effectivly stretch your quads out without getting off the bike and keeping both hands on the bars, Glen and Tom are now sending me royalty money for this. It was fun to teach, they were like 2 kids in a candy store and all the candy was free!

Day 2
Although not as nice on Sunday we followed our 4.5 hour ride with a 40 something mile 3.5 hour effort. Stacking back to back days of 3.5 hour efforts is really going to pay off. Surprisingly the legs felt great and we even had to pull in the reins on Glen because he felt so good in the first 5 miles. Don't let age fool you on this guy, he's ready to GO! The wind wasn't as favorable on Sunday as we hit 20-25 mph gusts going up 94 and 41 so we took our turns pulling, which was nice for our team work. As the second day came to an end we had reflected on how much we just accomplished in two days. We had some great conversations about the racing, riding, and training. Bottom line, you can never predict how a race is going to go, riding with the Sisu guys for 4 hours on a weekend is a lot of fun and where we want to be, and Dominac and Tyler J. know what their talking about when it comes to training. Oh yeah and we really dislike Danny for calling Glen and rubbing in that he is riding in 80 degree weather. Or maybe it was a bit of jealousy than dislike. One more thing, Tim get married already so you can ride with us!

As you can see from the pictures (sorry for the poor IPhone quality) it was a bit gloomy but the roads were awesomely smooth with great views of the country side.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Training Camp

Yesterday was the first training camp of the season. Attendance was poor...just Matt and me. We parked in Randville to save 20 miles of driving and to be close to a calorie intense meal when we finished. The temps were mid 40's and the sun shined all day long, but the wind was pretty intense, blowing hard out of the north.

The route is posted below. The roads were amazing! Lots of rolling hills, only a rare car, asphalt as smooth as DG's bottom. I'm sure there are some better routes down there, but Matt and I both voted it as our most enjoyable road ride ever. The steep climging you see on the elevation profile is Millie Hill. That's a good one!

I bonked with about 10 miles to go, so Matt pulled the entire way back up M-95 directly into the wind. What a guy!