Monday, June 29, 2009

SBF Report

Day 1 - Twilight Criterium
The criterium is a .7 mile loop around downtown Marquette. 35 racers lined up for the criterium and SISU Cycles went in with a plan to put 4 up front and 2 mid pack to hold back any response to attacks. As in most races, the plan didn't work quite as we wanted but we did place 3 (Tom, Tyler, Jesse) in the front and 3 (Glen, Danny, Tim) in the chase group. SISU dominated the front of the race for most of laps with Jesse doing a lot of the work because no other team was willing to do work. In the last lap Tom responded to an attack leaving Jesse and Tyler chasing. Tom rolled off the attack leaving the strong legs of Behan with the victory. Jesse, 7th; Tom, 8th; Tyler, 11th; Tim, 18th; Glen, 20th; Danny, 22nd. Full Results.

Day 2 - Michigan State Championship Road Race
The State Championship was resolved on a 55 mile course on mostly flat terrain with 2 slight climbs. For the most part the race was quite uneventful. Several solo attempts were tried early but failed into a South wind. The only real attack happened in the rear of the race when Tyler had a flat rear wheel 14 miles into the race on 553. With great help of the Palomaki support vehicle, 13 miles of 30 mph solo tempo later he caught the group which was still together. The peleton made the turn together onto 480 just in time to enter a steady rain. Danny then through a strong attack giving the rest of SISU a break while others chased. Danny was caught a few minutes later and a counter attack was fired by Tyler trying to keep the other teams and guys working giving SISU every bit of rest for the sprint. Not lasting more than 2 minutes the attack was caught. The peleton reached granite point neighbor hood and the mini attacks started and the tempo increased along with the rain. The rain was making every body a bit jumpy because nobody wanted to sprint with the group around the final corner. Approaching the the 1000 meter mark we had Jesse front middle and Tyler, Tim, Tom, Danny, and Glen front right (not a good place to be). We tried to organize lead outs but the only lead out that was attempted was Tyler leading out for Tim but it failed when the last corner presented just to much danger with the slick roads. Jess had the best line and put together an awesome sprint for not having a lead out. Jesse, 4th; Tom, 11th; Tim, 15th; Glen, 18th; Tyler, 19th; Danny, 31st (Danny dropped his chain in the sprint). Full Results.

Day 3 - Presque Isle Circuit or Mountain Chase
SISU Cycles represented both SBF events on Sunday and sent two (Tyler & Tim) racers to the circuit and 4 (Tom, Glen, Danny, & Jesse) racers to the knobby race.

The circuit had a new course this year. It was completed at Presque Isle on a 2 mile loop with a kicker of a hill on the back side. It was scheduled for 4 laps. Tim and Tyler had practiced on the course earlier in the week and knew what could be accomplished on the hill. With that knowledge they planned on a lead out and an attack on laps 2,3, or 4 which ever presented itself. Each time around the course tired the group out a bit more and you could tell each rider was hurting from the 2 prior races. The hill had split the group slightly each time favoring the climbers but each time was brought back together on the gradual down hill. With no established break away Tim knew that lap 4 had to be controlled by SISU. Tim roared his way to the front on the final lap and pushed the pace to 24 miles an hour into an West wind off the lake knowing no one could pass at that pace. Right before the base of the hill Tyler yelled to Tim to put the hammer down. With the lead out executed perfectly it launched Tyler up the hill at a pace that only a select few matched. At the top of the climb only one rider beat Tyler up the hill, it was Behan and he put on a super attack and put a 5 second gap between the group. Tyler answered with a hard tempo and then an attack by Lynch was made leaving one choice, follow. With a great block by ACE's Wes P. it allowed Lynch and Tyler to chase Behan. It came down to a sprint with Behan overcoming the chase and Tyler just edging out Lynch at the end. Tyler, 2nd; Tim, 18th. Full Resutls.

Mountain Chase - ?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Training or Stupidity

It was early in the week and I shot and idea over to Tim that we should ride home from Hancock after the Keweenaw Chain Drive on Sunday. Deep down I wanted him to say, "Hell NO." On the other hand I didn't think I would mind if he said yes. He replied with, "We could do that." That yes would make the both of us pay on Monday.

Tim started Saturday with a ride of his own while I was red lining for 2 hours at the Chain Drive. Olivia dropped Tim off about 50 miles out of Houghton and he finished with riding around Houghton/Hancock for awhile making it to Dollar Bay with 70 miles on his legs. Although taken at an easy pace the wind made it an up hill adventure and add 80 degree heat, needless to say he was spent. I didn't do as many miles on Saturday but I did deplete every bit of energy I had for the weekend in the 32 mile leg buster of a race they call the Chain Drive.

Sunday came to soon, (especially when you go to bed at 3 a.m., TIM!) The back and legs were trying to let me know this was not such a good idea. But we were up at 8 a.m. throwing down every carb we could find in the house. Tim mixed several different kind of cereals trying to find that magic mix. Come to find out, our magic mix was my mother-in-laws chocolate chip cookies, yum those tasted good at mile 10,20,30,40,50....... you catch my drift. The goal was to reach L'Anse so that we could stop at the Hill Top and reload with a heart stopping Cinnamon roll. We both had a half and our stomachs definitely let us know we had our fair share. After a few random comments from passer buyers, "Are you guys training for the Iditarod?" Tim's response, "What?" We continued on.

3 flats, 1 stopped car to help us out, several honks, fresh mineral water from a pump, every kind of dead animal including a snake, a constant 1% grade, hard core biker tans, and 93 miles later we made it home.

All in all the ride went good and our legs held up considerably well for having hard efforts the day before. Monday was a slightly different story as our legs were not afraid to tell us how mad they were.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Subaru Cup Race Report

I had an awesome Father's Day weekend!

Michelle and I brought all the kids to Mt. Morris, Wisconsin for the 2009 Subaru Cup. The two-day stage race consists of an XC race, Super D (downhill type race) and short track (mountain bike criterium). The XC race was 4 laps on an all singletrack 4 mile loop. WORS was projecting a winning time of 1:40, but the stifling heat caused us to ride a little faster so we could get out of the heat sooner. I came in 3rd place (1st in age group) at 1:29, about 2:30 behind the winner.

We headed directly to Dairy Queen for air conditioning and ice cream. We spent the rest of the evening in the swimming pool. The kids all had a blast violating every single rule posted on the wall.

We had a lovely breakfast Sunday morning and I received all the Father's Day hugs I could have asked for. While the family stayed back at the hotel swimming and packing up the van (and preparing an adorable Father's Day card), I cruised to an easy victory in the Super D. We had to wait an ungodly amount of time for the short track race to start. Fortunately, we were able to stake out a spot under a tent where we could comfortably watch the Elite Men, Elite Women and the Junior X racers participate in their short track events. The downside to this spectation was that we got to see just how much this race was going to hurt. I was fatigued from the heat and the previous day's race and knew I had a long ride home. It would have taken very little convincing to get me to skip the race and get in the car. Instead, Michelle and the kids encouraged me to lay down and get a massage from the whole family to help me relax and loosen up. By the time they were done with me, I was ready to go.

As it turned out, I had the legs to win the short track race. I got the holeshot and stayed on the front for the entire race, which was only about 13 minutes long. Two guys hung with me for a while, but they both dropped off eventually. The kids ran back and forth between two points on the course and cheered me on twice per lap. It was so motivating and gratifying to hear them yelling my name. There was no way I was going to let them down.

The Subaru Cup is a great event and a ton of fun. Unfortunately, a lot of the guys who race the XC race don't stick around for day two, so the competition gets a little thinned down.

Special thanks to Michelle, Lex, Lily, Breck and Ellarie for making it such a fantastical weekend. I can't wait til out next road trip.

Keweenaw Chain Drive

SISU Cycles had a great day at the Keweenaw Chain Drive Festival this past weekend. The conditions were near perfect with a good down pour the night before. SISU had 4 riders in the field including Tyler Gauthier, Tom Carpenter, Glenn Lerlie, and Danny Hill. Beyond the SISU MB team the field was filled with studs including Mike Anderson from Bell's Brewery, a few of the ACE guys, several Red Jackets, and many other respectable riders. Tyler and Tom went in with high aspiration's and were looking for top 10 finishes. Glen and Danny were both looking for respectable finishes in preparation for the Bike Fest.

As most know the Chain Drive starts with a roll out through down town and over the Portage Canal Bridge. From there the field makes a 180 degree turn and stomps on the gas for position into the two track. Tyler and Tom positioned themselves well from the start and were both in the top 5 reaching the only pavement on the coarse, Canal Road. Canal Road leads to a leg breaking 15% grade hill. The first up the hill gets the best position in the single track. As expected, Mike Anderson was the first up the hill and into the single track with a small gap to the second up the hill, Tyler. Tom was a close third and lead the rest of the bunch into the single track. The hill had established who was a true player for the day. Tyler lost Mike Anderson's wheel almost instantly into the single track but held a 15 second gap on the rest of the field. It didn't last long as they pulled Tyler back in about 1.5 into the two track. We had established a group of 6 riders that would stick together for the majority of the race. At this point there were a few whispers from the riders that we all knew Mike Anderson was up front and that most likely we would all be battling for second. The chase group maintained a good beat and we all yo-yo ed from each other through miles and miles of single track. At about the 18 mile mark the course crosses a road and enters some more gnarly single track for about 2 miles and then crosses back over the road for a return to the finish line. Tyler lead the group across the road into the single track. He noticed the pace he was pushing was causing a small gap between each rider and that is when he made his first attack. It was slightly successful causing the group to space out a bit more. One rider, McFadden responded to the attack and offered to lead for a bit. Tyler agreed and followed his wheel. McFadden put on a harsh pace, McFadden and Tyler began to establish a considerable gap between the rest of the field. Back across the road McFadden and Tyler made another small push and that's when Tyler experienced his first of two crashes on the day. A tree jumped out in the middle of the trail causing a minor but time beating crash. McFadden's wheel was lost in result of the crash and he pushed harder to make sure Tyler didn't catch back up. The crash resulted in a regrouping of the rest of the field including Tom. Jeff Adamcik took the lead and not 5 minutes later Jeff slid across a damp wooden bridge and jammed his handle bars into a gap causing the whole field to come to a complete stop, Jeff moved as fast as he could and aloud the rest to move on. The four chasers moved through more single track together until we popped out into two track. This part of the course provides riders with a long grinding two track hill, a point where an attack could happen. In order to not become a victim of an attack, Tyler made the first move up the hill and only one rider, Cook, responded leaving the two riders to chase down the two up front. The tempo continued and the race lead into another rise going into the last 3 miles of the race. Right before the rise another tree seemed to find it's way into the middle of the trail and Tyler's handle bar met the tree with great force throwing both the rider and bike aside. Not to Tyler's surprise he lost the wheel of Cook. To Tyler's surprise he had not been caught by the next group. Back on he went to make the final push up a muddy long hill. Between the hill being long and a chain that would not stay on Tyler ran up a quarter of it drawing every bit of energy he had left. Sooner than later the next rider caught Tyler and passed him dropping him another spot. With about 1 mile left another SISU rider appeared in a distance and sure enough it was Tom making a strong push for the finish. The site of Tyler gave Tom that little extra and he caught his wheel with .5 miles left. Tyler gave encouragement to Tom to push on. (OK, how it really went was Tyler: "Tom, I've bonked." Tom: "Good, move over." It was priceless.) Tom hung on all day and it paid off, he finished with a super power push and almost caught the next guy. In the end the 32 mile course proved it's dominance and drained every bit of energy a rider could have. Tom finished with a very respectable podium finish in 5th place and Tyler finished 17 sec behind in 6th place. Glen and Danny both had strong races and finished well in there respective categories. Full results can be found here. (A correction in the final results. Tyler raced in the open category placing 6th. It is not as shown, racing in the age and placing 1st.)

Friday, June 19, 2009

If you haven't done a WORS race, you're missing out. Come join the fun!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Le Tour de Mount Pleasant Race Report

The last minute decision to head to Mount Pleasant for the 1st edition of Le Tour de Mount Pleasant had Michelle and me up at 6:00 am on Saturday frantically packing gear and food. Despite the tacit objections by Michelle, the bike got to enjoy the temperate interior climate of the backseat of the car.

We stopped only when it was really necessary. Like when we stopped in Mackinac City to buy a frog kite. Despite the forecast for rain, the sun was shining and the temps were up around 70. It was a great day for a drive, but it would have been an even better day for a bike ride. The rest of my team was chewing up West End singletrack all day, but my competitive spirit forced me to the streets of Mount Pleasant instead.

The Cat 4 crit was at 5:15pm and I arrived with plenty of time to register and warm up. I ran into fellow yoopers Chris Lynch and Tyler Jenema. Fortunately, none of us were seriously injured.

The crit course was dead flat, a six corner "L" shaped course. I rode the first couple laps about midpack but was very sketched out by some of the riding taking place thereabouts. On the 2nd or 3rd lap a bunch of people went down in a corner. I was inside of them, so was unaffected by the crash. From there on out I tried to stay in the top 8 or so. It was fun jockeying for position and taking different lines through the corners. My legs felt good and I rarely was out of the saddle. I was able to power out of the corners and respond to most attacks staying seated. It actually felt pretty easy (especially compared to the Duluth or SBF crit, which have meaningful hills). I got out of position on the last couple laps and was a little further back than I would have liked coming into the final staightaway to the finish line. As I accelerated to the finish, I got tangled up with another rider who went down. I sprinted it out for 5th place and immediately went back to make sure he was ok. Thankfully he was up and walking and not badly injured.

Take a closer look at this pic and the guy over my left shoulder. Bummer.

I refueled with avocados and beef and drove to the campground where a nice wood fire provided the means to prepare a few s'mores. We slipped into the tent and the slothful, cantankerous, foul-mouthed, dog-kicking, beer-guzzling, vomiting in the trashcan folks in the campsite across the way faded into obscurity as visions of exploding R-Sys wheels danced in my head. They were still partying hard when I awoke to relieve myself at 2 am. I was happy to aim the speakers of my portable music player at their campsite as I prepared breakfast at 6 am. :)

I'm getting sick of typing, so I'll make this quick. The road race was short and flat (insert inappropriate comparison here). 33 miles. We had a pretty big field for the narrow roads we rode. Attacks were flying constantly. I did a lot of chasing from the front early on and eventually thought better of it. I got stuck midpack with nowwhere to go for the middle part of the race. The guys at the front let a kid go at the end and he won by a few seconds. I felt like crap up the finishing stretch. I lassoed Chris Lynch's saddle and he pulled us to the finish line for 12th and 13th.

We hung around and watched the Pro/1/2 race finish. It was exciting to see. Tyler and his team, Priority Health, had a nice showing getting a guy in the break and coming away with a 3rd place finish.

The ride home was as lovely as the ride down. We stopped along M-28 to put the bike on the roof so she could get some fresh air as the sun dropped below the horizon.

Monday, June 8, 2009

HED Ardennes Wheel Review

I have now been on a few rides with the new HED Ardennes wheelset. My first impression was "WOW they are thick," since the rim width is 23mm and much wider than of a standard rim. After going on a few longer rides and sprints, the stiffness and aerodynamics proved to be truly impressive. The overall ride quality much more tolerable and faster than any wheels I've used in the past including the top of the line wheels from Shimano, Mavic, Zipp, and Bontrager. After just a few rides I can say that HED has made me a believer in their engineering, and I will recommend them to all riders that don't want to be held back by the wheels they are currently using!

WORS #3--Trek Big Ring Classic Race Report

I sent out a e-mail inviting all my bike racing friends to join me for a daytrip to Wausau for WORS #3--the Trek Big Ring Classic. Maybe it was the reply-to-all that DG sent saying, "I would insist he has a Foley catheter placed prior to the trip, unless you want to read urinal graffiti all the way", but nobody took me up on the offer of a free ride. As remarkable as this may sound to Dave, I only stopped one time to answer nature's call.

Anyway, Jesse Bell's biggest fan was excited to fill the passenger seat and play the role of bottle girl. Thanks mom!

Despite the heavy downpours Saturday night, the course was in great shape with very little mud. I got out to an early solo lead and started picking my way around slower racers from earlier start groups. By the end of the first of 3 laps I felt I had the thing pretty well wrapped up. Riding alone is tricky...nobody to pace you, nobody to push you. Its easy to lose focus and motivation and find yourself slowing down. The trail had some very technical rock sections where your tire ends up squeezing between two adjacent rocks. I always worry about slashing a sidewall and actually burped air out of both tires on the second lap. At one point I stopped to check pressure thinking I had a leak, but hopped back in the saddle when I determined it was ok.

Near the midpoint of the last 8.4 mile lap Greg Cullen FLEW by me. He started 2 minutes back in the 35+ group. I was mightily impressed and didn't even consider trying to grab his wheel--probably a mistake in hindsight. Shortly thereafter I was caught by Scott Golomski, a 19-24 year old that started with me. He attacked as he caught me and got a little separation. I just didn't have the legs to stay with him and he ended up :08 ahead of me.

I finished 3rd overall and 1st in my 30-34 age group. #2 was 6:17 back. MIA were Joe Riesberg and Tom Carpenter, two guys who would have make things a lot more interesting. Next up is the WORS Subaru Cup in 2 weeks. That's a tough course with plenty of climbing. Can't wait!

COMP Results

Monday, June 1, 2009


Some may have missed seeing Dave Z's mustache at the Duluth Classic Time Trial, but it was in form for Stage 2. It was great protection for the crash, and provided the extra power needed for the sprint!

WORS Crystal Lake Classic Race Report

Tom and Jesse raced in the Crystal Lake Classic in Rhinelander, WI this weekend, along with a whole slew of friends and acquaintances from the Ishpeming/Marquette area. Included in this list of who's who in local cycling lore are Dags, The Junttis, Treener, Margaret, Tami, Lori, Swampy, Kelly, dloy, and Amy. I'm sure I missed a few; my apologies to you. The UP was well represented by this group which had several top 5 finishes. Many of our friends from the Red Jackets also came out to race hard (most notably, Mark Klein took top honors in the 25-29 Comp group). Nice job YOOPERS!

The first mile or so of the 11 mile course (which Comp riders did 2 times) is gravel road and doubletrack that winds through a boyscout camp and then climbs a bit before descending into singletrack. From there on out its nearly all bumpy singletrack. The SISU boys went hard out of the gate and stayed near the front through the fast gravel section. Tom was the second man into the singletrack and Jesse was 5th.

Their age group started last this week, so they had to contend with about 150 racers already on the course in front of them. With so much singletrack, this meant lots of time waiting behind slower riders while looking for an opportunity to pass. Tom was able to hang on to second place through the traffic and jumped to first when the leader flatted. Jesse struggled with lap traffic and the pain that results from riding the bumpy stuff on a fully rigid steed. While Tom and Jesse agreed that suspension would have been preferred, the lack therof didn't keep Tom off the podium. He raced to a 1st place age group finish and 3rd overall. The only racers to beat him on the day started ahead of him and didn't have as much traffic to contend with. Once again, he was amazingly strong! Jesse came in 3rd in the age group and 16th overall.

Full results from the WORS Crystal Lake Classic can be found here.