new bikes- singlespeed cannondale caffeine, sale stuff...

I've got a lot going on right now so far as bikes go.  The carbon repair stuff has been going well and has allowed me to upgrade at little or no cost to some bikes that I'm very excited to ride.  I've got a pair of Tommaso Diavolo frames like the one I raced at CIRREM, a Cannondale Flash Carbon 29er that will be my XC race bike, a Raleigh Supercourse that will make an incredible road training/TT bike.  That said, for whatever reason (perhaps, because it's the next one I'll have finished, or maybe because I bought it just to get the lefty off of it for the Flash and when it showed up it was a brand new frame with an eccentric BB and it is just cool?) I'm most excited about this-

The Reba won't be sticking around-  I just needed a fork in order to get it that close to "built" while I wait for my rigid fork to arrive.

So, on to the stuff I have for sale-

My Giant OCR frame/fork with the long reach Tektro brakes- same bike I won dirt bag on etc. $300
27.2 x 350mm Ritchey WCS seatpost with 20mm setback $35
xtr m960 front derailleur (modified for top pull only-  34.9 clamp) $30
ultegra 6600 brakes in ice grey (no pads) $70
ultegra 6600 shifters in well used but solid working condition $110
26" marzocchi fork-  travel adjust etc. etc. not sure on model $100

Lots of other junk that I'm just going to go straight to ebay with.  I mostly figured someone who follows this might be interested in a chance to buy the OCR.  I hate to part with it, but can't justify having so many bikes.  Two CX frames became a higher priority and the Diavolos are just as light as the OCR.  The truth is also that the 700x27s I plan to run for gravel racing will fit in my Look...


CIRREM 2012 Race Report

Here's my Tommaso after the race with Jerome's Jamis in the background, sadly (for me) you'll have to check almanzo.com for the winning bike.

CIRREM is an awesome 63 mile route that begins and ends at the Cumming Tap.  Guaranteed to be a great time, already planning on next year.  A huge range of people come out to this and everyone leaves happy. 

I met Tim Werts over at Milltown Cycles on Friday and we shared some surprisingly good local Faribault Thai food with Ben after tuning Tim's bike up a bit for the race.  Long drive down from there, but I rewarded myself with a Smoked Salmon Tapenade pizza at Red Rossa and was feeling good.

My plan for the race was to sit back and try to be as inconspicuous as possible.  I knew there would be a bunch of strong riders and that at least a handful of them would all be from the same road team.  Sounds weird thinking about "teams" before a gravel event with snow and ice on the roads, but after all this is a road race and would eventually pan out as such.  I knew the course was the same as last year and had a real good sense for where the action would really take place.  On top of that the roads were going to start out snowy/icy and then descend into muck as we went along.  I figured I'd sit back and wait for it to get soft and the consistent hills to get rolling near mile 40.  I knew no "attack" would be needed, just steady climbing/descending/climbing would separate us out fast.

The race started and that plan went out the door.  We were riding 120 deep on 2 1' wide ribbons of ice and people were looking sketchy as hell (this is coming from the guy who fell in this race and took out a bunch of people last year...).  I decided I had to get to the front simply to avoid being taken out.  I moved to the front near the top of a longish descent and soon found myself with just Joe Stephens.  I knew that I didn't want to go out hard with a small group so I kept the pace relatively easy.  Joe is seemed wanted to go a bit faster and I chose to hang on.  Steve Robinson decided to cover our "move" and as soon as I realized he was there I really backed it down.  Luckily after that crap we were out of the way of the worst risk of a big fall and the pace settled back down.  Still, every 3-4 miles someone would go down around me.  In the end I think almost everyone hit the deck at some point, which is pretty crazy really.

It took us a while to reel in Stephens and there was some jumpy crap from a few people as that happened, but nothing terrible.  We went through the checkpoint with 8;  myself, Stephens, Rewerts, Robinson, Severs, VanHouweling, Bach and and Anderson.  Everyone was in good spirits and we rode together, comfortably, chatting.  I thought to myself about how different it is these events at the front...  I remembered my first CIRREM experience and the 4:21 minute time trial that it was.  The relaxed pace was nice, but everyone knew that it wasn't to last forever. 

I tried a few times to get the group to stop for a pee break but it was inconclusive.  A brief attack and then calling for the break when they caught back on did the trick!  We paused for a solid 3 minutes, trying to aim our urine at the most frozen up parts of our bikes (most of us were down to 3 or 4 gears at this point and most of us would never have front shifting all day).  Once back under way thing started getting a lot more heated.  We came to the longest sustained climb, the one that marks the beginning of the rollers and I knew I may as well start really climbing.  I could wait and then have to react or I could sneak out to the side and keep my momentum into the bottom.  Severs really hit it hard for a while, but I don't think he realized how long the hill was and my steadier pace brought us together at the top.  I didn't do a lot of looking around for the next couple of miles as no one was in a mood to let up.  It became just Rewerts,  Anderson, Severs, Robinson and myself.  We lost Robinson and the four remaining slowed once again, most of us with only 1 or 2 working gears once again.  All of us afraid to shift so riding both sides of the constant rollers in whatever gear was working. 

We stopped again at mile 48 to attempt to clean bikes.  Robinson flew by out of no where  before any real progress was made and everything got messy.  I had a few big gears working and my pull in the aero bars dropped Severs then the next bigger hill/mud/unworking bike yanked Robinson.  Anderson was hitting the rollers like a strong man on a clean bike and I was losing a few feet with each pedal stroke.  I was trying to look calm but was having to pull hard on the flat to close the small gaps that were forming with each rise.  Anderson got away and I couldn't close it.  I had his teammate Rewerts on my wheel, his other teammate Robinson and a strong Severs chasing. 

Anderson rode strong those last 8 miles and finished alone by 40 or 50 seconds!  Rewerts attacked me at the last corner and I held on and got the 2nd position heading into the sprint but the 8 miles of hard chasing didn't leave me with enough of a sprint to come around.  I'm very happy with 3rd.  Severs wound up catching Robinson and coming in 20 seconds up on him for 4th.  Stephens rode strong, but his early sustained hard riding may have ultimately hurt.

It's interesting how this race, all gravel racing?, seems to be changing.  Two years ago there was a 3 way tie here...  this year that just didn't seem to even be remotely an option. 

The beer and people at the finish were great.  I went from feeling pretty good on the bike to realizing that I was just destroyed real quick.  My face in the mirror reminded me of that Charly Farrow at Trans Iowa picture.  Now Mr. Farrow is a handsome man, but he's also a few years my senior!  I hope someone sends me the image of the podium that they took right after we finished.

Check out Tim's blog for more on his day, sounds like it was pretty exciting after an early pack crash had him almost out of the race.

I managed to waddle out to the car, find warm clothes, eat some awesome BBQ and enjoy the awards.  I also recieved my Cup O' Dirt mugs!  More about them and pictures soon.


I've lost 25 lbs in 16 weeks- how and why?

In October I decided that I was too heavy for the types of races that I cared the most about.  I felt I had ridden well all year and particularly well in the late fall, but realized that it was probably in spite of my 193 lbs.  It seemed obvious that in order to compete at a higher level I would have to find a way to lose a significant amount of weight, and to do so without losing too much power.

I wasn't sure how much weight loss to shoot for.  When I was a ski racer I always struggled with being too light and was always trying to gain pounds in order to take advantage of gravity a little bit more.  My experience thus far as a cyclist didn't give me a ton of insight-  I have steadily improved year to year despite my weight fluctuating from about 170-190 seemingly randomly.  I initially figured I needed to get down to at least 180 or that range (the weight I had been at for the Royal 162, Keeweenaw Chain Drive, etc. part of this year).

My plan to lose the weight was simple-  stop drinking more than 2 servings of alchohol on any given day, skip bedtime snacks...

I lost 8 lbs between winning the Dirt Bag and the Midwest Championships CX races.  At the Midwest Championships I rode strong and technically well, but the fast Juniors I was up against were generally able to drop me on the toughest climb.  I started thinking about how much better than 6th I could have been if I could keep my strength, skills and be as "light" as the kids.  I looked at my body and considered how much of that weight really was wasted fat (I certainly had some extra "belly").

I set new goals-  175 lbs by Triple D, 170 lbs by CIRREM, 165 at Ragnarok.  I knew I would have to work to acheive those goals and that the biggest danger would be to lose strength and/or risk getting sick if I didn't get proper nourishment.  I decided that I would chart my calories using a phone application and that I would make a point of not being very strict about what I ate when I was riding a lot.  I would also use my powertap to monitor my strength as much as possible and to reassess as I went.  I felt like I might be losing my mind, but I decided to try it.

The first few days of actually keeping track of what I ate were very hard.  I felt a bit dizzy at the end of the night at work and was positively starving by the time I went to bed.  I had a few setbacks where I over ate because of trying so hard not to eat too much.  There was even one night where I bonked so bad  between work and home that I had to stop, eat McDonalds and call for a ride.  I was only eating 300-350 calories less than I was burning per day and it felt like hell.  At this point my goals seemed impossible, surely feeling this hungry would mean that I'd get weaker.

After roughly one month of real work things became a lot easier.  I began to find that I was only hungry for approximately the amount of food that I "should" have been consuming.  I had already lost another 7 lbs or so and now the weight was coming off without much additional effort.  I was also solidly in my long, slow, endurance training time of year and riding my bike 9-18 hours a week.  I made my goal weight for Triple D and won the race.  I figure that was somewhat of a sign that I wasn't going totally in the wrong direction.

Since Triple D I've been deliberately eating a bit more-  only shooting to "under eat" by 200 calories or so per day.  However, I've found that I continue to shed pounds at roughly same rate.  I may be underestimating the calories burned while cycling.  I know I'm not burning as many as my Garmin 705 says or that the calorie program on my phone states are burned at various speeds on a bicycle.  If those programs were right I'd have died back in January...   so I estimate based on my RPE and usually "give" myself between 350 and 500 calories per hour.  How do you estimate those numbers accurately? We've had a very warm winter and I've been able to ride my Giant outside with the powertap and do some testing.  I have yet to see any evidence of losing sustained power.  My maximum sustained output for 30 minutes has gone up significantly since I last tested (my speed over the same has gone down-  but it's not very comparable due to 700x30s on my bike in winter, the cold etc.).  I'm actually 167 or 168 now and ahead of my goal weight for CIRREM.

Overall, I'm pretty shocked at how easy losing that much weight has actually been and surprised that, other than being 25 lbs lighter, it doesn't seem to have had much effect on how I feel riding.  It's as if all I had to do was get the ball rolling in the right direction and the momentum is just pulling me along now.
Almost to the point where now I would have to work to reverse things...  over the last couple weeks I've really not eaten "carefully" and I've had a lot of stuff that would definitely not be allowed in any diet, but still when I jump on the scale monday morning I'm down another 1.x pounds.

Time will tell how it ultimately effects my riding.  It's hard to know at what weight I might start to lose my strongest sprinting or at what weight I would climb the best etc. etc..  The races I care about most right now are the Royal 162, Keeweenaw Chain Drive and the Chequamegon 100 (metric version).  I'm convinced that erring on the "light" side would be best for all of those.  That said, at this point I've reassessed and plan to focus on eating healthy but plenty.  I don't think I'll have much trouble with 165 for the Ragnarok and I'm not so sure that isn't an ideal number for me overall.


Dickie Scramble Prizes etc.

Thanks to Bicycle Sports- The Best Bike Shop in Rochester MN for some awesome prizes!  

As this is meant primarily as a fun group ride event and in the interest of safety the prizes will be given out in a slightly different manner.  There will be a series of 5 or so pre-determined primes, or mini races, to locations throughout the course.  The idea is that a large group will be able to ride together comfortably but the city line, hilltop, and other sprints will pay out in more than just respect.  After each mini race we will regroup and continue as a group.  Only I will know where all the primes are located and they won't be announced until they are to be contested.  There may be a DFL prize, but it's not going to be anything up there.

Of course, that will leave a few "extras" to be given away for other things...  Expect to have fun.

Again- we are meeting at the far south trailhead of the Douglas Trail in Rochester around 9:45 for a 10 am start.  Ride what you got-  it's going to be gravel/pavement/trail, anything goes.

I can be reached at 612-730-0775 if you need any help finding it or whatever else. 


April 22nd Double Century, 8 Day XC Ski Season

Route-  I'd love to have company...  It's a good route with lots of bike paths, shouldn't be harder than the Royal.  This is two weeks before-  perfect preparation.  I'll be trying either way, bringing lights so I can take a nice lunch in LaCrosse. 

Skiing is apparently going to be over for the year here in Rochester.  Glad I got out for four of the 8 or 9 days that conditions were good on!  I'll be making at least two more trips to Wolverine Village.  You are welcome to join me March 24th/25th, hoping to get at least a few people.  We will be xc and downhill skiing weather permitting (and it should be fine up there), snowshowing/hiking, maybe even biking and bird watching.  Drop me a line if you are interested.