Monday, November 16, 2009


If, I was faster, I would place better. If I had better handling skills, I would place better. If I would fall less, I would place better. All if's. Well this week The if's were kept to more of a minimum than usual.
I did my first masters 30 plus this week seeing as how the race was on Saturday. I liked the start. Not as hurried as the 4's. The start was definately more relaxed seeing as how I know I'm completely outclassed. Up the hill the first time after the double barriers I ran, passing a couple of people. The first time in the sand, I had good speed going into it and ended up slamming into the back of Joe Callo from Tati who was bogged down in front of me. Running and getting out of the second sand pit just killed my legs. The good thing is, it killed everybodies legs. After the turn onto the straightaway after the shouts of encouragement from Rhythm Racing, i was able to turn the gass on again. The mud pit didn't get me in this race, going wide only once and just touching a foot down a foot, nothing more. With my horrid bike handling skills, I was actually able to handle the back section fine. I was gunning for Joe who was two in front of me the whole race. He made a mistake in the mud pit on the last lap so I was able to pass him. I toyed with the guy in front of him too much and he blasted by me on the back half. I ended up coming in 31. Not too bad for my first 45 min race. My two goals for the race were not to get lapped and to beat my teamates. Done and done. Sorry guys, nothing personal, just a goal.
The 4A was my second race. As usual there was an early lineup. I was able to get into the second row. The thing that I noticed in comments earlier this year was " why do guys who usually come in less than 30 place clog the front?" It's on the hope that THIS race will be our break out race. All of our shortcomings won't rear their head and we wil actually surpass our mediocrity. And that's the way it is for all of us who don't do good week after week. The race was pretty much a repeat of the previous one, until the mud pit got me. It was my only large gaff of the day surprisingly. There were 4 riders in single file going through right hand side of the mud. Here's me thinking I can get around them by going straight through. Almost half way I knew I didn't have the momentum to take me through.Soin my attempt to dismount,while I was in the process of swinging my leg over, the front wheel hit the lip of the sinkhole, sending me right on my butt. Even with that I ended up 32nd. This was my second best placement of the year.
Little steps, little steps.
I would also like to thank everybody for their shouts of encouragement and the occasional "Go geisha!"

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Best of Both Worlds

I think the wife and daughter are more excited about this weekend than I. They get a chance to stay in a hotel with a indoor pool, not to mention the all day buffet. It’s not often when the wife tells you, did you sign up for that race yet? Don’t forget to get a reservation for a room.

I get the chance to race on a golf course, and take my frustration I had for many years of chasing a little white ball around with a stick. We know how I race bikes, well my golf game isn’t any better. Now vengeance will be mine, I shall crush the Kentucky Blue Grass under my wheels, and slice though the sand of a fairway bunker. Just knowing that I don’t have to rack the sand after is enough to make me smile.


Monday, November 2, 2009

Pic By Frank Shapiro

This is the report, short and sweet. I suck LOL... But all the kids loved Sponge Bob.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Memoirs of a Geisha

So how did I come up with the costume? With one day left before Halloween, I raided my wives vast wardrobe. It's truly a magical place. I came across a leather coat and leather shorts from the 80's with all these wild colors. But what could I do with that? Next I found a sari. Should I go as Ghandi? I had the glasses, but I couldn't pull off a shaved head over a helmet. Next I found some authentic Japanese robes. I know I had white grease paint and a white long haired wig. Could I transform the white wig into a geisha's headpiece? Well, we all know what the answer is to that question. With two rubberbands, scissors, a can of black spray paint, chopsticks, and some fake flowers for color, a geisha was born! Tony Yashimoda.
While checking in to the 4A race my name was called and I corrected the official of my last name. On the final check to see if everybody was present, my name was called again and again I corrected the official. She got it the second time around. I have always liked this course, seeing that this is my third season riding it. I can definately say that was the most stakes I have ever run through or broken, inadvertantly and also on purpose. I think I made it through there cleanly only once and every time I went trough people were saying " which spectator is he aiming for this time?" Not everybody noticed, but one time after the single track that I went through the tape instead of going around the greasy turn I let the two riders past me who I unfairly passed. Out of the eight times I went up the hill I ran once. Outside of that, if you stayed far left you were fine. No real big problems outside of that. It just feel like whenever I get off my bike to run I feel like a clydsdale.
This was my first time doubling up. If it doesn't kill you the first time, might as well try again. I really didn't fare any better. I wasn't expecting another call up. I do appreciate that the organizers recognized the women in the race and flannel guy, and the other guy who goes nameless, but plugs away race after race. It's just nice to see that our cycling community is not full of itself and hospitable to every caliber of rider. So after a thurough washing I'm back to plain old Tony Rienks.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Chicago Cross Cup Race #5

And the pain just keeps coming at you. It was another tough race this week brought to you by ABD. The course was long and set up for the power riders, with long straight false flats. The ground kinda soft for my first race, the masters 30+. I am still in a fog with all of the non-training that we have been doing. (The price for puting on our first cross race, well worth it.) I’m not worried anymore about placing in the rest of the cross races. I just want to ride hard and get as much benefit as I can out of them.

One thing that was good was I raced on a set of carbon tubular from Rob Curtis. He is renting sets at each race, so you can try them before you buy them. I will post a review of the wheels on my blog in a few days.

On another note, I had the opportunity to meet some of the upper crust of the local cross scene. One being Tim Boundy from Verdigris Cycling. He gave our team some great praise for our race that we put on. When someone like that says that it was UCI caliber, and very euro, you have to stop and take notice,and he is not the only one. Trust me when you get people of that caliber commend you on your course, it gives you a sense of accomplishment. A bit of fear that you will have to step it up again next year. I’m sure that we will be up to the challenge. We have an outstanding core of riders and sponsers who have stepped up to the plate all the time. To which a lot of the credit should go to. VeePak inc. & the Beverly Bike Shop For now we have more pressing things to tend to. We have shown that we are a good team in retrospect to always being out there, but now we need to work on our commitment to training to achieve better results next year. Only time will tell on that one.

To all of those who were yelling for me all over the course, THX. I was ready to die out there. The cheers were the only thing that was keeping me going in the last race. You are all the best.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

As the World Turns

I thought our course was hard. But man, all those turns made me as dizzy as a kid getting off the tea cups at Disney; by the way, which I also experienced. I got there last minute as usual, and I met Bob for a little pre-course strategy. He gave me some tips on the course. It was nice having someone on the team ride 30+ with me. It gives me support and motivation to do well and I hope I have the same effect on others. Bob has been riding well so I had to be on my game. As we took off, Bob got to the front of the race quickly and in good position. I tried to use him as a carrot but he was riding well and I felt he was pulling away. I’m very sketchy on the turns and with so many of them I could sense I was dropping back. More confident riders were easily passing me. What little I could make up was on the straights and clearly this was not going to be enough. As I started losing sight of Bob, all of a sudden I see him standing by a tree I thought for sure he crashed. As I approached him I asked “you crashed?” He held up the top of his saddle while the metal rails remain on his bike. Enough said. That sucked for sure.
As I continued the race, it got harder the more turns I made the more squeamish I got. I crashed last Sunday on our own course.. Go figure? I didn’t want to crash today.(what a Wuss) The sand pit had a nice twist to it or shall I say turn, also those rolling bumps were equally challenging. The course was awesome my skills suck, but I still had a blast and my sweet wife got some nice pics. Thanks for your support!!!!! See you next week.


Carpentersville Race Report

I changed up races and road in the 30+ event. Not wanting to interfere with the real racers I lined up in the back. I figured if I started in the back and moved up past riders it would be good training. The plan started off well enough, I went into turn 1 DFL, and by the middle of the first lap I was sitting mid pack. I was leading a group of 6 to 8 riders into the last two turns when I hit a large root on a turn and went down. I heard a few of the guys ask if I was ok, and I told them yes, and to go. I jumped up and hopped to remount the bike, but when my leg hit the seat, the seat snapped off the rails with a loud snap. I jumped on the bike anyway, saying to myself, I’m going to finish one lap. That’s when the officials saw me cross the line and laughed as they told me I was done if I didn’t have a saddle or pit bike in the pit. They did say AAAAhhhhhh that’s the noise we heard, as they chuckled.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Who Designed that F'ing Course?

Uh, we did. Oh yeah, I forgot. Having this as our training grounds and riding it so many times was nothing like racing on it with tape and the hoopla that goes along with race day. I would first like to thank my team for their support and all the riders who came out also. All 344 of you. See the south side has something to offer afterall!
We started getting ready the night before by cleaning under the trees, pruning low hanging branches and flagging the areas we knew would be ok for the night. Elvis ended up looking like a bush himself with all the burrs he got attached to his whole body while cleaning up the single track.
We got there at 6:45 in the morning on Sunday and started to set up the course. There were some game day changes to the course which I think now enchanced the course itself. It felt like it took too long to set up, but we were ready at 9:29. The first race started on time at 9:30. If I knew it was OK with the officials to keep both sides of the run up open that's how we would have ran it the whole day instead of just for the 4's races.
So, onto my race. I suck. Nothing like going down twice on the switchback on the hill when that was my bread and butter while training. In all I went down two more times. Actually down one more time, coming around the 360 at the bottom of the run up hill, and a complete dead turn-your-bike-around 180 degrees dead stop at the bottom of the other hill. That was the part of the course we changed. Coming down from the big hill was supposed to go around one tree where you would have to apply your brakes. We made the turn around two trees where you didn't need brakes and could just fly. Well after the two tree turn I didn't lean in enough catching an outside tape post with my handlebars. Now I'm thinking that I must have hit that post almost with the center of my bars because it stopped, and jumped the rear of my bike 180 degrees so I was facing backwards without falling down. It took me a second to figure out that I had to get off my bike just to get back in the right direction on the course.
With all that being said we suck, but hopefully our course didn't.

Monday, October 5, 2009


Going Backwards

I have so much on my mind with our race coming up that training hasn't been a top priority. Then again, I think I just suck no matter how much training I do. It's a little disheartening when you find people who are in their first cross races beating somebody who has been riding cx for 3 years now.
Enough of the pitty party onto the race. I got to the chute and placed myself on the front line. Then it was monkey see monkey do with everybody linning up behind me. I thought I was golden. I didn't have great postioning at JP and it hurt in the end. This Sunday was going to be different! So after the call ups the rest of us mopes moved to the line. I got in the second row right behind the guy in 8th on the call up. I was happy with this postion knowing that somebody with skill was in front of me. Too bad he wasn't paying attention for the whistle. So the whistle blowes and for a couple of seconds I'm not moving. So much for good starting position. Needless to say I gas myself to on top of the hill. I'm done at that point, knowing that what little I gain or loose is'nt going to make that much of a difference. Another disheartening thing is to find people who went down in front of you, when you didn't fall down, beat you. OUCH. The rear wheel got loose 2 times, but I was able to save a high side both times. I think it's a cool feeling to know you averted getting thrown off your bike by sheer luck rather than skill.
Well it's over with probaly my worst finish since my first race of cross coming in 40th. Onto Dan Ryan Woods. We'll see if there is any home field advantage. I doubt it with 74 other guys who are more fit than I am. Tony


Please look at our flier. As of our race and all races thereafter, Chicrosscup has made time and category changes. This is to better accomodate the ammount of riders who are coming to these events.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009


After finishing, that's how I felt. I was at my limit just after running through the sand on the first lap and did not come down until after the race was over. The limit you ask? How about an average of 190bpm. I have never run that high. I haven't been practicing cross and the first barrier I came to was the first barrier I came to of the year. I take that back the first barrier I came to I was already off my bike running, trying to advance places while people were still slowing down to dismount for the barrier. After that the field started to thin out. I have always liked spiral of death and it was a pleasent reminder of the course from last year. Again I ran over the timbers because of too many people on the first lap. The rest was elemental. More "mental" than anything. A couple of dumb mistakes that cost me spots. On the second lap I unclipped with the wrong foot attempting to dismount for a barrier. The other, on the first lap while I was running attempting to remount I threw my bike too far forward not landing on the saddle but catching my shorts on the back of it having to readjust to get back on. Not the worst mistakes but they hurt none the less. At least I didn't go down as is my penchant.
You could say there were too many people for the race. But what is the constructive sollution? Unfortunately at this time I cannot cat up because of family commitments earlier in the day or I probably would. Do I deserve to cat up is another story. I just hope nobody gets injured with so many riders out there.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


Almost everyone I know who races has some sort of pre-race ritual. These rituals can vary as widely as the personalities that they are attached to. From what you eat, and when you eat it, to how you prepare yourself for an event. These rituals can range from how you pin your number on, to which shoe goes on first. We all have some form of ritual, whether we recognize them or not.

As for me, I go one step further. The pre-pre-race ritual for me focuses entirely on the machine. For without the machine, I am merely a spectator. The pre-pre-race ritual involves a top to bottom review of the machine. And the first step always includes a wash. Sure a dirty bike proves to an onlooker that you actually get out and train. But a clean bike on race day shows that you care about what the outcome of the race may be. Showing up to a race with a dirty bike in my opinion is like showing up being prepared to lose. Why? Simple. Someone who looks after their machine on a regular basis knows that it will work for them when they may perhaps need it most.

To start a race being undertrained is one thing. To start a race not knowing for sure if your bike will work flawlessly is inexcusable. I'm sure you have heard the stories post race of how someone would have made the selection or out kicked someone in the sprint if only their derailleur would have shifted better. I have also seen more than once someone lose a crank arm. A crank arm? Yup, had that racer gone over their bike and been familiar with all of its parts a crank arm would have never come off. This is where the pre-pre-race comes into its own.

The most important thing is to start with a clean bike. Get a bucket, a hose, a few brushes, a sponge and some dish soap and water. A good cleaning can go a long way in keeping a bike running smoothly. And a routine cleaning after muddy or rainy events can prolong the life of a drivetrain. Rinse it off, scrub it down, repeat as necessary. A clean bike can also reveal things that a dirty bike may not. With the abundance of lightweight carbon fiber parts on bikes these days, a clean bike can reveal the tiny cracks in stems, handlebars and seat posts that otherwise might not have been noticeable. I would rather discover that I have to replace a seat post that has devoleped a crack in it in the driveway, rather than the crux of a race when the post fails.

Once the machine has been throughly cleaned and dried, take the time to look over the shifting mechanisms from the derailleurs, to the shifters, and cables. A smaller brush and some degreaser can clean out the rear mechanism and a few drops of lube on the pivot points can keep everything running smoothly. At this time you can also check and make sure the brakes are working properly and the pads are hitting the rim squarely. A quick check of the cables and their tensions is also a good idea at this time. The chain should have been scrubbed with a stiff brush during the wash. Now check for any tight links and apply a lube to each roller. Wipe off the excess and the drivetrain is complete.

At this point you should turn your attention to the frame, fork and components. Check the high stress areas first. If there were any crashes recently check for any additional damage. Check the fork crown for stress cracks and make sure the drop outs are in good condition. Seat posts, stems and handlebars are the controls of the machine. Make sure they are secure and are not broken in any way.

Wheels and tires are the last thing to be checked for me. Start with a spin of the wheel and make sure there are no wobbles. A rim that rubs a brake pad not only wastes energy, but could signal a larger problem. Check the tires for cuts, and make sure they are seated in the rim. If using tubulars, make sure the base tape is still firmly attached all the way around and on both sides. Finally check the wheel alignemnt in the frame and fork and make sure the skewers are securely fastened.

One final thing. If you are using white or colored tape, a scrub brush and some soapy water will return them to a new appearance. For the ultimate in PRO cleanliness, also be sure to clean the mud off of the bottom of the saddle.

Doing this all sounds like a lot of work. But so is all of the training hours that we all put in. A little bit goes a long way if you can ensure that you can cross the finish line with a bike in working order. There are so many variables come race day, from the weather, to the parcours to the competition. Why not eliminate one of them and make sure your machine is as ready as you are.

Friday, September 18, 2009

My Clincher Can Beat Up Your Clincher

I have a feeling that I possess the only known pair of these in the City of Chicago if not the entire state. I bought these back in 1997 and have used them ever since. Quite possibly the best cyclocross tire. Ever. These babies hook up well in the loose stuff, hardpack, mud and grass. Fetching upwards of $100 sometimes for only one on eBay and often used, I feel lucky to have held onto them for so long. Now the question is which wheelset should I mount them on?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

New Toy

After spotting one of these at Church a few weeks back everyone who was present knew they had to have one. We all joked about how Amazon was going to crash because we were all going to be logging on to buy one. Bob took the plunge first and had his at the last Church race where he put it to good use, rumor has it that he was charging $1 a bike!

As of yesterday there were still a few left over at Amazon, I ordered mine on Sunday and had it yesterday, so there is still time to have it for Jackson Park, although the weather looks like it will hold out til then. Even so, I expect to hear lots of little orange pressure washers at races this year, get yours while supplies last! Now I just need some rubber rain boots.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


So, it's been a month since my last race and I don't feel that great. The good thing is most of the people I talk to feel the same way. I have been bothered by my left hip for a while. Then I fell on it again during cross training and am developing sciatic pain that radiates down to my little toe. That being said, the race started without a problem, or should I say the neutral roll out. I don't mind this course and have rode it frequently with the team ever since we started riding. We also sponsored a leg of the Chicago time trial here last year. Good communication on the hill led to everybody agreeing where the hill opened into it's full width. "Is it now, is it here? Well the guy did wave the flag." Right after the hill somebody goes off the front and the pack responds. No big deal. That pretty much summed up my race. There was really no place to go on the course and I knew that nobody would be able to stay off the front. My hip felt good not nagging me at all. I tried on the hill on lap 2 and 3 to get good jumps and I did, then slow myself down in the middle to see how passed me. One thing that I noticed but few did, was after the first hill, after the cones, just before the second hill, there is a slight l hand turn. The left hand side of the course there was flatter and more of a straight line. Nobody was really riding that section and boy could you pick up some places. That would be my plan for the last lap. On the last lap I didn't feel that I had good positioning. It's hard to move anywhere on the course and the pack was just surging back and forth the whole time on Archer. So into the hill for the last time and I'm postionined about 25 back. I come into the hill in the middle and i'm not really pounding moving onto the right side of the course safely. Thank goodness I did that because a short while later, right where the cones ended I hear some carnage going on. You know it's bad when you hear a rider who is caught up in the aftermath of a crash hollering because he knows he will be going down also just for the simple fact he's behind it. And I'm sure going up a hill, the crash must have been like slow motion in his mind. Needless to say I never made it to the point on the left side of the hill that I wanted to. I did pick up a bunch of places peddaling hard into the base of the last hill where it seemed like a bunch of guys in front of me were soft peddaling, waiting for he finish. I did end up at the finish line getting caught by two of those riders but held off the rest for 13th. Not the worst or the best finish for the end of the road racing year. Now onto cross!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Monday, August 31, 2009


After a few phone calls to the Cook County Forest Preserves we finally got our voice heard by the superintendant of recreation. Seeing that he never even heard what cx is, we hit him with as much info as we could. He and his assistant, who turned us flat down earlier, were impressed with how well put together Chicross Cup and USA Cycling are. We answered their two main concerns which were saftey and environmental preservation to their satisfaction.
Now we have a race to organize. Permitting is underway and course planning is still being tweeked. So save the date and look back here often for updates. Tony

Sunday, August 23, 2009


A healthy dose of penance was served today by all of those who attended Church in Western Springs. The parcours offering was nothing less than spectacular and brutal at the same time with every element typical of 'cross thrown in. Each lengthy lap included gravel pathways, singletrack, off-camber grassy hills, barriers, asphalt, a 50 degree run-up, mud, sand and lots of pain. With no real extended power sections, there was hardly any chance to recover before coming upon the next element. Laps were completed in about 10 minutes with a total of 5 laps for over 50 minutes of racing. And while they may not be sanctioned events, the pace is nothing less than all out.

Between 25 and 30 zealots took part in this mornings service, and at times I found myself praying out loud to God in an effort to make the pain stop. Truthfully after settling in once the initial sorting out of the first lap and half, things starting coming together. My breathing became rythmic and the legs found a comfortable cadence. I attacked the course, sprinting out of each corner and mustered as much power as I could on the flats. I have to admit that I was rather demoralized when Ted rode up the run-up that some were having trouble with on their feet.

I look forward to the next assembly of parishioners in a few weeks, although I do propose that a tithe be collected and some catering ordered of waffles, frites and mayo! What good is a church service without the Sunday brunch afterwards?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Damon didn't mention that we train at Dan Ryan Woods. It is unbelievably safe on the weekday's. Outside of us there is usually a handful of other people there. We meet up on 87th street at the base of the hill east of Western in the parking lot. Our hours are very flexable, but as of now, half our team rides on Thurs around 5:30. We don't discriminate. This is open to whomever wants to enjoy riding cx, beginner or better. If anybody needs more info, feel free to call me. Tony 772 238 3923

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Cross Training

Friday was a good day for the team and me. Damon was able to talk to local Pro Ben Popper, and get him to Come on down to the Southside. We wanted to get his help in setting up our cross training course. We knew that we had a hidden jewel that was just sitting there waiting to be revealed, but I never expected to get what Ben set up for us. The only thing we don’t have is the sand, thank goodness. We now have it all. We have a nice run-up, pave, and long flat sections of grass. Then we get to the Hill, it’s not small nor is it to big, but it will get your attention. You start out twisting and turning your way up to the top, and then you come back down a third of the way to turn hard back to the top to only come the gut check. It’s a strait shot down a off cambered section that we saw Ben unclipping for the descent. I imagine there will be a lot of crashing at first, all over the hill. That’s ok, because if we can master the techniques to conquer Muggers Hill. (Ref to the unjust reputation of the Southside, and the fact that you will feel like you have been mugged after going down a few times for us mere mortals. Ben made it looked easy.) I this will cure my three crashes a race problem.

I know I have said this before, but the people in our sport are the best. Where else can you get a local pro’s to take time out of there day to help out other riders. I know we are no pros nor will we probably be. But most of the guys that have made it to upper level of our sport never forget where they started and always seam to give back what they can. That says a lot about them and our sport.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Mountain Biking?

First off I have to address a previous post about me getting elbowed. Somebody wrote in a comment that it is actually safer for the rider to use an elbow than to take their hand off their bars. Point taken.
I haven't riden in a week and wasn't able to go to Mattesen last night. I wanted to go on the road, but Damon invited me to the trails in Palos. All I have is my cross bike but he goes out there all the time with his so I went. I asked him if a pair of 700 by 30 tires would be fine. He said they would but I soon found out I would have appreciated something a whole lot beefer under me. We met up with a friend of his who had a mountain bike. As soon as we got into the parking lot there was a guy sitting in his car with the door open with blood trailing down from his knee. Not a good omen.
All I could say is that is probably my last time on those trails. For me it is hard enough to stay upright on the street without obstacles. Now throw in roots and rocks. Needless to say my forearms got a workout trying to keep my hands on the hoods while breaking.
I would say we were not even 100 yards into the trails and I fell. I slid off of something that looked like concrete at a 45 degree angle but was actually made of packed dirt. Hurray for me! I have another hour and a half of this. The good thing is I didn't fall again. Not for a lack of trying mind you. Just the sheer will of God looking down on me kept me upright some of the times.
So what did I learn? Don't go to Palos with anything less than a mountain bike if you don't have any skills. The only good thing about having a cross bike out there was I was able to ride home from the forest preserves at a good pace.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

This Is Why You Will Never Be PRO

This is George Hincapie's collarbone X-ray which was taken THIS morning, 6 days after suffering the break en route to Le Grand Bornand during stage 17. Hincapie still managed to race over 560kms despite the fact that his collarbone was in two pieces. Ponder the fact that he still rode, no raced, nearly 350 miles including a TT in which he finished only 2:34 seconds off the winning time, and climbed to the top of Ventoux finishing just over 5 minutes behind Juan Manuel Garate of Rabobank. The next time you finish up a "hard" ride and consider yourself a hardman, think again!

Oh yeah and do you you know how George fixed it? He put some effing tape on it.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


This is no more important than on race day with fellow riders. It is equally important with your teammates throughout the year. Nobody should know all of the intricacies or subtleties of race tactics in the lower cats and if they do they are sandbagging. The reason I bring this up is while in the Chicago Crit I was in the middle of two in my opinion questionable moves. Seeing as how I have a penchant for going down I was happy to keep the rubber side down during the harrier of the two.
During the cat4 race before turn 3 a rider shot between me and another rider. This led him to bump into me and ricochet and hit the rider on the outside whereby the outside rider went down. Unfortunately this sent me into a tirade for lack of a better word. I did not see what transpired before this guy squeezed into the middle, but this is where communication if not common sense should take place. If there is no space don't try to make any and if you being in the middle are getting pinched off or the guys on the outside are getting tight, say something before you throw the elbows. Needless to say I liked the dynamic of the race pace with the pack flipping from the back to the front. I had a good sprint at the end but got pinched by the guardrail jutting out on the east side of the course behind a slower sprinter and came in 14th.
The masters race was tamer than the 4's. In the middle of the race I thought I was competing for a wheel and had it when all of a sudden I get elbowed. To my knowledge there was no warning before the elbow and I really did not see the guy on my side. This concerned me. Is an elbow on the wide open front stretch an appropriate warning? I really have never experienced this before. I think the appropriate response is talking and if not a hand. This keeps the rider a safer distance away and lets your elbow bend to absorb him coming closer. Unfortunately on the last lap I was out front. I kept the pace slow so as not to burn myself out. Around turn 3 and at the to of the hill I sensed a guy coming to my outside. I stood up and saw Elvis coming around me before turn 4. I didn't have the momentum going around it. Elvis ended up 7th and I came in 16th.
If ever there is any questionable tactics going on or just something you don't understand they should be discussed in a constructive manner. Something I am guilty of not doing at times. This will only better our understanding of this great sport and make it safer for everyone involved. I learned some valuable lessons in these races and am not above criticism either. Unfortunately I have also made some questionable moves but as long as we learn from our mistakes they will not be made in vain. Tony

Sunday, July 19, 2009

IN. State TT

It was a bitter sweet race for me. The day started off good enough, I had a good warm up and I felt good at line. There was no wind to speak of, maybe a 3-5mph head wind for the 1st 20k.. In other words, a perfect day for a TT. I went off with a bang, riding at 26 to 27mph for the first 2mi., But I seamed a bit sluggish. I slowed down and could only manage to keep a 21.8avg for the first 20k. My heart was at an avg. rate of 177 at the turn. I’m thinking in my head that I need to lay it all on the line. So I really pushed hard, my legs were screaming and my heart was pounding. I was able to maintain a 23mph on the way back, but still I was confused. What the heck was wrong? I didn’t figure out the problem till I was off the bike. My daughter asked me, why is water bottle was so dirty? I looked at it and I was puzzled for a few sec. Then I looked at the front brake and I could see brake dust everywhere. I was bit upset at myself because I know better. Check your equipment stupid. I missed getting a medal by a 1min 33sec.. Still it’s all my fault, and I have no one blame but myself. The only good thing is I improved my time by 4min 25sec form last year.


40k 1:06:55

Friday, July 17, 2009

Super Week? Not So Far

I'm a little reluctant to write this because so far my performance hasn't been up to par. The legs are there, the mind is not.
Blue Island was fine, up until I went down. No big deal, at least not for me. Jorge's tire went flat into turn 2 with 3 laps to go. I was directly behind him when he washed out. He said I hit his body. I ended up falling and then sliding on top of his bicycle coming out of the wreck with only a scratch on my elbow, nothing else. As for Jorge and his bike that's another story.
Richton Park looked good from the start with us having 6 riders in the field. With a little pre planning we at least knew what to expect from each other. The race was a good enough tempo when I got on a breakaway with 4 other guys. We stayed away for 8 laps. I think we could have stayed out longer, but didn't work as good as we could have together. After the pack reeled us back in, Bob went out. 2 riders bridged up and me and Elvis blocked. I think me and Elvis gave Bob as effective of a block as 2 riders could muster but it didn't last. With 2 laps left I was willing to lead out Bob and Elvis for the finish having a good postion on a guy I marked at the begining of the race. Man did he have some nice lines around the turns. And there I was right behind him. At the start finish line with 1 left I see somebody go off the front which was inconcequential but then my marked man starts going off, so I followed. No sooner than I catch up to him, he sits up. So now my dilemma. Do I sit up or do I hammer for a lap. With me and my mentality, which on do you think I did? So I hammer it going around turn 1 and 2 all by myself. Coming out of turn 2 I touch my peddal on the ground which sends me wobbling into the grass. Thankfully I didn't go down. More importantly when I came back on the course, nobody caught up to me yet. If they did and I was to come back on, that would have been a catastrophy. Ther's me not thinking again. Needless to say, my momentum was gone and everybody passed me going into turn 3.
My next race was the short course in Milwakee. A 2.2 mile loop which is situated right on their lakefront, then up a 80 foot climb, by some beutifull houses and back down to a very long staright away. I was talking to some guys before the race on what casette to us seeing as how I had on my 11-23. One guy from Chicago said he's going to a 12-26, but a Milwakee guy said It was a big ring climb in your 21. I'm glad to say I changed to the 12-26. The hill was graduall but the 26 allowed me to stay in the bing ring the whole race. With all being said, I expended too much energy throughout the race. I have to restrain myself from pulling so much when nobody else wants to. All the attacks were quickly reeled back in. I know I had decent positioning but on the last lap at the top of the hill a little gap opened up and i wasn't in the front. Knowing that this was the last lap, and all the other breaks were nullified really fast I decided to conserve myself for the sprint and let somebody else reel them back in . Well, nobody was willing to chase them down so here I go again. It was a break of 8 and I never did catch up to them. All I did was lead out the remainder of the field coming in 14.
What did all this teach me so far? I'm still trying to figure it out.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

In the Heat of the Moment

First of all, I would like to clear up a mishap at Blue Island Crit. In the final two laps I was towards the rear of the pack. The pack was squirrelly and riders were trying to position for spots all over. In a moment of haste I quickly came out to my right to catch on another rider’s wheel. My rear tire took out another rider’s front wheel and caused a serious crash. I even took out my own team mate (sorry Bob). I sincerely apologize for this mishap and my poor judgment. I went back to get some info on the rider that went down. A course marshal informed me that Chris from Naperville of Team ABD went down. I am sorry Bro. It was unintentional and totally not my style, nor is it our teams’ style or tactics. My team and I make every effort to race clean and fair. I wanted to address this matter ASAP so others may not misinterpret my actions. In the future I will commit to riding in a safer manner. I want all of us to come home safely to our families. We all want to do well but clearly not at that price…


Saturday, July 4, 2009

In The News

From Left: Jorge, Clark, Bob, Rich, Matt, Elvis, Damon, Tony

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Beep, Beep Beep

So you want to work on your top end speed? Do you need to sharpen the legs to come around the last guy in a sprint? Watch how Gerolsteiner do it. Now if there were only some roads around here that were that smooth.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


KA-POW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Whoa, was that a gun shot? Did someone just have a blow out? Oh I know what it was, that was me during the Masters 4/5 race today at Fox River Grove. Having never made the drive out the previous three years, and after hearing great things about the course from everyone I talked to, I made sure that I wouldn't miss the race this time around. At about the halfway point I sorta wished I had missed it though.

This year Tony, Jorge, Paul and myself would try and tame the course with Paul lining up for the Cat 4/5 alone while the three of us toed the proverbial line in the Masters race. Upon arrival, Tony and I had planned to double up and do the 4/5 as well, that is until we pre-rode the course in street clothes, whereupon we quickly realized our foolishness and decided the one race would be plenty. We did make one crucial mistake before the race had even started though, we took that free lap as instructed, which put us in the back two rows for the start, and in this race that was a bad place to be.

The gun goes off, the group rolls out and immediately I am stuck behind two guys who cannot clip in to save their life which puts me at the ass end of the race from the gun. Tony goes scampering up the road toward Jorge and the rest of the race as I try and pick my way through the riders. I follow Luke's instructions and try and stay seated for most of the climb to save my legs and things go well the first time up the hill. Although I am pretty sure at this point that I will never see the front of the race. Oh well. Chalk it up to making a poor decision to line up so far back. I chase back on the downhill and regain a glimmer of hope. Unfortunately that glimmer was about as shiny as the rhinestones on Miss Fox River Grove's tiara and soon enough the hill took its toll and I was off the back.

Every so often I would catch a glimpse of Jorge as he made his away through the corners ahead of me, but try as I might, I could not close the distance as my legs, lungs and genetics all teamed up against me. As it turns out Jorge dropped his chain 3 times on the climb, which no doubt sealed his fate at 37th place. As for me, Dave Fowkes kindly pulled me with 2 to go, at which point I didn't put up a fight and actually thanked him. I finished a disappointing 40th.

Tony was left to fend for himself after my legs quit working and Jorge's bike decided that it would have rather stayed at home rather than work today. Tony made progress each lap and eventually found himself sitting in a select group containing the favorites. He played it cool and managed to not take the race into his own hands, staying amongst the wheels and saving it for the finale rather than trying a solo move. Although in hindsight, maybe the course was dictating the tactics today and not allowing anything solo to go up the road. With two to go Tony was still looking strong and sitting in about 8th through the start finish. As luck would have it though that would be the last time he would see the top ten. As they hit the hill an attack went, Tony reacted and went with it but couldn't stay with the move. Try as he may on the back of the course he couldn't close down on the attackers and settled in at 15th. After the finish he was wondering why he was having such a hard time following the move up the hill, when we realized that he had broken a spoke in his rear wheel causing it to rub the brakes with every rotation. So not only had he managed to sit in the top ten for most of the race, he managed to do it with his wheel broken and slowing him down every time it turned. Hulk Strong! Make bike go fast!

As I said earlier Paul was our only representative in the 4/5 race and although I don't know his final result, I do know that he was pulled as was about 25% of the field.

Tony 15th
Jorge 37th
Damon 40th

Cobb Park

Can you say HOT & HUMID? Well the complaining about the cold spring we were having was abruptly stopped at the Cobb Park race put on by the South Chicago Wheelman. Now all I could hear is, WOW is it humid. Still the racing was fantastic.

I went out early to see Matt race in the Cat/5 race. This was going to be his second race and I didn’t want him to be out there alone. He did an excellent job, due to the fact that there were 3 crashes during the race. Matt said he always seamed to find a clean line threw the mayhem. It’s the number one thing to do. Stay upright. Everything else will work out. Matt came in with a pack finish to start the day off.

I raced in the 4 race, and the 4/5 masters. This was my first race as a cat/4, and I soon found out the 4 race was bit calmer, and a lot faster than the Cat/5 race. I pretty much sat in the back of the pack and just road the race out. I had to do a lot of extra work in the back with the constant sprinting out of the turns. But I didn’t want to have to always keep fighting for position in the front. There will be enough of that during super week.

In the 4/5 Masters I was joined by Jorge, who was nice and refreshed. Jorge stayed in the front riding a good race; He even took a flyer off the front, but the pelaton was not going to let anyone go. Jorge was able to sprint in for 13th and I cursed in to take 18th. All in all it was a good day.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Cold, Wet and Fun!!!!

As for Sherman Park Saturday, It was cold, wet and suckie. But I did not want to let the team down and I was committed to work for the team since it is not a Illinois cup race. I told the team I was going for primes because I had to leave before 11:30 and would help them out anyway they needed it. It was pouring rain. The first prime went out, it was a lone attack. I attacked and no one chased. I felt pretty good by the time I got to the attacker, by then another rider blasted by. I was going to jump on his wheel, but I thought better to save it. The second prime came around and it was for a bottle of chardonnay. I wanted to get this one bad because my wife was graduating with her Masters in Nursing from Rush University that afternoon and I thought it would be a great gift for her; ironically we do not drink. (By the way I want to do a SHOUT OUT to her for letting me race that morning!! You're the Best!!) I went to the front of the pack to mark anyone who would attack; I thought this would be the best place to keep an eye out for anyone who would attack. I think a xxx guy was near but my vision was so obscured from the rain and my glasses were fogging up. As he took off I jumped on his wheel immediately with no problem. As he starting surging I figured this was the time to go, there was a slight up hill and I felt strong enough to take it to the finish line. I felt someone on my left which put me in a panic. I really dug deep when I passed the finish line I heard the announcer call my number and Beverly Bike. I was very pleased. After I passed the finish line I looked left to see who dared contest me on this one and it turned out to be Bob Murray from my team. I asked him “Bob, what are you doing, I did not know it was you” He said “I am just countering any attack to make sure you get this prime” Thanks for the backup Bro! I knew you had my back. I just did not know you were behind me. As for the third and final prime, Tony and I were strategizing and Tony mentioned he wanted it. I told him “no problem I will lead you out and give you everything I got.” As I started to lead him out, he said more. I tried to give it more and I seen him come around my left side to early. I noticed there was a guy on his wheel. I warned him that someone was on his wheel. I had more to give but by then they were already around me. Sorry Bro, next time I will give you a stronger lead out from the get go. The final lap which was right after the prime was a make or break it. If you contested that prime chances were that you knocked yourself out of the final. I slipped back into anonymity and finished dead last. I do not feel bad because my mission was to help the team in any way I could and winning the prime for my wife was an added bonus!!! One other thing…. Sergio.. make sure you know what team you are on, Bro!!
I would like to congratulate everyone on the team for a job well done and the junior team Alex. We made a strong presence. Tony, Bob, Jorge, Sergio: Good Work Guys!!


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Kids Race

I wanted to post this picture of Alex; He did a great job in the kids Race. I know by the look on Tony’s face he was very proud of his son. Also big cheer out to the XXX team for putting on the kids’ race and being vary vocal when they were racing. When I got home I told my daughter Amber about it, and she was jealous that she didn’t go. It’s always good to keep the family in mind, they do put up with a lot of time away for training and racing.


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Sherman Park

I wanted that I pod! More on that later. The first race for me was the strait cat 4. Of course it started to rain while we were getting our instructions. The tempo was fast, but nothing unsustainable. I wanted to stay in the pack and not go off the front. Every attack was quickly reeled back in. I did notice a good amount of flats going on around me. Then I got one on the back of the course. Luckily Jorge brought his wheels and I was underway again. With three laps left, Mike Seguin's tire goes down. Second to last lap is when I and about 9 other guys hit pavement. The riders not directly in front of me but in front of them got together and it looked like they bumped. I was toward the outer guy. He veered to his right in front of me going down. Now here is the funny thing. He skidded across the pavement further than his bike did. Needless to say I avoided the bike, but hit him. It looked like there was some pretty banged up guys and bikes out there. Quote of the day "Skin heals, bikes cost money." Thanks Bob.
I got some bandages on me and froze waiting for the masters 4-5. We had a good turnout with myself, Bob, Elvis, Jorge and Sergio. The pace was tamer in this race and it felt like we worked good together. I think everybody on the team attempted a flier. There are definately some bugs we need to work out but any team tactics are better than none at all. Elvis was happy with his preem and I was nipped at the line for the i-pod preem with one to go. Needless to say the preem took a little steam out of the legs for the finish (I rhymed).
Funniest thing I saw-the guy with the foaming ass in the masters race. It was frothing so bad he was actually driping foam for the whole race. Note to wives when washing cycling cloths-a second rinse helps.
I would like to thank my son Alex who is 8 for sticking it out with me today. Thank goodness I packed an umbrella and a rainproof coat for him. The pictures you see are the ones he took. He rode in the childrens race coming in second to a 9 year old. It was nice to hear from an X'er that the kids race was his highlite of the day. Thanks guys.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Winfield Part 2

This was my second year of doing this race. I like the triple stack hill but it seemed as if the pavement was worse than last year. Nothing too serious, we ride in the city! This to me personally is one of the better venues. Seeing as I have a family, there is something for everybody here to keep them occupied. Now for the race. It started out fast as all the races seem to do. With 2 laps in there was a preem. Mike Seguin from XXX sprints out. So there's me with that stupid Pavlovian response, so out I go. This is when my brain actually worked and I slowed to bet back in with the pack. If you can get into a rhytm with this course it is makes for an easier race , but when you have other riders around you, you definately have to work harder to make up for their inconsistencies. It was close to an all out effort for the first 26 minutes of the race. With three to go everybody was jockying for position, trying to conserve energy. I felt like I was in a good position going up the hill for the last time knowing that I didn't have much left for the finish. Coming around turn 4 I did something I don't do at all. I got in the drops and stood up for the sprint. This felt awkward but proved effective enough as I clipped a guy at the finish line coming in 12th. Congratualtions to the people in front of me, you deserved the placings you got.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Winfield ABR Cat/5 40+

I road in the Winfield Cat/5 old guy race today. It went well for the most part. I stayed toward the front for the beginning of the race. The pace was a lot slower than the usual Cat/5, do to the small climb on the course. On 4 laps to go I decided to go off the front to see how the 4th corner was at a higher speed. The ground was still wet and all the riders were taking the corners slowly. The pelaton responded to my attack up the hill, and stayed on my wheel as I made the 4th turn. I came down the hill to turn 1 where I let off the gas. When I sat up I looked back, and I saw that the field was a bit thinner. (In hind site I should have lunched up the hill again ) I decided to sit in again, and wait my time to the last lap. All was going well I positioned myself well sitting 5th wheel ready to respond up the hill when the attacks would come. That’s when the cycling gods decided that this was not going to be my day. I had the inside with another rider to my right. That’s when he decided that he didn’t want to ride his line threw the corner, he wanted mine. His rear wheel clipped my front wheel and almost put me down. It took me totally out of any contention for a win.
I spoke to Tony, Elvis and Rich where I told them that I wish that one day I could say, Ya, I came in 12 because I suck. Instead of I got pinched off, or I got a flat. Well all in all I made one of goals for the season a top 10 in a crit. I took 6th place.


Saturday, June 6, 2009

Signs of a Good Ride

Overheard during our last team ride: "I was about 2 seconds away from puking". Hill repeats, short, hard, fast and all in the big ring. Ouch.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


Seeing that I didn't go to any road races this year, I was looking forward to this one. Needless to say it eas a long 4 hours down there by myself. I also thought the race started 20 minutes later than it really did. I got to the start line with 5 minutes left, not even enough time to put on sunblock. My plan was to not make any moves on the first of two laps. But if anybody knows how I ride, I'm like the dog who's owner pretends to throw thow ball, I'll chase anything. Needless to say, this left me by myself from 8miles in to about 16miles when the pack cought me. I was mixing it up in the front until the second lap. That's when all hell broke loose. Wave after wave of attacks were going on . Of course I caught all of them except for the one that stuck. At turn number 12 of 24, me and another guy were going to break from the pack when he got loose in a sharp turn in front of me. This forced me off the road. I was able to navigate around a log to only get my front wheel stuck in the mud. With that my day was eccentually done. I did finish and I'd say I was approximately 5 minutes behind the pack. I Liked the course with it's technical turns, navigatable hills, and great course marshalling. This is a definite race for next year.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Quad Cities Crit 2009

It was worth the trip.

The day actually started the night before. My family and I were in bed by 8 pm. Why you might ask? Well I have two children, Lola 5 years old and Giuseppe 2 years old traveling to quad cites for a 930 am race. This required a 5 am departure time. After listening to their complaints and protest, they finally gave in and went to bed. The alarm clock woke us up at 430 am and by 515 am we were on the road after a quick pit stop at Duncan donuts(kids). There really was no traffic to speak of and we arrived around 830 am. I went to registration and quickly got ready to race.
After a quick warm up, I waited by the course to get my warm-up lap. The course was a figure 8 flat 1.5 mile course, which I knew would make for a very fast 14 lap race. As we got started the peloton was really pouring it on probably to weed out the wannabes. It did not start to settle down until maybe the 5th-6th laps. Riders were constantly moving trying to find their optimal position in the race. I tried to stay close to the front which proved to be the right choice. As the peloton reached the final 3 laps the pace greatly increased and many riders were overly anxious to move up causing some near misses. As we were clearing the first left of the last laps a rider in front of me lost his line and was leaning on another rider trying to recompose himself. It looked like he had it under control but I was not taking any chances and I quickly veered left to avoid an incident. A few seconds later his front wheel caught the other rider’s rear wheel and he went down. I quickly looked back and saw carnage and thanked the cycling gods I avoided that mess. I latter found out that rider broke his callor bone. The pack that survived sensed this was a perfect time to attack and quickly accelerated. This was a make or break for me. I quickly dug deep and caught on. This proved to be the decisive moment for me. With 1 lap to go attacks were every where. I made sure I kept close to all the action. The second to last lap it was time to move up and get into position. On the final turn I could see Mike Seguin on the inside, I was on the outside with a few riders in front of me and I thought for a second to crossover and jump on his wheel. I did not know if anyone was on my wheel but I could not risk causing a crash and ruining my race or others. The finish was not far from the turn so there was not much time for the sprint. I was making time but the finish came too soon and I came in 5th place. Good job to everyone!!!
I would like to thank my family for supporting me and putting up with the traveling arrangement.


Friday, May 15, 2009

Ramblings of a Mad Man

Matteson started up this week. It's nice to see old and familiar faces again. What a great training ground! I started going there 3 years ago now. After getting dropped for the first 3 weaks straight I got the hang of what to expect in race conditions. Last year I moved to the "A" group. Wow, can they ride fast!
Today me, Bob and Elvis went for a 35 mile ride in Indiana . The lite rain turned into just plan old rain about 5 miles in to the ride. Too late to turn back now. I always like the fealing of your feet getting progressively wetter until they are just drenched appendages on the bottom of your legs to further decrease your pedal stroke. Glasses were useless until me and Bob got either oil or gas in our eyes. Man, did that burn! The only thing good was there was little traffic, so you really didn't have to see where you were going anyways. Then half way into the ride, Bob decides to out power me. As I pulled around him and look back, POW, there goes my rear wheel. Even with a quick tire change, trying to warm up again when you are soaking wet takes a while. It's always a little hairy when you are going over holes in the ground that are filled with water that you really don't know how deep that hole is. With that being said, I blew out the rear tire again. What a great ride with a couple of other nuts! It's always nice to know you're not the only one around. Tony

Registration for the 2nd Annual Chicago Criterium held on July 26th in beautiful downtown Chicago is now open. Registration is here. Racing starts at 7:00 am with the Juniors and the day wraps up with the PRO 1/2's heading out for 80 kilometers. I would suggest signing up today, or you just might end up being a spectator this year.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Ride Smart ... Stupid

The first part is what I heard with 4 to go in the cat 4 race at Vernon Hills. I told the pack, if I was smart that wouldn't be a problem. Everybody had a good laugh on me. Just to let everybody know, I am a Chicago firefighter. That equates to what we call as a 'jag off." So all that jaw jacking in the pack means nothing. Just keep on pedalling and go for the win! - Tony

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Leland Cat/5 Race Report

PAIN!! I don’t know about anyone else, but for me, I thought I was going to die after the race. I was cramping up so much I couldn’t even bend over to get off my shoes.

The race started off ok enough; the pace into the wind was about 20mph with guys rotating off the front. That’s when the guys from Cycle Smith came to the front and the race was on. As soon as the pace quickened the heard immediately thinned out. I was fine until we hit the back section of the first lap, that’s when I was behind a rider who let a gap get between him and the group going around a turn at high speed. He slowed down and the pack accelerated. I tried to come around to bridge the gap, but I didn’t have it. So I hunkered in and tried to keep them in site. I figured they would ease up a bit on the gravel section, if they did, you could have fooled me. I just sat out in the wind and died.

Now that I’m by myself with no one around me, I had to suffer alone. I thought about throwing in the towel, and giving up. But that’s not me, I’m to pig headed for that. I know I am not supposed to jump in with a higher cat group, but on the last lap I didn’t care. I was headed into the wind doing 13-14 just dieing. That’s when I saw a cat 1 and 3 riders working together so I jumped on. I took a min to get my legs back and I started taking my turn in the rotation. I was glad they didn’t ask me to drop off, thanks Guys.

Ok I have one more thing to say, there are some guys out there that are a group of class act guys, Cycle Smith for one (thanks for the words of encouragement). Then there are others. If there is only 6 inches of room between 2 riders, then don’t try and force your way in, and then get an attitude that were not making room for you. I don’t like hearing wheels rub, especially if there mine. I saw the same team do that with multiple members. Just remember, once you get a reputation it’s hard to change people minds that you are not what you seam to be.


Monday, April 20, 2009

Criminal Intent?

Here is a better view of the incident between Theo Bos (Rabobank) and Daryl Impey (Barloworld) during the run in for the finale'. It appears that Impey does not change his line at all as Bos has stated, and that Bos grabs a handful of jersey and throws him to the ground. There has been much chatter about this today across the web, some even calling for criminal proceedings against Bos. Watch and decide for yourself.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Hardman of the Week Award

Daryl Impey (Barloworld)may not have finished with the bunch today at the Tour Of Turkey, but he did still win the overall as well as the green sprinters jersey regardless. During the finale'Impey can be seen being thrown to the ground by Theo Bos (Rabobank) just a few hundred meters from the line in this video, .Watch at the :28 mark as Bos grabs a handful of jersey and slings Impey like an empty bidon towards the fencing.

VeloNews reports: Impey eventually remounted to ride across the finish line, then was taken to a hospital in Alanya where doctors reported a fracture of the third disk of his lumbar vertebra, a micro-fracture of his neck, a facial trauma, a few broken teeth and a deep cut in his lips. He was to remain hospitalized for 24 hours, organizers reported.

With his overall title on the line, and the knowledge of the 3km rule in effect, Impey recieved medical attention including the application of a neck brace and after nearly 20 minutes remounted and finished the race. I have to admit that I will keep that picture in the back of my mind the next time I contemplate bailing because of injury or fatigue.

Monday, April 13, 2009

6 hours and 37 minutes

This is what you look like when you chase for nearly 95 kilometers with 10 sectors of pave' to go. Martijn Maaskant, my pick to win ended up 98th and over 17 minutes down after an untimely mechanical just before the 5 star rated Trouee' d'Arenberg. Proving that at Roubaix it takes more than just great form to get the win.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Paris-Roubaix 1996

Maaskant On Form

Martijn Maskaant is undoubtedly on form for this years spring classics campaign finishing just off of the podium at Flanders behind heavy hitters Devolder(QuickStep), Haussler(Cervelo) and Gilbert(FDJ) while unfortunately missing the break at Ghent. The Garmin-Chipotle team has gone all in for the 2nd year PRO for this years Paris-Roubaix after he finished 4th in his Hell of the North debut last year.

Team Garmin-Slipstream will have no less than 6 bikes available to the 26 year old, as well as
mechanics and soigneurs offering up wheels at various points including the treacherous Forest of Arrenberg which offers up some of the worst pave' of the 259km parcours. The 107th edition of the race will serve up nearly 53kms of the slippery granite cobbles in 27 sectors along the route from Compiegne to the industrial town turned mecca of hardmen, Roubaix. While he may be young, he more than makes up for it with courage and guts beyond his years, and if his performance at Flanders last week in the horrible conditions is any indication, look for Maskaant to surprise the elder statesmen of the classics.

With teams like Quick Step packing a 1-2-3 punch of Boonen, Devolder and Chavanel, it seems as though Lefevre may have a lock on the race, but I wouldn't discount the fact that Boonen and Devolder will be marked men. Last weekend Pipo Pozzato(Katusha) never let Boonen leave his sight, and in fact sat on his wheel for the last 50-60kms. While Slipstream may not be as deep a team as Quick Step or Columbia, look for them to make the right moves when necessary, and let the work fall on the shoulders of the other teams. If they play their cards right JV and team may just find themselves standing on one of the steps of the podium, if not the top most, hoisting a cobble into the air.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

We Are Hardmen

In most things we do, the biggest battles come from within.

The above statement holds no truer meaning than to the cyclist. The ability to push ourselves whether in racing or training, to push beyond what is comfortable, to battle with our bodies telling us to stop while our brain tells us to push even farther and harder and for longer, that is what makes us hardmen.

This time of year always brings to the forefront the hardmen of our sport. In races like the Ronde van Vlaanderen, or Ghent-Wevelgem and of course the queen of them all, Paris-Roubaix, we hear words like epic, and fierce and battle thrown around to describe race conditions and we love it. To hear the descriptions from writers and commentators of the atrocious conditions in which these men race is humbling, yet we can all empathize with them because we have all been there at one point. We are all hardmen. All of us who put a leg over their machine and set out to conquer the local "classics" or grind their way up a 20% grade to see if they can beat their own best time, or simply push the pace for no other reason than to test their own mettle, we are hardmen. To ride in the weather that we call spring with the gusting cross and head winds that never seem to be at our back, we are hardmen. When the radar says rain, yet you head out to put in the time, we are hardmen. When the clock only reads 5:30, and your family still sleeps, we are hardmen. When you push your body and mind to the breaking point, and you can only think about quiting, but you don't, we are hardmen.

Most of us will never fulfill our cycling dreams because of age, or ability, or family or for a million other reasons, yet each time we dress and head out the door we are one step closer. And each step closer to realizing your potential is a mile closer than you were the day before. Every time we conquer our fears and push the pace harder and faster than we ever had before, we become stronger. What makes us hardmen is that we are passionate about what we do. Cycling consumes our thoughts and emotions and desires. It takes over our lives and gives us more than we could ever measure. It is when we surrender ourselves to this lifestyle that we truly become hardmen. When we wake and think about what the plan is for today, or train for the next race, or work on the bike, not because we have to but because we need to, we are driven from within by a desire to succeed. That is when we become hardmen.

Hardmen are no longer only the PRO's who race the Northern Classics in horrible weather, on horrible roads, but also those of us who also put in the time and the effort and the sacrifice for our own glory. Often times we sacrifice more than the PRO's do, we give up time with those around us that often need us the most, yet we find a way to make it all work. We spend more money than we know we should in an effort to push ourselves up the ladder of cycling's hierarchy, all so that we may one day live up to our expectations of ourselves. And there is no greater motivator than the fire that burns within each of us, the fire that pushes us out of bed, and onto the road when commonsense says not to. We do this because it makes us stronger, it makes us faster, but most of all it makes us harder. The training and the racing make us fit, the mental battles that we fight on the bike and against our selves is what makes us hard.

The next time you have to decide what to do, whether to back down or stand up and fight against the weather or the road or yourself, choose the fight, because every victory is one worth fighting for.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Hillsboro 2009

Déjà vu

Everything seemed to be going great. The weather was fabulous sunny skies with temps in the mid 60’s. What more can you ask for? Well to answer my own question a fresh pair of legs would have come in handy… but wait I am getting ahead of my self.

Joe, Nikki, my wife Lydia and I got up that day nice and early. The sun was already shinning brightly and was clear to us this was going to be great weather for racing. After going to local eatery for a quick breakfest, we got back to suit up for the race. The biggest problem for me was not to overdress which is a common problem for me. We (Joe and I) headed for the race to register which was only a mile away thanks to Lydia’s great hotel pick. On the way Joe and I were each caring a spare wheel for the race. As we rode on the pave or cobble section I noticed a skewer nut fall off what I thought was Joe’s bike. I immediately yelled to him”stop and get off that bike your skewer is going to come off”
Joe quickly pulled over and checked his bike. Luckily the nut belonged to the spare wheel he had and not to the bike he was riding. This was clearly an omen of sorts. The cycling gods were warning us. But we just shrugged it off and seemed to thumb our noses at them. As if to say “we are here and nothing can stop us.” Little did we know… little did we know.

Registration went fairly smoothly, kudos to Hillsboro they always run a tight ship.
As we lined up, the first thing I noticed was the size of our group. The cat 4 s had 100 max riders however I think only about 85 riders showed. As we started, the pace was very calm but as we made the second turn off the double lane road onto the one lane. The pace immediately kicked up to 26 mph. the peloton was tight and nerves were on edge. Being in the 2nd half of the peloton, riders were breaking and causing a snake-like effect. Within 5 miles I narrowly avoided two near crashes. I couldn’t even scratch my forehead for fear of crashing. The pace was steady and brisk. I felt comfortable and eager to move up the peloton. After about 15 miles, I decide to look back and check on Joe. To my amazement Joe was gone. I immediately realized something had gone wrong. My suspicions were realized afterwards when Joe told me that just like last year( déjà vu) he dropped his chain coming out of the turn. He told me by the time he got his chain back on, the peloton surge had put him too far behind. I wish he would have called out I would have waited for him. We could have both worked to get back. Unfortunately, Joe rode the rest of the race by himself, but he hung in there and finished. Way to go Joe!!!

As the pelaton was coming back to the start/finish, I knew from last year, two major climbs were coming up. The feed zone climb was very long and steep however the pelaton was pretty neutral. I looked down and noticed I was averaging about 170 bpm on the climb which was very reasonable. I figured get past this climb and recover on the other side and get ready for the final climb into the start/finish. As we were coming down, I felt the pelaton surging to the next climb; I knew I was in serious trouble my heartrate kept climbing instead of recovering for the next climb. By the time I hit the climb I was in the 180’s bpm I tried not to panic but there was not much I could do. I hit the wall on the climb and immediately saw flashbacks of last year (hence déjà vu) where I got dropped last year. I was on my own and thought if I can try to work with any body I could to get back to the pelaton. A couple of miles down I caught up to a XXXer and passed him by saying “jump on lets work together”. He was happy to see someone eager to catch up to the pack. I didn’t get his name but if your reading this “thanks brother” it was good riding with you. We kept trading off pulls and I could still see the pelaton about 1 mile away, but sadly it just got farther and farther and you could see riders just dropping off.
As I headed back in for my final climbs, the race had taken its toll on me. I could feel my legs cramp up, and my biggest fear was not finishing. On my way up the final climb I saw one racer walking his bike up inch by inch with the bike between his legs. I quickly thought it could always be worst. I thanked God he had given me the ability to finish. Afterwards I thanked my wife for supporting me even though she was ill. I will be back next year for my revenge stay tuned. Hopefully Joe can keep his chain on as well!


Sunday, March 29, 2009


SWEET, that’s how I can sum it up. In my opinion, it’s a grate venue to hold a crit race. It has great facilities, and a nice closed field. I will be doing any races held there.

Now to the breakdown of the Cat 5 Race. We started out with 47 riders, into a nice crosswind. The field seamed to be relatively calm for the most part. We did have some solo riders try and make a brake in the first few laps, but the field played it smart and let them go up the road a bit so they could die in the wind. With about 4 laps to go, I decided to accelerate into the wind on the back section of the course to see if anyone would come up. I did get 2 of the stronger riders in the field to come up, but I felt like we needed one more to make a legitimate run on the field. I talked to both guys and we agreed to sit up and wait on the field.

In the last lap I was still feeling pretty good, I was sitting mid pack trying to conserve my energy for the sprint. It was a smart Idea at the time, but it didn’t work out. I got pinned in on the back straightaway, and I couldn’t get out in enough time to keep the wheels of the front pack. Now I got stuck in No mans land by myself. I had a gap on the riders behind me, but I was unable to fight them off. One of the riders nipped me at the line taking 10th Pl. I had to settle for 11th. I look at it as just another valuable lesson learned.



The forecast looked grim, they were predicting rain and sleet at noon, the exact time of the 4/5 masters race start. As I was driving to Joe’s, the winds seem to pick up more and more. Knowing the course from last year, I knew this would be a factor. After finally picking up Joe we headed to South Beloit for a cold gear wearing race. When we arrived we immediately noticed the cold wind and neither of us wanted to change into our cycling gear, let alone race. Tony and Bob were huddled together in their heated up SUV. We quickly went to registration to get our numbers and Joe was told he was not registered. I had registered him online and I had a confirmation number but they insisted he was not registered so he was placed on a waiting list for the 4/5 elite race. Thank the cycling gods due to the amount of no shows he was able to get in. Just a reminder make sure you bring your print out to races to avoid these types of situations.

Tony, Bob, Sergio and myself lined up for the 4/5 Masters. This was a 35 minute race in near freezing weather with gusts of 15-20 mph winds. It started off pretty calm but the second to the last turn with the gusty winds to our backs, the peloton would just launch itself every time. We were hitting speeds of 30-35 mph before the final turn. I was really working hard and it was taking its toll on me. Fortunately, I was able to recover quickly enough. Tony and I tried to stay at the front and worked in and out; mixing things up. I was feeling good and kept my sights on the front. We were down to the second to the last lap and Bob takes off. I latched on his wheel feeling that this might go someplace. The final lap around, Bob pulls to the side and leaves me with a lap to go at the front of the pack. I quickly waved in the guy behind me to pull through and just as I thought no one came through. I was stuck here and I had to make the best of it. I held my position in the top 5 coming into that second to last turn. I was maxed out and I could see the attacks coming up for the final turn. I had to dig deep and hold my position. I dropped down to 20th and saw Tony a few spots ahead of me. Thank god the finish line came. In a nutshell: To Much to Soon! Overall we had a blast. Joe hung in around 30th and Sergio brought up the rear. Good job but we need to focus on Tactics 101 to strategize better.
By the way we finished in the nick of time. It started to rain and with little pieces of ice falling. Good luck, cat. 1,2!

I would like to thank the teammates that came out today (Tony, Joe, Bob, and Sergio) and invite all our team to come out and race. Thanks Nikki for your sandwiches and support. I am looking forward to a GREAT season with the team.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Exciting News Coming

Stay tuned for exciting news from BBVP. There is a new game in town, actually it isn't in town yet, but will be shortly. This news is so recent that the rest of the team doesn't even know yet as all of the details are still unfolding. Stay tuned, check back often, and be prepared to get hooked up at the next race.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Define Easy?

Tony: Want to go for an easy ride today?
Me: Sure how long?
Tony: about an hour or so
Me: Yeah cool, an easy ride for an hour sounds good

Tony: okay see you soon
Me: Bye
Tony: Bye

An hour later Tony and I are heading out of my driveway ready for an easy ride when Elvis rolls by in his car. We catch him at the next light and briefly chat, it seems we will be heading in his direction for a bit. So it becomes a bit of a game to see if we can catch him at every light, which we manage with little difficulty as we have the benefit of a ever so slight downhill for the next mile or two. After a few times of catching him at the lights he changes lanes and slows just a bit, at which point Tony and I chase like hell to latch on, and there goes the easy ride, after only two and half miles. We bridge up to his car as he accelerates us to 32 miles an hour, as it turns out this is the first time has been motorpaced, and he likes it. Soft pedalling at 32 miles an hour, and a low heart rate to match just don't seem to make sense, unless that is if your are getting pulled along by a two ton SUV. After about half a mile we pull off and go our separate way from Elvis, where we will undoubtedly keep up this ridiculous pace that was set early.

At the turn around point it begins to rain, and the tail wind we were hoping for turns into a nasty cross wind at times gusting into probably the low thirties, at least it was warm enough. Every time I look down at watch I see hear rates from the low 180's to as high as 191, again so much for an easy ride. Although the legs felt okay, having recovered from the 3 mile run the day before, the cardio just isn't where I would like it to be. I know physiology plays a huge role and my heart rate is always higher than those around me, I still have work to do. Whereas others are ticking away in the 160's or 150's I will consistently be in the 180's. Although even though the BPM's are that high, I am still conversational, and I have no problem holding that for a long duration. During races it isn't unheard of for an average heart rate 185 or higher, and that's the average. I would love to find out someday what my LT is, but for no I will have to settle and just keep up the hard work.

One of these days I would love to take that easy ride with Tony, I just don't think it will happen any day soon!