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.