Archive for January, 2009

Cyclocross World Championships

January 30, 2009

Oh Yeah. Worlds. It’s all different at Worlds, you see….

I think the Belgians are vulnerable. Wellen’s and Vantournout don’t quite have the punch, and Nys is burnt out as usual about this time of year. Boom looks great, but not awesome. The course is supposed to be moving way too fast for the likes of Katie Compton, she’s praying for rain…as is Nys, no doubt. I’m goin’ Czech….Stybar is fast as shit. You gotta watch the Czech National Championship race….the guy is flying, and he has Dlask, Ausbuhr, and Simonek working in his favor. Nys will only get knives from his compatriots.

Here are my picks:



1. Van Den Brand
2. Compton
3. Kupfernagel


Ground Hoggin’

January 28, 2009



It’s coming….February 15th in New Salem, just outside of Springfield, Illinois. the Tour De Ground Hog. The biggest purse in all of late season cyclocross in the United States. Yep. $1k on the line. Here are the lucky winners from last year…. for details.

Don is back….

January 25, 2009


At long last Don Mullison is feeling up to doing regular road rides and even working in some trails. I figure that if I show him a few more of the things I’ve discovered, he’d rather get an oxycontin addiction than ride his recumbent on the road. The ‘bent seems to be helping his back, and hopefully he’ll be able to hook up for some nice trails. Don’s a nut! He’s the reason why I started blasting off on trails, never knowing the outcome. Don’s a serious birder, and does counts that are used by real biologists. His biking helps his birding, and vice versa. We did the “lower natural bridge Trespass” and the “Middle Etherton trespass” yesterday, and he seemed to be going great. Tomorrow….maybe upper Etherton, and then the upper and lower Hick ridge…

Survival in the Doldrums

January 23, 2009


My sincere condolences to Robert Kron and his family on the passing of his uncle, Theo. Robert’s Uncle Theo helped lift the sport when it wasn’t doing so hot.  Many in the Kron family have competed at the highest levels, and his uncle Theo was someone who made a mark in organizing as well. Enough that long after illness and fate led him away, the Wisconsin cycling community remembers him quite fondly. Without guys like Theo Kron, not many of us would be racing today, and there would be few opportunties to do so:

From WCA: “Cycling Patriarch Theo Kron Passes Away The WCA would like to extend its deepest condolences to the family and friends of Theo Kron who passed away after suffering from Alzheimers Disease. While living in Chicago from the 1960-1980’s, Mr. Kron had a very active role in the cycling community. He represented the Midwest on the USCF Board of Directors, was an official, and a constant presence at races of the era. WCA Technical Director Heidi Mingesz recollects: “I have many fond memories of Theo. He shared his knowledge and love of bicycle racing freely, and mentored me when I was a young official. With Mac Bottema, he reorganized and revitalized the South Chicago Wheelmen in the late 1950’s, and was a constant presence at the Northbrook velodrome. He represented the Midwest on the U.S. Cycling Federation Board of Directors in the 1970’s and early 1980’s.” We say good-bye to Theo with the comfort of knowing that his contribution to our cycling community will live on for ages.”

New Secret Etherton Trespass….

January 21, 2009


It’s been pretty cold for about three days, and I was tempted to try the trail from Hickory Ridge to Hagler. It requires a frozen creek. While Cedar Cr. was frozen (at the trailpoint), I chickened out. Then I flatted. I was bummed and headed back to Hickory Ridge to do the upper trail. But, then when I got to the nasty mudruts of death, I spied this trail. I’ve seen it before. There are a lot of those trails in that rutted area. Most of them go nowhere. I thought this one would go nowhere….It took me all the way to Etherton via the Old Rocky Hollow trail. Very cool!! That makes a complete loop through that area with just a short jaunt on the paved Etherton Road. You might get shot, of course.

Pomona Icebox

January 16, 2009


I returned from a research trip and So Ill is at 13 degrees and holding. So, the Chief and I are packing up the van and heading to Pomona for some tresspassin’. It’s gonna be cold….

Update: It was a bit trickier than I expected, but overall those trails are great when frozen. The top pass off of Hickory Ridge (known to old locals as Whiskey Ridge, Dave and I learned one day from an old fart with a gun) is in really good shape, as is the lower trail to Natural Bridge Road. But, the Jerusalem Hill alternative passage is pretty trashy. In the end, it was probably 13-15 degrees the whole time, but with heavy preparation, we were fine. I had two thermal jerseys (a old team biemme and a castelli), an assos baselayer, with a castelli mesh t. And, a Team Mack  Biemme thermal over all of that. I’m a total wuss. On bottom, I had a craft basepant, biemme roubaix tights with a cham, and the new Kalas over tight. It was awesome! I’m a total wimp. I wore two Pearl Iz. liner gloves with the Ampib’s over them. Plenty warm. And the Sidi Diablos with Castelli windstopper socks. I’m writing this down so I’ll remember for next time….

Best Purchase of 2008: Pearl Izumi Amfib Gloves

January 7, 2009


I had to think long and hard about my best purchase of 2008. I didn’t buy much except for staples, and it’s hard to single out the relative worth of a good cheap wippermann chain versus a Centaur cassette. And, while I really love my American Classic 58’s so far, I’m not ready to call them the shit given my truncated race season last year. Mack moved to Continental for tires a few years ago, and those were a tempting pick. The new Competition Tubular is the best race tire ever made.  I have soooo much more confidence in those than in the old Vittorias. Conti also scored a big hit with the new Ultragatorskin folding tire. These really are the top training tire available. I recorded RECORD mileage on a pair of these this year, around 2,300 miles back and front. I swapped the front with the back before I ever had a flat. And, this is a tough place for tires, and my setup puts a lot of wear on the rear tire. Still, the tires are great, but I didn’t pay full pop…and WOW. The Ultragatorskins are the second price level for rugged racy trainers from Conti, and they blow for around $55. The 4-seasons go for another dime. I’ve run the 4-seasons, and the new ultragatorskins seem equal, if not better. But $55! Damn right I want 2300 miles….

I have more than a year on a pair of Pearl Izumi Amfib gloves from last year, and just bought another one before the end of the year. I’ve always loved these gloves. They have a great mix of wicking and insulation that enables them to stave off saturation, while still providing serious shelter from the wind and even a tad of rain. This new model is improved in every way. It’s much more waterproofed, while still having the same level of aeration. I should note that I’m a total fucking wimp. I know many people who can’t wear these in anything other than the most extreme conditions. Even for me, if it’s going to push into the mid 40s, these will be too much. But, if it’s really cold, these are better than the Assos system (I have it, it’s not close), and much less cumbersome than the PI Lobster Amfib (I have those, too, and I never use them…). So there it is, the ultimate glove for weenies.

Pine Hills Birthday Party

January 1, 2009


The last day of the year, and my birthday. So, nothing better to do than take off early and do the Pine Hills. The water is up all over the place, and even Cedar Lake was very muddy yesterday when Dave and I did the trail. Since it was barely above freezing, wading through Hutchinson Creek was not an option. Instead, we kept bombing down Pine Hills Road all the way to Trail of Tears State Park. After that, up Beech Grove and then down Rhine Road to Alto. Woo woo.