Archive for June, 2010

Jeannie Longo, the Greatest Ever

June 25, 2010

She did it again. Jeannie Longo just took her 57th national championship title at age 51. Longo is the greatest cyclist ever. She races because she loves it. My coming out moment as a racer was understanding what was going on in a US women’s race (I can’t remember which one) where Longo was being gangfucked by Saturn. Saturn had a strong group of women and a full team (and team cars, directors, etc). Longo was on a junk team with a couple of kids she picked up (and who were chronically dropped and mostly worthless). OLN or whoever did the video was obviously rah-rah for Saturn, but what was really clear was that this old woman (who was probably only 42 back then….) could barely be beaten by a full team of women. The Saturn women and directors were elated (they should have been embarrassed–they barely won), and Longo….she was fucking pissed!!! “Fuck you, you call that a win? You want to play games or race bikes?” Yeah!!! The greatest ever!

Uncle Gary and Don Lowe go 1-2 at Sherman!

June 21, 2010

oofh, oofh, oofh...

Nice pic sent around by Don Lowe, showing Uncle Gary taking the 1st at Sherman Park in the 50+, and Don Lowe, celebrating doing the monkey walk! There are two really gorgeous Stainless Steel R-33 frames…I was trying to hold off until I saw Gary’s at O’fallon….

I’m out until Sunday…long, horrible story. I’ll be at Webster in STL, I just can’t make Proctor….

Santa Fe Fanta Se

June 14, 2010

Up, and UP, and UP

While the rest of you were racing the Grove, I was off in Santa Fe visiting the in-laws and doing a little exploring. Dave at Mellow Velo rented me his very own Eddy Merckx Cross bike. It was a gorgeous original, with 7020 tubing, dressed up in a combination of retro accouterments, including bar end indexed shifters in 8 speed. Really nice wheels….but the IRD tires were set up for that geeky “no-tubes” stuff. Unfortunately, my first day of riding consisted of three tire changes and limping back to the shop to pick up spare tubes. Fortunately (note to all who rent!!!) I brought two spare tubes and was packing three tubes when I went out. Still, I got in a good three hours of riding on the first day, and I didn’t intend on doing anything crazy on my second day living at altitude–Downtown sits at 7,260, my in-laws are probably about 7,600….

The second day I was hell bent to do a connector trail from Santa Fe to  Tesuque to the Ski Basin. The main connection is up hwy 592 via Pacheco Canyon Road. Apparently a number of mountain bikers use it for distance training, but it’s really just fire roads like what we do in the Pine Hills….only it starts around 6700 ft and goes up to 10,500….I had a HELLISH tailwind that made it an incredibly quick and scary jaunt to the convenience market in Tesuque. Notably, these “markets” are fronted by rows of $100k automobiles, with supermodels and their aging husbands stopping in for an enchilada at the market restaurant. Fortunately, they also had Gatorade and Cliff bars. I got a couple of each, slammed my mostly untouched bottle, and headed for 592. The tailwind kept me flying, and I was passed by a car with a couple of mountain bikes. A good omen, as it turned out. About an hour after leaving Santa Fe, I was on Pacheco Canyon Rd. A mountain biker was pulling out in his truck as I arrived, and the car which passed me was sitting at the foot of the unpaved road.

Now, the tailwind was a 40mph-gods-know-what crosswind, and was blowing across a desert whipping up sand. I was climbing straight up into the mountains with the full weight of the wind. It was a bit scary. I couldn’t keep my eyes open because of the sand, and the 36-26 gearing was pretty harsh. I kept going, thinking that if things got too rough, I could always backtrack, go back to Tesuque, and eat enchiladas and drink beer with aging supermodels! Finally, I got into the “canyon”, and wow! The road follows Little Tesuque Creek, with a rush of water over rocks, and endless trees on both sides. The wind was no longer a problem, and all I had to do was push that 36-26 up a 6% grade on the rocky-sandy road for about 8 miles….It was awesome!!! Incredible! I could have used a little better gearing, but a cross bike is the way to go! I passed the mountain bikers about 5 miles in, and they told me some very useful information…turn right after the meadow!!! I would have stuck around and chatted with them, but, gee, they were in the 28-32….I had no choice.

Pacheco Canyon dumps you out before the Aspen Vista stop on Ski Basin Road. That’s sitting around 9,600 ft. I was starving and decided to head up to the Ski lodge to get a sandwich and beer….So, I slogged the three miles of climbing up to 10,500 ft…to find that they were closed. Fuckers. The descent really sucked. The winds were horrific, and Aspens were snapped across the road. There were several rockslides, and as I came into Hyde Park, a Huge Spruce snapped and covered the road. I got around it and continued. As I came to O’Grady’s favorite Massage Parlor, I realized I had a flat (again, my fourth in two days). I decided to pump and ride, so I pulled into 10,000 Waves, pumped it, and rode on to the Dragon Room at the Pink Adobe, where I lunched on delicious fish tacos and Santa Fe Pale Ale, and watched Trustafarians have their breakfast drinks (at 3pm). I returned the Merckx to Mellow Velo and walked back to my in-laws place looking like a total dork in full Team Mack kit the entire time. That night, we had a wonderful dinner at the Shed, where I tried their Pollo Adobo, and was well pleased. In all, it was  a fine trip!

O’Fallon Grand Prix!

June 11, 2010

Team Mack and the So Ill’s did a great job at the State Chumpionship at O’Fallon. Gina Champion, Justin Armstead, and John Fleckenstein scored big V’s! And, Uncle Gary made the podium in the 50+. So. Ill scored two podiums in the Cat 3 with Mike Vail and Diamond Dave Neis going 2-3! And, despite the best efforts of a psycho parent, Danimal Williams took another Jersey in the Juniors.

The 40+ didn’t quite go our way. Robo made a great early challenge, and Darrell, Jeff, and I did our best to foster it. But, he needed some real assistance, and the other guy out there was a 30+ with no mojo. The chasedown by Verizon was horrific, and shattered the field. Justin was in with us, and he got up the road with Druber, Dave Stone, Chris Harre, and another.  And then catastrophe, as Robo went down in an inexplicable crash at the end of lap 2. Darrell got up the road with Tracy Smith and Greg Springborn, and pulled off a great results with 5th. I hung on to finish 12th. I was cramping badly. My Katie Compton cramps surfaced after four days off the bike (and on my ass driving) the weekend before in Oklahoma. Next time I’m in Tulsa, I need to be doing Tulsa Tough.

A huge thanks out to all of our officials and wonderful Volunteers (including Bob Crow!). Buddy, Larry, and the gang endured a nightmare at O’Fallon. We witnessed a small part of it. It’s all Danimal’s fault. Dan dropped the junior field so severely that the poor kids remaining needed diaper changes and someone to GPS them back to their mommies.  But, GPS isn’t equipped on the second follow truck for the Juniors race, and they took a bit of a wrong turn. No matter, they were all together, and Dan was probably winding up his victory salute eight miles up the road. Ah, but some suburban Chicago prickface father proceeded to give holy hell to every official in O’fallon…for about 2 hours. He wanted them to bring Dan back to the pack so his little boy would have a fair chance to get dropped once again….Geez. I’m so glad I said not a word about the results being slow….well, except to Mike and Dave, podium boys kept me from getting home on time….Nice turnout from So. Ill! Chief, Molteni, Brian, Kelly, Rob, Flavia, Gary, Sebastian and Berto all made the trip along with me, Mike, Dave, and Dan.

Great Job for all in O’Fallon on day 2. Justin took another win, and podiums for Gary, Don Lowe, and Robo. I was grounded. And, I’m missing Grove to hang about in Santa Fe with the in-laws and ride some mountains. David down at Mellow Velo is lending me his very own Eddy Merckx cross bike (with Campy, no less), so I’m going to do some exploring…..

Tour of C-U, and beyond….

June 4, 2010

I think she was there...

Mark Swartzendruber put on another masterful race in Champaign and Urbana (wherever that is). Druber knows his shit, and you can guarantee that any course he puts together is going to be fun and competitive. Better yet, in the Masters categories, Druber draws a good number of top racers from across the country. I was a bit a torn this year, since there was a road race in St. Genevieve MO just 1.5 hours from my house. But, I had no interest banging around a road course with a bunch of locals when Druber had assembled some top-flight talent to kick my ass in Champaign.

The Champaign course was the same one used last year on the second day. A nice, super-fast, four corner monster. The Masters race was predictably fast, with lots of attempts, not much sticking, and a horrifically fast pace. I raced like a pussy, and was only in one foray off the front (Tom Gates of Gran Fondo gave me the “hey, what the fuck” when I couldn’t pull through).  Nashville’s Gran Fondo had at least four super strong guys in the race, and Tim Hall from Nashville was there with another of his teammates as well. I guess what with the flooding they had to do something….Robo managed to get in the main break off the front, and Darrell really did a great job making sure that stuck. Robo managed 5th, and Darrell, Uncle Gary,  and I pulled in with the pack. Jeff Williams made a rock star appearance in the 3’s. I should have been there with him, but I wanted to save myself for marriage or something. He was screwed, but was right up there when it SHOULD have been resolved, only it wasn’t, and he’d blown his wad.  Steve Driscoll was also in the mix! He fought hard in many a race this weekend!

Sunday was a friggin’ fistfight. I love crits like this. If it would have been harder, I would have done better. Nobody finished off of the lead group. Druber woke up to an IDOT nightmare, and had to shorten the course to a half mile F-1 motorcycle course. I think we did 50 laps….it had a really cool 180 followed by an uphill sprint to the finish line, then a snaking part-cobbled descent back into the 180 before you could exhale. Unfortunately, I wound up being the last Macker standing in the super-fast 40+ race, and I was doing all I could to finish with the lead group. Uncle Gary finished 5th in the 50+,  with Don Lowe right up there as well. Mike Oz was fighting in many of the races. and Justin Armstead and Gina Champion took 3rd and 4th respectively in the 30+ and Women’s 1-2-3 race. Gina was REALLY impressive, and almost took the 3rd place slot in a race with some very strong riders.

I have no clue what happened in the 50+ on Sunday. Darrell Bratton and I were sitting around getting ready at turn 2, and then we see Mark Shea coming by on a….RED BIKE. Well, gods know that Mark Shea cannot ride a red bike. So, something must have happened. He appeared to be off the front, and then Chris Black caught and distanced him, but Mark was fighting hard (despite his clear bike disadvantage, I think it was even one of those worthless carbon fiber bikes). Turns out, I hear, that Mark was not allowed a free lap after he had a mechanical. Totally uncool…..Great job by Don Lowe, Uncle Gary, Frank Brummer, and the rest in that one.

Overall, the tour of CU was once again one of the best events in the region. The quality of the venues and especially the competition make this a “must do” race. I can’t justify going to a minor league race to take $20 for 5th place or something when I could get my ass handed to me by the quality of competition Druber assembles. I’ll be back, and I hope that next year the schedules don’t overlap so much with the Mo Chumpionships (not that it would matter for me…).

My only complaint, what gives with the pics at these races? The cool thing about the MO crowd is you have great photographes like Luke and Evil Mike who WANT you to use their pics. After all, if you REALLy want to make it as a sports photographer, that’s how you get it done. I have a Kurt Jambretz photo of me from a minor cyclocross race in Carbondale…now he’s shooting the NFL….

O’fallon on Saturday.  It’s a good course for me, and I plan to be up in the break with Dave Stone.