Archive for February, 2011

Froze Toes 2011…the freeze that wasn’t

February 28, 2011

She was a virgin....

Sickness prevented me from attending the Tour de Groundhog. I haven’t missed since I started racing cross in 2004, and was bummed not to get out there with Darrell Bratton and Mark McGeen and the rest of the crew. Chief Reimbold drove in from Chicago (huh? Heckawee?), and did a great job in the classic. Ah well, next year. On the upside, I don’t have the clean my cross race bike…..But, once again, Uncle Gary, Steve and Gina Driscoll, and the whole Springfield Crew put on a great event. I was bummed to miss it.

Today we followed the advice of the weather people and went to Columbia for “Froze Toes” which was supposed to take place in record warm temps, almost, maybe with a sprinkle. As I rolled through Hermannish an hour and a half before race time it was 40F on my car thermometer and raining steadily. I saw a car with a couple of people and road racing bikes on the roof turning around at Hermann. I called Chief and Dave when I got there to see if they had blown it off, but they were pulling off the exit to the race. It looked grim–17  degrees lower than forecast at around start time with snow on the ground. Thankfully, I had packed well. And, as it happened, the weather improved about 40 minutes into the race. It was nearly 60 when we finished, and the rain held  off–only a spit early in the race, and fog coming off of the snow covered fields.

I was pretty pleased with my race. I’m always relatively good early in the season, since I can train more than  most. Our race was a bit interesting, since we were a bit sluggish and got caught by the 3-4. Then, after we decided to race (I”m not sure why, but I think I was leading it….), we caught the 3-4s…it took them a long time to relegate them, and there was almost another issue at the finish with a guy from their pack starting to catch ours! Ah well, it didn’t seem to hurt anything in the end–everyone was together when the relegations happened.  I totally screwed up the sprint, but wound up 4th. Dodd Slawson had a great race and finished 3rd.  Of course, Gary Dyer was already at the cars after an early flat…and a lot of guys did the 1-2-3. But, Denis K is finally old!!!! So, that was fun. He called me a smurf, of course. That happens when you’re clad from head to toe in light blue. Chief had a good finish as well. I’m not sure how Dave finished. I was hightailing it out to try to get in more racing on the family credit system….

Spot is ready for spring!

Spot is a Tiger

Tour De Ground Hog, 2011!

February 12, 2011

Oh Yeah!!! The First and Last Race of the Season!!! The 24th Annual Bill Jensen Memorial Tour de Ground Hog! Big Cash and Prizes on the line! You gotta love this course, it has everything, roots, turns, mud, mud, hills, mud, and a road section!

Every year is different, but it’s looking nice and sloppy! The snows will melt fast with this major warmup, and they may even get some rain on Fri-Sat up in Springfield. I was really hoping to have a decent race, but came down with the flu this week. I’ll be on the start line no matter what. Who knows, Mike Magnuson may show up!

Gina Champion navigates the Snow in 2010

 

Winter in So. Ill….

February 3, 2011

Ah, The Pine Hills.....

Ah, Winter is here….and we’ve been cold this year. Usually, the average high is well above freezing, and we’ve had more than our normal share of days below freezing this January. So, I’ve been packing up and riding mountain bikes when it’s been cold and snowy. We’ve also been lucky not to get a huge dumping of snow, and we totally missed the huge blizzard that whacked everything from Dallas to Tulsa to STL and Chicago yesterday. It missed us by about 40 miles. So, we’re still riding bikes outside! I’ve managed to put in a lot of nice riding at Cedar, Trail of Tears, Panther’s Den, and several new trails in the Pine Hills. Did a bunch of exploring with Molteni and John, and we got big groups together in TOT and Cedar with Berto and Kelly and Don and Dave and Ozzie–Dave’s wonder dog. I did my first Ozzie ride with Molteni, Chief Reimbold, and Don while Dave was off scuba diving and jumping off of cliffs and even more dangerous things in Brazil. I was a little worried at first, but Ozzie doesn’t even need Dave.

The Old Marin Caked in Mud and Ice

Molteni and I got busted at Panther’s Den, which I guess is no-bike for most of it, though the Forest Service Woman (FSW) told us that the eastern trail is on the border of the Wilderness Area. FSW was very nice and told us about a legal trail in Pine Hills which I had never done (and had supposedly been fixed up last summer). We did that one a few days later, driving out to Jackoffs and starting on the roads on cross bikes.  Unfortunately, that trail started out really nice and then went completely to shit, all sticks and lots of downed trees.  Molteni had some bad luck and bent his drops on the Gunnar and torqued the rear derailleur—we thought we were going to do a 2.5 hour ride through the Pine Hills, instead we limped back to Jackoffs a bit over four hours after depart. We didn’t even have time for Cave Creek! I think if Molteni would date FSW we could have access to all of the trails in So Ill. Of course, we’d be screwed when dumps her….
Looks like it is going to be above freezing all weekend, may have to hit the Pine Hills again….