Thursday, June 26, 2008

some pretty amazing quotes from the past week.

"Dude... do you know how to cook broccoli?" - Minturn

"Gotlieb is kind of the Erik Zabel of the Pittsburgh peloton... he has been around forever, can sprint, can make the front group and races smart." - Lifson

"I am going to sit in today" - Decanio (most agressive racer ever)pre Tour of Ohio Crit.

"Lets chase down that mother f'ing yellow jersey" - Same Decanio, no more than 25 minutes later

"why are your teeth so big?" - Ramazani to me

"and then I was telling the stripper about my girlfriend and she said to bring her to the club sometime" - I will leave this anonymous

"Man, why aint you racin in the tour of pennsylvania man? you got the outfit man. you look sharp, I like that outfit man." - neighborhood crackhead / wino who might not know what year it is, but does know that there is an elite bike race happening right now. This goes to show how well they did with the advertising.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Well after my crap day,all that was left of the TofOH was just a crit and a RR, which I finished or whatever. Oh well.

Some amazing things from the week:

- The tour of Ohio was an ABR race. This means non USA Cycling. ABR is grassroots midwest bike racing. The joke the entire week was that there were "no rules." It all came to fruition during the start of the Crit when the Chief official officially announced that there were indeed "no rules" regarding stage race times, and we would default to the USAC equation for dropped riders. No rules!

- The last stage had some "weather warnings" which turned into 50 mph winds and lightening strikes all around. We could literally see the lightening strikes and the thunder was close enough to feel it in my chest. I watched at least one dude get BLOWN in to the ditch on the side of the road.

-Decanio is maybe the most aggressive rider ever. Without knowing the course at all, he attacked the neutral roll out of the road stage, and attacked and attacked and attacked and then probably realized how bad of an idea it was around the 4th or 5th KOM. He also attacked the breakaway that he was in. All of this enforced the enigma that he is and was compounded by the Joe Papp trash talk on his website. We pretty much spent the entire weekend google stalking him and waiting for website updates.

- If you have ever taken your car to a junk yard thinking that it was dead, it probably was then taken to Ohio and is still being driven today. Duct tape is ok for windows and bumpers are optional. ABR probably runs the DMV too.

Friday, June 20, 2008


Stage three of the tour of ohio. The tour of the land of duct tape windows. The tour of a place where it is legal to ride a dune buggy with license plates down the highway.

The stage looked to be pretty hard. 60 miles according to the race bible. 68 miles according to the Garmin on Rowley's brother's bike. It was a lolipop state, heading out to a town then doing a loop, then coming back.

Early into the race, I had some shifting troubles, then some pedaling troubles. Turns out my lockring was stripped. I turn around to get a neutral wheel from Shimano, and they are like a quarter mile back switching out another dude's wheel. They come up to me, we do the change. The field is gone. I hold onto their truck going about 55 for maybe 3 minutes before I decide that it is not worth dying to get same time on GC.

I turn around and ride home to watch the finish.
The finish had a chicane and then a 1k climb that was steep. Apparently in true bike race fashion, there was a huge crash right before the turn. Everybody got the same time despite time splits. The group had like 80 guys in it.

The sprint that the winner had left was pretty impressive after that climb.

The dude who came in second was swearing a ton going across the finish line for one reason or another. They relegated him. Whoops.

Today is a crit and tomorrow is a circuit race. I just hope my luck doesnt get worse.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tour of Ohio post #1

Two stages in, three to go.
Yesterday's crit was a joke. It was 1/2 mile with 120 guys on it. If you werent in the top 30 after 3 laps, you werent going to be. Then they pulled you. Oh well.

Today was an epic 70ish mile road race. 5 kings of the "hill." Lots of fast rollers and fast dudes. The move was made in the exact same spot as the year before, and again I missed it. I blew way too much energy trying to get into the move once it was gone. I cant believe some teams have literally 8 or 9 guys and werent lining it up at the front to bring them back. They were only a minute down.

Going into the last climb, I was in the 7th place - 20th place group and the "field" caught us. I then got dropped on the last KOM. Holy hell was it hard today. Dudes who were dropped before that hung on to the group for a top 10. Oh well, bike racing.

I cant believe how hilly it was today. The finish time was about the same as last year, but I felt way worse. It was cooler. I vurped all over my face at one point, that was the first time I have ever done that. Not fun. I really thought I was going good right now, but I cant seem to go, even on the hills. There are a few HARD stages left, so hopefully I can pull something out.

Lancaster Ohio is America. There is a town, and 3 miles out of the town there is the shopping district. People drive their trucks to the walmart and mcdonalds to do the shopping, then drive back to town. Walmarts in Pittsburgh are pretty scary, but in rural Ohio, it was astounding how poor and gnarly the people were. Johnturn and I were trying to decide on a pasta sauce, and a random woman who told us "the cheapest is always on the bottom" as if she was sure that is what we were searching for. So poor.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

JULY 20th Fort Cherry Road Race announcement

Please come out to the Pittsburgh area for the 1st annual Fort Cherry Road Race.
There is no TM after the name. Nobody is trying to get rich off of it. We are just trying to have a nice cycling scene here in Western PA.

56 miles for the 1/2/3 race.
1500 dollars total prize money.
Beautiful course a bit west of Pittsburgh.

July 20th 2008.
Register at BikeReg

When was the last time there was a 50 mile race in Pittsburgh?

Thursday, June 05, 2008

1985 CoreStates US PRO championship interview.

After reading all about Philly week and the Liberty classic, I called the Chewman and talked to him before he left for RAAM, to write not race.

"You were just 5 years old when I was racing my first US PRO!"

I talked to The Chew Man for over an hour today about his first, and THE first US Pro championships. Being relatively new to cycling, it blows my mind that the 1984 Olympic team was all amateur. A doped up Alexi Grewal took the gold medal and the amateurs were all pushed to turn professional the following year apparently. A race was created for PROs only, in Philadelphia, and would crown the United States Professional Champion.

A 23 year old Dan Chew headed out of Pittsburgh and rode the 100 miles to Bedford PA the Thursday before the race. His late father drove the van to pick him up and take him the rest of the way.

This would be the first of 7 times Chew started the race. Being PRO in 1985 was a lot different than now apparently. I asked him how he did it and he said "I was a strong rider and I sent the money in for a PRO card." A PRO without a team? A free agent.

Chew claims that only 70 - 80 starters began the 156 mile road race. He knew that he would have an advantage over a lot of the domestic racers, due to their lack of endurance strength, and lack of long road race experience. A lead group got away containing "Heiden (7-11), Rasowski, Shuler(7-11, who won in 1987), and two foreign guys." (I have never heard of 2nd name, so the spelling is wrong of course)

2/3rds of the way through the race, Phinney and Kiefel (both 7-11) attacked. Chew said that the pack didnt react, so he figured that they were blown. He solo bridged up to the two on Kelly drive and caught them by the Manayunk wall. Chew described this effort as "hellish." When Chew arrived, the two became content to let the lead group get away. More from the field started showing up: Tom Prem (sp?), Chris Carmichael, Andy Hampsten, Jeff Rutter (who is still fast?!?!!), and Dan Chew.

A true breakaway artist, Chew got last in his group. He said they could see the lead riders right off the front. Heiden, one of those superhumans, won it. He is now a Doctor. He also has tons of gold medals in speed skating. I think he can levitate and turn water and into wine too.

Chew got 900 dollars for his effort, which he is probably still living off of today.

In 1986, Chew was in a group that battled for 7th place, but he botched it and ended up 16th. In 1987 he was the first person to ever race a nonsteel frame in US Pro history. It was a Cannondale and looked "freaky" compared to the standard 1" tubes of a steel bike. This bike is still in the Chew basement, standing as one of the only bikes he was unable to break, with over 90,000 miles on it. Yes 90,000.

Bike racing has come a long way.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

GDMBR image dump # 2 Wyoming Idaho

Redrock national forest or something.

We met luke on the road where the GDMBR crosses the Transamerican trail. He was 19 years old and 2500 miles into a 5000 mile bike trip. Awesome kid.

This was the first picture he had ever taken with a NON DIGITAL camera. Matt and I realize that he probably thinks that we are old men.

This couple runs a "bike hostel" along the way, right where the two routes seperate.
We were prepared to shell out 30 bucks to sleep inside, shower, eat, drink espresso...

and use the BATHROOM (yes this is the inside of the bathroom that they had built)...
And when we tried paying, they told us its actually free and they just enjoy the company.

We rode off into the rain, and up a 5 mile climb or so. You can see the road below that we switched back from.

At one point, Cowboys kicked us off the road.

As they shuffled cattle from one point in the middle of nowhere to another.

This is Matt in the middle of the Great divide basin. It was like 180 miles without food/water/people. Kind of insane gnarly.
Heading out of a town and into the basin, we hit 35 - 40 degree thunder storms that didnt stop for hours. I had a TFO (total freak out) cause I couldnt feel my hands enough to open my panniers to put on the last bit of clothing that I didnt have on. Matt and I chilled under a tarp to try and avoid hypothermia.

I had a similar TFO yesterday when Amy pointed out that I had bought 1% milk and not skim. I am now very soft.

If you click this, you will see wild antelope running. We also so wild stallions running in the divide. Not wyld stylions but actual untamed horses running free.


9.10.06 Middle of Divide Basin WY - Teton Reservoir WY
111 miles

Got up at camp and made oatmeal and coffee with most of the water we had left. On the road by 8:30. It started out kind of rough - washboard roads and slow sand. We reached a creek on our map in 12 miles, and of course it was dry. Fuck. We rode over the divide, the views were amazing the whole time. Right before the reservoir we saw wild horses running. We scared them into running the opposite direction. All hope was that the reservoir had water in it, or else it was going to be over 90 miles with 3/4 of a bottle. We climbed up and saw a mucky puddle and our hearts sank, but below was a giant pool. It looked like a mirage. We must have sat and filtered/drank water for an hour before heading further south to Rawlins.

From the reservoir we had tailwinds pushing us towards the highway. We could see the highway from over 15 miles out. We had to climb on pavement for the second divide crossing of the day, and Matt and I both big ringed it, which was funny.

All downhill into Rawlins. Shit town. Had to ride across it twice to find groceries. Wanted to call Amy, but didnt want to end up riding at night. The town sucked, and thankfully we decided to push on to the Bureau Land Management campground at a lake 10 miles south of town. It is beautiful. There are men fishing for what might be dinner on their way home from work. Free camping too. We saw lightening during dinner. I hope it holds off.

No services tomorrow for 84 miles.

Can you tell that we are approaching the Colorado border? What is this green stuff?

Sunday, June 01, 2008

30 hours = 8 hours of racing, 7 hours of driving, 6 hours of sleep

The Mohican 100. I remember reading a guy's review of it saying something like "at least once a mile you are like 'you have to be kidding me.'" Not an exaggeration.

It all started Friday night, heading down to Loudenville, Ohio. There is something to be said about the turnpike: it is fast. The trip was 145 miles that took 3.5 hours. There were no highways, and the roads that took me into town had Amish buggies on them for the last 50 miles. Not sweet.

I met a really nice guy at the oval on Wednesday. He was like "Hey you were at the wvmba race... you doing the Mohican? Do you have a place to stay?" His buddy Mike rented a 24 bed cabin. Awesome. This really worked out because my plan to camp would have quickly gotten ugly because at 2 or 3 am it was thundering and lightening like crazy.

Up at 5 am. The "continental breakfast" consisted of donuts and cinnamon rolls. It was like eating breakfast at a gas station. Im glad that I brought some bagels and nutella and peanut butter. It was weird, we had to drive to the start from the finish. Does that make sense? It started in downtown and they had the street shut down. The announcer was hyping up all the people that were there. It started by sprinting up a 4 or 5 minute hill. I was feeling ok, sitting like 10 place or so, in the first group. Floyd went flying past me, trying to get closer to the front. That was surreal.

Maybe 35 minutes into the race, still going too fast, we all got turned around and the tail end of the front pack flip flopped to the front (we all missed a turn and they didnt). The next 3 hours, I just tried to hold wheels through the 30 miles of singletrack. 30 miles of singletrack. Yes, 30 miles of singletrack.

I made note of when the cramps started, right around 5:30. If you start a sentence saying "right around the 6th hour of the race, I wasnt feeling too hot," you have problems. I said goodbye to Pflug, who was killing it despite having only a single shoulder due to a crash the previous weekend, and started my own pace for the last few hours.

My own pace included lots of granny gear. Lots of walking. Lots of pedalling on my heels or with my legs straight, not bending them at all. I need to find out if you can do permanent damage to yourself just pedaling through cramps, because I would have tried, but it really felt like something was wrong, and a single bike race isnt worth tearing a muscle or something. (I have no idea if this is possible, but it REALLY hurt.)

A few more hours of pain and I found my way to the last feed stop. "7.1 miles of singletrack to go buddy, you are doing great" I actually caught a trek/vw pro dude on this stretch. I dont know how, but I did. He then rode away from me as I cramped.

15th place

Things I realized during the race:
-I want lasik surger. Contacts suck. glasses suck.
-Grip shifts suck after 3 hours. I am going to put a trigger shifter on the right if I do another event. My shifter got so slippery that I wasnt able to shift as I pleased, and the amount of energy that it took to shift was more than just standing up and mashing the gear that I was in.
-Wes rules for spotting me a dope front wheel. For reals.
- some fast dudes are unhuman obviously. Some normal dudes are almost as fast as the unhuman dudes (gorski, pflug)
-landis was in the pain box when he passed me.