The Waffle House Chronicles...

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Uphill battle…

After race #1 I am ranked 15th. I have 9 more races (out of 11, I am missing two) to do and I need 7 of them to be good. I also will not get a call up at all this year (until Sheboygan if I really earn it since I tanked race 1 and will miss race 4.) I’ll have to scam my way into a front two rows start. I got my Shimano stuff (except the crank which I should get next week) yesterday so I’ll have to get the bike together soon.

Yesterday was binge training day. I got in like 82 miles I think (I haven’t checked the Garmin yet.) 29 decent but easy lunch miles and 53 post-work miles (26 alone and 27 with the Chainsmokers) which were a good mix of climbing, sprinting and good conversation. 4:40 of seat time is always a good thing on a Wednesday, especially when it is likely the only miles I’ll get to do. I am blaming the weather on Mr. 1000 mile May…the gods have determined that since he has this goal it has to be even more difficult so expect a rainy May. I wonder how many miles he has now...

The scale this morning read 198.5. For the first time in around 10 years I weigh under 200lbs! I weighed in at 200.0 yesterday so I knew it was possible. It will probably take a week or so before it is under 200lbs for good at any time of the day. I weighed 217 on groundhog’s day and weighed about 250 3 years ago so life is good. I guess if I eat a little less and a little better at home and go out about 1-2 less times per week it helps keep it under control…but most of this is due to riding my bike (and running.)

Weekend will be good, with or without rain. Jess’ sister flies into town for an interview so we are all doing dinner tonight. I have a little shopping I need to do as well. Tomorrow we have no plans but if there is interest maybe some cards/games/karaoke/etc tomorrow night. Saturday we are supposed to ride Levis before hitting the Beav’s grad party in Eau Claire. Sunday is a big ride (likely wet) and then some mother’s day/birthday action in Belleville.

Hope y’all have a wonderful day! I wonder what Hez is doing right now?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

No crit or riding at all last night...what a bummer. :( Such is life though. If I were more hardcore I suppose I could've ridden but that would have just been insanity. Anyways, I saw the movie Waiting last night. It was basically a more crude version of Empire Records...I loved it! I highly recommend it to all who love crude comedies. Highly recommend it! Tried to watch the movie Mother In Law...failed. Jess hated it too and we stopped about 40 minutes in.

A co-worker e-mailed me this Ebay auction. It is pretty hilarious!!! Hoping to get some good riding in at lunch and tonight! Rain forecasted for the next four days not only hinders cycling in puts in doubt the Levis trip on Saturday...Looks like we'll call this a rest week.

Update: We may be out of the 175mm XT. Suddenly, this crank has gotten very hot—maybe ‘cause it shifts well. Or something. So, anyway, we’ve issued an XTR crank for this replacement—I hope you don’t mind! The cosmetic won’t be quite the same, but it is lighter for the same strength, and best of all, it fits the XT BB

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

On my way to Iola on Sunday I saw a new development in Plover. In the past a new Best Buy and Super Wal-Mart would be exciting…but Plover is now a terrible place. Before it was just a water park and a Burger King and was all good. Now when you are 10 miles south of Stevens Point all you see is pavement, stores and warehouses. And once you get in Stevens Point you see a big old empty (for lease) Wal-Mart building. Now I like Wal-Mart almost as much as your average deer hunter but I hate seeing buildings cast aside to build bigger Wal-Marts. Much the same as the Wal-Mart in Rice Lake, they not only left an abandoned building, they also abandoned tons of businesses that thrived because Wal-Mart is there…thus creating a downward spiral. Plover is even worse as they built these businesses seriously 50 feet south of the Stevens Point border essentially just stealing Stevens Point money. Plover is now my least favorite city in Wisconsin, a position that has formerly been held by Wausau, Bloomer, Hayward and Barron. Now I am not a hippy and want golf courses banned and never eat/shop/enjoy chains. I just wish local governments would stop battling each other for the right to Wal-Mart’s money. Now hopefully when they build the new Target by our house they have a Taco Bell or something cool like that!!! Viva la Fitchburg...

Why do people in new Volkswagen Jettas think they should listen to Johnny Cash? Yep, I’ve listened to the Man in Black my whole life but two yuppies in Iola had to bump some Boy Named Sue before my preride thus getting it stuck in my head. I guess when a movie wins an academy award it gives everyone the right to listen to something that those same people probably made fun of me listening to 10 years ago. Oh well, maybe when they make a movie about Ace of Base I can be cool once again.

Driving home from the race I saw an SUV with a rack on the back with about 12 5 gallon buckets all open on it and tied down. Each bucket was tied down with the open side up. I assume they weren’t empty or they would be stacked and in the back of the SUV. What is in these buckets that they need to be separated and opened and need to travel? I thought maybe live fish. I doubt it. I assume if it was driveway sealant they would be covered or left. Anyone know?

New Shimano crank baby (probably just a new drive side…but beggars can’t be choosers.) Here are the 3 points of his e-mail.

1) Absolutely. To Hammersley?
2) Another JRA, eh? Mind if we get that crank back so we can do a post-mortem on it?
3) C’mon—really—how high was the ramp off the loading dock??? We’ll still send you the replacement!!! Promise!

They already warrantied the XTR cassette I broke last year (that one was 100% a warranty issue) and twice my WHR-535 wheels that I ended up just retiring. Shimano customer service=top notch. Companies should pay me to ride there stuff, I think there is a testament to a product if I haven’t broken it yet. I’ll have to come up with a list of Mark’s approved parts and a list of everything I’ve broken in the last 3+ years.

Well sorry for rambling, I was trying to recreate my thoughts of this weekend and I am sure if you are still reading you are now dumber for it…I wish the rain would go away so I could do some crit tonight. I bet it isn’t sunny and upper 60’s in Baraboo either…

Monday, May 08, 2006

Sunday Throwdown…

I was so ready for Sunday. The bikes were ready, everything was packed, everything was perfect. I’ve been training pretty hard for me (1400 miles this year, compared to around 700 last year.) The best in my class have moved up so it was time for a changing of the guard. I talked Jess into getting up super early so I could get in a lap before the citizen youth race (and the trail run.) Iola isn’t all that far, 2:10 from our house to the parking lot (with a good 10-15 minute stop.) We get there at about 8:15, I ready the bike, ready myself and go do a lap. They added a couple parts and only eliminated one, the course was a bit longer and tougher but roughly the same. I ended up doing a practice lap in about 27 minutes flat. I did the math and that was faster than my lap pace last year and the lap was longer. Awesome. I was ready. I get done and change out of my bike clothes and go register. I see a bunch of familiar faces and see Shelley. “Did you get my voice mail?” she asks? Nope, why? “This is an expensive race, over 200 bucks.” Did you get a ticket Shelley? 81 in a 65…guh! She got a speeding ticket trying to get to a race 3 hours before instead of 2:45 before. Oh Shelley…she claims she can’t drive slow. Thank god for cruise control! J Anyways, I am all registered, seeing all those faces I haven’t seen since last year (or last month, or last week or last Wednesday in some cases) and getting back to the car to the words “my bike doesn’t shift well” from Jess. Well it is my experience to never mess with a bike on race day. We did get rid of her squeak and I’ll have to teach her how to feather the XTR when it isn’t shifting well. We watched the citizen race and had a good time. Now it is get ready time. My warm-up revealed poor shifting myself, no surprise, SRAM X-Gen front derailleurs are absolutely worthless, it would work better to have no front derailleur and get off and change them by hand. I had finally got it to the point that I thought would work and not have a granny option (not really needed on this course anyways.)

I line up to race. There’s Gosse…and there is Ebben. Didn’t recognize anyone else which is probably a good thing. We lined up second along with the 20-24s. I get the best starting spot and lead out the hole shot. I was first into the first corner. Then some PCW guy flies on the outside. Then Gosse. Then Ebben. Well that was enough for me and I climbed the hill in 4th. I let a couple others go and I think I descended the bowl in 7th. I passed Gosse and the PCW guy on the next hill and was doing well. About 5 of us were alternating spots in about the 5-9 spots for the lap before dropping a couple and getting dropped by the other two. First lap, 25:11. Not bad. I also was feeling strong and gaining momentum. Then up the third big climb of the lap everything started to fall apart…in the drive train. I look down and my middle ring is bent, the one side bent at about a 25 degree angle. Great. So I tried to use only the big ring for a while but the one steep climb was too much and I had to jog up. I got passed by 2 in my age group. Then I got up and passed them back doing the rest of the course in my big ring until the big ring went crappy as well. It looked bent too! Then the chain sucked up into the outside of my chainrings and got stuck. It took me 2-3 minutes to get it fixed. I thought I might be good to go but my chain locked up again about 3 minutes later. I stop. I get off realizing that I already lost a Top 10 finish and wanted to finish. I had a multi-tool so I stop. Danny was there and held my bike while I worked on it. I lost 20 minutes more. I noticed I lost 2 of the four chainring bolts. Not good. My top two rings were bent. My spider was bent, everything was trashed. I took the bolts out but couldn’t get the middle chainring off. I finally was able to bend part of my spider and get the two bolts put back in across from each other. I took the cable out of the front derailleur and rode my granny. That didn’t work well though as it seemed to skip (not sure if my chainline was wrong or what) the rest of the race. I could ride at about 80-90% pressure. I settled in behind a couple women battling for age group and tried to enjoy my third lap. I mainly wanted to get done so I could watch the Elite/Comp races. I finished. 20th place in my age (out of 24.) I estimate my finish to be 5-10th with an outside chance at a Top 3 (I usually have strong third laps, without problems a 25 minute lap would’ve put me in second place.) So that was that I guess. Ebben got third and Gosse got 9th or 10th (results aren’t posted.)

I can’t explain the feeling of a mechanical, especially in the first race. If you blow a race in the middle of the season it is one thing. But I haven’t raced mountain bikes since Chequamagon last year (Kewaskum certainly doesn’t count) so 7-8 months of hard work and training to get a taste of what the season might be, only to get it all taken away by what I feel is a crappy front derailleur. Now I have to figure out a set-up (with gears Shiroma) that I can’t break. Not a great start to the week, that’s for sure. But what can you do? At least I know that my training has improved me, I finished 17th at Iola last year (and my bike worked perfectly) and 20th this year so I just need to keep things in perspective.

Jess got 6th in her age group (actually sprinting around 7th place to take it at the line) so that was good. Her age group is tough as 3 of the top 4 overall (including Jen, of Kelson fame) came from her age. But she will train hard and get up there! Shelley is in the 30 age group now and I believe got 6th also. Joel won the Sport overall on a singlespeed so that was nice and Shiroma got a 6th place finish also without gears.

After finishing I decided I need to live through the glory of others. Fortunately I knew plenty of people in the next race who had the potential to produce lots of glory! Two Pacific riders suited up (Roland on his Giant and Hertz on his Specialized) and a bunch of Chainsmokers (Jerry in Elite and Kelson, Dave and Ryan in Comp.) Hertz and Kelson came in first, battling for age group in Comp. Hertz held the position in a sprint finish. Both did well. I believe Ryan or Dave came in next and then Roland. Then Jerry finished the Elite Race…his best finish ever, 12th overall and won some cash! It was fun to see everyone do so well! Bike races are awesome, lots of great people and great dogs!

The ride home was a daze. I don’t think Jess was happy about her race and I certainly didn’t want to dwell on the what could’ve been of the weekend. I didn’t even feel like stopping at Taco Bell and we drove by. Finally by about Portage I was done sulking and ready to be home. Can’t wait to take apart the bike and take photos of busted parts!

Seeing the pups at home and a little JT Whitneys with Jess’ parents was just what the doctor ordered, and two episodes of Family Guy is always a good thing as well. Too bad it’s Monday morning now…

Wors opener…

Well this weekend was the Wors opener in (near) Iola. Friday I took it easy. We both had rough work weeks so Jess was not feeling good after work. She fell asleep and I just let her sleep and played video games. I am playing a game called Pandora’s Box, it is an awesome puzzle game and I can’t get of the best games I ever played. After an hour or so of that I had some serious cabin fever so I had to get some air. I went and mowed the lawn, swept the drive way and pulled some weeds. I came inside and Jess was awake but not feeling great. I made some random frozen pizza in our freezer (I don’t know the brand or where it came from, I assumed it was a Tombstone but it wasn’t) and made it. Two bites later I got pissed because it totally sucked. Jess said, lets go to Olive Garden (which we were going to do before Jess felt ill) so a little late night Olive Garden.

Saturday morning it was like 34 degrees when I woke up (and 45 in the computer room as the window was left open over night.) Anyways, Jess and I were supposed to get up to go to Farmers Market. Well I know better than to wake Jess up early for the sole reason to go out in the cold so I sat around and played Pandora’s Box and read some of a book. Oh yeah, on Thursday Jess bought me a book called “Why My Wife Thinks I Am An Idiot.” I wonder if she is trying to tell me something…and we aren’t even married yet! Actually it is a book I’ve wanted to read, an autobiography from Mike Greenberg and it is really good, and she was kind enough to buy it for me! She woke up just after 9 and it was getting warmer. The Farmers Market was fun! Good eats and lots of people. If only our garden areas were close enough to merit planting. Anyways a loaf of spicy cheese bread hit the spot! Came home and moved most of the rest of my stuff out of Russ’ house. Riz if you are reading you have two days to get out some sweet stuff man! Then we took the dogs to the dog park and met Stephen, Emily and Chloe. The dog park was non-stop hilarity. Basically, lots of dogs, lots of mud and everyone having a good time and we even ran into another co-worker (Trish with her dog Pimpen, actually Pippen.) Anyways, after that we chilled at home. Not sure what I did that afternoon besides get my bike stuff ready. That night we ate spaghetti and continued to do very little. Ready for Sunday…