The Waffle House Chronicles...

Friday, May 19, 2006

The Giro D’Italia is more than just my favorite Olive Garden dish…it’s also one of the toughest bike races in all of the world… Today’s race was crazy!!! Here are some highlights from the end courtesy of Cycling News:

16:38 CEST Engels leads the first chasing group, then Belli and Horriach.Oh dear, Sella and Morio crash into the barriers. Mori is worse off, but now he's back. They are passed by the chase group. Ouch, that hurt.
16:40 CEST 165km/6km to goThe leaders are now together again, with six riders. Amazing that Sella and Mori weren't hurt worse than that. Mori pulled his foot out first, then just brushed against the barrier, slipping down, Armstrong style, into the next bit of the descent. Sella hit the barrier full on, but got back and remounted, but didn't cut the course.Mori is still in front!
16:41 CEST Jeez, Mori crashes again with Sella. This is just not their day. Both of them are up again, chasing the remaining four. Mori crashed first again. These corners are really sharp.
16:46 CEST Four leaders coming up to 1 km to go and Engels attacks. But Baliani and the rest mark him. Mori and Sella are almost back on too.
16:46 CEST Horrach counters! Big attack, and that might be it.
16:47 CEST Horrach gets a 50m gap and the rest stop chasing. But now there are five in pursuit. Caisse d'Epargne scores!
16:47 CEST 171km/0km to goJoan Horrach celebrates as Engels takes second ahead of Sella, Mori, Baliani and Belli. Great finish.

So there you have it…insane!!! Not only do the two teammates (Sella and Baliani) have to be pissed that they lost everyone will be upset losing to a guy named Joan. Basso looks unstoppable, his lead should be solid enough even if he doesn’t have the best day on Stage 17. Man, I should go to the Olive Garden...

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Bad Mechanical luck…continued…

I thought last week was bad but this week might be worse! I’ve went through 2 tubes (on 2 separate bikes) a rear wheel (road) and a Pearl Izumi bootie (right.) Yesterday I was out for a nice 1 hour recovery ride (I get antsy if I am inside too long) and bam…5 miles in…broken spoke! What a bummer. The wheel wasn’t very round anymore. I was able to detach the brake cable and then position the wheel in the drop out so it only slightly rubbed the frame on every revolution…I stood up to ease pressure on the wheel and then pedaled harder with my right leg to minimize the rub and didn’t coast. Got back to work and was unhappy. Add that to an extremely crappy work day and being tired all day and I was in a pretty bad mood. Such is life I guess. So most of yesterday was pretty forgettable. Today was a new day though…bike to work day! Stephen was trying to get a ride of all the Fitchburg, Verona and Mt Horeb people in to work. I decided it would be best to meet him in the Horeb so I rode to their house on the Military Ridge. Of course I flatted…but it was a gradual flat and I was only a mile from there house and I didn’t have a spare. I changed the tire at their house (my tire, tube and wheel are the original for the bike…meaning I could barely get the tire off and then the tube was pretty much bonded to the tire…took me a couple minutes just to peel the tube off.) We (Stephen, Emily, Ply and myself) rode to Verona and stopped at some coffee shop and met up with Julie had coffee (cookie) and rode in to work. Oh yeah, before I left I was zipping up my booties and the zipper fell off of one of them. Two months old. Oh well! It could be worse, I could be Kelson!

Volleyball tonight…rest day tomorrow, pre-ride Saturday and Alpine Valley on Sunday…it’s on!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Last night’s ride was so Euro. We drove up to Baraboo through a crazy rain-storm but when we arrived the rain magically stopped. It was still tough to decide what to wear. I finally decided on a kit, wind vest and arm warmers…perfect. It didn’t rain at all the ride and after about 10 miles the roads were hardly even wet. We got going about 20 minutes late and rolled out of town. I’ve heard a lot about the legendary hills in Baraboo. After about 5 miles the road started to rise. I wasn’t sure if this was one of the “climbs” or not but I saw Jerry drill it so I jumped on the train. It ended up being a climb called Happy Hill. I had a good climb. The next climb I can remember was called Denzler and I guess that was 700 feet in less than 2 miles (8% or so grade) which was fun! I drilled that one pretty good. After that climb and decent I had a flat. 12 people watching me change a flat…talk about pressure…but I had one of the best tube changes I’ve ever had that couldn’t have taken more than 5 minutes. Then I guess since I was along they decided to do some hill called “Camp.” It looked more like a wall. I was in my 39X23 at about 5.5mph, trailing only Jerry. I am guessing it was about 150-200 feet at a 20-25% grade…insane! A sprint into Rock Springs and another small climb and a regrouping and then it was time for a flat 6 miles stretch…it was hammer time. Some fast tempo and we ended up splitting the group in two…we had 5 up front and just nailed it. Finally I heard Jerry scheming with Sam for some sprint coming up but by the time they made the move I could only hold on to it and not go for the sprint. A couple more cooldown miles and we were back to Mark’s house. It was one of my strongest rides ever…I can’t remember feeling that good on a ride in my life!

This was my first ever Baraboo ride and I figured we’d grab a beer, talk and head home. I couldn’t be any more wrong. I changed and go inside the garage (which was amazing) and then into the house. Chris told me to snag some endurox and that stuff was great. I also saw that someone made dinner so I thought it was nice that Mark’s wife would make a nice dinner for Eric and Mark when they got done riding. I was wrong…it was for all of us! Homemade supper! And we are talking awesome food! Pot roast sandwiches, fried new potatoes, morel mushrooms sautéed in a sour cream sauce, salad, chocolate cake! Insane! And wine! Not much better than hanging out with fellow cyclists after a great ride and eating great food and talking racing! Anyways we pulled out of Baraboo at 9:45 and were home around 10:30.

I feel so Euro, riding right after the rain up and down awesome hills (taking the vest off and on) and getting fed outstanding food…if only I would’ve had a wheel change instead of fixing my own flat (although one rider seriously got a wheel change when he flatted right before the ride.) Stats: 45+ miles of riding, almost 4000 feet of elevation gain, several climbs, speeds in the upper 40’s (lower 50’s for some) on many of the downhill segments… Couldn’t get my bike computer to upload this morning so I am kind of pissed about that. I was able to figure out where we went from the Sauk County Map though!

They also told me of this mythological downhill where they can routinely hit 60+ with the high being 64mph…insane!!! Thanks to Jerry for bringing me along…it was most excellent!!!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Oh what a long day!

Mondays are always rough, this one especially. The weather and my job have worn me down and I know when I am done with this I have to install some new drive-train on the mountain bike. I have all the parts now as well, just have to decide what crankset to run. The XTR showed up and it looks pretty sweet! Rode 32 miles at lunch, the last 15 were mostly in the rain and I was thoroughly soaked when I got back to work. The ride out to Belleville was nice though…warm and tail-winded…

As for the weekend…Thursday evening we went out to Pedro’s with Jess’ family. A lot of margaritas were had by the Smulkas! It was fun! Stacy has an interview right now at UWEC so we’re hoping she gets it. Friday after work Jess and I hit the JT Whitneys as I had a gift certificate that expired the next day. It was awesome and they have free appetizers for happy hour if you go right after work. I was stuffed. Afterward we went back to the house and got ready for company. Some people came over and it was a non-stop Hip-Hop, American Idol, Blockus battle. I think everyone did pretty well in all disciplines…but no one could stop Balsley and his posse on Broadway. Stayed up too late and had a couple overly intoxicated friends but all was well.
Saturday on about 4.5 hours of sleep I went to the Y and got in 2.5 hours of hoops. It was fun! Also I went to the Twinkie Store on the way home and I was in luck…Boston Cream Zingers. Went home, cleaned up, and got ready to head to Eau Claire for John’s grad party. Unfortunately the weather was too crappy (for the past week) so no Levis on the way up. Fortunately we were able to hit the LJS though for some fish. Eau Claire was fun! The weather didn’t keep the mood nor the attendance down. I think I’ve trained the Beav well though as he had a nice large wooden cooler chest full of LaBatts. Lots of food and conversation and hanging out…it was most excellent seeing everyone! Congratulations John! He’ll graduate next week! The drive home was rough, I pulled over in Tomah to let Jess drive the rest of the way home. I was seriously asleep though before she even started to drive I was that tired! Next thing I know we are on Whitney Way!

If you want to know what happened Sunday, read the post below. Awesome time! I missed Kelson though, it is much more fun to make fun of Jerry in groups and there were plenty of opportunities. After the ride I hustled out to Belleville (by car) to make it 3 hours late for the Mother’s Day/Birthday celebrations. Some good food was left for me and my lunch/supper was a chicken breast, taco dip and cake...all in about 3 minutes and then I couldn’t eat anymore. Got home and fell asleep watching the Simpsons but somehow awoke and was awake for Malcom and Family Guy. And that my friends was my weekend.

I want to give props to Kelson. He now reads my blog meaning I now have 3-3/4 active blog readers that I know of (thanks Jerry, Brozek, Shiroma and Hez for composing the rest of the 2-3/4.) Also Kelson got 3rd in the 4’s race on Saturday which is awesome. Jerry raced 3’s and although he practices riding on the shoulder and in the grass it indeed slowed him up when forced to do that in a race from a near stop down the finishing stretch. Also good job everyone of playing Blockus…I know I won at least 1 game but I am pretty sure almost everyone there won or was close at one point or another.

Muddy roads...


Double track...

Deep mud...
Oh what a ride!!! 65 miles in over 4 hours, rain, wind, gear changes, flats, etc...It was a happy mother's day! Only 1 person can dig up a ride like this...(surely not me) Wow Mark! I want to be just like you and do this ride! Sorry, the loop is classified at this have to know someone who knows someone and so forth.