Sunday, May 31, 2009

Katie, Camping, and Karma

Katie: adorable as usual, very busy, into everything. Loves daddy & mommy, camping, and blueberries in that order (I hope). Also loves her Cozy Coupe (see photo). She found her dream home in my sister-in-law's back yard (see other photo).

Camping: another weekend of family fun in the Katiemobile. We spent Friday night in the camper in the driveway of sis-in-law's house so we could make an early exit for my bike race 10 miles away in the metrop of East Union. When you're camping in the Katiemobile, a driveway is just as good as a KOA. After the race, we hung out at their house and jumped on the trampoline for hours.

Karma: bad for me at the race. Everything pointed to a top 5 finish: short (27 miles), flat as a pancake, and fast--the finish line was 500 yards after the last turn into a howling tailwind of 30mph. Needless to say, this was the race where somebody had to bump me hard at 25mph while I was riding right next to the shoulder, which was deep gravel, which pulled me into the ditch, which was at least 10 feet deep and steep. By the time I screeched to a stop, ran my bike up the ditch and hopped on, the peloton was 200 yards ahead and going gangbusters. I chased for half an hour at TT+ pace, but only passed the stragglers who popped off the back of the peloton. At least I didn't end up DFL.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Katie's Kozy Koupe

Thanks to Ashton's mom, Katie is the proud new owner of a gently used, low-mileage kiddie car. Thanks, Jessica!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Do it Myself!

We're all scurrying around packing the Katiemobile so we can leave tomorrow around noon, so we can get to Duluth in time for my time trial start. Energy and anxiety is high around here.

To lighten the mood a little, I gave Katie a spoon and a cup of yogurt to try by herself, since she wasn't in the mood to take any of the foods I was offering. Soulmate and I did a little reverse psychology on Katie, saying "I don't know if Katie is big enough to eat yogurt with her own spoon." Beth then said, "yes, I think she can" and sure enough, she started scooping up spoonfuls of yogurt and using a variety of interesting approaches to get the yogurt mostly in her mouth. Here's a sample:

Sunday, May 17, 2009

TT Troubles

I skipped the Synergy TT yesterday but did the Charity TT on Black Dog Road this afternoon. I think I did pretty well, running the 7 mile pothole rally in 15:34, which was good enough for a tie for 5th place. Trouble is, the judges had me down for 19:04 (good for 19th place) because they say I missed my start time. I say I didn't, and have the proof.

Nobody likes a whiner, so I'll take my lumps, even though I could have used the points for the Rider of the Year competition. Is it just me, or does it seem ironic that every one of the 4 road races so far this year have run a half hour late (and with 9am starts, that means 30 minutes spent shivering in 40 degree weather). Now, with the first nice day for a race (and a 12:15 start), they decide to start 5 minutes early.

Start times for TTs aren't that hard: today's race had the first rider go off at 12:15:00, the second one at 12:15:30, and so on every 30 seconds. I was given number 34, which means I was to start 34 riders, or 17 minutes, after the first rider. My math puts that at 12:32:00. I showed up at the start line at 12:30:00 by my watch (correct time, BTW), and even asked one of the judges what time it was. He agreed it was 12:30.

Trouble was, they were sending rider #41 off at that point, so I had "missed" my start time by 3.5 minutes already! Then they were going to hold me up for even longer since they had just sent a rider off, but I took off like my hair was on fire and almost blew up in the first mile before I dialed back a notch and grimly rode on for personal satisfaction.

I haven't ridden a TT on the Dog in 4 years, and I can safely say the road conditions have definitely deteriorated. I spent the entire 15 minutes hanging on to my aero bars for dear life over "repaired" potholes and frost heaves so numerous I couldn't tell what was original and what was repair. If they had thrown a little more tar out of the truck, they would have repaved it.

OK, enough grousing. I was pleasantly surprised by my time (and my would-be place). I've never been good at TTs, and I'm not sure why I'm so fascinated by them, but after Jacobs and I won the Henderson two-man last fall, I've been more motivated to work at it. At least in this shorter distance, it looks like it has paid off.

We'll see next Friday in Duluth where I have a 16 mile TT to kick off a 4-day, 4-race Memorial Day weekend.

Just for fun, here's an update on the Highway 23 bridge just upriver from us:

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Food for a 2 year old

Peanut butter--nothing better, whether you're eating it or wearing it.

Katie got a new Lil' Tikes kitchen from Auntie Sue and cousin Jenny on Mother's Day. She loves it a lot:

Monday, May 11, 2009

More Crazy Stuff from Kooza2

My nephew is "Elastaboy". Check this vid out.

BTW, he just won a gold and two silver medals in his region (5 regions in the country) in gymnastics competition. He switched this year from standard gymnastics (think Olympics) to T & T (tumbling and trampoline), and scored a gold and two silvers in his first attempt!

He has been accepted to the National Circus School's 2 week elite summer circus camp. It is in Montreal, across the street from the Cirque du Soliel's international headquarters. His ultimate goal is to be a Cirque du Soliel performer. I think he'll make it, don't you?

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Sibley County RR Recap

Pretty short recap: felt good, found out I can climb OK, got boxed in on the uphill finish but got out, ended up 4th behind Mliner, Coyle, and Binkowski who just squeezed his tire tread over the line ahead of me. As usual, Bell pounded out the entire race either on the front or in a 2nd lap break with Pete Hanna and a Flanders guy that didn't quite stick.

The teams that didn't have anyone in the break worked like mad for most of a lap to reel them in. Big Jim then calmly went to the front again and took control of the last lap to make sure nobody escaped, and then set the pace up the final climb. After the melee for the sprint started, he sat up and watched it all go by.

My legs felt fantastic the last two races, and I'm not sure why. I've put on way fewer miles this winter, and I only train Tuesday nights and race on the weekend. Must be all that hanging around with Big Jim. It rubs off.

In the Pro/1/2 race, Doug Swanson won the field sprint, but 7 guys were already up the road in a race-long breakaway won by GrandStay's own enfant terrible Jens Brabbit, a 21 year old cycling and X/C ski phenom. Good job, Jens!

Katie and Soulmate went shopping instead of spectating at the race, since it was only 46 degrees at race time, and 20 mph winds from the NW. Tomorrow is mother's day, so we're off to Roseville to the in-laws after church. Next Sunday is the Charity TT on the Black Dog TT course. The asphalt is said to be in pretty sketchy condition, but hopefully I will be able to dodge the potholes and put in a good time.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Outdoors Girl

Katie has discovered Riverside park. It has a fire truck. I can't get her out of the driver's seat. She sat here for an hour on Sunday, and then the babysitter took her there Monday and she "drove" for another hour or so.

I can't wait until the splash pad opens. After another barnburner Tuesday night ride driven by Big Jim, I need some hydrotherapy on my legs.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Race Report: Marty RR

Katie looks a little dazed (and maybe I do too) because we just got back from a day of playing outside in and around beautiful Marty, MN. I use the term "playing" loosely since Katie and Soulmate spent the day alternately snacking, napping, and walking around intently studying sticks.

I, on the other hand, spent the morning chasing a couple of southerners around a very windy "Sprinters' Classic" roadrace course. We failed to reel them in, so I had to settle for sprinting for 3rd place, which I also failed to acheive. It wasn't a total failure though. 

First the recap: in the Pro/1/2s, ho hum, Doug Swanson again delivers a stunning sprint to win and draw the first blood toward qualifying GrandStay for the Nature Valley Grand Prix pro stage race in June. The Qualifier Events are: 
May 2 - Gluek Road Race, Marty, MN 
May 20 - Black Dog TT, Burnsville, MN 
May 30 - East Union Circuit Race, East Union, MN 
June 2 - State Fair Criterium, St. Paul, MN.

In the Master 35+, a couple of ringers drove up from KC or Iowa or somewhere and went off the front in the 3rd of 4 laps to go 1 & 2. I started the tailwind, slightly downhill sprint early, maybe at 350 yards, thinking I could catch the other sprinters off guard and still hang on, but it wasn't to be. I did get a big gap right away, but Donimator came around me with 50 yards to go, about the time my thighs were cramping up, and he pulled 3 other guys up to me who got past me as I faded.

7th out of 50 starters isn't too bad, but they only paid to 5th place, so I was out of the money. I was disappointed, but Big Jim pointed out that I made the front group when more than half the field got shelled. Now that I think of it, I remember a couple guys trying to bridge up to the remnants of a strong break at the beginning of the 3rd lap, and Jim told me to chase down a GS guy who was bridging up.

I put my head down and hit the gas, and thought I'd bridged up by myself, only to look back and see guys behind me. I thought I had towed the entire peloton back to the break, but apparently only ten guys made it, leaving the rest of the field shattered in little groups. Some of the favorites had picked that point to lounge in the back of the peloton, and skinny Chad and Mliner in particular spent the rest of the race trying and failing to time trial up to our group.

Mind you, I had no idea that this was happening; I was just trying to follow wheels and stay out of the wind and out of trouble. I guess I need to work on race awareness a little. Anyway, when Big Jim cranked it up over the last mile of the finishing straight, I got twitchy and pulled the trigger too soon, with the above mentioned result. Oh well, you live and learn.

What I did learn was that my new training technique is doing wonders for my racing legs. Get your notebooks out, I'm spilling secrets here: I race hard on Saturday, ride the Tuesday night Rev/GCC hammerfest, and commute 30 minutes a day on my Bianchi Cafe Racer. That's it. On breakthrough weeks I add a Dairy Queen run towing Katie in the Chariot.

Best of all, the Katiemobile is working to perfection. Well, there have been a few bumps in the road, mostly related to the ephemistically termed "black water tank", which hasn't been flushing perfectly, and the first time I tried to dump it, the 3" hose literally flew into my hands after it broke off of its internal moorings. Fortunately I hadn't pulled the gate valve or I would have had had more than just a broken hose on my hands. 'Nuf said.

In all, a good day was had by all, and now it's (long past) time for bed. G'night John Boy...