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T H E R AC I NG PO S T October 2006 Vol. 6, No. 10 FREE Bedford Fort Worth 510-I Harwood Rd. 5125 Granbury Rd. Bedford, TX 76021 Fort Worth, TX 76133 817-268-6572 (Metro) 817-292-2911 P L A N Y O U R R O A D T R I P! (Check individual event websites for changes or cancellations) Arlington Keller 1607 S. Bowen Rd. 101 Town Center Lane Arlington, TX 76013 Keller, TX 76248 817-461-5555 (Metro) 817-379-2453 (Metro) Road Races, Crits, Multi-Sport & To u r s C y c l o c r o s s & T T ’s Adventure & October October Road Rides 3,10,17,24,31 Austin Dirt Derby Austin, TX 1 Stonebridge Ranch Triathlon McKinney, TX 1 Try Andy's Tri Sugar Land, TX October 5 Sun & Ski,THSJ PURE Austin Crit Austin, TX 1 Tri Zones Training Winter Training Austin, TX 7 Autumn In Bonham Bonham, TX 6 AMLI Austin Twilight Crit Austin, TX 1 DU3 Canyon Lake, TX 7 Pineywoods Purgatory Lufkin, TX 7 Power Pedal (Age-Based State RR) Lake Bryan, TX 7 Tyler Fall Duathlon Tyler, TX 7 Tour d' Cotton Childress, TX 8 "Dia de la Raza" bike race Eagle Pass, TX 8 First Annual Benbrook Women's Tri Benbrook, TX 7-8 MS150 Bike To The Beach San Antonio, TX 14 Mission Waco Road Race Waco, TX 8 IronBear Triathlon The Woodlands, TX 8 Ride For The Roses Austin, TX 15 Copperal Cove Challenge (Skill-based State RR) 8 South Padre Island Triathlon South Padre Island,TX 14 Quicksilver Paluxy Pedal Glen Rose, TX Copperas Cove, TX 9 Du the Bear Duathlon Houston, TX 14 First Capital Historical Bike Tour West Columbia, TX 21 TxTag 50k Tour and 40k TT Austin, TX 14 Piney Hills Off-Road Duathlon Ruston, LA 14 Power Rally Denton, TX 28-29 Camp Eagle Double Cross Weekend TX Hill Country 14 New Orleans Urban Adventure Race New Orleans, LA 14 Tour d' Trails Winnsboro, TX 15 The Monster Triathlon Keller, TX 14 Tour de Fire Ant Marshall, TX November 15 Tri Texas Wild Sprint Triathlon Mathis, TX 14 Climb the Canyon Amarillo, TX 7,14 Austin Dirt Derby Austin, TX 15 Fall Classic Duathlon Oklahoma City, OK 21 Kiwanis Crazy Kicker Mineral Wells, TX 11 WurstCross Vier New Braunfels, TX 21 The Wurst Tri New Braunfels, TX 21 Mission’s Tour de Goliad Goliad, TX 18 Cook Children's Cross Fort Worth, TX 21 Raid the Rock Little Rock, AR 21 Outlaw Trails 100 Round Rock, TX 18 Austin Dirt Derby Austin, TX 22 Run Bi Tri Keller, TX 21 TX Hill Country River Region ClassicConcan, TX 22 the J Kids Triathlon Dallas, TX 22 Elves & More Texas Cycling Classic Montgomery, TX December 28 Martindale Triathlon Martindale, TX 28 Dam to Dam Jasper, TX 3 REI Cyclocross Richard Moya Park 28 Ghouly Dooly Deaux Monroe, LA 28 Burnt Orange Bike Tour Blanco, TX 9 GCCA-Bikesport Cycocross Challenge Houston, TX 29 Iron Star Triathlon Montgomery, TX November November 4-5 Tour de Gruene Bicycle Classic Gruene, TX 4 Atchafalaya Adventure Race St. Martinville, LA 4 Fredericksburg Fall Foliage Frolic Fredericksburg, TX Mountain Bike Races 18 Texas Jailbreak Adventure Race Huntsville, TX 4 5 Tour de Habitat Tour de Doughnut Mansfield, TX Katy, TX December 11 NovemberFest Metric Century San Felipe, TX 2 Hel of a Du Helotes, TX 19 Bike The Bend Richmond, TX October 9 Texas Dare Adventure Race New Caney, TX 3,10,17,24,31 Austin Dirt Derby Austin, TX 10 Du Boerne Boerne, TX December 1 Sooner Stampede Norman, OK 2 Santa Ride Victoria, TX 1 Bear Creek Challenge Daisy State Park, AR 8 7-8 MLK Short Course BTU Power Pedal Lubbock, TX Bryan, TX With Bicycles From 14-15 16-17 Piney Hills Classic NW Arkansas Championships Rustin, LA Devils Den State Park, AR Trek, Specialized, Tr a c k R a c e s 21 24 Hours of Rocky Hill Smithville, TX 22 22 Chaparrel Challenge McMurtry Madness San Angelo, TX Stillwater, OK Gary Fisher, Felt, October 6,13 Friday Night Racing Houston,TX 29 Womble Classic Mount Ida, AR Orbea, Seven and November November 7,14 Austin Dirt Derby Austin, TX LeMond, No Events Found December 5 5 Coyote Classic Tom Steed Great Escape Notrees, TX Snyder, OK We Can No Events Found 18 18 Austin Dirt Derby Championship Hub Buster Classic Austin, TX Lubbock, TX Fill All Of Your 19 Attila the Hun Hot Springs, AR Cycling Needs December No Events Found ww w . b i c y c l e s i n c . c o m 2 THE RACING POST Vol.6, No.10 WWW.THERACINGPOST.US T HE R A C I N G P O S T PO Box 210066, Bedford, TX 76095 Andy Hollinger - Editor-in-Chief R o a d M a s t e r . . . … … … . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . … Andrew Willis 817.282.2994 Contents Vol. 6, No. 10 October 2006 K n o b b y E d i t o r . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Billy Kurtz C y b i l R a c i n g … … … … . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Interested? T u r n L e f t E d i t o r … … … . . . . . . . . . . . . . Kathy Volski K a n s a s A m b a s s a d o r … . . . . . . . . … Jim Whittaker S u p p o r t S e r v i c e s _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Feed Zone Chick Features P h o t o g r a p h e r s … … … . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jere Arnold ~ 7 Dallas Tuesday Nighter Lauren Hollinger ~ Matt McCullough ~ Lee McDaniel ~ Rhyne Rundell ~ Kevin Tokarski 8 The Sweeping Benz of Columbus C o n t r i b u t o r s … … … . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . David Berman ~ 10 The Yoda of Cotton Patch Ian Dille ~ Art Exum ~ Andy Hollinger ~ Anuthee Huffstetter ~ Michelle Joseph ~ 11 The Winner’s Circle - Stefan Rothe Billy Kurtz ~ Richard McLamore ~ Lacie Morrison ~ Diana North ~ Rhyne Rundell ~ 12 Crushed Fred “Tripp” Smitham ~ Kathy Volski ~ Christian Williams ~ Andrew Willis 14 My HHH C a r t o o n i s t . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . John F. Griffiths W r e n c h T w i d d l e r . . . . … . . . . . . . . … . . Sol Frost 16 Double D Crit L i c k , S t a m p , L i f t … … . . . . . . . . . . . . . … . Baggins & Tucker 18 Yeah Baby. Yeah. Zipp my Bag! 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 … … . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . … . . Crickets Chirping P u b l i s h e r … … … … … . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . … . Lauren Hollinger 22 Zipp Gear Bag Review T HE R A C I N G P O S T is published monthly and is available free-of- 25 ConexTrain & travelgirl magazine charge at participating bike shops and cycling events. Bike shops or events who would like to have complimentary 26 Old School Racing in Downtown Denton copies of T HE R A C I N G P O S T are encouraged to contact us. Individual subscriptions are available for $19.95/year. For 30 Surf’n in Hell subscriptions or address changes, contact: email@example.com or call 817.282-2994 30 In T he W inner’ s Cir c le with “Surf er” Nic k Kier nan All checks payable to: T HE R A C I N G P O S T . 33 Ironman - Race Day Epilogue Limited back issues may be available for $5/each. Please contact the Publisher for availability. 34 The Herd Mentality T HE R A C I N G P O S T is a copyrighted publication. If you are inter- ested in reprinting material which originates with Regulars T HE R A C I N G P O S T , please contact us for expressed written per- mission. There is no such thing as unexpressed written per- mission. I mean, really, think about it. T HE R A C I N G P O S T encourages cyclists and other read- ers of the publication to submit letters, stories and reports. T HE R A C I N G P O S T reserves the right to refuse to print any sub- 2 P L A N Y O U R R O A D T R I P! mission not deemed in the best interest of the cycling com- munity. Articles submitted for publication can be in any form, 4 Hangin’ On but MS Word is preferred. Do not expect to get paid-this is a free publication afterall. Those who aspire to scribe for cash should contact the editor about the minute possibility (if 6 Sittin’ in it is a race report) or for a general laugh. All submissions are subject to review by the editorial 8 New to two wheels committee, which could consist of some of the people on the staff, the home-from-college daughter who knows every- thing, the St. Thomas Episcopal Pipe Band, Old Eddy, and 9 West Texas Wind whoever I happen to be with on the phone at the time. If you are thin-skinned and are inclined to have an email war with 13 Turn Left - Teamwork at the Track me about anything you write, please don't contribute. But we still love you and hope your road rash heals with minimal scarring. 20 Feed Zone Chick Letters and/or guest articles appearing in T HE R A C I N G P O S T are the sole opinion of the author and does 23 Catching A Break not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of The Racing Post staff. 24 Junior Spotlight - Luke Allen Articles, photos, letters, tips, proposals (decent or otherwise) should be in T HE R A C I N G P O S T ’ S office no later than the 15th of the month. All advertising (YOU RULE!) should be 27 Cycle Logic in by the 15th of the month to ensure inclusion in the follow- ing month's edition. 28 IL PATRON Writes CONTACT INFORMATION Advertising Sales……….firstname.lastname@example.org 32 RBM Rally Report Race Reports......... ……Iwasthere@theracingpost.us Story Ideas………………email@example.com Subscriptions……………IwantmyTRP@theracingpost.us Web……………………...firstname.lastname@example.org Letters…………………...email@example.com Editor…………………….firstname.lastname@example.org On The Cover: Andy@theracingpost.us Stefan Rothe grabs the P123 win at the Denton Downtown Criterium Publisher………………..Lauren@theracingpost.us WWW.THERACINGPOST.US VOL.6, NO.10 THE RACING POST 3 Hangin’ On By Andy Hollinger October is going to be a pivotal month for Texas racing. It’s the take some time off the bike and do things like: learn the names of all your heart of the fall Mtb series, the CX season and, will host both the State children/pets; eat something sinful; spend a weekend with the significant- Championship Road races. Talk about action! It seems like only yester- other doing something cultural or maybe simply find a significant other. day we were worried about freezing rain and snow during the January It’s good advice – someday I’ll take it. events. Most of us are, really, bicycle people – all 12 months. Every week- Yeah, it seems like yesterday, but somehow and in the same fleet- end seems to revolve around two wheels. If you’ve been in the sport for ing series of thoughts concerning 2006, January also seems like forever more than a couple of years, chances are most of your friends are bicy- ago. Bicycling in Texas not only seems, but does last forever. The sport cle people. At work you’re the guy/gal people come to with bicycle ques- and our region don’t allow us to be fair-weather participants. If you train, tions “I don’t want to spend a gazillion dollars, but ….” At church your min- if your performance matters – you probably “take some time off,” but it’s ister always asks you about the bike and, face it, most of your T-shirts not a “season” off the bike, its probably days or maybe a week or so. have some sort of reference to two wheels. Think about it; your bikes I began riding while I lived in upstate New York. There, winter is sleep indoors, you know your resting heart-rate and anabolic threshold real. Yeah, winter in the Southwest is yucky – but, up there it’s really win- and you can judge hills other people didn’t know were hills. You can nav- ter. Not only is there snow and but there is also lots of it. I don’t remem- igate to almost any point within 50 miles of your house using only back- ber many winters without 300in of snow between November (sometimes roads, knowing every pothole and hill … and not know a single street October) and April. That’s winter. So in those days, when the day’s high name. You can’t escape it. Bicycling’s part of you. would stop surpassing 40° or there was snow on the ground, I’d ride From time to time, you’ll run into people at work or socially or some- rollers for the first few weeks, make excuses for the middle two months, where and that person will say to you “I used to race.” Granted, some – and get back on the rollers on the first of March preparing for the first maybe most - of that is BS. You know how I spot the people who really meaningful ride after the snow melted which was probably April. Rarely did race once upon a time? Look at their eyes. They miss it. It’s an emo- would I make the middle of October outside. tional, passionate sport. Sure, life gets in the way and many people The next move took me to California which means weather doesn’t leave. It’s too dangerous, too time-consuming, too expensive, too – well count. How can it? Living in the South Bay meant the winter tempera- too a lot of things. We have spouses, children, jobs and yards which, ture hovered around 68° and in the summer, it would get up to 75° or so. sometimes, and to some of us, take priority. But, we never leave the love Yeah, yeah, yeah, they had real trees, real hills, bicycle lanes on the of two wheels behind. You can’t - it’s in you forever. roads and an activist, athletic culture. But, they also had police patrolling But, you see, that’s where October comes into play. October, at the halls of my son’s grammar school, housing costs that were triple least in modern America, has the built-in answer. It’s Halloween. those of Texas, over $300 was required to register your car and every Evolving from various aspects of several cultures in America, it has once in a while the earth would shake your house to bits like my dog become an institution of costume, pretend and make-believe. You get to shedding water after his post-walk dip in the pool. Give me the option be someone you’re not. It has become so pervasive most businesses and I’d take Texas in a New York minute. My company did and I came not only allow but support costumes at work and the like. It allows us to here. be something outside ourselves. Every other day of the year, we’re Here in North Texas, we have all four seasons. We have windy but Moms, Dads, Engineers, Bankers, Teachers or salespeople. On that nice; (April), we have windy and hot: May through June. We have windy day, on that night, we’re devils and demons, we’re RoboCop, we’re and REALLY hot; July and August. We have more-windy, rainy and weird; ghosts and pirates. I think it’s good for us. Because it proves, at least September through March. What more could you want? Face it, there for a short while we can pretend NOT to be people seen by the outside is no off season and there is no natural break. To be competitive you world. really have to train all year long. At least once a year, we should do Halloween for cyclists. Pretend But, it gets hard. You’ve got to take some time to physically rest you don’t live, eat, dream and think bicycles. Put on the costume of nor- and do something else. Our sport is one of burn-out. It’s important to mal life – just for a while. Sleep in on the weekend- say till 8 o’clock. Use real butter. Go bowling. (It’s the “anti-bike” sport. Aren’t you required to drink beer, smoke cigarettes and eat pizza WHILE you’re doing it?) Some of this will be hard. You can’t suddenly get rid of your helmet tan or your glove or shorts, tan – but you can disguise them. Simply ignore cadence and drafting. Wear long pants if you have to – don’t wear ath- letic sunglasses. Whatever it takes, leave reality behind. Just like November 1st brings All Saints Day to end Halloween, you can resume your normal existence of cadence and heart rate; of know- ing the weight of stuff in grams and go back to the training regimen soon enough. Picture your Halloween and go for it. 4 THE RACING POST Vol.6, No.10 WWW.THERACINGPOST.US WWW.THERACINGPOST.US VOL.6, NO.10 THE RACING POST 5 the shop and tried to figure out how we were Sittin’ in going to pay for a frame. Together we didn’t have enough money for a hotel, much less a new frame. We pooled our resources, which involved calling the parents who knew where we By Christian Williams were and why, as one or two of us didn’t have permission to be in Boston racing bicycles. From there we hauled tail back to the The four of us piled our bikes and gear into ful that we could actually think now that the car race hotel, because one of our friends had tools the car. We were crammed into that car wasn’t shaking. We stopped at the first place to do the rebuild. And right there in the hallway because we didn’t have a rack. So bikes, that looked like it could help us. But they had of a nice hotel at 11:00pm, the night before wheels, bags and food were stuffed into every closed 20 minutes earlier. With an absolute Nationals, we built a bike. Well, it was little bit corner. absence of obnoxiousness, we pleaded with after that, actually, because we all wanted to Mind you, we were college kids on the them to help us, and despite their better judg- take turns riding the frame that worked like an way to the 1993 Collegiate National ment, they did. accordion. But after that, we fixed it. Aside from Championships, and this was back when we None of us had credit cards, and the the build, we cheered on the couple who were had one set of wheels each, which served as place wasn’t going to take a check from kids loudly enjoying each other’s company in the our training wheels, our race wheels, our climb- with Texas ID, so we used what was basically room next to our work station. ing wheels, our time trial wheels…they were our our food and gas money to pay for the spare, The next morning we lined up at the wheels. In fact, two of us were running down and then we went on our way. back of the field (bad move) mostly because we tube shifters even though STI and Ergo were out We made the rest of the trip rather were running late (it was our first time to see the for a year or so. Three of the bikes were steel, uneventfully, aside from the silliness that comes course, if you’ll recall). The race almost instant- and one was a giant beer can looking thing. We from four young guys being up all night and driv- ly went up a hill that was steeper than anything heard it could be cold in Boston in May, so we ing out of state to the most important bike race we’d race up at that point of the year. And that’s packed our cold weather gear as well, which we’d done at that point. After finding the official when I found out my front derailleur was broken meant we had to find our arm warmers. race hotel and getting through registration, we and stuck in the big ring. Due to classes, jobs, and girlfriends, put our bikes together to check out the course. None of us lasted more than half way we left at the last possible second of the last The course was well within Boston in the race before being pulled. possible day that would allow us to get there the proper, and it was a Friday evening when we The next day was the criterium. We all day before the races. The plan was to leave went to check it out. On race day the roads had our bikes sorted out, and none of us want- from San Marcos and drive straight through to would be closed, traffic controlled, and signs ed to go home without at least finishing a race. Boston. showing us where to turn. But when we were That criterium was the fastest I’d ever done at We were a tight team. The kind of out there, it was Friday evening city traffic with that point. Two of us lined up well, so we didn’t team that teams want to be. We hung out folks heading home from work and others head- suffer from the gun, but there was a point about together, we trained together, and we raced very ing out for the night. We’re riding in marginal 40 minutes into the race that I realized I wasn’t well together, sharing the spoils of victory even- daylight in heavy traffic with one map between going to make it to the finish with the front group, ly, which meant, usually, that we got to split a us and…we were pretty damn lost. and my plan quickly became, “Get your school meal at a fast food restaurant on the way home We stopped and asked directions a mentioned by the announcer.” from the races. couple of times, but (seriously) neither time For the next three laps there were Considering that we were basically could we understand the English they were primes announced, and for the next three laps I bike bums and that we were 20-23 years old, speaking. So we kept riding. came in fourth on three place primes. Finally traveling didn’t take much out of us. It was actu- Stop light after stop light. Making a the bell didn’t go off, and I sprinted the next lap ally a big part of the fun being obnoxious in local turn, deciding it was wrong, back tracking, taking as if it did. They got my name wrong, but they diners and truck stops. It may or may not be a another wrong turn. More silliness. Frustration got the school right, and I promptly pulled off the rumor, but it is said that on the back window of was mounting. We didn’t care about the course course and went and sat with two of my team- one of the cars, the words, “F___ you, we’re anymore; we just wanted to get out of the traffic mates who’d already pulled out and changed from Texas” was written in shoe polish. and get to Rhode Island, which is where we clothes. Somewhere in middle Tennessee we were staying because it was free and because Some guy named Tyler Hamilton won heard noises coming from the car I was in. we couldn’t afford a hotel room anyway. the criterium. I don’t know. I suppose it could Shortly after saying, “what was that?” we began Suddenly a street name looked famil- have been his twin, but I also heard he won the feeling a vibration. Minutes later it felt like the iar. My teammate with the map pulls it out of his omnium. While at the bike shop, all the local car was shaking all of its bolts loose. It is diffi- pocket and starts reading it while riding no hand- newsletters and the local racing magazine had cult to exaggerate how much that car was shak- ed. It was mighty skillful right up to the point that features of this guy I’d never heard about ing. We had visions of the Twilight Zone when he rode into the back of a car stopped at a light. before. It got me thinking, “I sure wish we had a we pulled over to look at that car, but we could- His frame was folded, and we were magazine like this to build up our racing scene n’t see anything wrong. both horrified and laughing hysterically at the in Texas.” It was 8:00 on a Thursday night, we same time. He tossed his bike in frustration, Flat tire on the car, trashed bike, fast were on the Interstate going through Tennessee, which messed up his saddle. Well, actually, it food, no money, crappy results…and it was one and we were in the middle of Egypt, and the car was my saddle, but it was too nice, so I wouldn’t of my most cherished racing trips, experiences was shaking apart so violently that I’m still sur- ride it, and he needed one at the time, and he and memories. prised a brake lever or pedal didn’t go through a won races, so it made sense. But now it was the back window. But we had to keep going. only other thing messed up besides his frame. Finally one of the tires on the car blew Still, it was 8:00p on a Friday night, out, and the four of us collectively could more or and we were lost inside of Boston. A motorist less get the wheel off of the car and the spare stopped and helped us with directions, we sent mounted. Maybe the lug nuts were put on cor- two of our guys on a time trial back to the race rectly, maybe not, but I do remember that we hotel to get the car to come back and get us. were all sweaty and every bit of our stuff had to While waiting, we used every quarter and be taken out of the car and put on the side of the changed ever dollar to make calls to bike shops road to get to the spare. “Yeehaw, we’re from from a pay phone. Texas, and we brought it all with us. See?” We found one that was still open, and, With the spare mounted, we went as yes, they would stay open for us since it was col- fast as we could at 40mph, and we were grate- legiate nationals and all. We motored over to 6 THE RACING POST Vol.6, No.10 WWW.THERACINGPOST.US WWW.THERACINGPOST.US VOL.6, NO.10 THE RACING POST 7 that no stationary bike can replace. Other than a suntan, I mean. New to two Wheels Riding the trail is a complete multi-sensory experience and you can’t get that with a stationary bike inside the local gym. The sense of By Lacie Morrison accomplishment, at least for me, isn’t the same either. Conquering miles of trails after a lot of sweat, water and occasional run-ins with nature is quite different from conquering that same mileage while sit- Something was missing when I got on the bike the other day. There I was ting in the same place and looking at the same scenery. It might be just me in the early hours of the morning – well, it was 7 a.m. – pedaling away, since I tend to get bored quickly. climbing hills and huffing and puffing away like I usually do. The thing that Seeing the scenery along the way is half the enjoyment. When I was different about this ride was that I was riding indoors on a stationary rode at Fossil Rim in Glen Rose earlier in the summer, the views from some bike while enjoying the air conditioning with the sounds of CNN blasting of those hilltops and the animals we encountered were truly memorable. I away. remember that much easier than I can the heat and the sun – and this was Let me explain what prompted me to be there in the first place. I a true Texas summer day! had read an earlier article in The Racing Post by Lea Grasshoff about The other half of enjoyment is managing to finish the ride without strength training and the benefits it offers – not just for cycling but also for incident, or at least any serious injuries. I can’t even begin to count how life in general. I knew endurance was key in riding – especially when talk- many scratches and scrapes I’ve gotten since I first got on a bike earlier ing to my road-riding friends who cover miles and miles in a ride and seem this year. I’m still new enough to this sport to get a kick out of how well I barely fazed. However, her comments only sharpened the fact that I need- fare when I get done with a ride. ed to work on my muscle strength as well. It’s still too early for me to see any real significant changes in my I’m not out of shape, but I’m not in prime-athlete shape. Too many riding since I began incorporating a regular workout into my regime. I can Chips Ahoy cookies. To better tackle the trails, I know I needed to boost my only hope that all the weight lifting and toning I’m doing for my arms helps fitness level and focus on not just my lower body but the upper body part, me hang on better when going over rough surfaces like wooden bridges or too. Plus, if more muscle strength means faster healing times, then I’m all the myriads of exposed tree roots. for it! Who wants to stay home nursing torn muscles while the cooler tem- While I wait to see improvement in my performance, I’ll keep on peratures – and possibly the changing colors of foliage – of fall beckon you huffing and puffing away on the bike – both indoors and out. I’ll just have to get out and ride? to imagine the sweaty gym-sock-smell coming from my neighbor on the The comment in Grasshoff’s article that really caught my atten- treadmill is just the passing fragrance of nearby wildlife. tion, though, was about how building muscle fights Osteoporosis. Even though I’m 24, a family history of bone and joint issues made that reference really hit home. When 25 more years have come and gone, where do I e-griff want to be? The one woman in four who, at 50 years of age, has osteo- porosis? Or better my chances through exercise of being one of the three who hasn’t had it? As my mother has often said, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Looking fit wouldn’t be a bad side effect of exercise, either. Thus to help increase my overall fitness level and get in my “ounce of prevention,” I signed up at a gym that offers a vast array of machinery to bend, flex, challenge and pull my muscles in every direction. Over in a corner of cardiovascular machinery, stationary bikes reign supreme (in my estimation). I thought perhaps that by incorporating some stationary riding into my workout routine that would help my performance on the trails. I figured, well, it’s indoors and technically I don’t go anywhere but with modern technology, the stationary bike can present its own chal- lenges of hills and inclines – which, to be very honest, are my arch neme- sis. I dislike climbing. Give me the roughest downhill in the area with loose rocks, roots, suicide wildlife, whatever, over climbing any day. I’ll tackle that any time and with relish. Just make sure no one is front of my since my descents don’t always appear to be too controlled. But I digress… So far, my muscles have ached just as much from the stationary bike as they do when I hit the trails but something more is missing from the overall experience. Granted I’m technically still riding but I miss the ambiance of the outdoors. There’s something you get from riding with the By John F. Griffiths sun beating down on you while the dust kicks up from beneath your tires 8 THE RACING POST Vol.6, No.10 WWW.THERACINGPOST.US West Texas Wind By Richard McLamore It's almost the end of the season. Except for those folks looking dynamics, the speed, and the bike handling made it a great experience. forward to cyclo-cross, most racers can count the number of interval It was also a good kind of race for kids to try out, he said. So they were workouts left to be done on one hand. It's a good time to start reflect- both excited about heading up to Denton to race another crit. ing on the 2006 season. The Denton Downtown criterium of 2006 will go down in the leg- Out here in Abilene, it's been a good year. Over 100 people have ends of Texas cycling, or, at least, it should. An intermittent sprinkle dur- participated in the shop rides on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Not all at ing the P123 race turned into a steady drizzle during the Juniors’ race. one time, mind you, but that's still an impressive turnout in a town that Even so, a huge group of juniors raced well in the rain. And while I did has lacked a focused riding community. The last couple of time trials see one young man blow up on the downhill back stretch, he stayed in had over 10 participants. Again that might not seem like much, but I can the race and finished. The other racers I saw kept at it the whole time. remember days when only 4 guys would show up. What's even better And the parents-it's dedication when you hang out in the rain to cheer is the enthusiasm some of those riders bring. your child on. It's even better when you hang out in the rain to cheer Last Tuesday evening, for instance, I planned my ride so I'd be your child's competitors on. The police officer I talked to briefly was done with my intervals in time to meet up with the 'slow' group. I saw impressed by that display of good parental sportsmanship. Soaked them heading out highway 36, so I turned around and waited for them though he was, and outsmarted at the end by Noah Williams, Luke still to catch up. Up front, as per usual, was the most dedicated rider in had a great time. Abilene, a guy who bombs around everywhere on a 40-pound Peugeot. Two turns into my race in the 3/4s, the dark blue clouds overhead He could care less about racing, but he absolutely loves riding. He's absolutely opened and that intermittent drizzle assumed the shape of a usually off on his own planet, though, so it's not unusual to see him biblical deluge. Ten minutes in, the 'difficult' third turn had become a attacking the bunch on a 'slow' day. There was a new guy chasing a lit- stream crossing. There were slide-outs and wipe-outs every lap. But tle behind him though-at least, someone I'd never seen on a bike. And once I got over being afraid I was gonna die, worked my way back to when he caught up to me, he said, in his wonderful Nigerian accent, "I the front group, and parked myself at the back, I started having an knew that had to be you, so I caught you." Yep, it was one of my ex- absolute blast. Every lap we'd slam through that corner and get students, who had stopped me in the hall one day to ask questions drenched. We were wet beyond belief. We'd slalom out of the 4th turn about what type of bike to get. That happens every once in a while, but and try not to skid out too much as we sprinted back up the hill. It was the line between being "interested" in riding and actually showing up for like being a kid again, and it was the most fun race of the year. a group ride can be a pretty daunting one to cross, so I was pleased to see him. We started gabbing about riding, and this and that, so I asked him about his athletic background. He'd played soccer growing up in Nigeria, ran track and played soccer at college here but got burned out between training schedules and having to work two jobs. "But I'll get up at 6 am to ride," he said. He didn't need to say anything more. About that time an older man I've never seen out before blasted by us (if you can call 19 mph 'blasting') and opened up a gap. So we decided to reel him in. We did, and as we made it to the first turn on the loop, I waited for the rest of the bunch, while my ex-student and the older guy kept on rolling after the 40-pound Peugeot. The bunch rolled up and the shop owner rolled up alongside my lawyer friend and his 11-year old son. Greg had graciously invited Josh and I to stay in his trailer with Luke during the Hotter than Hell weekend, so we caught up on some stories and Luke told us about his most recent mountain-bike race. Just about then we hit the headwind section. Dangling up ahead were Joseph, the ex-student and the old guy. Slow day or not, we couldn't resist, so the speed ascended, as did the chains from 39 to 53 (or in Luke's case, from 34 to 50). Two miles later, as we rolled by them at 22 mph into the wind, it hit me that Luke was still glued to his dad's rear wheel. Just then, he attacked me. He's eleven. After the next turn, we started talking about how much fun the Hotter than Hell criterium course had been. After the race that day, Luke had said it was really hard, but he was smiling and spent a lot of time watching the rest of the races. I'm hoping he didn't see me run myself over (but that's another story . . .). Wichita Falls was Greg's first criterium. Granted, getting lapped by Tommy Rushing was not that much fun, but the rest of the race was a blast, he said. The pack WWW.THERACINGPOST.US VOL.6, NO.10 THE RACING POST 9 The Velossimo squad did an excellent job of maintaining tempo The Yoda of Cotton Patch and covering further attacks by the independents; doing every- thing they could to ensure a successful break. I was impressed, after all, these 3’s in pink were showing us how it’s supposed By Anuthee Huffstetter to be done. We continued to wind over the rough roads and rollers. Often times the best bike races are more than just the races them- There were some attacks, some lulls, and a long crosswind selves. The races we remember amongst the many we forget consist of not section that made everyone hurt and thereby pared down the field. We flirt- only the race; but the journey to get there, the confusion before the start, the ed with the yellow line. Eric Benz (Velossimo) crashed. It was a tough week- intensity of the first few attacks, the excitement of the finish, the after party, end for him and his Zipp 606’s. As the crosswind ended the break came and the long drive home. For me, the first USCF sanctioned TXBRA Texas back, oddly, from the back. We later learned that the breakaway riders Cup edition of the Cotton Patch Classic was one such event. missed a turn, went significantly off course, and were paced back up to the Being a relatively poor college student/bike racer meant that I lacked field. The motor pacing led to the eventual disqualification of the riders after accommodations in Greenville the night before the 7:30am start. My plan the end of the race. was to drive up from Austin that evening and sleep on the courthouse square By far the most aggressive rider of the day was Robert Walnofer in the back of my 1994 ‘Yota pickup in downtown Greenville. I brought a (Mercy) who attacked constantly until he was away. This was impressive sleeping bag, pillow, and a couple of cardboard bike boxes to make my slum- considering it took 60-miles of attacking. Finally, with 25-miles to go he was ber a bit more peaceful. I told my mom I had host-housing, but I knew it was successful, gaining a 30-second lead with John Trujillo (Velossimo). I bridged going to be hobo-tastic. Things didn’t come out exactly as planned. I left up with Coorg. Trujillo dropped back to the field, and almost immediately, we home 3 hours late and didn’t have the driving stamina to get all the way to started putting time into the pack. the race venue. Maybe it had something to do with pulling an all-nighter to As my bottles ran dry and my legs started to tire and ache, I started study for a physics exam. I slept in a field outside of Dallas on I-30 next to a looking for that blinking radio tower on the horizon. I’d only have to wait half bait and tackle shop. Four hours later I woke up, grabbed a coffee, ate some an hour to see it, but it seemed like an eternity of hard pulls over bumpy cold leftover pizza, and drove the remaining forty-five miles to the race roads into the wind. Vansanth was strong. Walnofer was fading and I was venue. fading too. I did what little I could to hide it so that Coorg would keep driving Upon arrival, I realized that the race was in conjunction with an annu- it. Then I saw the tower. Part of the fun of the big loop road races is that you al town festival. Luckily the hay bales being set up on the streets were for the never really know where the finish is. You’ve seen it. You remember what FM go-kart races later that afternoon and not for the finish of the bike race. This or CR or RR it’s on but often you don’t know you’re there until you’re right on was going to be a cool event. The Pro 1,2,3 Men’s road race was a big 84- top of it. Luckily for us, the fore thinking promoter had provided us with a 5K mile loop that consisted, partially, of this year’s age based TT Championship to go painted on the road. course. I found the finish, which was a couple miles from the start, and locat- Not so luckily, Coorg wasn’t going to tow me to the line and give me an ed a tall blinking radio tower nearby that would play an encouraging role later easy sprint. He attacked and left Walnofer and I to fight it out. The field had in the race. I headed back to town; we staged up, and got underway. broken apart too with a group of 6 charging hard to bring us back. Coorg, We had a rockin’ tailwind from the start, so we headed out quickly, if myself, and Walnofer each soloed in, in that order. Justin Wallace (Moritz not particularly hard. Jaime Arrietta (GSTenzing) started things off - as he Chevrolet) took the field sprint. often does. The man doesn’t train, but when he shows up to races, he isn’t We rode back to town slowly amidst the rally riders. A live band, a go- afraid to race. Troy Dunton (Compliance Depot) and Vasanth Coorg kart race, and free food and drinks awaited us on the town square. A huge (Velossimo) were the first two riders to gain an appreciable lead on the field. thanks goes out to the city of Greenville for embracing such a great event. 10 THE RACING POST Vol.6, No.10 WWW.THERACINGPOST.US The Winner’s Circle - Stefan Rothe TRP: What led TRP: Who seemed the strongest in up to the suc- the break? By TRP Staff cessful break? SR: Good Question! I didn’t know SR: I found until the finish line. We were riding Stefan Rothe, Mercy Cycling Team SR: I warmed up for like 20 min- myself in a break of eight incl. some both at our best and I wasn’t sure at pb FUZE, Downtown Denton Crit, utes, tried to find a good line strong guys like Fawley with 30 min- all how much energy Veggie had 9/17/06 through the turns at race speed and utes to go and everyone was going left. caught up with the latest Texas 100% (I think they did?). It looked TRP: Why did you go to the event? cycling gossip with the other rid- like the move of the day but TRP: How did the finish go down? SR: I try to attend most TXBRA ers…Oh, yeah, and I let some air CompDepot wasn’t happy with it SR: We came out of turn four and in races and this one sounded like fun. out of my tires because those dark and chased it down. Right when the past I’ve been usually the first Also, two of my teammates (Brian clouds wouldn’t go away and I didn’t they caught up to us I went hard on loser in a two-man sprint - I had no Wyrick & Scott Walnofer), were want to go through turn 3 with the backstretch and only Scott clue if I could beat him or not. We coming down for it. 125psi in the rain. Veggeberg a.k.a. Veggie followed looked at each other, started out in me. 53x16, looked again, got faster, TRP: What had you heard about TRP: Who did you watch for? rubbed our handlebars and shoul- the event? SR: The usual suspects: Nick TRP: What happened inside the ders a bit, and I got him a couple of SR: Not so much since it was the Kiernan (a.k.a. Surfer Nick), the break? yards before the line. first time they had it. But I saw that CompDepot squad and Edgar SR: The two of us were giving it all. Christian Williams was organizing it, Ibarra who just won the HHH crit. He was in a solo-move earlier and I TRP: Words of wisdom? so I knew he was going to pull off Brian Fawley is a horse on a bicy- knew he would be the best guy to SR: I’m not the guy of big words but something good. cle, too. have in a two-man break – he really I remember a quote by Tony wanted to succeed and had a good Rominger who said he trained TRP: How did you prepare? TRP: What were the early miles reason for it. We exchanged pulls +35hrs/week in his first year as a SR: I had no special preparation for like? equally; none of us was able to pro and figured out later on it was this crit except that I was very recov- SR: First lap, third corner, sliding make it to the line solo. too much. Recovery is the key to (at ered going into it. After four week- crash-fest! My teammate Brian goes least) my success. ends of straight racing I took it easy down and had to DNF. Second lap, TRP: Where there any moments of during the week and actually spent third corner, crash again. After that real risk or questions of your sur- TRP: Anybody you’d like to thank? only 5 hours on the bike including a the field was spread apart and I vival? The GSTz crew around Chris 16mph group-ride with a few recre- found myself in a group of 10 guys SR: Going through some of the Williams for their work, my team, my ational riders in Wichita Falls where who had a good gap because of the turns - which felt like soapy tile - girlfriend Sheri for here motopacing I live… crashes, but knew the race was not were probably my biggest concern, skills, and all the racers who come over yet. I tried to stay at the front especially the last 5 laps where you out every weekend and have fun at TRP: Tell me about getting to the and upright – without wasting too wouldn’t get a free lap if you hit the races like the Downtown Denton start line … much energy. ground. Criterium. WWW.THERACINGPOST.US VOL.6, NO.10 THE RACING POST 11 CRUSHED! Chappell Hill’s Chickens Run Amuck in the Street By TRP Staff Although not quite a strongman’s race, cle. Willis began having problems and quit pursuit of the break. Scott Veggeberg such as Mineral Wells or the East Texas Hills pulling through in hopes that he’d recover. For (Specialized/Morgan Stanley) caught Vargas’ Classic, the annual Chappell Hill road race pre- an entire lap, the San Jose rider sat on the back, wheel and the two eventually reached the break- sented by the Northwest Cycling Club comes sucking down GU’s and eating energy bars, but away. Turning off the course and heading in on close. In fact, it’s darn hard. Unlike the afore- alas, it was to no avail, as he finally let go, watch- the final thirteen-mile straight back to Chappell mentioned races, where the course is so hard ing the break roll away. Naturally, this put Hill, Minturn, Huffstetter, and Veggeberg had that the early break succeeds because the field Robbinette in a predicament, for now the odds succumbed to the pace and dropped back to the behind shatters, Chappell Hill is quite the oppo- were against San Jose should the break be suc- pack. site. It’s rolling hills and humid atmosphere cessful. Therein, the chess game began. destroy those who “go” too early. It’s a true race, Regardless of the odds, it didn’t really mat- Vargas and Robbinette, Frost, Winkleman, and in the sense that whoever wins doesn’t neces- ter, for just as Willis watched Frost’s group disap- Veggeberg prepared to do battle on, arguably, sarily do so on brute strength, but rather must pear over the next rise, a hard charging San Jose the hardest part of the course. Frost started the play their teamwork, fitness, and timing cards in led chase group caught him. Vargas, Ross, and fire works, only to be pomp and circumstanced just the right order, at just the right time to garner Wenger led a nine-man group in pursuit of the by former Master’s National Road Race success. lead sextet. Willis hung on for a few minutes Champion, Robbinette. Robbinette powered up Just ask the Northwest Cycling’s Alkek before having to let go. Less than a minute later, the road, gaining thirty seconds on a tiring Frost Velodrome junior squad. Teamwork, strength, the remainder of the field, led by a frantic Team and Winkleman while Robbinette’s teammate, and timing their moves allowed Parker Craddock Brain and Spine, who’d missed the chase group, Vargas sat on. With ten miles to go, Vargas to lead his team across the line as they gobbled caught and dropped Willis. jumped a fatigued Frost and Winkleman, easily up the top five spots. Craddock and Co. dis- Over the next few miles, Scott Henry bridging across to Robbinette, and it seemed that played the kind of domination rarely seen in a (Brain & Spine) managed to pull the field to with- all systems were go for Team Hotel San Jose. diverse sport open to a multitude of unpre- in striking distance of the Vargas led chase Although San Jose would win the day, dictable variables. So, seeing such a phenome- group. Just as Henry could realistically visualize behind the leading duo, the race was far from na occur twice in one day made the 2006 edition catching the group ahead, a pair of San Jose rid- over. Almost a minute and a half back, San of the Chappell Hill Bank Classic one for the ers, Wheeler and Uhl, jumped the field and suc- Jose’s very own Wheeler decided he wanted a record books. cessfully bridged across to Vargas’ group. piece of the winner’s pie and attacked over the Team Hotel San Jose did something Several miles later, the Vargas and company top of a hill with only six miles remaining. His truly special in the 86 mile Pro 1, 2 Men’s race, made contact with the now tiring Frost fueled teammate, Ross, hopped aboard, the two railed they dominated. Former team Monex profes- breakaway. it, passing a bewildered Frost and Winkleman sional, Carlos Vargas led home his San Jose Unfortunately, for San Jose, everyone with three miles to go, and catching a surprised teammates, Steven Wheeler, Robbie Robbinette, else in the newly formed breakaway had no yet pleased at the situation, Robbinette and and Will Ross. A minute and a half later, young- intention of working for the next forty-five miles Vargas. ster and member of the world’s mountain bike towards the group’s success with six San Jose Wheeler would later say, “I’ve never team, Tristan Uhl scored a fine fifth place for the riders present. Likewise, San Jose wasn’t willing gone so fast on a bike. That was unbelievable. I hotel sponsored team. Thirty seconds in arrears, to tow everyone else around until the finish. was spun out in the eleven (cog) the whole way.” current reigning Texas State Road Race Without cohesion, the group dawdled out on the As the lead San Jose group of four Champion and former GoMart/West Virginia pro- course, and Henry finally realized his vision, as neared the finish line and dodged a group of fessional, Dave Wenger made it a first through with forty miles to go, the break and field came clucking chickens, Vargas pulled ahead, making sixth place sweep. All in all, when the results back together. it three years and three wins in a row for the were tallied, Team Hotel San Jose took seven of The situation changed rapidly however, Houston based rider at Chappell Hill. the top 10 spots and 90% of the prize money. as Frost, Robbinette, The Whole Giblet: Shortly after 7:30 in the and Winkleman saw fit morning, nearly 60 Pro 1, 2 riders rolled past a the launching of another flock of free range chickens and one confused offensive. They were goat on their way out of Chappell Hill. Almost shortly joined by immediately, Sol Frost (Team Brain & Spine) Anuhtee Huffstetter unleashed an offensive strike that, after several (Compliance Depot) and attempts, saw him flee the coop successfully in John Minturn (San what would later be considered; the early move. Jose). The five powered Frost took with him teammate Nathan Miller, on for the next fifteen Nathan Winkleman (Woodlands), Erick Benz, miles while the field Adam Gaubert (Velossimo), Robbinette and scrambled to chase. Andrew Willis (San Jose). With the most represen- With an equal pecking order established tation in the break, San amongst the three largest teams in the race, the Jose sat in the pack, field seemed content to let this move have it’s content to let others moment in the spotlight, and the lucky seven, burn their matches up likewise, seemed to work well together. Because slowly over the undulat- everyone in Frost’s group kept rotating smoothly, ing and now, heating up, the leaders’ gap increased quickly, from thirty to parcours. fifty seconds in just six miles, to almost two min- With twenty- utes at the thirty mile mark. five miles to go, Vargas It was at this point, with roughly fifty miles sensed the field’s to go that the breakaway ran into its first obsta- fatigue and attacked in 12 THE RACING POST Vol.6, No.10 WWW.THERACINGPOST.US Turn Left - Yesterday’s Memories, Today’s Struggle, and Tomorrow’s Future By Michelle Joseph “Pick up the pace! Stay together! Faster!” geared up to save the Velodrome. They formed made sacrifices of time, energy and finances to Coach Leigh Barczewski.bellows from the side- a non-profit organization, the Greater Houston allow them to chase their dreams. Parents are lines of the Alkek Velodrome. Cycling Foundation (GHCF) to start raising there to support their races during the spring and As head of the Junior Development team, money to keep it open. GHCF started the Adopt- fall racing seasons. Barczewski trains young riders to be the best at a-Meter Campaign for people who want to con- Lori Walker is a veteran rider at the the highly competitive sport of bicycle racing. His tribute money. The group also plans a charity Velodrome, and her children Cristin and Daniel shouts - combined with the whir of wheels from Ebay auction in October. (A pdf file of the have grown up there. “I have videos of the two adult riders training and exchanging riding tips - Fundraising Campaign can be found at the web of them racing Pee Wee races when they were make the Alkek Velodrome a place of move- page: http://www.houstontx.gov/alkekvelo- about 4 years old and 6 years old,” says Walker. ment, noise and big dreams. drome/GHCF.htm.) Cristin is now 18 and training for the Elite World All of these sights, sounds and great times The Alkek Velodrome has a rich history in Team, and Daniel is 16 and won the National jer- are in jeopardy. The City of Houston plans to Houston. Several cycling greats have either sey earlier this year. close the facility October 31 because of funding trained on or competed at the Houston track, Their dreams continue to grow and broad- problems and a change of philosophy by the including Lance Armstrong, George Hincapie, en over time. Many young people have benefited Parks and Recreation Department. Shane Kelly and Freddie Rodriquez. Al Whaley, from the training they received at the Velodrome. For the last 20 years, the Velodrome has who serves on the GHCF board, is a Gold Some have gone on to compete not only across been Houston’s only outdoor riding venue, a cir- medalist from the 2006 Masters World Track the United States but at various levels around cular concrete elevated track for cyclists of all tal- Competition. the world. The dream of competing in the 2012 ents. It is one of only 22 such facilities in the Many cyclists now training at the Olympics in London is not out of reach. United States. Velodrome are considered the future of track rac- Houston’s Parks and Recreation ing in the United States. They include Eric Those wishing to contribute money to keep Department announced the closure to the Rasche, 2006 13-14-year-old National the Alkek Velodrome open can go directly to the cycling community in August, and according to Champion; Daniel Walker, 2006 15-16-year-old Houston Parks Board web site and use paypal: the city’s web site, Mayor Bill White supports the National Champion; Alan Ting, 2005 13-14-year- http://www.houstonparksboard.org. Click on the plan. Houston does not have funds to re-surface old National Champion; and Ryan Nelman, 2004 link that says, "Click here to use your credit card the track, and Parks and Recreation is moving 16-18-year-old Keirin National Champion. to support your favorite project! Fill out form, hit away from competitive facilities to a “more recre- These young men have spent countless continue; click the Alkek Velodrome button and ational philosophy,” according to the web site. hours traveling the Houston area to make it to fill out the rest. Cyclists reacted with disbelief, and then the Alkek track for practice. Their families have WWW.THERACINGPOST.US VOL.6, NO.10 THE RACING POST 13 of 5 or so attack before Definitely time to go. At the same time, others are My HHH we even crest the bridge. This is going to be fun. The 30+mph chase attacking to my left. The guy in front of me isn’t committed and decides it would be a good idea to look back over his right shoulder….he drifts left….. Story and Photos By Rhyne Rundell begins. 7:40a The next few minutes are surreal. The 6:53a Wow, there rider bounces off of Shaun and lays it down cross- It was time for my annual trek to Hotter N are WAY too many rally riders out here. Luckily, ways in front of me. His real wheel swings around Hell. Two years ago I did the race as a Cat5, last most of them pull over and get out of the way. An and knocks my bike out from under me as I’m try- year as a Cat4, and this year will be my first road occasional one will try to jump in. Those are the ing to go around to the right. I go down hard…head race as a Cat3. Here’s how it unfolded. ones that are fun to drop. Peace out! first. I curl up in the fetal position waiting to get run Monday – 8/21 7:00a The pace settles in a bit and I try to over since more than two-thirds of the pack was Time to start hydrating. No matter how many find out who is in the break. Not a lot of info. I see behind me. The blood is starting to come out of the times I look at the extended forecast, it never cools Shaun Dean, Erick Benz and Kirk Winters. Three cut in my head, across my forehead and onto my off. At one time, weather.com said there was a motors that won’t let that break go. loose shade lenses and the road. I look at my left 60% chance of rain. Yeah, right. 7:03a Kyle Russell and I launch a small hand and notice that my pinky is pointed towards Tuesday – 8/22 attack but the pack reacts. I settle back in while the base of my thumb and I instinctually grab it and Well, there’s my chance of rain. A slight Kyle regroups and launches another that draws put it back into place. At the same time, I notice downpour decides to join us for the Plano A race. I Shaun out of the pack. that the same finger has a cut through which I can go on what ends up being a suicide break attempt, 7:13a The group is back together as we see the bone. I sit up and feel the blood from my get brought back in and promptly get dropped. At enter Iowa Park. Some knuckleheads obviously forehead run down my face and nose and onto my least it kept me from getting tangled up in the didn’t read the Race Bible as some of them are jersey. This is definitely going to look worse than it crashes going across the bricks. Not feeling the determined to follow the rally riders south across really is. Thank God for my helmet. best. This weekend isn’t looking so promising. the tracks instead of going straight. Slight disaster I will say that I am somewhat disappointed Friday – 8/25 averted. READ YOUR RACE BIBLE! that the guy that caused it got in a pickup and left After dinner at Olive Garden, it’s time to turn 7:30a Multiple small attack attempts are without an apology or asking how I was doing. I’ll in. We check out the weather and find get over it. out it was 108 degrees today with a 2:15p My bike finally shows back up at the promise of 104 for Saturday. The start/finish area and I’m able to leave. The tally: 5 wheels start turning….can I possibly stitches in the head, dislocated pinky in two places carry 10 bottles? The Camelbak is with 4 stitches, massive shiner, road rash on just definitely a “go”. about every part of the left side of my body. I’m Saturday – 8/26 more disappointed that I didn’t finish the race. But 4:30a The alarm is set for 4:45 from reports that came in about the Cat3 race, I’m but a buddy decides that we need to not sure I would’ve wanted to go 125 miles. be up because he is. I REALLY want- Not exactly the way I envisioned it. I was still ed those extra 15 minutes. able to enjoy taking some pictures of the following 5:42a We’re out the door and day’s crit. Thanks to everyone that helped out and on the road. It’s a short drive to the expressed your sympathies. I’ll be back out soon. start area and we continue to pour as Please exercise pack awareness and much liquid as possible down our ALWAYS wear your helmet. throats. 5:53a We found a parking spot! 4 or 5 bottles, 4 or 5 bottles, 4 or 5 bottles? Well, if I’m going to be able to take my two mini-bagels, I’ll have to forgo one bottle. I’ve got the Camelbak…bagels quashed by the group as win. Bottles, check; gel shots, check; gel gummies, we make a right curve to check; jelly beans, check; endurolytes, check. I’m the east. Crosswind will going to roll off the line at 200lbs and return at definitely alter the tactics. 175lbs. 7:39a Sitting second 6:15a Time for my favorite part. Carrying wheel starting to go up a back-up wheels in hand while weaving through the small rise, the guy in front rally riders. Evasive maneuvering at 3mph. Fun! of me moves over to the left 6:35a With wheels in the truck, it’s time to sit side of the road trying to and chat with buddies while P/1/2 guys bust their force someone else to shel- butt running into the median because it’s dark and ter him from the wind. The it’s not clearly marked. Note to self: remember break is well within reach where that median is. now. Major attack. Benz, 6:52a Time to roll out. Immediately a group Winters and others. 14 THE RACING POST Vol.6, No.10 WWW.THERACINGPOST.US WWW.THERACINGPOST.US VOL.6, NO.10 THE RACING POST 15 Double D Crit By Chris Williams Photo by Matt McCullough county. We weren’t planning to use any of the courthouse or lawn, so we hadn’t concerned ourselves with that permit. The folks who were using the courthouse and lawn weren’t going to use the city’s streets or facitilites, so they hadn’t bothered permitting with the city. Roadblock for a bike race. The next two days were mostly spent on the phone or walk- ing the streets of downtown trying to think of a way to alter the course so as to not conflict with the court- house event, all the while trying to figure out how to get those affect- ed businesses on board, which was stressful, to say the least, as it took a year of meetings to get the previous course good to go. A quick meeting was called by the city council, and it was determined that we should hold our race on the city streets where we intended in the first place, and the Parks and Recreation depart- ment helped the group with the event planned at the courthouse to move to another facility. During that process it was discovered that we didn’t have a Noise Permit. Since our race was on a Sunday, it required a Noise More than a year of planning went into pulling off with just over a month’s notice, a weekend did Permit. I had to attend a City Council meeting on the Downtown Denton Criterium. This included open up for mid-September. the Tuesday evening before the race to have one regular meetings with city council members, the We quickly put together permits (USAC granted us, as it required a variance on an estab- Chamber of Commerce, the Denton Sports and many with the City), a race flyer, and we lished city ordinance. I sat through three hours of Commission, the Denton Police Department, the made sure that our team put it down on their cal- discussions regarding zoning, budgeting and so Fire Department, the Main Street Association, the endar so we’d have some volunteers. Then we forth that had absolutely everything to do with Denton Parks and Recreation, the Mayor, and so crossed our fingers. Denton and nothing at all to do with the race. But forth. Making it happen became a job. It took a fair amount of luck, because at 9:30p, our item came up on the agenda, and I We had an original date in the Fall of though we’d been planning the event for some was genuinely nervous that a Noise Permit, or, 2005 to race on the streets around the square in time, we hadn’t planned for a specific date. To not having one, was going to stop our race with downtown Denton. Plans were made that took secure financial sponsors and so forth, you need only days until numbers were to be pinned on to into consideration what races were on the calen- to be able to give them a race date, at least. We jerseys. dar, what festivals were being held, UNT’s decided to fund the thing out of our own pockets Though we didn’t fully realize it until Homecoming…it was considerably involved and to make sure the race happened at all, and then, the city was and is very supportive of the required a tremendous amount of work, diploma- because we wanted to pull it off this first time to race. The dour conversations about widths of cy, and determination. Unfortunately for this establish a building point for the future.. streets through neighborhoods and 20 year plans race, a late announcement of another ride and Making it more difficult to promote was was replaced with “Thank you’s” from the Mayor race on the intended date down in Austin, com- that we only had a small window of time allowed and the members of the City Council. It was very plete with “Lance” attached to it, meant that the us, and at that, it was a Sunday afternoon, which much like I remember Christmas feeling when I Denton race had to be put on hold. Knowing was deemed the less likely to upset the locals was 6 years old. when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em is a big and conflict with church traffic and the like. From that point on, things were rela- part of the gamble of putting on a bike race, par- Knowing that all of these things would affect tively smooth until race day. The morning ticularly when it involves shutting down a town to turnout adversely, we went forward anyway. At brought rain, and while rain isn’t enough to can- do so. this point it was worth the effort simply to make cel a bike race in most cases, it did make my So we regrouped and planned again something come of all the time and energy spent phone ring. A lot. Throughout the morning and for the next year. Unfortunately, there just didn’t on the race. all during the races, I received call after call ask- seem to be a weekend that worked very well. If With only 10 days until the event, we ing if the races were still being held or if it was there was a weekend available on the Texas rac- received word that the race was in conflict with raining in Denton. “We’re racing. Please come ing calendar, invariably there was something another event happening at the courthouse on on out,” was my standard reply. going on in Denton that prevented us from using the square. The streets and surrounding area is However, when I first arrived to the the downtown area, or it just didn’t work due to a the City of Denton’s responsibility, but the court- course, about 3 hours before the race was to family reunion or somesuch. But we stuck with it, house and lawn itself if the property of the coun- start, my first trip around the course provided me and the Chamber of Commerce, the City and the ty. As such, to use the lawn (to set up tents, Mayor stuck with it as well, and lo and behold, booths, etc), one has to have a permit from the (continued on page 29) 16 THE RACING POST Vol.6, No.10 WWW.THERACINGPOST.US WWW.THERACINGPOST.US VOL.6, NO.10 THE RACING POST 17 Yeah Baby. Yeah. Zipp my Bag! Zipp Wheel Bag Review ~ by Andrew Willis Wheel bag wise, this has been the the Hotter ‘n Hell criterium and receive a wheel pockets for skewers, but still a bit tight, and of strangest year for me ever. Back as a junior and bag capable of holding two wheels at once, and course, no padding. It also seemed to me that a espoir, I generally raced on hand-me-downs. then, for the purpose of this review, I receive, via bag capable of holding two wheels would make Senior elite guys gave me their old tires, their old mail, a Zipp wheel bag, also capable of holding use of some of the inevitable gaps between the shorts and jerseys, their old race wheels. two wheels. wheels for storage space. Needless to say, the perpetual use of second Amazing. Enter Zipp’s wheel bag. This is a bag built hand equipment sometimes produced reliability But if you’ve by champions for champions. Just as I was problems on my end. That said, when an ever about to throw in the towel on wheels and wheel already worn tire blew, or a seemingly good bags all together and take up web-surfing as a wheel suddenly morphed into some- sport, the most perfectly engineered bestest of thing resembling a taco I would end the bestest wheel bags ever showed up on up standing on the sidelines, my door. I’ll always remember the day. I watching other racers finish, rid- was sitting in my living room, surly and ing in on up to date, sleek look- disgruntled over the wheel bags in my ing, and reliable equipment. life when there was a knock on the Thus, I… Dare I say? Dare. door. I opened it, looked down, and Dare. Okay, I’ll admit it… I there, cradled between several had… I had… I had equip- pieces of corrugated cardboard ment envy. was a baby Zipp wheel bag with no That’s right, I’d see one to care for it. other racers, and I envied Being a bit of a humanitarian, their equipment. I pined I took the wheel bag in, removed it away for time trial helmets from its dirty packaging and fulfilled and for a pair of those its every whim by putting it to use. green dual treaded If you’ve ever considered adopt- Vittoria all weather tires. ing something left neglected, I thumbed through whether it be a child or a pet, I Nashbar and strongly suggest doing so. Use Performance catalogs my Zipp wheel bag as an exam- with “ohs” and “ahs” over ple. In the past few weeks that the thought of having a I’ve cared for this bag, it has lighter bike or a pair of clip opened up and shown me all the on aero bars that didn’t have wonderful potential it has. The bag to be shimmed into place with a is padded. It has two individual pock- cut up coke can. But, the one thing I lusted for been disappointed after going to see a movie ets for skewers. It has a black vinyl indention in more than anything, the one thing I thought was that everyone else said rocked, then you would the lining to cradle a gear cluster and help keep cooler than anything were wheels. Now, I’m not know how I felt this spring once the Willis wheel the bag free of grease marks. It offers zippered talking about any kind of wheel here, I’m talking bag fetish came to fruition. Yeah, that’s right, I pockets, a key clip, removable/adjustable shoul- about the sexiest of sexy wheels. What I’m talk- said it in the third person. I was disappointed, let der strap, and even a built in stuff sack for good- ing about, are the kind of wheels that come with down, left stranded, if you will, by the shoddy ies. their own wheel bags. craftsmanship and lack of ingenuity displayed in Everything fits into the wheel bag as one That’s right, wheel bags. Back when I did- my first few sets of wheel bags. would expect. There’s no letting the air out of n’t have any of this stuff, there was something What blew me away about the wheel bags your tires, yanking on the zipper and hoping for about getting ready for a race in the parking lot, that came with my time trial wheels was that, the best. There’s no let down at all. I use the while making sure all the boots in my tires were here I am, I’ve just dropped well over $1500 on stuff sack in my bag to hold my valve extenders, still holding and maybe applying a little Locktite a pair of carbon wheels and you send me, basi- the tools I’d need to change out my cog set, an to the standard loose spoke nipple or two (“gee, cally, a nylon sheath to carry them in? I mean, extra chain, chain tool, and two cog sets. I use I hope this holds till the finish, cause I need to at such wheels are an investment, and these bags the zippered side pockets to hold my sports drink least win my entry fee back”), and looking up just offered no protection at all. The bags were for mix packets, gels, and energy bars. I even carry in time to see someone else donning a wheel show only, for sex appeal, quite simply, a ruse. my clean bike clothes, wrapped in a plastic gro- bag. Slowly they’d unzip. Gingerly, they’d reach Something else that bothered me was that cery bag in it. After races, I throw my dripping, in. Almost caressingly, they’d pull it out for all the there was no place to put the skewers. This was salty, smelly bike clothes and my shoes in the world to see. I’d stand there, drooling, wishing I remedied in the set of wheel bags that came with bag with the wheels. I clip my helmet pod to the had a pair as well. my bike as they had little pockets inside to hold short strap carrying handles. All in all, I’ve So imagine my euphoria this year when I your skewers. Still though, these bags were replaced my gianormous race backpack with the went from having zero wheel bags, ever, to hav- annoying because they were fitted a bit tight for Zipp wheel bag. I get it all in one. My expensive ing eight. That’s right, eight. I didn’t plan it this the wheels. Basically, it all boiled down to the wheels are safely stowed away, and everything I way, it just happened. It all started back in fact that if you wanted to zip these wheel bags need for the weekend is there as well. January, when I ordered a set of wheels for my up, you had to let all the air out of the tires so that So now, I feel comfortable with my wheel time trial rig. They showed up in wheel bags, you could mash it down a bit and force the zip- bags at races, knowing that somewhere in the and while most people probably would have per across the top. parking lot, someone is watching me, looking at been super stoked about the wheels, for me, it Such is the disappointment of life some- my wheel bags and dreaming that they too will was the wheel bags. Then a month later, my times. For months, I felt like a stranger in a someday own such a bag. I’d hate to set some- team bike arrived, and it too came with a set of strange land. Had the entire dream been a one up for the disillusionment that I’ve experi- wheels that were ensconced with wheel bags. I farce? Then came the double bag I won at the enced, and fortunately, I don’t have to, as the almost didn’t know what to do with myself. Hotter ‘n Hell criterium. Not bad. I liked this bag. Zipp wheel bag, might actually be, the best Fast forward to August. I win a prime at I could put two wheels in at once. There were wheel bag ever. 18 THE RACING POST Vol.6, No.10 WWW.THERACINGPOST.US WWW.THERACINGPOST.US VOL.6, NO.10 THE RACING POST 19 Feed Zone Chick Team Travel 101: The Bike Racing Adventure Let’s face it…traveling is wonderful. Going new places, seeing bad karma to mess with a bike the night before a race. If it ain’t broke, new things, spending time with friends and people you care about. don’t fix it! Most cyclists, however, are naturally born tinkerers; they Sounds great, huh? Well, there is one type of travel you may not have can’t help themselves. So, the project begins. A few hours and cuss experienced yet—cycling team travel. Not unlike “regular” travel, you words later, the bike is back in one piece, and everyone goes to bed go new places, see new things, and spend time with friends and peo- with visions of race day dancing in their heads…the room is at last ple you care about. There is one major difference, however. peaceful. Depending on the week-end, you may be shacking up with four—or The peace is only fleeting though as the alarm jolts you out of bed more—cyclists… at 5:30 a.m. Why are P, 1, 2 road races scheduled for 7:00 a.m.??? Shacking up with cyclists is not a bad deal really. You just need Time to eat and head for the race. If you’ve been invited to travel with to realize up front that you will not be staying in five-star hotels with turn the team, chances are you’ve been around a while. You’re used to tak- down service and a chocolate on the pillow. Rather than crawling into ing care of your significant other in the feed zone. Guess what! By a neatly made bed, you’ll likely be throwing race numbers and water default, your job has now quadrupled. Now, you have four mouths to bottles out from under the rumpled sheets. And don’t even think about feed. Make sure to take orders before you get to the race…feeding four being able to go through your normal morning routine. Following are people simultaneously can be pretty chaotic. No problem though. You some aspects of team travel with which you may want to familiarize can handle it! The race goes great for the team. Two of the guys are yourself before embarking on that journey. in the money. It’s a happy return to the hotel… When you arrive at the hotel (after going to race headquarters to Open door, return to clutter! Housekeeping has left a few new pick up the Race Bible, of course), get the lay of the land. Hopefully, towels, but there wasn’t much else they could do. The place is a disas- the hotel got your reservations right, and there are actually two beds ter area! So maybe all the clutter doesn’t bother you or maybe you’ll instead of one. That way, only one person will be “odd man out.” With eventually get used to it. What you’ll never get used to, however, is the five people in the room—four cyclists and you—someone gets floor smell!! Worn chamois stink. No matter how well they get rinsed out, time. Luckily, no one has ever suggested that I be that person; guess the room will still take on a distinctive chamois funk. Those of us who there’s at least one advantage to being the only female in the room. I’ve are a little more resourceful have figured ways around the smell and an seen the sleeping arrangements decided in a variety of ways. The eas- escape from the clutter. Sweetly offer to wash the guys’ race clothes; iest is to go by seniority…youngest in the room gets the floor. The sit- then disappear to the laundry room. Voila! Escape from the clutter and uation may also be determined by team pecking order with the lowest from the funk all at once. I know what you’re thinking. “You wash their man on the totem pole being bumped from a bed. You can flip a coin chamois? Are you nuts?” Trust me, chamois washing may become or play rock, paper, scissors even. The bottom line is someone’s hitting your favorite past time during race week-ends, and the cyclists REAL- the floor, which for many people is no big deal, except… LY do appreciate it… There’s hardly any floor space. Let’s do the math. Four cyclists Which brings me to the moral of this story. Yes, there’s clutter. for a week-end stage race. That’s at least 4 road bikes with 4 extra sets Yes, boys—and sweaty chamois—stink. Yes, your personal space will of wheels for the wheel vehicle and 4 time trial bikes. Every where you be invaded all week-end. Yes, you have a lot of responsibility to get the turn, you’ll find bike stuff…bikes leaning on the walls, shoes and hel- team fed and to support them during the race. Yes, they appreciate it. mets on every dresser and table, sweaty chamois drying on every door Yes, they will thank you. Yes, your significant other will be the envy of frame and towel rack and hanging off the occasional shower head. the team because he has a girlfriend who cares enough to support both There’s no escape! Your best bet may be to say good night and crawl him and his team. Yes, your team will be the talk of the peloton as other in bed. teams elbow each other wondering what they have to do to get one of Not so fast! It’s 11:00 p.m., and one of the cyclists has decided their team member’s girlfriends to do everything you do. Yes, it’s worth that he needs to change his cables. Now, every cyclist knows that it’s every minute! Enjoy the adventure! See you in the feed zone! 20 THE RACING POST Vol.6, No.10 WWW.THERACINGPOST.US 2006 Texas Fall Cup Mountain Bike Series Presents: HUNTSVILLE CLASSIC X s y n e Cross Country Mountain Bike Race Sponsored by………………. Huntsville State Park –November 4 and 5, 2006 November 4 www.bikelanehouston.com 8:00 AM – Pre-ride Opens 12:00 PM - Kid’s Kup Registration @ Solar Eclipse/Bicycle Haven Tent. Closes at 1:00 PM For more information 1:00 PM – PedalMasher’s Beginner’s clinic 1:00 PM – TMBRA Fall Cup XC Race Registration Opens 1:00 PM – Kid’s Safety clinic (30 Minutes) 1:30 PM – Kid’s Kup Pre-ride E FREE T-SHIRT 2:00 PM – TMBRA Kid’s Kup/Shimano Youth Series Race 5:00 PM – Registration Closes for the day To First o t Peggy Winkelmann 150 Entrants 0 November 5 936.291.7909 7:00 AM – Registration for all Classes opens 8:30 AM – Registration closes, Sport Class 9:00 AM – Sport Classes race start 10:30 AM – Registration closes, Expert & P/S/E Dallas 11:00 AM – Expert & P/S/E Classes race start 12:30 PM – Registration closed 1:00 PM – Beginner Classes race start For up-to-the-date race information go to: N www.TMBRA.org mi 150 mi Food available Houston at race site. HUNTSVILLE STATE PARK Exit 109 Police Pro/Expert 100% Cash Payback Park Rd 40 Department Camping available 1st thru 10th Place in the park. 60 miles I-45 Sport $2000 Min. in Merchandise Helmets must be 60 worn when riding Beginner $1200 Min. in Merchandise Lodging in nearby Bike Lane a bicycle within Huntsville, Willis, AWARDS FOR TOP 10 PLACES FOR FM 1960 W the park! and Conroe 20 mi BEGINNER AND SPORT CLASSES Houston Race course is CLOSED to pre-rides October 28th and Race Day. All FEES ARE NON-REFUNDABLE.. Early entry fee.. $30 On-site..$35 Mail In registration Postmark deadline: Oct. 25th Mail In Pre-registration Form Permit Pending Last Name:___________________________ First Name: ______________________ Phone: _________________________ Address: _________________________________________ City: ________________ State: ___________ Zip: _________ NORBA Lic: ______________________ (one day NORBA license, $5.00 may be purchased at the race site) Gender M ___ F ____ Age: _______ (As of December 31, 2006) Category: Beg ____ Sport: _____ Exp: ______ P/S/E: ______ Shirt Size: S ____ M ____ L ____ XL ____ Emergency contact Name and Number: _____________________________________ Huntsville State Park fees: Per person park entrance fee: $4.00 6 s l p n e 2006 Texas Fall Cup Mountain Bike Series Camping Per night with water: $12.00 For more information about this race Per night with water/electricity: $16.00 Contact Ken at Bike Lane: 281.440.6100 Per night shelter: $20.00 For more information about the series and links Reservations: 512.389.8900 or online to events and NORBA rules: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/spdest/findadest/parks/huntsville/ www.tmbra.org DO NOT INCLUDE THESE FEES WITH RACE ENTRY d y r Standard Liability Waiver must be signed at the event. t e d t e . r t Pre-register at www.BikeReg.com n o s e n _ r A Donation to Texas Bicycle Coalition $_______ or IMBA $________ WWW.THERACINGPOST.US VOL.6, NO.10 THE RACING POST 21 Zipp Gear Bag Review By TRP Staff bottom of the bag. Caves told me that this was designed so that triath- letes would have a place to stash their wetsuits, but it also keeps your dirty stuff away from your clean stuff, while still keeping everything organized. (And this also means that your off-the-bike clothes won’t pick up that raced-in jersey funk, which is essential if you want to take your soigneur out for dinner during a race weekend. . .). And, ven- turing clearly into the overkill department, the bag has zip-out shoulder straps so that you—or your middle-schooler—could conceivably wear it as a backpack. Wheww . . . did I forget anything? Oh, yeah, the bag also has Velcro straps so that you can secure your floor pump to it. And . . . the nice folks at Zipp include a camp towel—which is actu- ally big enough to dry you off, and, unlike, several of these towels, doesn’t pill up within two uses. In short, I fit everything for a full race weekend—including a notebook computer into this bag, and thus only had to carry one bag instead of two or three. The main draw-back I see involves the height of this bag com- pared to other gear bags. This bag is more square than rectangular. While that makes it easier to carry slung across your back, it also puts it at the outer limits of carry-on baggage—especially with a helmet stowed on top. If the more restrictive airline baggage policies contin- ue, however, this might be something of a moot point. Zipp Gear Bag (including nifty towel): If “a place for everything, and everything in its place” crosses (w)14.5" x (l)20.0" x (h)13", but 18" with mounted helmet your mind as you start to pack for your race weekends, or, if eliminat- Retail: $124.95 ing the race-day stress caused by misplaced necessities is important to you, this Zipp bag will make your race-day preparation faster. Plus, Everyone reading The Racing Post knows that Zipp products the Zipp gear bag is a really good item to sneak onto Christmas lists. share one main design philosophy: an obsessive pursuit of speed and Just don’t give it to your personal soigneur, unless you want to see how efficiency. So does a gear bag fit into that design philosophy, or is it a fast it can be swung. branding ploy like socks and caps? Josh Caves, a Zipp spokesperson, bristled a bit at the thought of characterizing the gear bag as driven by branding. According to Caves, the bag came about because Zipp want- ed to provide riders with a “do-it-all bag that had a place for everything a racer might need for race day.” But can a gear bag—even one with a place for everything—make you faster? Possibly. There seem to be three basic approaches to packing for races. Some low-stress racers can just toss stuff into their bag when packing, and, uncannily, pull out just the stuff they need when they need it. If you are one of those racers, you don’t need this bag because the organizational features would just mess up your zen-effi- ciency. Another group of racers relies on someone else to find all of their stuff. There’s not much to said about this bunch (at least not in a mag- azine with under-age readers), but if you are this sort of racer, hand this review to your soigneur—because they’ll probably want this bag. The last type of racer lacks either soigneurs or the zen knack to reach into the magic bag and pull out socks, safety-pins, or whatever. If you fall into this last category of racer, this bag makes race day less stressful. As you can see from the illustration, the top will hold your hel- met in well-ventilated security, and has exterior pockets for up to four water bottles. What you can’t see, though, is the multitude of storage options inside the bag: underneath the top-flap/helmet storage are two pockets sized just right for wallets or ipods and a key-clip is sewn in beside them. Interior and exterior construction is solid and well-thought out. Every compartment is ventilated with a combination of mesh cordura and ventilator devices. The outside panels are sewn out of two-layers of cordura fabric, with rubber reinforcements in ding-likely locations. Two sides of the bag have zip pockets big enough to carry shoes and spare tires and tubes or a first-aid kit. There’s plenty of space inside the main compartment for a full weekend’s worth of race clothing and gear. What’s more, there are three zip pockets in the main compartment: one running the full length of one side, the other two nestled into the other. But wait, there really is more—and more than just the nifty Zipp logos, too: there’s a separate ventilated sipper compartment on the 22 THE RACING POST Vol.6, No.10 WWW.THERACINGPOST.US Catching A Break ~ Nine Rockin' Rides by Ian Dille Bikes can and will be ridden good. Francisco is a veritable playground store stop has pecan pies. Plus, the anywhere and everywhere. Below Gila National Forest, New for cyclists. I rode up Mount Tam nicest days for riding these roads are the nine best places I’ve ridden Mexico – To those that have done and along US 101, otherwise come during the peak of the winter, mine. Why not ten? Because ten is this epic stage race, you know what known as the Redwood Highway. January and February, while the still out there . . . waiting to be rid- I’m talking about. Just up the moun- On a lung searing climb that rest of the country is snowed in. den. tain from the quant town of Silver ascended the side of a gleaming Garden of the Gods, City is a road that made me feel like yellow hill, the Pacific Ocean was The Ozarks, Arkansas – The Colorado Springs – This could I was floating. It might've been the visible below, way below, crashing locals, who’ll pull up along side you very well be what cycling on Mars is awesome beauty of the tightly clus- against the rocky shore. Who says simply to cheer, are almost as like. The twisting, undulating pave- tered pines, the granite cliffs, and California is overrated? entertaining as the abundance of ment that loops through the switchback descents that gave me winding mountain roads. In this set- National Park is some of the most a sense of euphoria or it could've Skyline Drive, Front Royal, ting, backwoods is a good thing. I scenic I’ve ever experienced. been the thin air at 6,000-feet of Virginia – The first five-miles, all up thought Devil's Den was a curious Towering rock formations will leave elevation. hill, is just an appetizer to 115-miles name while descending down into you in jaw-dropping amazement. of completely uninterrupted beauty. it. Then I had to climb back out. That is until you hit one of the many Western Pennsylvania – The road follows the jagged contour steep climbs and remember to start Thank god for Penn DOT, they pave of the Blue Ridge section of the Cataluyna Region, Spain – I breathing again. roads all over the middle of Appalachian Mountains. There isn’t was sent to race along this moun- nowhere. It’s hard to say exactly one stretch of flat pavement the tainous coast near Barcelona with Housatonic Valley, why I like riding them so much, whole way. In 2003 it took me and the National Team in 2002. Connecticut – Even as the pack other than - hey, it’s Western PA, ten top amateurs from Team Snow Unfortunately I was dropped on the sped over the smooth black top, the blue collar heartland of the Valley six and half hours to com- first climb everyday. Fortunately, through the lush, green valley at state. The roads wind through plete. How long will it take you? the groupetto was just as into relax- over 30-miles per hour, somehow I rolling hills, past sprawling horse ing, chewing on a foil wrapped still had the presence to look farms, and into dingy little towns The Texas Hill Country – sandwich, and enjoying the epic around and think – this is heaven. where the locals mingle outside the Okay, I’m biased, but isn’t that what views, as I was. Wooden bridges over rambling corner pub. favorite rides are all about – riding Got a rockin’ ride for the dirt brooks, roads completely enclosed in your front door at the end of the or road? Send it to me and I’ll put it by leafy, leaning trees, and quaint Marin Headlands, Northern day. The roads dip right through the into a future column – towns where everyone comes out California – Just across the creeks, the hills are just big enough Ian.Dille@Gmail.com. to cheer, yes, these Yankees got it Golden Gate Bridge from San not to be mountains, and every WWW.THERACINGPOST.US VOL.6, NO.10 THE RACING POST 23 J u n i o r S p o t l i g h t : Luke Allen Presents by TRP Staff Photo by Jere Arnold found some trails future … what would you like to do LA: My worst race was at Tapatio close to our house and after graduating from school? last Spring. That was my first time we decided to try them LA: I want to go to Fort Lewis to race 12 and under. I was doing out. It was a blast so College in Durango, Colorado. I pretty good and probably could we started riding more want to be on their cycling team and have gotten first place when I ran and more. Eventually, eventually work my way up to pro. over a log and ripped the stem off we (my Dad and I) my tubeless wheelset. I had to walk began to race. TRP: How many days a week do a long way and was very frustrated. you ride and how many hours do TRP: What kind of you put in? TRP: Tell us about your favorite bike do you ride? Any LA: My training time varies, Race? interesting equipment depending on other activities like LA: My favorite race was the on it? soccer. I’m on the bike about 5 days NORBA National Championships in LA: My race bike is a a week. I usually put in around 50 Sonoma, California. We got to meet modified Trek 6700 minutes to two hours each time I all the pros and get their auto- with an FSA wheel set ride. graphs. I started out in last place and Hayes disc and worked my way up to first. I brakes. It weighs TRP: Do you have a formal coach? ended up winning and was really approximately 23 If so, who is it and why do you have happy. pounds. My jumping one? bike is a Santa Cruz LA: I don’t have a formal coach, TRP: Favorite food? Superlite. It weighs but my Dad teaches me a lot. Gary LA: Eggrolls. 28 pounds. Both of my Fraser, who works at Biketown here bikes have Platform in Abilene, is a rider who has awe- TRP: Training food? Eggbeater pedals. some technique. He rides with me a LA: Pasta. lot and tells me what I’m doing TRP: Have you tried wrong or right. He drove my bike Luke Allen lives in Abilene with his TRP: Other than that? other two-wheeled sports? all the way to Sonoma, California parents and four sisters. He is LA: Any type of Mexican food. LA: I also do road biking if that for Nationals while we flew. I didn’t eleven years old and a fifth grader counts, which is a lot of fun – but know he was coming, so it was a at Wylie Middle School, where he is TRP: Okay. Xbox or PS2? right now I like mountain biking surprise for me. It gave me confi- involved in the Gifted and Talented LA: Xbox better. dence to have him there. program. In addition to cycling, he participates in soccer, basketball TRP: Campy or Shimano? TRP: Do you participate in other TRP: As a Junior Racer, what do and baseball, and is an altar server LA: Shimano sports? you think could be done to increase at Holy Family Catholic Church. LA: I play baseball, basketball and the sport’s popularity among young TRP: Favorite pro bike racer? soccer. Sometimes I have to miss people? This past July, he won the NORBA LA: Adam Craig and Jeremy games for bike races, but I still LA: Make it a school sport. That Junior 11-12 cross country national Horgan-Kobelski enjoy the other sports. would get a lot more kids involved. championship in Sonoma, Many people don’t even know what California. TRP: Anybody you’d like to thank TRP: Where do you go to school? mountain biking is, and that would or mention? LA: I go to Wylie Middle School. make them want to try it. TRP: When did you start riding? LA: In addition to my Mom and Can you tell the story? Dad, all the guys at Biketown, espe- TRP: What grade are you in and TRP: Tell us about your first Race? LA: I started riding when I was 4. cially Gary, and Don Pittman. what’s your favorite subject. LA: My first race was a time trial at My first bike was a yellow Giant They’ve all supported me and LA: I am in the fifth grade, and my the Hotter ‘N Hell Hundred. Those with training wheels. I remember helped me when I needed it. I favorite subject is Math. were probably the muddiest trails picking it because it was black with would also like to thank all the peo- that I’ve ever ridden, even to this yellow flames. ple that put on the TMBRA races TRP: What do you think of school? day. I got fourth out of four, but I and give kids my age a chance to LA: School’s okay. It’s good to be was just glad to finish. It was 10 TRP: When did you start racing? get started in racing. I hope to keep educated and it’s great to see all my miles, which was a long way for me. Why? riding until I can’t grind my bike friends. LA: I started racing mountain bikes down the trail anymore. TRP: Tell us about your worst when I was eight years old. My dad TRP: What do you see as your Race? 24 THE RACING POST Vol.6, No.10 WWW.THERACINGPOST.US the same parent compa- Additional sponsorships and a race and events ConexTrain & travelgirl maga- ny, and as such calendar will be announced in the coming zine Elite Women’s Cycling ConexTrain will stay on- months. board, too. HealthCoach (www.healthcoach.net) is Teams Combine - SLH Communications “I am very excited dedicated to the pursuit of healthy lifestyle and about the prospects for long, happy, active lives. It helps clients turn Austin, Tex. (September 20, 2006) 2007 and the opportunity to bring the travelgirl intentions into actions, creating lasting lifestyle Austin’s Team ConexTrain and Atlanta-based squad into our camp. We’ve put together a group changes, improved health, and enhanced well- travelgirl magazine women’s professional cycling of athletes who will strengthen our national pres- being, keying on disease risk assessment, nutri- teams consolidated last week, forming a top-tier ence, particularly at criterium and time trial tional analysis and diet, goal setting, exercise National Racing Calendar (NRC) squad for events. Having travelgirl magazine on board also plans and performance tracking for success. 2007. brings considerably more marketability for HealthCoath managers and advisors have back- The new team, Team HealthCoach pre- women’s pro cycling and this top-tier squad of grounds ranging from Big 5 consultants to pro- sented by travelgirl magazine, will be managed athlete-role models,” said Tim Pletcher, execu- fessional athletes and investment bankers who out of Austin by AG Cycling tive director of AG Cycling. know and understand balanced, healthy living. (www.agcycling.com), which ran Team Sawyer, who was also the travelgirl team travelgirl magazine (travelgirlinc.com) is ConexTrain in 2006. The former squads bring manager, was also pleased. “I couldn’t be happi- a magazine for women on the go and the men together champion criterium riders and time trial- er with the outcome. The AG Cycling folks have and families who travel with them. It is the pre- ists, two disciplines which will make up the 2007 great depth of experience, access to top-tier mier resource for women looking to improve their team’s focus. ConexTrain leader Jen McRae and resources and most importantly strive for a team lives by finding and integrating the “escape fac- teammate Allyson Brandt will join forces with culture we find very attractive. In looking for a tor” into every day journeys as well as exotic travelgirl’s Kim Sawyer, Leigh Valletti, Tiffany partner for 2007, we were concerned about find- vacations. Targeting women in the 30’s to 50’s Ballew, and Kim Foland. ing the right fit and were fortunate through a age range, travelgirl magazine is savvy, sexy & HealthCoach (www.healthcoach.net) series of coincidences to connect with the riders sophisticated. It was the first national travel pub- gears up as the new title sponsor of the property and managers at Team ConexTrain.” lication launched after September 11, 2001, and for the next three years, with travelgirl (www.trav- The new HeathCoach-travelgirl magazine was named “one of the most notable launches of elgirlinc.com) gathered in as presenting sponsor. team will debut in October at the AMLI 2003” by industry guru Mr. Magazine. HealthCoach and ConexTrain are sisters under Downtown Criterium, taking place in Austin. - SLH Communications EXPECT MORE FROM YOUR FUEL If you want to perform at your best, you need the highest quality fuel you can get – not sugar water that glows in the dark. 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Worth, Keller, & Arlington Plano Cycling & Fitness Bike Sport Austin Tri-Cyclist Plano : 972.423.4130 Houston : 713.850.0250 Austin : 512.494.9252 Bike Lane of Cypress Houston : 281.440.6100 Richardson Bike Mart 360 Cycleworks Bay Area Schwinn Richardson : 972.231.3993 Austin : 512.306.8118 Webster : 281.332.6433 Peytons Cycle Also in Dallas & Frisco Also in Pasadena Midland : 432.699.1718 Bicycles Plus Bike World Dallas : 214.363.2025 Southwest Schwinn Ride Away Bicycle San Antonio : 210.828.5558 Also in Flower Mound & Coppell Houston : 713.777.5333 San Antonio : 210.696.9925 WWW.THERACINGPOST.US VOL.6, NO.10 THE RACING POST 25 Old School Racing in Downtown Denton By Fred “Tripp” Smitham Photos by Lauren Hollinger The roads were quickly drying after the morning showers as the pro 1/2/3 field rolled up to the start line. Homey restaurants and shops lined the wide open race course, with the old courthouse enclosed by the first two turns. People may wonder, “How exciting can a course with only four left turns be?” Well the Downtown Denton Crit was out to show them just how exhilarating and technical four corners are. The start finish line was located at the top of a long gentle incline in front of the court- house. Two brick turns at the top of the course led into a downward sloping back straightaway, at the bottom of which was the technical third corner. This narrow corner turned into a rough road, the inside track broken up by manhole covers. When combined with the rain slicked road this corner proved to be a worthy test of the racers bike handling abilities, which is what good crits should strive for. After this tricky sec- tion the course made one last turn onto the incline to the finish. The course showed its teeth early on in the day, with a pileup in the first lap of the pro 1/2/3 race. Its bite proved to be as fierce as its bark, shredding the field almost from the gun. Along with the tough course several early attacks helped to further breakup the peleton. It was a fast race that took its toll on many of the racers. Toward the end of the first race the rain started to move in, but it was not about to put a damper on the days events. Plenty of cover- ings provided by store fronts allowed the large crowed of spectators to stay dry while enjoying the racing. There was a large turnout of sup- porters who lined the entire top half of the race course, an impressive showing for a new race. If one looked around it would be hard to realize this was the first ever Downtown Denton Crit, from the amount of people and racers present. The First annual Denton Crit was a great success, bringing fast and exciting racing, to historic downtown Denton. Hopefully this race will continue to bring this same level of success for years to come. 26 THE RACING POST Vol.6, No.10 WWW.THERACINGPOST.US CYCLE LOGIC ~ “A Theory on Cycling Community” By Diana North A spontaneous road trip to Arizona last July as temperatures hovered Politicians would be required to ride touring bikes with constituents in the low 100s contributed to the formation of my newest theory on cycling; while running for election. You can tell a lot about a candidate’s character There really is such a thing as a cycling community and it should take over on a group ride. Stops would be called “sags” and everyone on the cam- the planet because it has the power to create a more peaceful, beautiful, fit, paign trail would get a t-shirt. and environmentally-sound world. In my perfect world, if two people or two presidents disagreed they I arrived in Mesa on a Friday evening and by early Saturday morning would have to do a century ride together. If they did not resolve their differ- I was at a local group road ride. It was hot. I had my bike and two water bot- ences they would be required to do a weeklong tour across Texas together, tles and no idea what was ahead so I smiled to hide my mini panic attack unsupported. For disagreements that required quick resolutions, criteriums and was welcomed anyway. Panic dissolved into glee on the prettiest little or short road races would decide who got to talk first and who had to listen climb of my entire life. Sprinting was candy for my travel-cramped legs. until it was their turn. Race officials would act as mediators. Citizens could By the end of the next morning’s group ride, I was ready to move to line the streets wearing devil costumes or draped in colorful flags. Screams Arizona where every street has a bike path and the scenery includes of encouragement, loud music and hay sculptures would be welcomed; the rugged, red mountains and funky cactus. But most of all I was ready to more ridiculous the better. admit that no matter where I ride, I am part of a community which allows me All that cycling would reverse soaring obesity rates. Less air pollution to show up in a place a thousand miles from home and feel like I belong would mean healthier lungs for everyone. Since exercise lowers stress lev- there in a matter of hours. The new theory began to take shape in my mind. els, blood pressures all over the world would rejoice. Health care premiums During that the same time, the Tour de France was going on. For would hit an all-time low. The decrease in traffic congestion alone just might weeks I watched those riders, men of different skinny shapes, sizes and col- put an end to road rage, which when you think about it would look pretty silly ors, who spoke different languages. They came, with their own mini panic on a bike anyway. As would drunk riding. Seeing the scenery, slowing the attacks, from all over the world. They got along. They worked together and pace and getting to know the neighbors sounds pretty sane to me so I won- they competed against each other never knowing what would happen next. der if we would need so much Prozac? Volunteer work, so good for the body By the end, rivalries aside, there were weary smiles and congratulations all and mind, would be the new way to help others while helping yourself by around, and every cyclist watching could relate. They were an elite and spe- providing the pedal power for sidecars and carts for those unable to ride. cialized cycling community but a community just the same. If they could do With all that peace and love and joy and exercise, maybe weapons of it and I could do it then there was something to this new theory of mine. mass destruction could be melted down and turned into bike frames for What good is a theory if you can’t just go wild with it? In my perfect those less fortunate. Sharing bicycles and the sport of cycling might foster world, all kinds of people from all walks of life would own bikes. They would diplomacy between nations just like it does between people. And maybe, work together and observe the rules of the road. Even in competition there just maybe, showing up with a bicycle would earn each one of us the same would be honor and respect. In my perfect cycling world, not only would warm welcome the cycling community extends every day. every person own a bike or two but in my perfect world, they would ride them. Everywhere. Cars would be used for hauling bikes someplace new. Riders showing up at new places with their bikes, water bottles and panic attacks could join that community and feel right at home. If I ran the world, cities and towns would sprout small, local, friendly places to shop that didn’t take up three acres. Local shops run by cycling employees, cycling managers and cycling stockholders would spring up overnight. Would that be a bad thing? Whole communities would be built around cycling. Trails, closed courses, bike parks, bike lanes, bike racks, bike ramps, bike shops and rov- October ing wrenches would be interspersed with cozy coffee shops and juice bars and restaurants. Owned and run by fellow cyclists, of course. Every village, October 6th & 13th city and country would have its own bike teams for road, mountain, Friday Night Racing cyclocross and track racing. Tour de France time would be a three-week-long sabbatical. With more bikes than cars on the road, air pollution, global warming and serious bicycle accidents would be things we wouldn’t fear anymore. And with all that cycling, going places would be more enjoyable because everywhere you looked you’d see beautiful, shapely cycling legs and would Contact Kathy Volski at 281-578-0693 that be a bad thing? www.houstonalkekvelodrome.org WWW.THERACINGPOST.US VOL.6, NO.10 THE RACING POST 27 the professional thing," Leipheimer IL PATRON WRITES BY IL PATRON (OF COURSE) said. "If I was going to go back and get bottles for myself, it doesn't cost me any more energy to bring two more bottles to him, so it's just a pro- fessional courtesy. They took care of me, and they didn't have to. That's “Hey there, how you doing, can we talk??” about it." “Do remember that fateful day in the 2003 Tour de France when -VeloNews.com” Lance got caught up on the muzette and came crashing down on the “So where I am coming from? I am seeing less and less sportsman- asphalt? And do you remember Tyler Hamilton taking control of the pelaton ship or good sporting behavior exhibited in the club rides and the rallies that and reminding them of the professional courtesy extended to the maillot I participate in around the Dallas area. Yes, we point out the potholes and joune when an unpredictable event occurs in a race of such magnitude? the ever-expanding cracks in the roads. We call out the oncoming vehicles, There are many stories like this ….. Lance waiting for Ullrich after he left the but we compete with each other as if every ride was the US road on a high speed descent, you know them, you have suffered with the Championships. We take unnecessary risks with the traffic and with each participants as if you were there.” other, not looking before we pull out of the group to take off and prove we “So tell me, how come, we, the club cyclist, the amateur, the week- can ride up a hill faster than the group. We take advantage of our fellow rid- end road warrior, how come we do not exhibit the same attributes as the ers who are improving their fitness and in some cases feel good about beat- pros do on our rides! We have so little at stake; they have their livelihoods ing riders who are recovering from injuries or illness.” to consider when an advantage can be taken. Don’t get me wrong, there “Now that I have opened this can of worms, let me add insult to injury. are many stories about bad behavior on the Pro Tour. In the Tour Of Britain Since when did we become such snobs ….. I’m sorry did I offend you? The last month, we saw a slow speed protest and the forcing of a rider into the more money you have to spend on stuff does not make you or I a better gutter just because he wanted to race.” rider. We look good, but I will show you a dozen better riders on less fash- “To make my point, let me share a quote with you from Levy ionable bikes who have the HEART but must live on a less extravagant Leipheimer after he finished second to George Hincapie in the US Pro budget. And when it comes to equipment and our gear, why is a rider on a Championships help in Greenville, NC. last month. Both Levy and George ten-year-old steel frame bicycle less worthy than I am because I ride a car- were the sole representatives of their professional teams at this event, and bon bicycle? And why is a rider with a mountain bike helmet, you know the as you know George, won it in compelling fashion, but the two riders dis- helmet with a peak upfront, not as cool as you or I with our peakless head- played true professionalism in the race. Quote, “I felt obligated since they gear? Don’t get me started on our opinions of hydration backpacks on a were feeding me, and that was giving me a huge advantage, so I just did road rider. And while I am on the subject, who said that imported European riding kits are the only stuff to ride in? Now, I am guilty of liking my gear to match socks to jersey, but why do some of us look down on the folks who ride in their 5-year-old jerseys? I’m not talking about “old school” here. If you want “old school”, Di Marchi has a wool jersey should you be interested in acquiring one. No, I’m talking about older stuff. Not having the latest gear and being cool, I think, is alienating many a rider.” “Our sport is one where men and women at many levels can ride together and if given the opportunity, compete head to head. So why are we males so intimat- ed by the presence of women in our rides? Why do we react so strongly when they push the pace? What are we attempting to prove to them, or for that matter, to our- selves? Let me tell you about a woman I met on the two- day charity ride this year who was belittled by the men whom she caught up with on the more hilly section of the ride. When they became aware of her presence, they promptly attempted to drop her and made it obvious to her in their remarks. She was very disillusioned and could not understand their behavior; the truth is neither can I.” “I can’t tell you how satisfying it is to ride with a mixed group on a training ride, a club ride, and especial- ly in rallies. Couples who are training together, along with women who are excited to participate in this sport and take on the guys, make for fun and invigorating times on the road. I ride with a number of women, and many are way better than I am and some are not, but cycling is one of the few sports where we are remarkably equal athletically. You know I ride with a four foot some- thing lady on a 650cc wheeled bike who continues to smoke me on a regular basis. Not too many sports where that can happen, are there? How cool is that? Unfortunately, not all of us see it this way. Is it perhaps time to reassess our view of the sport and make more folks welcome, sharing our cycling knowledge, expertise and skills with them as we carve our path across the countryside? Is it time many of us get off our high horse and just ride for the sheer enjoyment of it, and stop judg- ing, and become less selective and cliquish?” “Remember, we are just talking here …. You and me, one on one.” 28 THE RACING POST Vol.6, No.10 WWW.THERACINGPOST.US Double D Crit (continued from page 16) the first opportunity to see what happens in turn three when it rains. No, I didn’t fall (I was walking), but I did see about a foot of water standing on the course in the turn. I spent the next hour sweeping out the water down to the drain and gutter. Just as I finished, it began to rain again. At that point we had to get the barricades and cones set up, and the police, the folks from the Denton Sports Commission, and racers were arriving, so the corner was left to fend for itself. When I got back to the start/finish area, I heard that a store owner of a place on the square was extremely displeased about the event being there, and she claimed to have not known we were coming. While this is hard to believe, considering I’d been to her store twice to talk about the race in the preceding month, as well as making a decent-sized purchase, she was also notified twice by letter. The race was going to happen anyway at that point, but someone from the chamber of commerce took the brunt of it while she vented her frustration. We were told that this type of thing is one of the prices to pay for holding an event downtown. The rain was intermittent through the first race, which was the P,1,2 event, making the streets slicker than if it would have outright rained Service • Selection • Solutions hard. And that it did during the following junior race and the rest of the day. However, the rain came as a downpour in the 3,4 race to the extent that vis- Since 1979 ibility was an issue. Spectators and racers huddled under tents, canopies and awnings. That is, until they were soaked, and at that point everyone simply stood out in the rain anyway. The coffee shop, ice cream shop and wine www.bikesport.com store on the square seemed to have the largest congregation of racers and spectators, which will help us make this race happen next year. 2909 Joanel Street • Houston With the conditions the way they were, it made the racing very hard, because the racers had to carefully navigate the four turns, and then 713.850.0250 hammer out of them to get back up to speed. This was especially evident coming out of turn four, and it made the races fit for the hard men and women. There were no lucky winners at the Downtown Denton Criterium. Those who placed well did so by riding at the front and keeping the pace hard so that they could stay there. In the P,1,2 race, there were several strong moves containing rid- ers who could be expected to win. Scott Veggeberg (Morgan Stanley/ Specialized) was out front in one move or another most of the day, but the one to stick was a closing laps move with Stefan Rothe (Mercy), who took the win of the first race ever in Downtown Denton. The 3,4 race was led by an early move with Troy Owens (GS Tenzing/ Wheels in Motion) and Clay Hobson (Wheels in Motion), though it was ultimately Owens who stayed away alone until the last turn when Jonathan Reeder (Matrix) jumped from the chase group to overtake Owens before the line. In the Women’s Open, newly minted category 3 racer, Christina Smith (Orthopedic Store) stayed with the 40+ break in the combined field to earn a solo win, despite falling on the first lap. With over 30 Juniors racing, we felt the race was a success with that one race alone. The juniors raced together, but they were actually rac- ing in boy’s and girl’s age groups of 10-12, 13-14, 15-16, and 17-18. Parker Craddock (NWCC/Alkek) led all to the line, proving that he is one of the strongest juniors in Texas and will be for the next two years, as he is only 16 years old. In the 10-12 field, there were 12 racers battling for the win with Noah Williams (GS Tenzing/Wheels in Motion) powering away from Luke Allen (Countrywide), the 11-12yr old US National XC Champion, on the last lap. In the 13-14 group, Megan Baab (TBi) took the win for the girls and Royce Strange (GS Tenzing/Wheels in Motion) led the way for the boys. Sean Smith won the 17-18 age group. The 4,5 race was slugfest with Josh Brown ending the day of the races and the category with the win. Jesus Chaparro and Roddie Haley (Simpson’s) rounded out the podium for the 4,5’s. All told, feedback has been positive, and we look forward to put- ting on the Denton Downtown Criterium again. One of the most interesting comments came from a high ranking member from the city, and he said, “Had we known so many racers were going to be here, we would have repaved Piner (the road between turns three and four).” WWW.THERACINGPOST.US VOL.6, NO.10 THE RACING POST 29 Surf’n in Hell - All the Usual Suspects Escape By Andrew Willis Photo by Lauen Hollinger While the 2006 version of the Hotter N’ Hell road race wasn’t without miles later suspects, Kirk Winters (Austin Tri-Cyclist) and Dan Madru (REI its hiccups, it wasn’t without its champions either. What draws people to a Austin Cycling Team) bridged across, and the race was on. late August event, in one of the windiest, flattest, and hottest spots in the Fast-forward forty miles to a point where luck, wind, and heat had all Southwest seems like a mystery, but I believe the allure must be in the taken their toll on a number of the break, as well as created a powerful name, “Hotter ‘n Hell.” It’s simple, it’s catchy, and most likely, the root drama. Although, some could say that bad luck got the better of Brandt, behind the rising success that’s grown what started back in 1982 as a rally, who flatted out of the break, others would say that the worst of luck shroud- and, in it’s heyday, a National Racing Calendar stage race. I can say that ed the chasing field. Mislead by their lead vehicle, the remaining 3’s field it must be the name, because it was Hotter ‘n Hell where I completed my ended up miles from anywhere, knocking on the doors of ranchers and second century ride ever, at the age of 14. There were plenty of rally style farmers, begging for water. Luck aside, hell eventually devoured Madru, rides to choose from back in 1991, but only one Hotter ‘n Hell. which left Benz without a shoulder to lean on. Seven years later, I returned to compete in the National Calendar Considering his options, Benz noticed that everyone except Winters stage race wearing Matrix, Richardson Bike Mart clothing. Somehow, the appeared to be in difficulty, so he attacked. Of the fateful attack, Benz seven-year hiatus from hell had changed my perspective on things, and would later say, “Hamre had been looking strong all day, and caught the tail even though the event is one of the few that offers a coveted winner’s jer- end of my slip stream but not my wheel with Wilkerson on his wheel. sey, I vowed to never enter the event again. So, I chuckled at being on the Continued steady power, the hill, and the heavy head/crosswind conspired road to hell again, another fifteen years later. to snap the string and I was free. A few moments later I looked back and Every year, somewhere between eight and twelve thousand peo- Kirk (Winters) was under full power, bridging up to me. Near the top of the ple descend upon Wichita Falls, TX for what a local horseback riding cow- hill, he got to me. I started to ramp it up again to keep our speed high over boy described on the evening news in 1991 as looking like, “space aliens the top of the rise and we were away.” (spit) in neon.” This cowboy sat there, in his saddle, with a pair of huge irid- With less than ten miles to go, Winters began having trouble. ium lens Oakley goggles the reporter gave him to wear while answering Calculating that second place was better than potentially being dropped, he questions. Although he couldn’t reckon why anyone would spend money cut a deal with Benz, agreeing to pull through, helping when possible, and to ride a bike in the middle of August, in one of “them get-ups,” he did admit not sprint for the win, if only Benz would not drop him. that the goggles made his eyes feel better in the sun. I’d long since showered and eaten lunch by the time any of the races Much like returning to something I said I’d never do again, finished, which allowed me the rare privilege of watching the Open Junior’s remembering that interview has always made me chuckle, and I thought race finish. Constant attacks in addition to the omni-present heat and wind about it as I rode shotgun in the Team Hotel San Jose RV on the road to whittled 100-kilometer junior race down to a select group of rising stars. hell. What I didn’t chuckle about though, was getting dropped 30 miles into Although the up-and-coming powerhouse that is Matrix/Richardson Bike the 100-mile Pro 1,2 Men’s road race sponsored by Michelob Ultra the next Mart champion, Broday Walker tried to shake his rivals in the closing miles, morning. Rolling out of town before sun-up, with extra bottles in our pock- he was overshadowed by the flawless teamwork of the Northwest ets the seventy rider strong peleton led the way for all the other categories. Cycling/Alkek Velodrome’s Craddock brothers. Time trialing maniac, four- A series of early attacks saw Rory McAdams (Matrix) roll out of sight with teen-year-old Lawson Craddock, who recently won one of the Category 4 Team Hotel San Jose riders, Barry Lee and Steven Wheeler. Men’s Wednesday Night Memorial Park Criteriums in Houston, put his own Twenty miles later, a “Surfer” Nick Kiernan (Morgan ambitions aside and led out his older more fast twitch muscle blessed Stanley/Specialized) and Stefan Rothe (Mercy) charged chase group rode brother, Parker. As the lead group approached the line, the Craddocks' a rip tide across to the break with Edgar Ibarra and Jaime Gandara strategy proved fruitful. (Richardson Bike Mart), Janne Hamalainen (Tulsa Wheelmen), and myself. Of the win, Parker summed up a day in hell better than anyone else, Kiernan was clearly on a different planet, and although the breakaway’s saying, “The Hotter ‘n Hell road race was VERY long, vigorous, and ardu- and chase group’s efforts were all in vain as the field gobbled them up at ous. It all came down to the finish line. I love the new jersey.” the thirty mile mark, it did have the ultimate effect of stringing the now effort weary field out. Turning into a gusting 20 mph crosswind saw Rothe’s Mercy team- In T he W inner’ s Cir c le mate, Alex Welch counter attack. Welch slowly pulled away from the field. While most would be reluctant to give it a go with some 70 miles left till the finish, Kiernan saw opportunity knocking, saying, “The distance didn’t both- with “Surf er” Nic k Kier nan er me. I felt good, that’s probably the most important part. That and Mercy “Surfer” Nick Kiernan, rides for Morgan Stanley/24 hour fitness/SPECIAL- was controlling everything, so I knew with Alex up there we could sneak IZED. He began racing in 1998 for Mid-Cities Wheelman (Team Bicycles inc.) away.” and since has racked up over 100 victories. Nick rode for the top amateur In the final few miles Gandara and Hamalainen caught the surprised team Mathis Brothers Elite Cycling and then as a professional in '04 for the breakaway duo, but the bridging effort proved too much for the pair, as Sharper Image Professional Cycling Team. His travels have taken him to Kiernan still had enough gas in the tank to muster one final push for the close to 20 countries and 4 continents. His list of top victories include: line. As local reporters mobbed Kiernan for quotes, a battle had erupted 2003 Michelin Classic - Greenville, SC in what turned out to be a dramatic Category 3 Men’s race. The final break- 2003 Grand Prix de Anapolis - Anapolis, Brazil away came together at the same point where Welch attacked in the Pro 1, 2 x Texas State Criterium Champion ('03 & '06) 2 Men’s race, just after the first feed zone, in the midst of a horrid cross 2003 Texas Cup Champion wind. Unlike the Pro 1, 2 Men’s event, the Category 3’s saw the early Clasica de las Constituciones ('02 & '04) - Monterrey, Mexico break, containing Velossimo’s Steve Brandt and Team Hotel San Jose jun- 2006 Texas State Criterium Championship ior strong man, Marcus Torres, joined later by all the usual suspects. One such suspect, rising Texas legend, Erick Benz (REI Austin Cycling Team) TRP: This is getting repetitive, isn’t it? could see the break dangling ahead of the reluctant pack about twenty NK: (smiles that Surfer smile) miles into the race. Benz, tired of being a marked man, ramped it up and strung it out, TRP: Why did you go to the event? eventually breaking the string that had tethered him to the field all morning. NK: This was a big event for the Specialized team. The Specialized Regional Not concerned with towing across strongmen, Francis Hamre (Northwest Sales Manager was in town and this would be his first time to see us race. Cycling) and Gordy Wilkerson (Woodlands), Benz powered along, closing the gap seemingly at will. A few TRP: What had you heard about the event? 30 THE RACING POST Vol.6, No.10 WWW.THERACINGPOST.US NK: I had done the event several times in the past and always enjoyed it. TRP: How did you prepare? NK: This time of year there isn’t very much “race preparation”. I had been racing every week for the month prior so it was just a mat- ter of being rested and hydrated. TRP: Who did you watch for? NK: In a race that’s 106 miles in the heat, you have to watch every- body, but I mainly kept a close watch on Chad Cagle. TRP: What were the early miles like? NK: The race was aggressive from the word go. Less than 10 miles into it a move of about 10 riders were trying to establish itself and had a pretty descent gap. As the gap grew and the wind picked up, I thought it might be a dangerous move and began my trek across. I was joined by six others and the gap came down quickly. My teammate, Josh Kerkhof, put his head on the chopping block and drove himself into the ground to close the last 20 seconds. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be and this break was caught a few miles before the feed zone. TRP: What led up to the successful break? NK: To be quite honest, I’m not really sure. As we came out of the first feed zone Alex Welch (Mercy Cycling Team) attacked and quickly rode away. There was a small group of four in between Alex and the field. At mile 27 I attacked up a small rise and buried the needle. I soon caught the group of four and went right by them and didn’t look back. I kept my head down and the needle pegged. After a few miles I made contact with Alex and it was off to the races. I knew deep down inside, baring a mishap, if we rode hard we wouldn’t see the field again. TRP: What happened inside the break? NK: For the first hour the gap was never over a minute.. I think Alex was a little discouraged, but I knew if we stayed with it, the gap would soon increase. As the miles ticked away our advantage grew slightly larger. When we hit the 60 mile mark, we had close to three minutes on the field and 1:30 on a nine man chase group. As we approached mile 70, the time split was down to 45 seconds and the chase group had splintered. The lead motorcycle told us that we both had teammates coming up so we decided to back off and wait for some reinforcements. A few miles later it was only Jaime Gandara and Janne Hamalainen that made the bridge (my team- mate,Bret Crosby had flatted). TRP: Where there any moments of real risk or questions of your survival? NK: It was hit or miss there for a while. My right leg started to cramp pretty bad so I had to try and conserve as much as possible. I didn’t have anybody in the feed zones so I had to rely completely on neutral water. TRP: Who seemed the strongest in the break? NK: I think it was all pretty even.. Alex and I had be out there for over 75mi’s. By the time Jaime and Janne had reached us, they were MUCH fresher than we were. TRP: How did the finish go down? NK: Alex attacked about a mile from the finish. He had a good gap and the other two looked cooked so I decided to jump across. As I made contact my right leg started to cramp again and I wasn’t able to put pressure on it. A few seconds later Jaime joined us and we just decided to fight it out in a sprint. Alex led it out and I had just enough left in the tank to jump about 300 meters out and stay away for the win. TRP: Words of wisdom? NK: Don’t do anything that wouldn’t make your mamma proud.. TRP: Anybody you’d like to thank? NK: My great specialized teammates: Geoff Godsey, Bret Crosby, Scotty Veggeberg, and Josh Kerkhof. I’d also like to take Pierre Kerkhof for pointing me in the right direction to get ready for the race, and as always, my main man Don Merritt – for just being him.. PHOTO BY LAUREN HOLLINGER WWW.THERACINGPOST.US VOL.6, NO.10 THE RACING POST 31 Rally Report By David Berman August was truly hotter than hell in North rest stop at the end was obscured by a semi I enjoyed and supported only two rest Texas. This may have been the warmest month parked on the roadside. stops this year. The fabulous affair at 50 miles for riding that I can remember in my 28 years in I arrived at rest stop four to find the lone was well stocked with everything, including Texas. I have two HOT rallies to comment on this volunteer setting things up. I got there early enthusiasm and riding buddies. Not one for month. The Red Hot Chili Pepper, held on because I left the 60-mile riders at the 40-mile hanging around at rest stops, I took two riding Saturday August 19th, and the now world turn (I needed to get to my daughter’s soccer partners from my original group of two dozen and famous HHH (celebrating its 25th anniversary) game). Once there I helped him dilute the sports hammered to the 80 mile “redirect”, passing the which was held on August 26th in Wichita Falls. drink. The initial shot of 100% proof PowerAde well attended rest stop at 70 something miles. All This is going to be a difficult report to write. sent shockwaves through my bladder. I grabbed seemed under control, with folks attempting to Here is my dilemma. I don’t have very good a cookie and said “hasta la vista” as I headed recover under the shade tree and everyone’s things to say about either rally this year. In bal- onto the dam wall road. needs being taken care of. ance my Hotter n Hell report will be less critical I can’t complain about the hills because We caught our missed turn at 80, “gained” than my review, more specifically my concerns they were fun to ride, but they left destruction in only 400 yards, hooked up with a suffering team- about the Red Hot Chili Pepper. So here goes. their wake as the day heated up and the folks mate, who took off at 25 miles and did my share Let me tell you what was good about the made their way back up Davis struggling with the of the work into the scorching headwind. I then Red Hot Chili Pepper rally. Great T-shirt - well gradient, the now oppressive heat, and the dropped off the dwindling group at the 95-mile designed, with minimal hype. In fact, it is the best uncontrolled traffic. My suggestion: Do a club rest stop. I am a pickle juice junky! Where can I shirt I have received this year. This ride has a ride or lap the lake next August and pass on the find that stuff? 7-11, I know. Downed an undilut- great location midway between most cities in the Red Hot Chili Pepper. ed pint, grabbed on the back of two Cat. 4 riders Metroplex. The rally supports a very worthy and Hotter n Hell, you truly lived up to your (out of contention because of a flat and no sag deserving cause. The late registration was very billing this year!! Reports say it was the hottest in assistance), and we blasted our way home. easy. No lines or problems, and staggering the the past 25 years and definitely the hottest in the Great finish as usual. Cool activities after the start is a good idea. A challenging hill or two to past three years. As fate would have it, the local ride, plenty of friends to talk to at the finish and climb and a few wonderful drops back to sea temperature in Wichita Falls on Sunday was 84 reminisce, but the heat was the story of the day. level added excitement to this rally. The dragon- degrees. You win some, you lose some. And boy By mid-week the final riding mate had recovered flies over the Joe Pool dam wall were cool to see did we lose body fluids this year. and was back on his bike….. this was a HHH for and pry lose from my helmet vents, one dead, (Firstly, on behalf of the staff, contributors, the record books. one wounded, sorry little guys, but you can fly employees of the Texas Racing Post, You can’t beat a ride with big crowds, big and I can’t!! Great after ride activities and food. Richardson Bikemart and all the members of the heat, and big egos. Upon reflection I believe Now, for the not so good stuff. The worst cycling community, may I extend my sincere con- changes are appropriate and necessary to keep comments first. It is my opinion that this event dolences to Roby Christie, HHH director, on the this the event safe and exciting, I have three sug- should be significantly revised – very revised. loss of Jason Christie and 6 other family mem- gestions. Perhaps it could be held in a different location or bers who perished in a plane crash in Jackson, Firstly, information published in the pre- on a different route. I believe this was the most Ky. on September 6, 2006. Our thoughts and race flier is not read. Solution: make ride dangerous rally I have ever ridden. We had a prayers are with you. God bless you.) announcements during the radio broadcast as long wait at the light onto Davis, and had to run My report: I totally agree with the medical we line up; repeatedly announce changes, such three red lights as we sped down Davis toward staff in closing the course at 11am. Don’t whine as the potential closing of Hellsgate. Secondly, Loop 12 and out onto the course. Quote from a that you trained all year and now must ride short, please have the senior course marshal check the rider as we crossed over the left lane of oncom- that’s nonsense. I trained all year, made it past course early in the morning for vandalism and ing traffic for a third time in 15 miles, “I will never Hellsgate in plenty of time but won’t ride the 102 thirdly, eliminate the road race on Saturday. ride this again, I fear for my safety!” He had good miles again if the temperature is over 100 Here’s to the next 25 years of cycling history in reason for his fear as we crossed in front of the degrees. It’s not good for one’s health. Good call the town without a real falls, but a Wichita river, oncoming vehicles that could have cared less medics!! Bad call by the route marshal at the 80- Wichita Falls Texas …. Cheers. about our presence on the road. Road construc- mile turn. Been there, missed it, turned tion narrowed Belt Line Road down to one lane, back with minor disruption. Hats near the lake. The rest stops were very far apart off to the folks that rode the for such a brutally hot day. The roads were poor- extra 10 plus miles and to ly marked and route signage was way too close the volunteers that were to the intersection and turns to be of any value. able to get water and flu- A few intersections were not patrolled and one ids to those riders. TXBRA.org Texas Bicycle Racing Association 32 THE RACING POST Vol.6, No.10 WWW.THERACINGPOST.US Ironman - Race Day Epilogue By Bill Parmelee Race Day! backside of the course had the added challenge really cold! I start to realize I’m in trouble. My of hitting you with some fairly choppy water. It mental preparation for the race (and equipment, [This is the final chapter on my preparation was not a huge deal, but this just presents more etc) never really comprehended “cold.” The and participation in the 2006 Ironman Wisconsin things to deal with. For example, it gets harder summer had been so hot. This race saw temper- triathlon race in Madison on Sunday, September to sight ahead to stay on course. Instead of just atures in the 90’s the past two years. So, men- 10th, 2006.] barely lifting my head to sight, occasionally I had tally whenever I heard “cool temperatures, some I had set my alarm to go off at 4:00a, but to lift my chest out of the water to see, dropping showers” I thought great, we’ll avoid the heat. I woke up at 2:00a. This is clearly the largest ath- my legs and almost coming to a stop. Of course, never considered the flip side – cold and wet! letic undertaking I’ve ever tackled, and sleep is when I would do that, people would run me over Well, that is exactly what I found myself in no longer in the equation. I lie in bed staring at from behind. – very cold, wet, miserable conditions. By 25mi the ceiling until 3:00a and figure I might as well Finally, I rounded the next to last buoy on into the bike I was beginning to worry about get up. The race starts at 7:00a. First order of the second lap and started the final 200 yards to hypothermia. All I was wearing was bike shorts, business is sunblock, getting dressed and hav- the swim finish. What a sense of relief! Swim a sleeveless bike shirt and arm warmers. (I ing my ritual 2 slices of French Toast. time – 1:19. (My target was 1:15) should have had an underlayer below the bike We’re heading over to the transition area T1. I exited the water feeling pretty shirt, plus a vest.) I was shaking so much on the at 5:00a. I have traveled up to the race with two decent, considering I just finished a 2.4mi swim. downhills I had to slow on some of them, worried other athletes and their families. Steve “Strippers” greeted me and helped to quickly I might crash. I was praying for a break in the Plamondon, who has been my training partner all remove my wetsuit. At this point it’s a “hillclimb” rain. year, and Liesl Inglish, who both Steve and I up to the transition bags and changing room. The rain let up some as I progressed have worked and raced with for several years. Monona Terrace has spiral parking ramps at through loop 1. I made it in relatively good shape Liesl’s husband, Rob, will be driving us over. So, each end. We had to run up three levels on the through the three significant hills on the backside I have about an hour to sit and think. Lots of ramp to get to transition. I managed to jog up the of loop 1 and headed into loop 2. The rain con- thoughts are swirling in my head: mentally run- ramp, quickly get my transition bag, and head tinued on and off and I stayed very cold. Just ning through my equipment; mentally stepping into the changing room. before reaching the hills in loop 2, the cold start- through each transition. I think about all the The changing room is packed. I found an ed to have its affect. I bonked. I came to the first training and preparation leading up to this day. open chair and got paired up with a “helper.” The of the three hills and almost had to walk. Since January, my training has totaled just under helper basically hands you each item you need At the time I didn’t have the clarity of 400 hours! to put on and helps as required. This was my thought to fully understand what was happening. We head over to transition. For this race first of several very positive experiences with The cold conditions and my reaction (shivering all the elements of transition (changing rooms, how great the volunteers and supporters are in constantly) greatly increased my calorie con- bike racks) are housed in a convention center in this race. I’m all dressed and geared up and sumption. My usual nutrition regimen that Madison called Monona Terrace. Next steps are head out to my bike. worked so well in Texas heat couldn’t keep up basically some quiet time lying down and then The Bike. Now I’m feeling better. That ter- with the calorie demands. My gas tank was changing into the wetsuit for the swim. I get rifying swim is behind me, and I’m about to set- empty. But, all I knew was my legs were shot. through all this, handoff the dry clothes I was tle into what should be a long, relaxed bike ride. This with 30mi to go on the bike and a marathon wearing to Steve’s wife, Lori, and head into the I mount the bike at the top of the spiral parking ahead. water around 6:40a. ramp at the other end of Monona Terrace and Those last 30mi saw my mental resolve go The Swim. The swim start in an Ironman coast to the bottom. I’m hardly out of the parking down the drain. With the cold and wet, and now is a mass start. Everyone starts at the same ramp when near disaster strikes. A woman drifts apparently shot legs, I had no will to try and tack- time. So, there will be 2,400 bodies all heading into my line. She reacts poorly, grabs my arm le a marathon. Rolling at a now reduced speed for the same corner buoy! The thought has ter- and looses balance. She crashes as I barely (15-16mph instead of 20), I mentally threw in the rified me for months. I actually had some anxi- stay upright. I look over my shoulder and towel. I decided to call it quits at the end of the ety problems with open water swims in my first glimpse bike and rider down on the ground. That bike. few years doing triathlons. Steve has helped me was close! I rode a somewhat modified bike course with the anxiety, teaching me to relax and realize Now I begin to settle into my strategy for home. Rather than making a left turn when the I’m not going to drown. So, I try to think of calm, the bike. I check my heartrate, and concentrate course was one mile from the finish, I made a relaxing things as the start approaches. on slowing and relaxing until it is down below my right turn and a beeline to my hotel. All I could The course is a long, narrow rectangle, target maximum for the bike – 120 beats per think about was a hot bath. My race was over. roughly .5mi on the long sides and .1mi on the minute. I start to notice how cold it is. It is rain- Epilogue. Three in our group went up to two short ends. You swim the loop twice. We’re ing; the streets are very wet; and the spray of Madison to be an Ironman that day. Liesl had a swimming counterclockwise, so the buoys that water spinning out from the tires keeps me very fantastic race. She placed second in her 35- are spaced about every 100 yards and corner drenched. The temps are in the low 50’s. 39age group and is going to Hawaii for the world buoys will be on my right. I have positioned The bike course is made up of a 14mi leg championship next year. Steve finished in a myself on the far left, or inside. Its 7:00a and that is the “out and back” portion of the course. respectable 11:16, 22nd or so in his age group. I we’re off! This leg then leads into a 42mi loop that is ridden failed to finish. I’m left with a lot to think about. The experience was pretty much the same twice (for a total of 112mi). Although cold, the Am I cut out to do an Ironman? What would throughout the swim. You are swimming in very 14mi leg going out has a nice wind at our backs. have happened if I had left my swim top on (worn close quarters. People are constantly bumping So, this goes pretty smoothly. I do have more under the wetsuit) to provide a second layer you on the sides, hitting your feet, even swim- time to think how cold it is and how miserable the under my bike shirt? Would that have made the ming up onto your legs. And, you are running riding conditions are. I think how great the sup- difference and kept me warm? I owe so much to into folks ahead that have paused or slowed porters are to be out, along the bike route in this my wife and friends and employer who tolerated down to sight the course. I had the added irrita- awful weather. all the training. Now I let them down. It goes on tion that my goggles kept taking on water. I was I start the first loop and head north. Now I and on. having to briefly stop every 100 yards or so to have a cross wind (it is out of the ENE). I hit the I think I’ll let the disappointment of this empty them out and try to tighten them to a first big downhill and just freeze. There is wind attempt wear off some before wrestling with the water-tight seal. and rain and I’m rolling 35+mph. After a couple biggest question of all. Will I attempt another It was a bit windy that morning and the of hills I’m shaking as I roll down each hill. It is Ironman? WWW.THERACINGPOST.US VOL.6, NO.10 THE RACING POST 33 The Herd Mentality: Are Group Rides Bad for Your Fitness? By Art Exum A couple of months ago I was on a group ride chatting with a friend group to join, the camaraderie can help pass the time and miles. who was bemoaning the trend of structured training and working with coach- Attending the wrong group ride on the wrong day, depending exces- es, citing that it has decimated the hard group rides that were once thriving sively on group rides for your fitness, or not knowing when to part ways with in our area. Now, it seems that everyone trains alone because group rides the group and do your own ride can all be a liability. However, for keeping are too unstructured for their training programs. Conversely, he observed the fun in your training, sharpening your skills and reaching beyond what that when he first returned to racing 5-6 years ago we had hard group rides your body can do or tolerate, a measured dose of group riding is indispen- from Fort Worth every Tuesday and Thursday and that he correspondingly sable. The most important factors for incorporating group rides into your made large fitness gains. What I neglected to propose to him was the prob- training are: ability that since he had just returned to the sport, any intense training would 1) Knowing the nature of local group rides and choosing one based have brought significant progress. on whether it can be compatible with your training needs. He may have been correct that structured training and coaching has Do your homework by asking those whom you know are regulars on had a hand in reducing attendance on group rides, because coaches often certain rides and find out which ones might fit particular training needs. discourage clients from them. In order to address a particular client’s 2) Knowing when to part ways with the group if their ride is not pro- needs, a coach must control as many variables as possible in the athlete’s viding the workout you need. training. The most significant variable in a group ride is the whims or agen- If, for example, you’re needing a long, slow distance ride and the das of individuals within the group and the way in which the group responds group ride deteriorates into a brawl on wheels, you will need all of your dis- to these individuals. The simple reality is that almost any group ride is unof- cipline to withdraw from the fight and let the others abuse each other, but ficially a race. Sometimes it may be two or three short races—the race over that is the wisest way to handle the situation. You’ll thank yourself later in the hilly section, the race to the convenience store, or the race to the city the season when the others are either burned out or have no more fitness limit sign. Each “race” may have different features that favor different rid- than they had in January. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a good ers. As a result, the climbers, time trialists and sprinters might all get their flogging and the group is doing a cheesecake ride, you can politely excuse opportunity to shine. In this case, individuals will tend to train their yourself, citing that your time is limited by your obligation to help the S.O. strengths, ignore their weaknesses and as a result risk becoming a “one with some housework, split off and do intervals on your own. This also takes trick pony”. On the other hand, it may be one long time trial as the local cat discipline if you’re enjoying the company and conversation. 1 disappears up the road and the group gets decimated in the pursuit, mak- So, what’s the answer? Are group rides bad for your fitness or good? ing it no longer a group ride. Some group rides are predictable; some are The answer is yes, sometimes, to both questions. You just have to know not. You may meet up with one of these rides expecting a death match, only how to use them judiciously and in moderation, much like most other things to find that today it was a stroll in the park, or the reverse could happen. in life. The unpredictability and the tendency for testosterone to override intelligence on group rides can make them very difficult to incorporate into a structured training plan. This is why many coaches tend not to like them. Highly structured training carefully sequences specific workouts, many of which do not tolerate variables well. It is meant to improve the athlete’s weaknesses while allowing them to capitalize on their strengths. To do this perfectly, however, would require the athlete to do the vast majority of their workouts on an indoor trainer, where resistance can be controlled without the intervention of wind, hills and bad pavement. This doesn’t sound like an appealing proposal to most cyclists, because it would eliminate everything that brought them to the sport in the first place. If we wanted to train in a sterile environment, we would have chosen an indoor sport. Another problem with controlling all variables is that when race day arrives, the conditions aren’t likely to be perfect. We must consider that a major part of bike racing involves adapting to unfavorable conditions. The variables are usually a deciding factor in who wins a race. If it’s 100 degrees and you’re not adapted to the heat, you’ll melt like a Popsicle. If it’s windy and you’ve been only training indoors, you might just get blown off of your bike. I can say that just in the last few years, I’ve experienced both of these problems in spite of training in the elements. Training alone outdoors, according to your structured plan, may seem like the best option at this point. You adapt to the environment while getting your structured workout. Something would still be missing. The fittest cyclist rarely wins the race. The variable of pack dynamics is still the most common deciding factor in races. The best way to capitalize on it is to prac- tice. The chaos of riding in a group of individuals, each with their own agen- da will undo even the strongest riders if they haven’t learned to thrive in this environment. Additionally, for many, there is a limit on how far you can push your own body while training alone that can easily be exceeded with the motivation of a group. Unless you’re by far the strongest rider in a group, the others can collectively push you beyond your known limits. Even for those days when you need a long, easy ride, if you can find a disciplined 34 THE RACING POST Vol.6, No.10 WWW.THERACINGPOST.US M a r k e t p l a c e Hill Country Bicycle Works 141 West Water St. Kerrville, TX 830-896-6864 20323 Huebner Rd., #108 San Antonio, TX 78258 702 East Main (210) 494-0035 Fredericksburg, TX 830-990-2609 www.bicycle-heaven.com www.hillcountrybicycle.com www.hillcountrybicycle.com 940-594-2763 WWW.THERACINGPOST.US VOL.6, NO.10 THE RACING POST 35