Sunday, January 31, 2010

Worlds, Now & Later

Back in the cyclocross realm,  there was a little race in the Czech Republic today.  Watched the race on the web.  The Czech riders showed the Belgies how to do it today,  putting 3 riders in the top 6 in their home country.   Zdenek Stybar rode away from them all after a poor start & a flat,  making them all look slow.  Sven Nys couldn't seem to stay on his wheels or feet,  but still managed a podium spot.  The Americans did really well,  2 in the top 20,  with Johnson in 14th and Driscoll in 19th.  Solid rides given the event.  Check out ALL the results here.  

Great to see Tim Johnson ride so well in Europe.   This guy is a true "workingman" in the pro ranks.  races year round,  and always heartening to see him do well.

On the future worlds front,  the UCI gave the 2013 Elite World Championships,  and the 2012 and 2013 Masters World championships to Louisville, Kentucky.  Cyclocross worlds coming to the U.S.   Who would have ever thought?   Katie Compton seemed pretty happy that the Euro folks will be the ones to deal with travel & Jet lag for a change.   Doing the World Championship here,  rather than a World Cup race is cool.  Pretty much FORCES the big boys to come over here & play,  no matter if they like it or not.  One of the few smart decisions to come from the UCI in a long time.   Should be nothing but good for cyclocross in the U.S.

Seems a bit unclear on where a Cross Masters worlds would be in 2011.  Usually,  it comes in a 2 year deal,  so maybe Mol,  Belgium will host the 2011 Masters worlds again.  While it's a LOT easier to go to Louisville, KY for a "worlds" experience,  it just does not seem to carry the same romantic feel of a trip to Belgium.   (This idea of going to Belgium to race keeps popping up in my sick little brain...likely NOT a good sign....)

a Few Turns....

Got out on the boards saturday,  was thinking we were just going to get a "tour" out of the day,  but was pleasantly surprised by the snow up in Rocky Mountain National Park.  Not the best coverage,  but my new favorite little north facing,  shady spot had some pretty darn nice snow.  6-ish inches of recycled powder over a solid base.  Nice change for the year.
Got one of those RARE days on the front range,  absolutely NO wind.  Warm,  bluebird day,  and did I mention there was NO wind?   It's SO nice to have a day up in the park without the "full alpine" conditions.  did I mention there was NO wind?
Still need a good 2 foot dump to get things going here.  Pray for snow.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Stove up....

Well,  this January is going a bit bust....  Skiing pretty much bites on the front range,   I'm too lazy to drive far,  It's "too cold" to ride,  and I'm "all Stove up" from my return to the glory of a weight training program.  Wow,  what fun.  I hope that this nonsense will help out with the power next year.   Seemed to help over last winter,  and lord knows,  us skinny boys need all the power we can get.   Never sure that the crippling that comes in the first few weeks is worth it,  but I will overcome.

Keep hoping for some snow up this way.  Seeing the San Juans get unloaded on just makes me cry,  what with only the bony junk up here to play on.     Toodeled about on skis over the weekend with the wife,  so at least getting outside,  but certainly no pretty turns in knee-deep fluff.  Whine......  If this does not improve soon,  I may be forced to actually get out of bed and drive a bit to find some snow.

Read up on the On-Off-ON again 2010 Masters World Championships.   Reading about some of the Crossniacs going over to race made me start to dream again.  Nationals in Bend was SUCH a blast,  going to Belgium for Masters worlds seems like an EPIC fun time.  We'll have to see where it happens (maybe even in the US for 2013..),  and see if that can be pulled off.  January in Belgium...  ONLY a 'Cross-dork would do THAT for a "Vacation".  We Shall see.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

'09 Highlight Reel

So one of the traditions in our little cross bunch up here is that each year,  we take the pictures & video from the season,  and wrap it all up into a "Season Highlight" production video.   While this is pretty much ONLY focused on our little band of merry men,   I went & uploaded it to Vimeo prior to my high end,  big bandwidth subscription runs out.  Seems that 'Crossin-Colorado's chief videographer shot SO much video this year,  I could not get it all uploaded under a freebie Vimeo account.  Now that 'cross season is over,  no more high bandwidth needs,  so no more pay.

This little group is now the core of the new High Peaks Masters team.   All of the Colorado masters cross community should tremble in fear for this powerhouse bunch coming out to dominate masters racing in Colorado next year.  Well,  at least the middle parts of those fields might want to look hard,  maybe you'll notice us.

As I have the pleasure of helping to "run" this new enterprise,  I have stepped back in time for myself,  and have become the ACA club contact for the new team.  This position of power & knowledge gets me all kinds of "insider" information,  including a look at the 2010 proposed cross calendar.  Pending a  CX promoters meeting on February 13,  it should firm up a bit.    Lots of fun coming from September thru December.  As usual,  a lot of new events on the list,  along with the regular,  sure bets.  We'll see what a year of reality does to the schedule.

So.  here is one little groups take on the 2009 season.  Fair warning,  this is just over an hour long....
MANY Thanks to Matt R.  for this production.

2009 Cyclocross Highlight Reel from Dale Riley on Vimeo.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Back in the saddle again....

Well all-rightee then...

Finally getting to see some temps that are not in the "are you out of your mind,  I'm not going outside" range.  Even got warm enough to get me back on a bike.  First ride since nationals.  (OK,  I  need my "away time" alright?  and it's cold out,  and there is beer....)    Was real nice to get back out,  even if all that wheels-pedal-shift-don't run into someone thing seemed pretty bizarre after so long off.  After the last few cross races and weeks of "training" in Decembers cold,  it was VERY nice to finish a ride without various body parts feeling like they would fall off.  Quite the unique sensation.

I was hoping that the backcountry ski season would help me keep what little fitness I had obtained over cross season,  but alas the close in front range skiing is pretty sorely lacking right now.  (I can't muster up the courage and traffic perseverance to drive up I-70 anymore,  and winding up the Poudre is not something I can do too often,  so I try and get my fix "locally")  So far,  pretty darn thin is my snow report.  That,  along with the ROTTEN snowpack causing insane avalanche danger on anything remotely steep,  and it looks like we are a storm cycle or 2 away from any reasonable "local" backcountry skiing.    At least it's still nice getting out and "touring" (or stomping up a steep skintrack) and keeps the system alive.  More snow,  please!  Soon,  maybe can poach some of this...

Already see people asking when the Colorado racing schedule will be out (Jan 30...),  and that has me thinking about what kind of suffering is in my sights for next year.  The normal MTB races & rides,  and maybe even the Laramie Enduro this year (that should cause a bit of hurt....).   Hopefully the "Grand Fondos" (sounds like some kind of euro-cheese-dish thing to me...) will really happen this year,  and keep all the roadies in one neat pile for a few weekends.  Meanwhile,  it's back in the gym for the skinny boy here.  Gotta bulk up for next year.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


OK,  I'm sick of the cold already.    I've never been much for freezing my buns off riding bikes in the "real" cold.  I put up with it right up till the end of cross season,  even enjoy some of the cold races,  but once my racing season was over,  NO MORE riding in the cold.

"Training" indoors?  Are you out of your mind?   I see some of my new team mates on the spin bikes,  and my stomach turns.  Just can't do it.   OK,  OK,  I've started my core & weight "training program" for this year.  Crippling myself,  no matter how light/easy I start out.  Us skinny guys can use every scrap of muscle fiber we can coax out.  But "RIDING" indoors?  PLEASE....  I refuse to suffer indignity on that scale.

The Skiing season will help,  but that little fix is only a weekend thing.  All week at work after the FULL holiday off,  and what must really be a bit of cross season withdrawal seems to be what all this incoherent ranting is about.  Wow,  I sure SEEMED happy enough with the end of the season,  but a couple of weeks off,  lots of food,  and "enough" beer later,  and I guess I'm feeling a bit out of sorts without my weekly suffer dose and midweek thrashing.

What a whiner.  Drink your beer,  get your skinny ass back in the gym and quit your whining.  That is what I tell me.  

Onward into the depths of the dark,  cold winter you all.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Happy 2010 folks.  

I've been VERY remiss in my posting duties here over the holiday.   The holiday season is busy,  and I've needed to spend more time with my 'cross-widow,  er....  I mean my wife after my semi-obsessive cross season filled up so much time over the last couple of months.   Also been getting some SERIOUS power "recovering" time in after my season ended in Bend.

The new year brings with it the age old tradition of looking back at the last year,  and looking forward to the new one.   So why not join the bandwagon here as well.

2009 Low-Lights
1 - None,  really.  (was really a pretty damn good year,  compared to the last....)
2 - My episode of Shingles (not just for real old guy...).  should be the LAST fallout of the Chemo from last year.
3 - Missing 1st place in a Winter Park MTB race by 3 seconds  ( All because I didn't pass some juniors more aggressively on the last descent...)

2009 High-Lights
1 - Friends,  family & my wife.  All getting better each year.
2 - 3 podium finishes at the Winter Park Series
3 - My health (ANYTHING is better than the abject terror & nonsense of the previous year...)
4 - This whole 'Cross season,  and particularly the Bend trip
5 - NOT getting lapped in the National Championship

My Bike Race Season Stats:
-  4 MTB races at Winter park
     -  3 seconds and a 4th (OK,  OK,  I sandbagged the Beginner 45-49....  but hey,  I had not raced for real in like 5 years,  and spent the previous summer getting cut on & Chemo'ed.... )

-  16 Cyclocross starts
     -  1 DNF
     -  1 CX race on the tandem
     -  Best Finish 10th   (SMALL field at Buena Vista...)
     -  Worst finish 72nd (40+ B Nationals race...)
     -  53rd in BCR with 19 whole points
     -  7th overall on BCT (just Matt & myself..  MOSTLY Matt,  of course...)
     -  Went to Nationals

I even went and wrote down some goals for my cross season back in August.  At the risk of public humiliation,  here is my report card.  Do keep in mind that these goals are coming from the "middle of the pack" perspective.  Us pack filler types have to keep things in perspective.

2009  CX Goals
1 - Finish in to 20 in at least 80% of races finished
     -  NOPE.  Got into the top 20 in 20% of races...
2 - Score BCR points in at least 50% of BCR races entered
     -  NOPE.  Close....  did 44%.  guess I can peak a bit.  scored in 4 races,  3 more than last year.
3 - One top 10 Finish
     - YES.  (With a qualifier that that 10th was in a 24 rider field...  NOT so hot...)
4 - Top 10 in Boulder CX series points
     - NOPE.  29th overall and only did 3 of the 4 races....
5 - Race Nationals 50-54 - Stay on Lead Lap
     - YES.   HUGE moral boost for this guy...  

So,  2 of 5 met,  one more close.   Still not bad,  given my history of mediocre race results.


So,  racing in the depths of the middle of the beer-drinking-dad's league,  one really needs some metrics beyond finish place.  10th sounds great till you see there were only 24 on the line.  For a long time,  I have tracked finish percentage,  finish place versus the number of finishers.  Seems to be a more accurate way to track your performance over various races & field sizes.

This year,  in the 35+ 4 races,  I ranged from a best of 34% (Boulder Series at the Rez....  And I thought I hated sand...),  to a worst of 64% (Frisco #2...  I KNOW I hate long hills...).  Only the Frisco race I was NOT in the top half of the finishers,  while last year I only managed top half of the field in less than half the races.   Depending on what statistical trick you want to use on "throwing out" best & worst samples, I improved my average finish percentage over last year by 8 to 10 percent.

Consistently finishing in the top half,  and such a percentage increase made me pretty happy with the season overall.   That,  and NOT getting lapped at Bend made for a pretty satisfying year.  Now,  just have to decide if I'm going to share next years goals with you all next year.  THAT could prove amusing.

So,  all in all,  a pretty satisfying cross season.  Really has me psyched up for next year.

Happy New Year,  and have my best wishes for everyones health and happiness in the new year,  both yourself and your loved ones.   Thanks for beating me up every weekend all this season.  Time to go skiing,  and put the bikes on the back burner....