Sunday, November 28, 2010

Descent into Mediocrity

Guess I'm just going to have a mediocre end to my season.  Raced at the Boulder CX series # 4 event today.  A new and REALLY good venue,  and NOT in the bubble.  Race was at Westminster City Park,  a large grassy park with a huge set of stairs and a LOT of elevation delta to work with.  Again,  a great course from Brian at Boulder Racing,  even if it was WICKED hard from a gasping & breathing hard prospective.  I really hope this venue repeats next year,  it's a great place for a race.

For me,  went about like all my resent races,  a decent start,  then faded back to a mid pack finish.  Lots of climbing,  along with some deep and very draggy uphill grass just peeled all my speed off,  and led to a lot of chasing on the downhill & twisty parts of the course for me.  Just can't seem to find ANY legs here in the waning part of the season.  Coming to grips with the realization that it seems like that is how I'll be ending up,  chasing & fading more than my early season,  where I was at least staying in the front.  Ah well,  it is what it is.

Enough whining,   states is next week,  and will mark the end of my racing season.   Hard to believe the season is "already" over.  Time Does Fly,  does it not?

Here is the video grabbed for the day,  Just the 35+ open and 35+ 4s.  I even managed to forget to mount up the Bar-cam today,  realized I didn't have it when I lined up.  Old age is really catching up.

Boulder CX#4 - SM35+ Lap 1 from Dale Riley on Vimeo.

Boulder CX Series #4 - SM 35+ Cat 4 - Lap 1 from Dale Riley on Vimeo.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving - Cycling style

Well,  with the weekend almost over,  It's time to go race again.    Boulder CX Series #4,  and at a new venue,  Westminster City park.  Should be a good one.  All rested up,  legs even felt "snappy" on a little "opener" ride this afternoon.  Closing in on the end of the season.

I AM thankful this Thanksgiving season.  I have a loving wife,  the health at 50 years old to let me go beat myself to a pulp and race cross every weekend,  no personal issues or other crisis to bring me down.  All in all a great life right now,  and I am quite content.  I am also thankful I am comfortable enough in my own suck-itude as a bike racer to not get tied up in the Pro-Wanna-Be life.  It seems to get you into a place where one does things you must know are FAR from right.  

I've not been much for paying much attention to the "Big Stars" of cycling in the last 10+ years.  In my early bike racing career,  I did follow the pros (usually the "lesser" underdog types...) like so many.  Then later on,  I lost interest in them,  just too far removed from the world I know to make much of a connection.  Sadly,  I kind of replaced that admiration to the pros with a more localized version.  I saw some of the local masters riders as more "human" people,  ones I could actually see (briefly..) in a race,  and could get a true appreciation for their talents by lining up and getting my rear handed to me by "Working Stiff" riders of a more down to earth level.   I've Joked about getting on EPO,  both with friends and even on this blog.  I've joked with friends about those guys at the front of these local "masters" races as needing to get drug tested. Sat & compiled our list of "suspects" needing testing over beers.  Never did I really think it might really be needed.  

I don't Know this guy.  Nor do I care.  I only know what I've seen in the press,  and frankly,  if this is the best story you can come up with after being busted for buying Performance Enhancing Drugs online,  I can't see you as being any better than the legion of big-time pro dopers who try and whine their way out of being caught.  At least the other 45+ guy in Michigan busted in the same way had the PROFESSIONAL-ISIM to come clean,  admit his errors,  and even explain why he did it.  Lots of people are on the cusp of being a "Pro" bike racer.  Pro means a lot more than what color your bar tape is or how fast you  ride.  It reflects your approach to what is now a job.  Based on the story so far,  one of three things happened here

1 - Bought & used PEDs for own use
2 - Knowingly Helped teammates buy PEDs
3 - Cluelessly allowed teammates to use your identity to buy PEDs.

None of these are Pro.  All are stupid.  No matter what really happened,  it's just one more black eye to the sport I love & Enjoy so much.  Thanks.  Thanks a lot.  Happy Thanksgiving from you.

I am going to go race my sorry,  slow,  clean ass this weekend.  I'll still have fun.  You will not.

Monday, November 22, 2010


Lesson from this Sunday's Cyclo-X race:     Puking (even just a little bit...) while racing slows you down.

After a good start,  and actually riding comfortably in the top 15 the first 2 laps,  my stomach decided to crawl up & try to strangle my brain for making it race in the cold,  windy morning.  nothing like the taste of bile in the morning to get you going  Yum.

  Frustrating.  Finally see a glimpse of my earlier season form,  and am riding well,  only to have a thing like eating something that did not "agree" with me kick me right back to the middle of the pack.   Was a reasonably fun course,  almost completely non-technical except for the BMX track,  which was kind of a hoot.  Only wish they would have turned off the wind blowing off the lake.  Coldest I've been "warming up" ever.     

Bar-Cam video from the Beer-Drinking-Dads-League  (with the barfing and gagging sounds edited out for your protection....)

Cyclo-X - SM35+ Cat 4 Barcam from Dale Riley on Vimeo.

Couple of weeks left to redeem my "meh-ness".  Hope my revised "program" will get me back to a bit better form to end the season on a bit higher note.  The glimpse of that better form yesterday was at least encouraging.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Stranger than Fiction

Back when the Euro Trolls from the UCI bat cave decided that a 34mm cyclocross tire was so vastly superior to a 32mm cyclocross tire that it would turn a 3rd rate old-guy Cat 4 like me into a Tim Johnson-killing-uber-cross racing machine,  tell me you did not think " Really?   What are they going to do, sit on the line and measure tires with a caliper?"

Well,  From Sunday's New Belgium Cup UCI Women's elite race,  I give you the call-up pen scene.

UCI official on far left,  with call up list
UCI official on far right,  guarding the gate to the grid
Current National Champion & overall bad-ass KFC in the middle left

And to her right,  the UCI commissar & chief official.
Note the direction of his very serious gaze.  Front tire maybe?

What's that in his hand?
Yep.  It's a set of calipers.  Surely set to 33.000mm

They were actually running a caliper over each front (and sometimes BOTH) tires as each rider was called up.  Big Brother is here.  Even had one of the local back of the pack kind of women told that the 32 Dugast on her bike "were a bit tight",  but let her race anyway.   Generous.

I guess cross is now really part of big time cycling.  Are millimeter-wave body scanners and full pat-downs next?   All over 2mm  (2 mm for gods sake....) of tire width?  Really?  2 Millimeters people.

Then the bat-cave wanna-bees at USA Cycling,  after telling everyone in August that anyone over 17 will need a less than 33mm tire to race Nationals,  sparking a massive sell off in 32 mm tires as lots of people grumbled away in their basements stripping & re-gluing to smaller tires,  suddenly changed their minds.   Now it's just elite,  Jr. 17-18,  and U23 that need to get their tires "caliped" at the races.   So nice of them to help with their stated intent of "The intent was to reduce the amount of equipment that many riders feel they must bring in order to be competitive."

Got any 34's laying around?  As for us local,  wanna-be nothings?  I don't know about you,  but I'll be out Sunday at Cyclo-X with my "monster meat" Flexus 34s.  Good luck keeping up with those babies.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

New Belgium Cup USGP - More Video

Some more video from the Ft. Collins USGP. Happy to have our Chief Videographer back in town. Videos courtesy of Lisa Robinson. Enjoy.

Saturday 45+ Start

New Belgium Cup USGP - Saturday 45+ Start from Dale Riley on Vimeo.

Saturday 45+ Lap 1

New Belgium Cup USGP - Saturday 45+ Lap 1 from Dale Riley on Vimeo.

Sunday 35+ Lap 1

New belgium Cup USGP - Sunday 35+ Lap 1 from Dale Riley on Vimeo.

Sunday 35+ Lap 1 +

New Belgium Cup USGP Sunday - 35+ Lap 1+ from Dale Riley on Vimeo.

Sunday 35+ Lap 3

New Belgium Cup USGP - Sunday - 35+ Lap 3 from Dale Riley on Vimeo.

Sunday 45+ Lap 1

New Belgium Cup USGP - Sunday - 45+ Lap 1 from Dale Riley on Vimeo.

Sunday 45+ Lap 2

New Belgium Cup USGP - Sunday - 45+ Lap 2 from Dale Riley on Vimeo.

Monday, November 15, 2010

New Belgium Cup

After weeks & weeks of dry,  warm & dusty,  we finally got it.  REAL cross conditions.  My back of the pack results don't begin to reflect the pure,  unadulterated,  suffering-filled FUN that was had this weekend in ft. Collins.

Saturday was just as cold and damp as you hoped for.  Slimy, Muddy Goodness.  The course was beautiful,  milking a bunch of small features on a big hillside,  that when muddy,  became a bike handlers course.  HARD course,  lots of long hills,  and what with the squishy ground made those going up do some serious breathing

 The muck made it really fun,  trying to gt around while in close proximity to a whole pile of other folks.

Conditions led to much carnage, especially as the thawing continued.

New Belgium Cup USGP Cyclocross - 35+ carnage from Dale Riley on Vimeo.

I failed to start my Bar-Cam on Saturday (Doh!),  but did manage to remember for Sundays snot-fest.  I got to line up next to Rod Yoder,  who you can briefly see disappearing up the road with Gary Thacker in tow.  (I had noted to Gary prior to the start that he should probably follow Rod,  and not me.  This sage advice helped Gary a lot at the start....)  I've been watching Rod's videos, and you can learn a lot about racing from watching him move thru a field.  NO hesitation,  just go,  whatever line you get.  You can watch Rod's video to see what the front of the race looks like,  but here's the middle/Back view.

New Belgium Cup USGP Cyclocross - Day2 - 45+ Barcam from Dale Riley on Vimeo.

Should have some more video later,  the Chief videographer was back on Sunday.

What a weekend.  I'm beat to a pulp.  Usually a 45 minute cross race doesn't hurt my upper body like this,  but the courses were SO hard,  and SO techinchal,  that my back,  core and arms are a wreck today.

Race came off great,  my only complaints would be parking,  and that the New Belgium beer tents RAN OUT OF BEER just before the star of the Elite mens race.  Oh the horror.    Hope that the USGP can return again,  nice to have 2 "big" races here each year.

All in all a Whole lotta fun.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

It did....

Wow.  what a weekend.

It was kinda like this....

Only with more slime.  More later.  Spanked.  Need sleep.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Will it, Can it?

Will it?  Can it?

Will it (finally) be sloppy & slimy?
Can it (finally) get wet/snowy?

Maybe,  Just Maybe it's finally here.  Some REAL cross weather and conditions.

So,  maybe it's once again time for this

I'm really done with dry,  dusty & fast.  Time for some real bike handling challenges.  Maybe,  just maybe,  the time is this weekend.  Please,  join me in prayer now.....

So,  time for the USGP Ft. Collins race.  Anyone else notice that the flow of information about said race seems a bit,  well,  sketchy?  Wasn't even all that obvious from the race website WHERE the race was.  The USGP "Technical Guide" even shows it at another venue.  The race looks to be out in a random field in South Ft. Collins,  not exactly what one would think for the premiere cyclocross series event in the country.   I'm hoping it all comes together better than it's looking right now.  It's quite a score to lure a USGP race here from the coasts,  and would hate to see a poor event leave Colorado Cross with a black eye.   Chris G. showed how to take a race to a high visibility venue,  and how to put on a GREAT show.  The bar is high,  I just hope the Ft. Collins guys can meet or even better exceed that show.

The best information I've found for the race is not even on the USGP site,  but the Ft. Collins ride/bike site.  Even has a psuedo course map up there.    Fly-Overs and multiple beer gardens are interesting touches.

From the Your Group Ride site....
Real deal racing begins on both Saturday and Sunday at 8am with a full schedule of amateur racing before the pros take to the field beginning at 1:45pm with the professional women's events followed by the pro men at 3pm.  Both days will feature an Expo chocked full of bikes, gear, and lots of great food and drink with several New Belgium beer gardens located throughout the venue. 

Mmmmm..  Multiple beer gardens....   ahhggg.....

We shall see soon.   I'm rested back up,  everything hurs a lot less,  and I'm ready to battle out my back of the pack place in the 45+ up there.  Put on the mud tires,  lets get dirty.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


Strange to NOT race this weekend.  Warm,  amazing September day...  oh,  wait.  It's NOVEMBER.

Went for a nice easy spin on the open space trails today.  The rest is helping.  Most of the nagging pains are already better.  Oh,  and it IS nice to not get up in the dark & head out in the cold.

Still,  I miss racing this weekend.  Rest may be good,  but I am having trouble with not getting out there.  Obsessive?  Maybe.   Next week,  I start sneaking back up on the pain threshold again.  Even looks like FINALLY the weather may turn.  I am way ready for some slime this year.  Got to slow the fast guys up a bit.  Maybe,  just maybe I can put on the new mud tires for Ft. Collins.

Pray for it....

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Mid Season Checkup

Onboard camera from the Saturday Beer-Drinking-Dad's race,  edited down & sound-tracked.  Funny how what you remember from a race may or may not be what really happened.  Might have something to do with depriving your brain of oxygen for 45 minutes.  Not sure.  At least I was following thru on my race goal of not waiting to pass,  but just doing it.  (Been watching Rod Yoder's cam footage,  and he has NO hesitation in going by people.....)  Some nice elbow-throwing and even a crash or 2 in here.

Colorado Cross Classic - SM35+ cat 4 bar-cam from Dale Riley on Vimeo.

Time for a "mid" season checkpoint.  While I try and walk the fine line between obsessive-compulsive neurotic "result wanter" and beer-handup "who cares" Portland cross-dressing crosser,  I do try and have a reasonable set of goals for each season,  and would really like to at least get a LITTLE better each year.  Now that I have been in enough races to get a "statistically valid" sampling of race results,  and have had my first full on physical meltdown for the year,  it's time for a little look at progress to goals.

I had three measurable goals for the season....

1 - Place in top 1/2 of the field in ALL races finished (well,  in the 35+ cat 4,  not the 45+...)
2 - Consistently place in top 20 of the 35+ cat 4 races entered  (> 50%)
3 - Get one top 10 finish in the Beer Drinking Dads League

Well,  one out of three at mid season isn't bad.  I track my placing as a % of the number of finishers in a race.  Helps level out field size variation against place.  I've been doing that for years,  and it makes it easy to track your results year to year,  without small & big fields messing with your mind  (15th in a 30 rider field is not the same as 15th in a 100 rider field...).  You can even see your "% beat" on if you don't want to track your own statistics,  so I must not be the only one to dream up this method.   I am running about 6% better on average finishes compared to last year,  mostly due to consistency.  Not having multiple really bad races helps the average a lot.   So the question is whether a few percent improvement year over year is "good enough",  or am I an abject failure as a bike racer?  Myself,  putting on my "race for fun" hat,  I am going to go with "Good Enough".  After the first 2 races,  a 23rd in 45+ (50%) and a 14th in the BDDL at Xilinx #1 (16%),  I started thinking I was maybe on a breakthrough season,  results wise,  but then reality reared it's ugly head again for the next few races.  Now I think it was the less "deep" fields,  and the heat that helped my placing out  for those 2 races,  more than any sudden Sven Nys gene implantation or sudden EPO regime.

This year I have been consistent to the point of being creepy.  outside of the first 2 races,  I've been finishing in what is apparently "my" place in every race.  41% within 1 % race to race.  Not anywhere near my goal of consistent top 20 finishes,  but well inside the always top half base goal.  Top 10 is looking like a bit of a "stretch" goal for the year.

OK,  Given the checkup results,  and that a bazzilion intervals now probably won't really help make me faster,  not to mention are NO fun and would hurt a lot,  it looks like serious rest may be the only real option to try and get out of that 41st percentile.  This means I will skip both races this weekend,  and hope the easy time off will let me recover and suddenly start riding in the front 10.  (or maybe 5 or so places further up the fields.  Ft. Collins USGP will tell a lot about how the rest of the season will go for me.  till then,  I hope all of you hang out,  drink lots of beer,  and help me reach my goals.

That,  and some snow or mud to help slow down the big motors for me would help,  too.  Pray for snow.  Please.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Mid Season Meltdown

This weekend seemed to be the last straw for my ability to recover.  Racing both days for the last couple of weekends seems to have been a bit much,  even with little to NO "training" during the week.  After the Boulder Cup race Sunday,  I needed to lay down in the bed of the truck for a good 5 minutes after the race before I could even take my helmet off.  Just plain beat up,  in spite of 2 great days to race.

Seemed to have pulled a muscle in my side from the side cramps I managed on Saturday,  got  some kind of strange,  searing pain in my ankle,  probably from running the sand pits at the Rez,  and now a couple of lovely bruises from going down like a sack of hammers on the off-camber grass at Flatiron Crossing on Sunday.   All that just as the topping for melting down several times in one race Sunday.

Saturday went about as usual for me.  35th place in the Beer-Drinking-Dad's League.  I have managed to finish in the 41st % of the BDDL group pretty much every race this year,  and Saturday was no exception.  Waddle thru the sand,  get passed,  claw back a bit of my losses on the loose,  twisty bits.  Repeat.   Best course I've seen at "The Rez" in my opinion.  Hard,  rough & dusty,  but just enough sand to make it "The Rez",  without going overboard.   Good Day for many of the HPM guys,  so all in all a great day.

Sunday was not so good.  Great course,  which was MUCH better than the video preview seemed to show.  Crazy hard physically,  with enough technical,  slick off camber to severely penalize even a small loss of focus.  Like an old truck on a cold morning,  I could not get myself to start,  so I knew it was going to be a long day.  Actually started out OK,  first lap was not that bad,  given how I felt.  Then we got to that long climb up the path & on the grass for the second lap.  The descent into hell began.  Rest of the race hurt more & more to go slower & slower.  Would melt down,  blow up,  recover and get going OK again,  all in one lap.  Even managed to crash on the "not so" off camber,  managing to fall with the grace of a dropped bag of hammers.  Just suddenly found myself lying on the ground wondering "what am I doing down here??"

OH NO from Dale Riley on Vimeo.

Managed to avoid being lapped by 2 places. Had I known they were that close,  I might have practiced better "lap management" to avoid that last lap.  59th of 70 finishers.  Welcome back to the 45+ open ranks.

Boulder Cup CX - SM45+ Open Lap 1 from Dale Riley on Vimeo.

I have to pass on my good words & thanks to Chris G. and Dan DeP.  for a great course & event.  Doing a race at a high-profile venue like the mall,  then putting together such a great race,  expo,  and event is just what will expose the sport to a wider audience,  maybe even "non-Bike" people.  Great job,  keep pushing the envelope!  Oh,  and can't forget to than the seemingly millions of event volunteers working the race.  Thanks to you all,  too!

Thinking it's time for a little break.  With the USGP race coming in Ft.Collins,  and me already signed up for the 45+ races both days,  It seems prudent to maybe skip the races this weekend.  Maybe a good break from hammering myself each weekend will move me out of my current "rut" and get me finishing a bit better.  A bit sad,  as I was looking forward to the "Sumo poker" at the Schoolyard cross,  it looked like fun.

Sorry for a lack of other race video this week.  Our Chief Videographer is down with the flu,  while also nursing a banged up hand from getting off cowbell duty and getting in to mix it up ON the courses.   I was way too comatose to even realize I should have taken any video on Sunday.  There is some good barcam stuff on 303 Cycling from Sunday,  and a bunny-hop-fest from Cyclocross Magazine from the pro men to tide you over.