Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Alas, the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend is over. We couldn't end the weekend without one more cyclocross race though. Sunday was race #6 in the Bike Authority series and since the temperature kept going up all night Saturday and throughout Sunday, the snow we raced in the day before made everything turn to mud. Racing in mud isn't too bad as long as it's warm and it was in the 50's on the way to record highs. They shortened up the course from Saturday and tried to keep us out of the muck as much as possible so we were on a lot of pavement or gravel. They included the section through the woods which turned into a wet, sloppy mess as the race wore on. A lot of time could be spent in the big ring on the course. Of course, with the kind of speed in the B-field, you HAD to push the big ring as much as possible. I think our first lap was under 5 minutes for a course that was about 1.1 miles. The screaming downhill on the road certainly helped get our average speed up but by the end of the race, my average lap time was around 5:30. If you compare this with the times in the A-race, we would have beaten a lot of them just by the numbers. To keep it in context, they were turning faster laps than us on a course that we had already torn up pretty good. In the end, I finished 6th to keep me at 5th in the overall points standings. I was a little under 2 minutes behind the winner but the spread from 3rd place to 8th place was less than 1 minute. Lorena finished 2nd in the Women's race after she and Julie battled back and forth. We were a muddy mess after the race. Mud in our shoes, shorts, teeth... you name it. Our friend John took some good shots of us during the race. You can view them here: http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/ch245395/my_photos Next week is the series championship. I can't wait because it's at my favorite course in the series. I hope to do as well or better than the last time and maybe move up in the points. We'll see.... On to the lazy parents and kids. I had to take Lorena to the middle school the other day because her car wouldn't start and the weather was borderline for riding in. As we approached the school (2 miles away from our house), traffic started to get heavy from all of the high school kids that drive and parents taking their kids to school. There were a few buses in there but it was mostly cars. Once on school property, the traffic became stop-and-go which is to be expected because parents are letting their kids out in front of the school. What I didn't expect was kids to sit in the car until it was absolutely in front of the door of the school so they wouldn't have to walk an extra 20 feet on the sidewalk. It's no wonder our kids are obese. How many of these kids live within a few blocks of school and don't walk or ride their bike? I have to admit, I did see some kids walking but the overwhelming majority appear to ride in cars. Think about how much gas is wasted by idling cars waiting in line to drop kids off at the door.... 180 days a year. You don't have to burn any gasoline to ride your bike or walk. Off the soapbox for now...
Posted by Chris&Lorena at 12:02 PM
Saturday, November 26, 2005
Here we are again. Tis' another update on our cyclocross exploits here in northeast Ohio. I was going to do a write-up for the last Bike Authority race in Bay Village but with Thanksgiving week festivities, I'm just now getting around to it. Racing again today also ate up a chunk of my time, along with a significant portion of my energy!! Last week was Bike Authority Cyclocross Race #3 in Bay Village. It wasn't too cold but it was pretty windy (Lake Erie across the street helps with that). There was a little smaller B field this week but still some good competition. Matt Weeks and Brett Davis shot out from the start but Brett dropped back to a chase group of about 5 riders that I was trying to stick to. I'd catch them a little and then I'd drop back. I eventually caught and passed Ed Delgros on the last lap which made me pretty happy because it put me in 7th place overally but I just couldn't catch Brett or the rest of that chase group. Pretty much the same top 10 riders at the top of the standings again this week. Congrats to Lorena for winning the Women's Race!! She was right there with Wes and Ryan in the end. It was the beginning of what proved to be a great weekend for Ohio sports.... Our good race results followed by Ohio State beating Michigan and then the Browns shutting out Miami. Hard to do better. This weekend was supposed to be a 3-race weekend but Mother Nature intervened by dumping a good bit of snow on us and some bitter temps. Bike Authority cancelled the race on Friday because of the nasty weather but things warmed up a bit for us today and the race was on despite a snow covered course and temps around freezing. After a few laps of 35 riders slogging around the course, there were a lot of ruts and the sogginess just sucked the life right out of you. A good line one lap was terrible the next and it really spread the field. I was a little disappointed to get 11th place because I thought I was further ahead than that. A terrible start didn't help matters either even though I was able to work my way up through the carnage. Lorena was able get a win for the second race in a row by putting a couple of minutes into Julie Sroka today after Julie had a bad start as well. Lorena got a cool cowbell as a prize which was put to good use cheering everyone on during the A-race. Teammate John Lorson got 7th in the A-race which included a world champion mountain biker that put a hurt on Paul Martin. Beat him by almost 2 minutes and did it on a single speed! We were a rowdy bunch on that one hill cheering everyone on and they all said they appreciated it afterwards. It was funny how much some of those guys accelerated on the hill while we were cheering and banging our cow bells. You've got to love a sport where people stick around and cheer on people on other teams. That's one cool thing about the cycling community in this area. You get to know a lot of good people because you see them every weekend for 10 months and even though you're racing against them, they're still friendly and will help you out or give you encouragement. We're racing again tomorrow so I'd better get to bed. I hope to report a better result tomorrow.... or a little later in the week... whichever comes first! ;)
Posted by Chris&Lorena at 10:27 PM
Saturday, November 19, 2005
Ok, this is the third time writing this post. I started it last weekend with the intent of finishing it later in the week. When I came back to it, I finished it and then deleted everything I typed when I clicked on the spell check. Alas, here it goes again.... What a great cycling weekend. I don't think the weather could have been too much better despite the wind on Sunday. Saturday was a Trek demo day at West Branch State Park so Lorena and I met Heath and Zack for a good lap on bikes that weren't ours! I found out why I don't like full suspension bikes after riding a Trek Fuel EX9. This bike had waaaayyyy too much travel for me. If I didn't have the suspension lockout turned on, I could not ride this bike. I guess I'll be a hardtail geek until my body forces me to ride otherwise. Lorena rode a Gary Fisher Cake and Heath and Zack rode some 29" Fishers. Any ride at West Branch is a good ride. After grabbing some food in Kent we went up to Hubbub Custom Bicycles in Chesterland to order my new mountain bike frame. It will be a Gunnar Rock Hound and I'm looking forward to getting it. Sould have a pretty snazzy paint job too. I guess Trek's marketing ploy didn't work, eh? So Sunday was the 2nd race in the Bike Authority Cyclocross Series; the venue, Boughton Farm in Copley. This is probably the best venue of the entire series and is a lot of fun to race on. It definitely neutralized the mountain bikes which is good because this is CYCLOCROSS. There were 44 people in the B race making it the highest turnout of the year. The race started out fast and I managed to get myself in a group of 3 riders that were chasing 2 riders that established a small gap right from the start. We worked with each other and ended up in a 3-up sprint for 3rd place about 1 minute behind the winner. We were a mere 15 seconds behind the 2nd place guy. I got 5th out of the sprint but only by about a foot at the line. The rest of the field was pretty strung out and Lorena got 2nd in the women's race. She said she was pushing her big ring the whole time which is really pretty impressive. She also took home some really cool swag in the form of a jersey, two sets of arm warmers, and a pair of socks. Not bad for a $5 entry fee! And now, for the Fanatical Reactionary Pedestrian.... As I said, I have been trying to write this all week and was out running on Tuesday evening (it was 68 degrees at 10PM!). Earlier in the day I heard a segment on Living on Earth about a guy who embarked on a walking trip across the country. He talked about the trials and tribulations of walking on the roads of America and how it made him really dislike the automobile and our auto-centric society. Being a cyclist, I also don't really like cars much but don't have too many issues when I am out riding on the road. I do often have issues when I am a pedestrian because I enjoy walking places and people seem to have forgotten that pedestrians have the right-of-way in most situations. So I'm running down the sidewalk Tuesday evening when a woman pulls into her driveway about 10 feet in front of me as if I wasn't there. I was in full stride and had to pull up pretty quickly to prevent getting an up close look at her window. Yes, it was dark and I can understand her not seeing me if she was backing out of her driveway. However, she was pulling in with her headlights shining directly on me. I even tried to help motorists out by wearing a white shirt to make me more visible. Alas, she was in her own little world and probably couldn't imagine that someone would be out actually exercising on such a beautiful evening. The Fanatical Reactionary Pedestrian gave me some select phrases to yell in her direction which seemed to motivate me to run even faster. All I can say is, please watch out for pedestrians and maybe try being one a little more often. That way, when you're behind the wheel again you might be a little more cautious. I've got even more to write about from today's race but I'll save that for my next post tomorrow. Good Night.
Posted by Chris&Lorena at 10:19 PM
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
I'm thrilled to report that the Hartman Road annexation was voted down!!! Perhaps this will send a message to our glorious administration that we really don't need the city to get bigger to be better. If only they had saved all of the money used to send out information trying to convince voters to pass their trash development plans, maybe they could have used it to encouraged a worthy investor to place their business(es) downtown. Thank you to all who voted NO. You've helped make Wadsworth continue to be a good place to live.
Posted by Chris&Lorena at 9:15 PM
Sunday, November 06, 2005
I can't believe I forgot this in the last post. My sister Kim is getting married!!! Totally exciting news. Bill's definitely a keeper. ;)
Posted by Chris&Lorena at 9:21 PM
Time for the weekly update. Lorena and I competed in the first race of the Bike Authority Cylocross series in Bay Village. There were amost 40 people in the B field today and the course was pretty fast. It took a few laps for the field to string out and a group of 4 riders pretty much stayed together at the front through the whole race. Fellow Orrville rider Steve Fenster and one of the Spin guys were chasing them with me about 30 seconds behind them. I just couldn't bridge the gap despite feeling good in the last half of the race and having a great last lap. I finished 7th and Lorena got 2nd in the women's field behind her semi-rival Julie Sroka. The competition was a little bit stiffer this week than at the Orrville races but I can't complain too much about my finish. On a percentage basis I'm consistent week to week. I hope my form holds or even improves through the next few weeks and I can move up a few spots. On a politial note..... Election Day is a few days away and we encourage any Wadsworth residents who may be reading this to vote "NO" on the Hartman Road Annexation. The direction City Council and the Mayor are trying to take this city is just a repeat of poor development elsewhere. If you forget history, you're doomed to repeat it! I hope my next post has a celebratory tone.... that is, cheering the failure of the annexation and further success at cyclocross racing. Also, I must recommend Bell's Wheat Four Ale. Very good wheat beer. I'm looking forward to trying the other beers in the Wheat series. www.bellsbeer.com
Posted by Chris&Lorena at 9:18 PM