Monday, April 30, 2007
I'm hoping to get a write-up later today for the NWCCC Conference Championships that we hosted this weekend. Let's just say that it didn't go as well as I would have liked but that's racing. I know that if I'd been racing and training with the OCC, things would have been totally different. There are some pretty cool pictures and videos that I'll get posted as well. ..back to work.
Posted by Chris&Lorena at 12:38 PM
Thursday, April 26, 2007
I put some new photos up on our Flickr photo page. Mostly from mountain biking the last week. Check them out here.
Posted by Chris&Lorena at 2:15 PM
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Wow. The week's halfway gone already. Fortunately, the weather's been cooperating and I've been able to get out on some good rides lately. Last Saturday, my friend Jeff and I rode the first half of Headwaters trail and a few others up to Paradise Point. Unfortunately, Lorena wasn't able to go with us because she was on an insect collecting field trip for one of her classes. It was a pretty decent day, 55 degrees with a few intermittent sprinkles all day. A good day for mountain biking but not a good day for collecting insects. The trail was in great shape and it was nice to be able to ride that high on Moscow Mountain. Even a trail affectionately known as the "Ass Crack" was pretty much entirely rideable. It's a really long climb up to Paradise Point and I wish I had the GPS data to show an elevation profile. According to the topographic maps, Moscow is at about 2600 ft. Paradise Point is at 4356 ft. The trailhead where we park is at about the same elevation as town. After hanging out at the point for a little bit, we descended back down until we intersected Headwaters again and finished on the last half of that loop. Definitely a fun ride. On Monday, I decided to try again at the loop I tried a few weeks ago. That is, the one that was stopped by snow on the mountain. One of the other guys in the department told me the snow was gone enough that I shouldn't have any trouble. I left the house at 3:30 and proceeded to ride the gravel roads out to the Headwaters trailhead. I then rode up over Paradise Point again but continued to the east with the intention of riding up to the radio towers on West Twin. As I got closer to the road to the tower, I noticed some lingering snow in shady pockets in the trees but none on the road. As I ascended to the tower, there were places where the snow was still 6-8 inches deep across the road but since the logging company had been up there, I was able to ride in their tire tracks through the snow. The snow stretches were only 15-20 yards long but were still a challenge to ride through. I ended up getting stopped before the tower by trees down from logging but it was still a part of the mountain I'd never ridden. After turning around, I continued to the east and encountered some deeper snow in sections on my way over the Four Corners area. The deepest was about a foot and a half and I wasn't able to ride all the way through it. It was noticeably cooler in the shade because I was in shorts and short sleeves even though it was about 60 in the sun. My legs got a little wet because of the snow melt on the trail in some stretches. I started my final descent off the mountain, it got warmer as I went down, and I eventually got back to Moscow Mountain Rd and headed home. All told, I got home with a little over 2 and a half hours in and it felt great. Not bad when you can ride out your front door, up and over a mountain and back home without repeating any trail. This weekend is the NWCCC conference championships and we're hosting it. Should be a good time. We're even having a fixed gear crit on Sunday after everything else is over. I've got to build a new rear wheel for my fixie because I ruined the rear hub last week when the chain dropped off, backspun the cog and stripped the lockring off. I got a new ENO hub and a 45-tooth chainring so my gearing should be much better. I'm waiting on my spokes and chainring yet but should have them tomorrow. The fixie's been out of commission for a week now which has been a bummer for commuting. Yeah, I like riding my mountain bike but I'm afraid my trackstanding skills will suffer. Yesterday was pretty windy so it was a running night. We're also in the process of finding a new apartment for next year. Hope to have that worked out by the end of the week. That's all for now. I may put some pictures up later from the mountain bike rides. Congrats to Wes on winning the Cat 4 RATL last weekend! That friggin' rocks man. I wish I was racing for the OCC this season. We miss racing with you guys!
Posted by Chris&Lorena at 5:48 PM
Thursday, April 19, 2007
I saw something interesting today. A guy was wearing a shirt that said "May the god of your choosing bless you." He was also carrying a case of Busch Light. 'nuff said.
Posted by Chris&Lorena at 7:44 PM
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
We left for Walla Walla last Friday evening for the race weekend hosted by Whitman College. One of our teammates is from Walla Walla and his parents let the team stay at their place, even feeding us spaghetti and meatballs on Saturday night. We got in around 7:30 with the plan of going out to dinner. Downtown Walla Walla is surprisingly a pretty happenin' place... but a bit on the pricey side for most college students, especially collegiate cyclists who have spent all of their money on their bikes. Thus, we ended up at Applebee's. Saturday's format was to be a road race in the morning with a TTT in the afternoon. The road race loop was 15 miles and the Men's B (Equivalent Cat. 3-4) race was to be 60 miles. Lorena was racing Women's A and was supposed to be 60 miles as well. They ended up combining the women's fields and made their race 45 miles. The weather was awful, 45 degrees and raining. I know I wasn't the only one shivering on the starting line. The first lap was pretty tame but we were all soaked. A lot of the farmers in the area have been spraying lately or just in the fields. Needless to say, there was mud (and who knows what else) on the road in some places that ended up on our glasses making visibility a challenge at some times. Our bikes were coated in crap too. On the second lap, a guy from Oregon State and Montana State started a break and got probably 30-40 seconds on the field. We let them hang out there for a while but toward the end of the lap, Whitman College and Western Washington University went to the front and cranked the chase up. Numerous times I looked down and saw a speed over 28mph on the flats. We caught the break right before the end of the second lap. On the third lap, I started to not feel well at all. It felt like my stomach was being twisted into a knot with a little nausea thrown in to boot. At the 37-mile mark I got popped off the back because my body wouldn't let me go any faster. I ended up riding in the rest of that lap with another guy from WWU and pulled out because I didn't think it was in my best interest to ride that next 15 miles in the rain and cold with my body revolting. I was bummed but glad to be sitting in a warm and dry car. Lorena and our teammate Maike rode really strong in the Women's A race. They were right there in the bunch at the end. Lorena said they only averaged 15mph for the first lap and even stopped for a mass pee-break part way through. The next two laps were faster. Our team kits aren't in yet so Lorena was wearing her Texas jersey. Since I was still feeling like crap that afternoon, I didn't do the TTT. Lorena and Maike did the 11-mile TTT in 30:53, or averaging 21.3mph. Not bad considering the last half was into a headwind and after racing 45 miles in the morning. It was good enough for 3rd in the Women's A TTT. Also, some of the other women's teams had 3 or 4 riders and we only had 2. Some of the men's teams had full TT setups with disc wheels and riders who only rode the TT. The fastest men's A team did the 11 miles in 22:23 or 29.5 mph! It was pretty nuts to watch. The funny thing was, when Lorena and Maike came to the line it started raining harder. Just what they needed. I started to feel better before going to sleep Saturday night but still had some funk in my system. I still haven't figured out what caused it in the first place. On Sunday, I woke up feeling better and actually looking forward to the crit. The crit was a short rectangle right beside the Walla Walla College campus and it felt like it only took us a minute to make it around the course. By the time the race started I had the funk out of my system and was feeling pretty good. We had 45 minutes + 2 laps. No breaks ever started but we still averaged 23mph or so. There were only 2 crashes but they happened on consecutive laps. The first happened in a corner when two guys went down in front of me but I was able to avoid it. The next lap, two guys tangled going uphill. The corners were pretty rough and my wrists hurt from being in the drops the entire race. I don't think I've ever done that before. With 5 laps to go, I was sitting 4th or 5th wheel but with 2 laps to go, we got boxed in as 1/3 of the field came around us on both sides and that's where it ended up. I couldn't get to the outside. Such is racing but I felt good the entire time. Lorena raced after me and they did 40 minutes + 2 laps with like 6 primes. A break of 2 riders got off the front early and stayed there. That left Lorena and Maike in the chase group but Lorena wasn't feeling well that day and then she got a flat. Total bummer. In the Men's A race, there was a break of 4 riders that actually lapped the field. It was insane. All in all, it was a fun weekend. Glad to get a road race and crit under the belt for the year. Those first few turns in the crit were a little unnerving. Moral of the weekend: Don't eat at Applebee's the night before a road race. The semester is winding up soon and so we should have a little more time to ride once that's done. Speaking of school, time to go do some actual work.
Posted by Chris&Lorena at 12:36 PM
Friday, April 13, 2007
Thwarted! That's what it was. Nothing like climbing for half an hour only to find the top of the mountain is still covered in snow. I planned out a nice long mountain bike ride that started out the front door, should have taken me along most of Moscow Mountain, and then back home on some different gravel roads. Instead, I rode up Moscow Mountain Road (the 30 minute climb) to find snow on the ridge road that I planned to take to the west end of the mountain and down some singletrack over there. It takes half an hour of mostly gravel road to get to the base of the climb, 30 minutes to climb, I'm guessing 30 minutes to ride the ridge, and then 30 minutes of gravel home. The picture doesn't show it very well but the dark areas are all pine trees that shade the road and have prevented the snow from melting. On Monday, we had 50 degrees and horizontal, 30mph hail that added probably another 2 inches of snow to the top as evident by the white pine trees up there on Tuesday morning. I guess we'll have to wait until May for all of the snow to be gone. Needless to say, I got rather chilled on the way back down because I was extremely sweaty from the climb. It was about 50 degrees that day but being a shady descent, it felt a little colder. We rode a couple of laps on the Headwaters trail on Saturday. It's dry as a bone but it's also about 1500 feet lower in elevation too. It's nice to ride singletrack after the long winter and still have daylight after 7:30. I got in a couple of other rides this week including a road ride tonight with Lorena. We've both had some big tests that have taken up our time and so it's nice to get out when we can. We're actually going to Walla Walla, WA this weekend for a collegiate road race at Whitman College. It reminds me of the format of the Savage Hill Stage Race of years past. Road race and time trial on Saturday followed by a crit on Sunday. Our road race is 60 miles with an 11 mile time trial in the afternoon. Should be interesting. I swapped out our training tires for our race tires this evening and have final prep to do tomorrow morning after class. It's nice to get back to road racing again. Look for pictures and a write up from the race weekend on Sunday or Monday. Until then, I've got to keep trying to beat this guy who always seems to be ahead of me on the hills...
Posted by Chris&Lorena at 1:30 AM
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
Ok, so this is a day later than I planned but... In a nutshell, we've been really damned busy for the last week. Lorena's been trying to collect insects for her collection in this crazy weather we've been having. I'm sure the insects are thinking the same thing we are (i.e. "What the hell?"). It's been up and down with temperature and precipitation as in one day it will be 50 and sunny followed by 40 and snow the next. Needless to say, the bugs don't want to come out when it's cold thus making Lorena's job more difficult. On top of that frustration, she's got a big test today (on her birthday no less!). She'll be done at lunch time so it's a beer lunch today to celebrate. I've been in our machine shop way too much trying to make the wheel centers I designed or our formula car team. I started with 8.3 lb discs of aluminum and in the end, they're going to weigh 1.3 lb. So basically, I've been looking at this: Instead of looking at this: To get this: They turned out pretty cool. There are some other pictures on Flickr of these during the milling process. We have managed to get some rides in, including a road ride last Friday. On that ride I had a Bumblebar for the first time. They're an energy bar that's made in Spokane and I don't know about their national availability. Pretty tasty. (click on the picture for a link to their site.) I've done some more gravel road rides on the mountain bike too, including a ride last night on the Headwaters trail on Moscow Mountain. It's a 30 minute ride to get there, 30 minutes to do the trail, and 30 minutes home. The thing is, the first 18 minutes of the trail are uphill. It was about 45 degrees when I left but the sun was on its way down so riding home I was pretty sweaty and got a little cold. There certainly wasn't any daylight when I got home. The weather is pretty nice today so perhaps we'll have to go out on a mountain bike ride. It's also Lorena's birthday so we'll be celebrating. That's all for now. Perhaps we'll have some cool rides this weekend. Temps are supposed to be in the 70's. Since Moscow weather is a lot like weather in Ohio, we'll have to wait and see how that plays out.
Posted by Chris&Lorena at 3:06 PM