Thursday, July 26, 2007

...more Superweek (International Cycling Classic) pictures...

Series of James winning the MGA Proving Grounds Road Race...

Curtis on one of the Alpine Valley climbs...ouch, ouch, ouch...

Curtis at the Bensenville Criterium finish...

Monday, July 23, 2007

International Cycling Classic - Day 9 (7/22/07)'s all over but the cryin'...

Evanston Northwestern Healthcare Cycling Grand Prix
Today's stage was in Evanston, IL...the home of Northwestern University. The course was flat and fast, with 6 corners. This was the last race in the series, and I was still 9 points behind the leader. The plan was to race hard, and leave it all on the road...and that's what we did.

Knowing how fast the course was, I figured it would come down to a field sprint...and it was fast the whole time. After some shadow boxing among the favorites, as well as the guys high up overall, it came back together with about 6 laps remaining. With 3-4 laps to go Grant Potters Herbalife team took the front to string it out. With 2 corners to go on the last lap, Curtis took the front and drilled it through the final turns and dumped us out onto the finishing straight. I unfortunately misjudged the final sprint, and started slightly too late. I ran out of room, and Grant won relegating me to second.

The overall series leader finished 7th, so I missed out on winning the overall by 4 points. If it weren't for me crashing out on Stage 2, then the overall may have been different...but with all of our bad luck this week, 2nd isn't too bad. Curtis rode like an animal all week, and Jeff rode himself into the ground while he was a big thanks to those two guys!

ABRT results:
2 - Stage wins (Curtis and James)
5 - Podium's (top 3)
12 - Top 10's

Below are some podiums pictures from the last race, and for the overall.

James being interviewed after taking 2nd in the final race. Notice our lovely podium girl holding the flowers...

...thanking the folks from Illinois and Wisconsin for the races...

...2nd in the final race, Stage 9...

Podium placing for the overall, 2nd place in the series...

...another overall series podium shot...

Saturday, July 21, 2007

International Cycling Classic - Day 8 (7/21/07)

Carl Zach Cycling Classic
The course today had 8 turns with a sharp downhill turn, and a slight uphill finish for a total lap distance of .7 miles. Curtis and I are concentrated on trying to win the overall, so we are racing full tilt.

About lap 2 in the 50 lap race there was a 10 man split, and I bridged across to it. Later, Curtis bridged up with a few other riders, and that was the break. During the next few laps there were several premes, and Curtis took one for $50. Two riders ended up getting away, and lapped the field. As the top 3 overall watched each other, two others got across to lap the field. The rest of the break got within 200 yards of lapping the field, but then the attacks started and the gap stabilized.

After Curtis and I made several attempts to get away, I got away solo for about 3-4 laps...but was being chased pretty hard. I dropped back to the group with about 8 laps to go. Curtis made the next move and stayed away solo to take 5th. My early efforts took some of the sting out of the old legs, and combined with being overgeared I got rocked in the sprint and ended up 9th. I lost 1 point to the leader and 2 points to the guy in 3rd place.

Tomorrow is the last race of the series...and we're going out with guns blazing. I'm going to take some chances, which could drop me out of second place...but I came here with the goal of winning, so we'll see what we can do.

Curtis found his new home...

Me with Otto Wenz, Jr. He started Superweek from a single race in 1969 to the longest running multi-day bicycle series in the Unites States. A member of the United States Cycling Hall of Fame, and one heck of a personable guy...thanks Otto!

Friday, July 20, 2007

International Cycling Classic - Day 6 & 7 (7/19 - 7/20/07)

Humbolt Park Criterium
Yesterday's race was around a park, with an uphill climb on the backstretch. After a few turns there was a downhill curving finish. The top 3 places overall in the series are very close in points, so the day was spent with us watching each other. This opened up the door for Curtis to get away in a break with 8 or 9 other riders. Jeff stayed in the pack to help hold things together, and then lead out the sprint at the end. Curtis took 2nd place, and I was able to get 10th...which moved me only 1 point closer to the lead.

Later that evening was the Pro 1,2 race...and Jeff wanted to at least race in one of the Pro 1,2 races while up here. The race was 100k, and Jeff raced for 30 minutes and then dropped out. He could have finished, but wanted to be able to help us the next day...a true teammate!

Shorewood Criterium
Today we raced a couple hours Northwest of Milwaukee. The course was on an .8 mile course with 7 turns for a total of 30 miles. Curtis and Jeff kept the pace high and I tried to attack several times...but I wasn't able to shake the series leader. Halfway into the race, the guy who is 3rd place in the series attacked with 1 other rider. They were able to stay away for the rest of the race, and I was 3rd with Curtis coming in 6th place. I made up 2 points on the leader, but we're running out of races.

Curtis and I are pretty tired, so we're ready for this series to be over. Our plan is to keep racing full tilt right to the end, and hopefully take over the lead. I'm I'm off to bed. Below are some picture for your amusement...

This is Jeff buying custard from Kopps

Here is Curtis doing work on his throne...

Jeff isn't too impressed by the Pro's

Jeff in the Pro race...

"Stick a fork in me...I'm done!"

Jeff and Curtis by one of the Rock & Republic Cadillac's

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

International Cycling Classic - Day 5 (7/18/07)

MGA Proving Grounds Road Race
Today's course was 8.9 miles with a couple little climbs, and one that required the use of my 39 x 21 and 39 x 23. The finish had a small hill with the finish about 200 meters from the top. The roads were very narrow at times, and the yellow line rule was strictly enforced. There have been 2 deaths within a year up here, so they take the riders safety seriously.

Curtis and I were in 4th and 5th overall in points, so we had to try and make something happen. Today was the last road race, which have double points, until we start doing criteriums again tomorrow.

The race was 5 laps, and on lap 2 three riders attacked up the road. About two miles later, Jeff went off the front with 2 other guys. One dropped and came back to the pack quickly, which left him with one other helper. About a mile or two later I attacked with 3 other guys. We caught Jeff and started bridging up to the first 3 riders. We caught Jeff, and he immediately went to the front and began chasing back the front group. After we made it, Jeff dropped back to the pack to recover after his massive efforts. Without his help, we probably wouldn't have made it.

We now had a total of 8 riders in the break. At one point we had about 1 1/2 minutes on the pack, which dwindled to about 40 seconds going into the last lap. In the last 5 miles there were several attacks, and going up the hill there was 1 rider with a small gap. I was able to sprint up the hill and past the last rider to take the win.

Vance James from Team 19 and a slightly rested Jeff Kopp strung the field out for the last couple miles to lead into the last hill. Curtis made an early bid going up the final hill and was just caught by a few riders over the top. Curtis finished 14th on he day to gain a few points to add to his total.

Two wins in five days for ABRT. I haven't seen the overall after today, but I think I'm in second place, with first place 9-12 points ahead. We have 4 days of criteriums, and will try and make up the points over the next few days. It will be tough, but at least we now have a chance.

Vance and Adam from Team 19 hanging out after the race today...

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

International Cycling Classic - Day 3 & 4 (7/16 - 7/17/07)

Alpine Valley Road Race
Yesterdays stage was at the Alpine Valley Ski Resort...pretty scary words for us Florida boys. True to its name, there were 3 leg breaking climbs per lap that required the use of 39 x 23 for gearing...and I was wishing I had a 25. Each day either Curtis or I have had bad luck, and yesterday it was Curtis' turn. On the first climb of lap 1 Curtis dropped his chain onto his bottom bracket, which required him to get off the bike to put it back on. I waited near the back, and luckily the pace was he was came back quickly. On the next climb it dropped again, and he had to stop for neutral support to fix it. His front derailleur must have been jarred in the plane ride, and was out of alignment. The SRAM guys fixed it the best they could, but now Curtis was 4 minutes behind. The SRAM car started pacing him back up, but as they were closing they got a call about a crash in another category and had to turn around to go help.

On the second lap 3 guys got away, and stayed away the rest of the race. A lot of guys were just in survival mode, and were looking to make it through the stage. Each lap we dropped a rider or two as we hit the series of "leg breakers". Curtis was able to pick them up a couple at a time, and continued on to try and score some points. The points went 25 deep, and it looked as though not many more than 25 would finish. In the end a few guys were able to drift in ahead of the main pack, and I was able to sprint in for 8th. Curtis finished 24th for a couple points. We were glad to be done.

Whitnall Park Road Race
Jeff Kopp arrived to help with the cause, so it was nice to have another teammate. Today's course was more like a circuit, about 2 1/2 - 3 miles in length, with a uphill finish. The uphill stretch wasn't hard enough or long enough to break up the group. Jeff flatted near after a couple laps, and was forced to chase for 2-3 laps before finally making contact. He was pretty cooked, and stayed at the back to try and recover. With 2 laps to go, Jeff found himself at the front, so he pulled for just over a lap to keep it strung out and discourage attacks. The last lap had a lot of pushing and shoving, a couple it was pretty hectic. Coming into the last turn I was way too far back, so had to sprint up the hill to make up spots. Curtis grabbed my wheel and we came around everyone except 3 others who had already started their sprint...and we just ran out of room to pass. Curtis was 4th and I was 5th. Going into today, we were 8th and 10th this should have moved us up some. The guy who won today was leading the he moved further ahead. The other 2 ahead of us on today's stage are also well placed.

With the bad luck we have had, it doesn't look as though we will be able to win the overall...but we'll see what happens.

As a side note, we have host housing here in's pretty great. Peter and Ann are hosting us, as well as 4 members of a German team. The house we are staying in was built by the founders of Schlitz back in 1907 and is right on Lake Michigan. The house was later given to the University of Wisconsin, who couldn't raise the money to maintain the they sold it back to some of the "Schlitz kids" who then divided the house into condos and sold them. This was an amazing mansion...I can't even describe it in enough detail. I was reading a book about the historic architecture here in Milwaukee...and this house was on the cover! Some of the stained glass reliefs were imported from Europe and date back to the 16th century! I have a picture below...but will take more...which still wouldn't do it justice.

Below are some pictures for you're enjoyment.

House built by the founder of Pabst beer...this city was built on beer!

Our host housing...built by the founder of Schlitz...

...another shot...we're staying on the left side...

...and here is he right half...

Curtis reflecting on the 2nd floor balcony...we're actually sleeping on the 3rd floor.

Picture of me updating today's blog...

My wife's favorite beer...taken out the window from the highway...

Jeff's new business...

Some say Curtis is he devil...and here is the proof...

Sunday, July 15, 2007

International Cycling Classic - Day 2 (7/15/07)

Well, some days you have good luck...and some days you don't.

Today's course had 6 turns on a .9 mile course for 40 miles. The field was bigger this made the race pretty dangerous at times. The course wasn't difficult enough to split up the field, or fast enough to keep it lined out for any significant period of time.

Towards the end a break of 3 guys got away, and we missed the move. This means that we were going for 4th place. With 1 1/2 laps to go I was in pretty good position, but it just wasn't fast enough, so the pack was spread across the road...and I ended up getting shoved off he road. I went over the curb which dropped off into a rut on the other wheels got stuck and I had to unclip at 30+ mph to try and stay upright. Luckily I did, but during the jarring my chained dropped off my chainring onto the bottom over. Curtis was behind me, but was able to jump the curb and go onto a sidewalk and come back down a driveway. This sent him back about 30 places...but he sprinted the last lap to move up and end up 5th in the sprint for 8th overall. It wasn't the results we were looking, but at least Curtis made some points. He is probably in 2nd or 3rd overall now.

Tomorrow is a race in a place called Alpine Valley...Curtis and I just got done driving the course, and all I can say is, "Oh brother"! There are several long, steep, leg breaking climbs! So pray for us Florida, criterium riding, flatlanders!

We're staying a place called Alpine Valley's a strange place. The place is in the middle of nowhere, and it's practically deserted. It reminds me of the resort in the movie The Shining! "Redrum...redrum" - for those of you who saw the movie.

I'm not totally sure of our internet access form here on out...but I hope to at least get to a Starbucks and updated periodically. Below are a couple non-race shots...until next time...

Picture of the "Rose" water tower in Rosemont, Illinois

This is some granola, free range, grain fed, organic, hippie place where Curtis buys his milk...I don't know...ask him...

I thought this was an interesting sign...

Curtis calling for the ski report...

This is the backside of the ski slope...they added dirt to make it higher! I find this strange...

Saturday, July 14, 2007

International Cycling Classic - Day1 (7/14/07)

Curtis and I have traveled to the midwest to take part in what is know as Milwaukee Superweek. There are a series of races that take place throughout Wisconsin and Illinois. We're racing the Masters 30-39 series, which consists of 6 criteriums and 3 road races...all one after another...9 days of suffering.

Today we raced at a place called Blue Island, Illinois. I'm not sure about the name, since it is not an island...I suppose that is a job for Google. Anyhow, I'm updating this from the will have to be brief.

Curtis Won!!

Curtis bridged to a break that ended up with 9 riders, and they lapped the field. He then won the field sprint! One heck of a ride. I was able to get 5th in the field sprint for 12th place. Wow...what a start! With his win, he is now leading the series.

Can't get away from these Herbalife guys!

Stay tuned for more updates...