Rich Johnson's Tour De Villas ABD Wrap Up

I think the appropriate name for today's race in Des Plaines should have been the Tour de Hell. I tried to ride up front, no good, in the back, no good, in the peloton, no good, on the sidewalk through sprinklers, very good! Even with all of that heat, I still finished. I wasn't last and I wasn't first, but I was freakin' hot!

I think the performance of the day goes to 3 people. The first is Adam Liebman. Holy smokes he literally left it all out on the track as my dad said. Many of us thought he threw the bike to soon and at the wrong line. That wasn't the case at all. Come to find out, he had nothing left. He also had the quote of the day, "I didn't have another stroke in me." He still took a very respectable 2nd in the very hard 30+ race. For a second I thought I was going to have to carry him over to my chair and force feed him Gatorade. Great job Adam!

The 2nd performance goes to Ryan Freund in the P/1/2/3 race. Him and Thomlinson decided to go off the front early and stay off the front. The peloton tried numerous times to go after them, but there was no way in hell anything was sticking with the way Ryan was riding. Great job Ryan!

The 3rd performance goes to Stacy Appelwick. Another one who decided nobody else in the peloton was worthy and went into TT mode. No way anyone was catching her, not even the police 4-wheelers. I am wondering if Ryan got wind of this performance and tried to one up her by almost lapping the P/1/2/3 field :) Great job Stacy!

Also in the P/1/2/3 race was our very own Konrad Witt as well as Mike Wilke (who seems to no longer be on the team). Mike was doing attacks, trying to take fly'ers to get up to Ryan. Scott Witt & I said no way, but Mike really wanted to prove us otherwise. He rode strong today, by far the strongest I have ever witnessed out of him. Konrad finished top 10. Before I left, I heard 7th overall with a top 3 in the 3's. I will let Scott/Sue to update us on the final outcome if it was different. Great job Konrad!

Gary Rulo! The TT beast! In the 50+ he decided what the heck, let me attack and go off the front by a pretty good distance. With the likes of Andy Kerr and others back in the field, it would have been tough to hold off and Gary tried. Also in that same field was Greg Barrett. Where did this beast come from? I don't think I have watched him race before. I think I actually witnessed him get a bit annoyed while on the front. He gave a look back and was like what the hell, anyone else going to work a little? I think he was seriously trying to hurt people! Good job Gary and Greg!

I heard that the Women's 4 field was filled and Mona had to race the Women's open. Funny thing if this is true, is that there were only 6 or 7 women in the 4's race. Anyways, Mona had her work cut out considering the field she was up against. She stuck at it and finished in a mucky and hot field. Great job Mona!

Others who raced, such as Glen Beresinski, Mike Burns, Gerald and Pat Beam, Mark Lemke, and others who names have either escaped me or I didn't catch out there, GREAT JOB! It was insanely hot out there and everyone left it out on the track. I am fairly positive every ABD'er out there today finished, which wasn't the easiest thing to do at times with that heat.

Tomorrow is Wood Dale, and the weather looks to be a heck of a lot better than it was today. I will be racing in both the 5's and the 4's tomorrow, maybe participating is a better word for what I will be doing. Hope to see you all out there, and hopefully Jimmy picked up a tent for us ABD'ers tomorrow to hang out at. Remember, bring lots of water, don't forget your shoes, and keep the rubber side down! Once again, big congratulations to all of our ABD riders today, job well done!

Hey, did I mention that it was hot out there today?

--Rich "I lost 5 pounds putting on my socks today" Johnson


Nowak Report: CCC #6 - mud, Mud, MUD!!!

This past weekend was the 6th of 10 races in the ChiCrossCup series. The best part was that the ABD race was behind me now, and all the stress and effort to put on another successful ABD race had left. I could now focus on my race and put forth 100% effort in the week leading up to the Sunday effort.

The week leading up to St. Charles was rainy and cold. Normally I would be disappointed because that would mean either no riding or spending time in the basement watching videos of Sporza Superprestige and World Cup races (and picking up some Flemish!!!). However, knowing the course in St. Charles pretty well, a smile came to my face because I knew that it would be sloppy in sections.

Lately I have been looking into getting another nice set of wheels that I could put on my pit bike and/or allow me to run different tires for different conditions, so I contacted Rob Curtis (psimet.com) who allows you to rent wheels for a race to try them out. For $35 I figured I would give it a shot and got to St. Charles early. The wheels he has are really pretty nice (50mm carbon rims, DT spokes, and sealed hubs) and the price is reasonable ($699). The wheels are setup with nice tires (Challenge Grifos), but in the slop that we raced in, these were probably not the right tire. However, I was committed to using them so I race with them.

WIth it being the day after Halloween, there were many there in costumes getting callups. After the top 10 there were another 3 or 4 callups for costumes and then the masses (which included me). I ended in the third row, and it was tight. The start was chaotic and I was sitting in about 20th or so once the course opened up and we started the wet/greasy/muddy climb thru the woods. I slowly picked people off and once we got out of the woods, gave a good effort to move into about 10th. The next sections were all open area that were grass sections and included off-camber turns. In the first off-camber turn, I could feel the rear wheels loose a bit of grip and right in front of me someone went down. I was able to get by, and keep going. Next was a quick downhill into a 180 degree turn that was just pure mud. Then up the hill where it was almost impossible to ride. I quickly shouldered my bike and ended up passing 3 guys as they tried to ride up the hill. Then back down, and into a single track section to some more off camber, onto a gravel path, then to the best part of the course. MUD that you ran thru and rode thru. I looked up as at this time and I could see the leader and then counting backwards I was in 7th and had a gap on the 8th-11th place guys.

Going into the second lap, I continued to maintain my place, until the second off-camber section where I was going too fast and lost traction on the rear wheel, and went down. It was quite an ugly crash, and took time to get myself righted only to find that my chain dropped. Now I go from 7th to 12th. I kept pushing, but it didn’t seem like anyone was coming back to me. Finally I caught the guy in 11th and we ended riding the rest of the race together, attacking, recover, push, battle. I knew that it would come down to the last lap if I was going to get 11th, so I put in a dig on the first hill and gapped him over the barriers. He came back on the next section and took the front. We then went back and forth up the run-up and made our way to the mud section. It was at this point that I was able to cleanly ride this while he bobbled a bit and then I just sprinted to the finish to end 11th. Overall a good race, but a bit frustrating in that I know I can do better.

I then jumped into the 30+ race (after changing clothes, shoes, and bikes) and worked my way through that to finish strongly. In addition, there was quite a nice turnout of other ABD’ers: Ben Demong, James Sneddon, Gina Kenny, Sue S., Jessie, and a few others who I don’t know(sorry!!!). Also nice to see Terry and Jenny Cerwin and hearing their support!

Overall for the Team Standings, we are sitting pretty strong in 9th. Just shows that with the few riders we have doing ‘cross there is definitely some quality. I still have a goal of being in the top 10 by the end of the year in the 40+ class. It may be a bit difficult, but I’m going to keep trying.

This weekend is the Northbrook race which was a big DNF for me last year due to a broken chain. I am hoping for redemption!

Hope to see more out there again this weekend.

Thanks again for reading,


Nowak Report: Chicago Cross Cup Rounds #4 and #5


We all deal with it at sometime in your life.  Those of you who race, you know what I'm talking about.

Well stops 4 and 5 on the CCC series were all about adversity for me and dealing with it.

Stop #4 was the Carpentersville Oktobercross race.  First of all I would like to give HUGE props to Jeff Provisor (owner of Main St. Bikes as well as the promoter for this race).  Every year this event has gotten bigger and better.  Last year they added a Oktober Fest to the race with the help of the Village and this year it was even larger.  In terms of the course, Jeff has improved it every year.  This year he added a "whoops" section (for reference check out video of the Azencross race held in Europe during the Christmas week).  In addition, this is always a fun ride.

Anyway back to Adversity.  I started the race with a call-up, my first this year so I got a front line start.  At the whistle I was clicked in and flying down to the first turn.  Sitting really nice in third place and feeling pretty good about it.  I stayed in the top five for the first lap and then Adversity struck.  Going into the second lap, there was a 180 turn.  I took a bad angle, and slid out, letting a few guys pass me.  Now in about 8th or 9th, I attempted to catch them, but then in another corner slid out again.  Luckily no one passed me, but the ground that I had gained was now lost again.  Again, punched it and started to gain some ground when into the sand pit (which I had been riding all the way thru) I lost momentum, and came to a halt.  I dismounted as fast as I could, but now 3 guys passed me.  Now I'm laying in 11th.  Again, put it on the gas and slowly pull back some ground.  Then the final straw...  I lost it.  Now it was all about dealing with this and trying to get to the finish line without loosing another spot.  Through the twists and turns I see a Colavita rider slowly making his way to me.  I felt like the prey and he was the predator.  I kept trying to give it all I had, but sure enough he caught me just before the finish and passed me.

Now normally I would be pissed, but I knew that I battled through my misfortunes and kept giving it my all.  In fact after I got home I looked at my heart rate from the race and it was the highest for any of the races yet this year.  So I knew that I had done all that I could and "tipped" my had to the others.

Stop #5 was our race.  Not much to say about this.  Up late on Sat. making sure everything was ready for setup/registration, and then waking up in the middle of the night to hearing rain drops in the gutter.  Needless to say I got about 4 hours of sleep.  Finally got out of bed around 5am got some coffee really quick and headed out to Sunrise Park.  My race didn't go so good as you would expect, but did pick up a few series points.  Overall, I had a great time.  We had very few issues and the couple of ones that we did have we were able to deal with them quickly.

The most amazing thing about being there all day was to see the Cat 4A and Cat 4B guys race.  I typically head home after I race and rarely see them race.  What a great show!  For those of you who have NEVER seen a cross race and would like to see one in action, you need to watch the 4B race.  Sure it isn't pretty, but the enthusiasm and effort that these people show is unparalleled.

As a team, ABD is still in 10th which is really good considering the teams in front us have some huge numbers and good riders.

I would highly suggest that you head out to St. Charles this weekend.  Hope to see you there.



Curtis Bice Report: Trek Employee TT


Not Your Usual Race Report – Trek Employee Time Trials

Two weeks ago, I had the honor of winning the Trek Employee Road Time Trial, which took an all out effort to cover the 5.8 mile out and back course in 12:47 at 27.2 mph.  The competition was tough, with Jason Svaldi, a strong Cat 2 road racer (who can kick my butt in a sprint any day) was just 5 seconds back, and our strongest Masters rider, John Balmer, was just 12 seconds back.  Our chief road engineer was only 30 seconds back on a fully decked out prototype Speed Concept TT bike.  I did get a little lucky, in that Jordan Roessingh, Trek’s fastest Cat 1 rider from IS Corps, did not race.  He beat me by 90 seconds in the WI state TT 40k championships this year.
This race however, was not your typical time trial event like you see from racing the MATTS series or other similar events.  As Busteed and Prinner know from the Waterloo Classic, part of the Tour of America’s Dairyland series this summer, Trek can really throw a great race and a great party.  This small event of 40 racers was no different.  Below are some happenings from this unusual but awesome road time trial race.
·         This race is also referred to as the “Beat the Boss” time trial.  Trek’s President, John Burke, was the last man to take off (on nothing less than a top-end TTX).  Any “non-racer” who beat his time won a cash prize.  He finished about 2/3’s of the way down the field with an average speed of 22.5 mph, so a good number of riders got paid out.  Many racers, not being time trailers, race on standard road bike, only some with clip on aero bars.  Categorized “racers” don’t qualify, so I (and my TTX) had to work extra hard to take home the overall cash prize.
·         The road we raced on was a 3 mile stretch between Waterloo and the next town over, Marshall, which has been closed for construction the last month.  The brand new blacktop was all done but not open to traffic yet, so we had the smoothest road you have ever ridden on all to ourselves (after clearing it with the townships and construction company of course).
·         None other than THEE man, Gary Fisher, was in the house that day and stopped by to watch part of the race and send Twitter pics of a couple ‘interesting’ competitors (this man posts some of the funniest tweets I have ever seen).  I was unfortunately out on the road during that time, so didn’t get a chance to say hi.  Below are his tweets from October 10th
o   RT - New good old boy skinsuit http://twitpic.com/kyg8r
o   RT - Import rider http://twitpic.com/kyg6v
o   RT - Beat the boss time trial at Trek, Doug C at the start http://twitpic.com/kyg2b
·         These ‘interesting’ competitors Gary was tweeting were part of the costume contest – if you can’t win, you might as well get some style points, right?!  The winner, as tweeted by Gary, raced in the 45 degree, cloudy weather with super short cut-off jeans, a wife beater, and cop style sunglasses.  The winner of the ‘best bike’ competition raced one of Trek’s 40 lb, 3-speed, B-Cycle cruisers (our new bike-share program bike), decked out with custom cardboard aero ferrings held on with electrical tape, aero bars zipped-tied on the handlebar/basket, a case of beer in the oversized metal basket with a straw sticking out of the box, while wearing a skinsuit and a full-out aero helmet.  He finished dead last, but I give him props for keeping that thing above 20 mph average speed for the race.  Other honorable mentions include a single speed, fat-tire cruiser, also with a case of beer in the basket, and a dude hammering hard, bobbing up and down coming across the finish line on a Top Fuel full-suspension mountain bike with the tires at 30 PSI and the shock lockouts left in the OFF position (now THAT’S efficiency!).  All of this made it much more entertaining than the usual TT’s, which are about as exciting for spectators as watching grass grow.
·         What better way to finish than to stop at the post race ‘feed zone’ to pick up a BEvERage or two of your choice, specifically of the New Glarus variety!
·         Post-race, I found our chief road engineer who was on the prototype Speed Concept that day.  Less than 10 people have ever raced on this bike and only a few more have ridden it.  Well, we just happen to ride the same pedals and be about the same size, so he let me take it for a spin.  Holy cow!  It rides even better than the TTX, is super light for a TT bike, and is the cleanest looking bike I have ever seen.  Good luck finding anything on this bike that creates unnecessary drag.
A week and half later was our mountain bike time trial, which was raced at our private trails across the street from our factory.  It had a staggered, ’lemond’ style start, where we had to run, in 30 second intervals, 100 yards to our bikes – it’s not very fun taking your first pedal stroke already winded.  Despite this, I had a great start, catching my 30-second-man in… well… 30 seconds (you should really make sure you chain is on the ring when standing at the start line).  I passed one other rider on the 5 mile course and had no one pass me.
However, when the results came in, I did not fair nearly as well, finishing just ahead of mid pack about 2 ½ minutes back in 25:30.  Jordan Roessingh took the V (this dude is FAST on AND off the road).  Being a roadie who does a little mtb’ing on the side, it’s hard to keep up with our expert off road riders, some of whom have been described as “It’s like trying to chase a monkey on crack.”  None the less, this was also a great race and a great time, also with post-race BEvERages.
If anyone is interested in playing hooky from work and stopping by in Waterloo for a visit during the week, I would be more than happy to make sure a factory tour is arranged.  It’s quite a cool operation to see where all of the Madone’s are built, and where the Project One bikes are painted.  I can also take you for a ride on some of the great, traffic-free roads in the area, or stop over on our 10 miles of mountain bike trails.  Just drop me a line any time.
Keep ridin’ and racin’!


Nowak Report: Chicago Cross Cup Round 3

Hey all!
  Here is the continuing saga of the ABD 'crossers.

Sunday was the 3rd stop in the CCC series.  Beverly Vee-Pac was the sponser and they laid out a challenging yet fun course at the Dan Ryan Woods on 95th and Western.  There was a a LOT of flat, but what was not flat was either straight up or straight down.  With the overnight freeze, the ground slowly became slick and turns became increasing harder.  There was one run-up right after the start that was about 50 meters long followed by a twisting descent.  Then about 3/4 of the way there was a nice sustained climb that again twisted back upon itself and went back up, followed by a FAST downhill.

This was a much better race for me personally.  With the schedule change I ended up doing the 40+ first and getting 10th.  Ran into one small bad patch and lost 3 spots with a fall and then the recovery from it, but finished strong to put me into the top 10 for the series (getting a call up baby!!!).  Then I jumped into the 30+ right after and rode strongly again, dying at the end and getting passed by 3 riders to end 14th.

Gina Kenny was out battling for the W 123 and looked like she was having a good day.  However, I want to mention our new convert (the reason for the subject).

Ben Demong came out and did his first 'cross race ever.  He raced the 30+ with me and watching him it was like a fish taking to water!  While he admitted to it being hard, falling a few times, and just hurting for 45 minutes, he couldn't stop smiling and talking about how much fun he was having.

It's great to see someone coming out with a bit of apprehension, and then leaving completely stoked!  For those of you in this same mindset, I would say "JUST DO IT!!!"

No updates as of now on Team standings, but I have got to believe that we are still in the top 10.  For me, I think it would be sweet if we could continue to be in the top 10 as the numbers of races pales compared to Pony Shop, Verdigris, SRAM, and some of the other "big number" teams.  I guess it just shows that we have quality and not necessarily quantity.

Next stop is Sun. 10/18 at the Carpentersville Carpenter Park Octoberfest.  Rumor has it that there will be some whoops (for reference look up Azencross on Google) as well as the famous sand pit.

Then our race is the week after!  Looking forward to it.

Hope to see more ABD'ers at Carpentersville. 

Thanks for reading,


Nowak Report: Chicago Cross Cup Round 2

Welcome to the 2nd installment of the Chicago Cross Cup Series.  Last Sun (10/4) brought over 350 racers to DeKalb for the Hopkins Park Cross sponsered by North Central Cyclery/Half Acre Cyclery.  This was the second year that this race has been hosted here, and the sponsers only made it better.

Hopkins Park is a perfect venue for 'cross in that there is very little flat, lots of area, some nice little hills, sufficient pavement, and awesome facilities.  The course was very similar to last year, with a few mods to make it a bit longer, as well as more challenging.  The 1st 1/4 of the course was run on grass where there were significant numbers of twists and turns, roots, and then a few dips in the ground.  Once off the first section, you briefly were on pavement to a steep hill where the course went up/down on itself a few times.  Traction was good for the most part, but after a few times up it, the legs were burning.  Once up the hill, the course looped back to the same area where there were a few barriers, onto a FAST pavement section, and then back onto the grass to loop around to the Start/Finish.  This particular section was again filled with roots, but with the rain from Friday and Saturday, the ground became very soft and tacky slowing you down and making the false flats even tougher.  Finally you came onto a bike path and finished off in another section of twisting and turning over grass and roots.

Personally, my race was only 1/2 successful.  Unlike at Jackson Park where I had a bad start and had to work my way through the field to finish strong, I started off well, but slowly began to lose spots and dropped back from about 8th to 19th.  A bit disappointing as I really like the course at DeKalb and did well here last year.  However, the good thing is that there will be another race next weekend, so hopefully I'll be able to put together the complete ride.

Besides myself there were a few other ABD'ers out there including; Gina Kenny, Sue S., Brad Dash, Brian Karlow and Walter Stoops.

The amazing thing is the numbers of racers, especially since the Fall Fling was wrapping up and from what I understand the numbers were fairly large on Sunday for the final race there.

Looking forward to improvement the next few races.

Also don't forget to continue to show everyone that ABD is one of the BEST clubs.  We still need volunteers for our 'cross race in Bartlett on 10/25.  Expect an email soon to formally ask for volunteers.

Thanks for reading,


Nowak Report: Cross is On!

Hey all,
Welcome to another wonderful year of cyclocross!!!

Yesterday was the first race in the Chicago Cross Cup Series.  Every new ‘cross season brings apprehension (did I do enough high end training?), concern (are the new tubies glued on properly?), and excitement (Yea BABY CROSS!!!).

xXx is the promoter of this particular race and as always Greg Heck does a great job changing up the course and making it challenging.  This year’s course had a nice mix of power, speed, and skill.  About 75% of the course was viewable from the registration area and the crowds were huge.  Half-Acre brought out the bus and put couches next to one of the technical turn areas.  The bullhorns were out and cowbells were loud!  The crowd was loud and for the sections by the registration crowd area, it was like a tunnel of sound (I can almost appreciate what it is like going up the Alpe!).

I decided to double up doing the Masters 40+ and then the Cat 3 race after.  The 40+ race went well.  The start wasn’t too good, but I was able to continue to move up throughout the race and ended up racing with two others for the day.  The good part was that many of the guys that I raced round last year were behind me, so my fitness must be pretty good.  After the 1st 45 minute race, I quickly grabbed a drink and got into the Cat 3 race.  Gina Kenny and Sue S. were in the Women’s 1-2-3 who started behind us.  I started at the back of the Cat 3 race, stopped to fix some tape in a 180 degree turn, and then jumped in behind the 50+.  I pushed hard for the first 30 minutes, and then fatigue and cramping started to set in but still managed to finish.

In terms of placing, the 40+ and Cat 3 were still not posted online, as they were pretty messed up, but we felt like were were in top 10 in the 40+ race.  There were over 400 racers at JP, which set a CCC series record for numbers.  Having pre-reg. on BikeReg.com was awesome and made the registration process go quick and smoothly.  There are still issues, like with scoring, but in the 15 years of racing/promoting ‘cross, this was definitely a highlight.  I am really looking forward to the remaining 9 races (can’t believe I’m saying that!).

Hope to see more ABD’ers out there.

DeKalb is in 2 weeks.  The course there should be more open and fast.  Also, keep Oct. 25th open for our race.  Look for an official email coming out soon requesting volunteers.

Thanks for reading,