7/26/2007

Oehmen Report: Paceline Approved by Dogs

OK so last year was a bad year for me and dogs. Which some of you may remember from my emails for help and Farrell may remember me giving him a call on the verge of tears ready to quit cycling.... stupid dogs. One thing i read or maybe i was told was that some dogs like the German Shepard that chased are herding dogs which is why he wasn't behind me but next to me on the other side of the rode.

Anyways there have been no incidents this year ... knock on wood! But yesterday at the melon century i grabbed onto a very large group of riders of about 16. Most were from a club with red shirts a bottle cap on the back of the shirts. Sorry i don't remember the name of the club or the riders. Anyways we had a pace line going and at one time we were all single file. Then i hear everyone yell back dog.... And i look over and see 2 dogs. One a golden medium size but plump dog and the other a beagle, both with collars. The golden dog is in the middle of the intersection slowly walking towards us while the beagle is laying in the grass.

He didn't chase us. Just watched us go by with a grin on his face. And some may argue that he might have been too tired from chasing riders already past or maybe he was way too much out of shape to chase a cyclist. I looked in his eyes while he looked at us and i say he was thinking that everything looked in order with us and nobody needed to be herded back into line. We had a real good pace line going.

It is a good thing that they didn't meet up with us later because a few guys decided we weren't going fast enough once they got to the front and completely blew the pace line apart into a zillion different pieces. But that is a whole other story. Well that was ok. I did 50 miles with them and did the other half at a nice easy pace by myself.

Liz Oehmen

7/23/2007

Ryan Baumann Checks in From Europe

ABD rider Ryan Baumann is currently racing with the US National Team in Europe and just finished a stage race in Liege.

Read his latest Blog entry, "Liege'n" at http://racewithryanbaumann.blogspot.com/


Sarah Tillotson's Giro Femminile Report

The rain is falling with a soaking determination up here in the Adirondacks today. I'm sitting in my friends' living room a block away from the Ironman Lake Placid registration tent watching through the front window as Sunday's competitors park and walk to pick up their race packets. I have also just finished watching today's Tour de France stage with all of the glorified Versus commercials for the station's ongoing Tour coverage. Between the Tour montages and parade of Ironmen, I am feeling by turns inspired and slothful on my couch. But wait, I think, did I not just fly in from Italy less than 48 hours ago after completing the longest women's stage race in the world? Oh, but how quickly I forget the racing induced pain and suffering that my body just endured for a record 9 straight days of racing. If anything I guess it can be said that I am in good company amongst these athletes-televised and otherwise. Through the jet-lag that is beginning to taper off perhaps I can convey some of the lasting impressions from the Giro Ciclistico Femminile Internazionale (the Giro for girls) that my Colavita/Sutter Home team has just competed in.

Was I excited for the Giro was a frequently asked question before the trip over. Truthfully, I was nervous-afraid really. This was new territory for me as a racer. Nine days of Euro racing with women who raced like pro men. These feelings weren't unfounded: we averaged 42-45 kph for 3-4.5 hours a day. This includes frequent braking caused by any type of bend or corner in the course. I never thought I would say this but I long for a a tight, technical crit course raced by North American girls who have been raised on a steady diet of criterium racing and know how to take a turn with a fair amount of speed. That is the ONLY arena I can claim superiority for my country's racing over Europeans, other than that, those girls are incredible. Aside from the personal challenges I would face, I knew that our team's staff was going into unchartered territory; though very competent people in their own country with their own language, I was truly apprehensive about the ability of my director to guide us through the rigmarole of two weeks of racing with no English cues. Races starts, accommodations, race radio information, manager's meetings, communiqu├ęs-there are so many critical facets of the race that were going to have an enormous bearing on the riders, that he was going to have to fudge his way through. I would have to have an extraordinary amount of faith in his ability to figure these things out because we were totally at his mercy. Our mechanic had never been to Europe where the race on bikes is only half the story. Racing to the hotel to get the hook-ups for the hose to wash the bikes and run the washing machines in the team trucks was a whole new form of competition. Our soigneur in her first year of doing the job, had a whole new set of challenges facing her in trying to feed and massage us in this foreign land. The chaos of trying to sheppard all these people through all of the day's logistic challenges while dealing with the constant barrage of glitches that are sure to crop up along the way was a gigantic undertaking. Kudos to our director Jim Williams who somehow pulled it off, his strength and competency, patience and flexibility were admirable and made for a successful and crisis free trip.

I would be hard pressed to recall the outcome of every day we spent racing. So much happened, a lifetime of activity, but at the same time so little occurred. It took a gigantic effort to compete but the result on paper amounted to nothing of any note. Because of this, I have a hard time defining the success of the race and tend to recall it now for it's remarkable moments; the snapshots in my memory that make it a significant experience. For that alone, I can personally appreciate it but is that enough for a sponsor? I crested the top of a climb into an ancient Italian village and happened, for a split second, to look up and see a 30-foot tall bronze statue of a saint with his arms outspread as if to welcome the charging field into the village and gasped in surprise and wonderment. That image will remain forever in my head but I don't think that that is what my director, or the national team coach, or the CEO of Colavita really care about. That is to say, Italy was beautiful, participating in the Giro was fun but from a competitive standpoint, even though I don't think it was realistic to just show up in Europe and expect stage wins and a top 10 GC placing, I should feel disappointed for letting our sponsors down and not living up to our team goals. It's a tough place to be. It doesn't seem quite right to detail out the highlights of the trip in a way that make it sound as if it was nothing but a cycling vacation, yet at the same time, what else can I really take away from it and share?

Perhaps I should have waited to write when the jet lag was truly gone and the rain had ceased. I would have been more disposed to discribe our villa in Tuscany outside the walled city of Lucca, the fields of sunflowers we rode past just like Graham Watson's Tour pictures, my TT up a 10km climb in Buti where a very young Italian boy rode with me to the top in silent encouragement, and the countless other characters and landscapes we encountered along the way.

It really was a great trip and I hope that the racing there will make me stronger and faster for our next big race in Altoona, Pennsylvania which starts next week. It's seven days and actually longer in mileage then the Giro. Most likely we will be going at a pace that is more condusive to sight seeing, but hopefully my race report from it will include podiums, stage wins and high GC placings.

Take care!
Sarah

Oehmen's Superweek Soigneur Report

If you are hoping that this email will spill all the deep dark secrets shared on the table by the elite team. Don't bother reading any further. i will never share any stories... through email :)

But i have gone with the team to racers for three events now. Quad city, nature valley and a couple days in superweek. I have learned a few things but i know i still  have a long way to go.

Notes from the feed zone.

0 - 2 bottles .... boring
5 - 10 bottles ..... fun
25 plus bottles.... funner
feeding guys from a few different teams ...... priceless

I have learned that me being over prepared and taking home extra water bottles that are still full is so much better than running out of water.

I have learned that when they say they don't need coke after a race, not to listen to them because they will have changed their minds at the end of the race.

I have learned that having a good radio is important so the guys can actually hear you and will be warned if their will be a feed bag next lap.

i have learned that sunblock and bug spray should always be worn in the feed zone. Stupid bugs and sun!

Other things i have learned about myself:

I would rather have too much to do than sitting around waiting for the guys  to race.

i need around 5 hours of sleep or i get irritable.

The most important thing is that i really enjoy the job and i think I am a good fit for it.

* i know there is more i just can't remember what it is. I might have blocked a few things out!

Liz Oehmen
ABD soigneur

7/19/2007

Cooper Report: Dice 40k TT

While a lot of my friends were out racing at superweek venues I chose to hone my skills at time trialing. I met up with Rob, on time, and we headed out to what Nebraska or something, no Cordova. We got there at a decent time and had breakfast at a farmers diner. Rob is the sausage, eggs, hash brown kind of guy and I was the pancake with blueberry sauce dude. You know it was nice not to rush. I set my bike up, still don't have the TT bike so I used my geeky clip ons, and got a nice warm up. I vowed to my self to ride this "out of the book." Try not to go out too hard and settle in and constantly ramp it up towards the end. This is what I did. I went out not too hard for 5 min then I moved it up a notch. I tried to keep aero the whole way but I had some head bobs going on. At the 1/2 way point I saw Rob was gaining on me so I kicked it up a notch higher. I felt good and I thought I was farther into it than I was, and drove it up only to come back a bit a little later. With about 10 min left I increased the torque and in the last 2k I tried to ride out of my skin. After the final s bend and the finish line in sight I wanted to maintain and I looked down at my polar for a little motivation. I cruised through the finish at 58:33 with a 2nd place finish. I accomplished 2 goals, 1 to stick to the plan, and 2 get under an hour. It was odd though there was no real wind...are you sure we were in the Midwest?
-Ryan

7/11/2007

Jr Track Nationals

As soon as we pulled up to Colorado Springs’ 7-Eleven velodrome with all five bikes, seven extra wheels, and about 3 tons of equipment and clothes piled in the back of our van, I knew I was in for quite a ride (literally and figuratively).

After having settled into the atmosphere of the Northbrook and Kenosha velodromes, this track nearly scared the living daylights out of me. The infield was concrete with a permanent wall all the way around except for two openings allowing riders onto the inner track followed by a gully that ran all the way around which was covered in certain places by rotting boards to ride over. After making it past all these obstacles, you were finally on the apron of the actual track. Just by looking at the banking I knew it was much steeper than Kenosha, and the track even contained an enclosed two-story tower/building from which the officials could watch the race in comfy sofas and chairs. Despite all of that, though, I was truly blown away by the underground tunnel that transported riders from the infield to the spectator stands. That’s when I knew this track meant business. I think we need to make some serious modifications to Northbrook.

I entered the track for the very first time full of anticipation and excitement…until, of course, I got to the first turn and nearly had a heart attack when I looked down and saw how steep the banking was. The turns were so steep that I doubted I could climb up to the top of one on just hands and feet.

For all of my races I camped out in two tents staked out by the “Chicagoians” which consisted of teams like XXX, Smartcycling, Northbrook veloclub and several other teams I recognized from Northbrook. I must admit that even though cyclists are usually good, caring people, they get a little aggressive on the infield when it comes to tent territories and possession of benches and bike stands. People became so intent on robbing each other of their benches that it became a heated competition all in itself. Some went so far as to cut off the zip-ties that we used to attach the bench to our tent with.

Anyway, when the first day of competition came I wish I could say I was full of confidence and zeal, but instead I was really nervous and only wanted to crawl under one of the benches we stole. It was the 500 meter TT, and by the time it was my turn to go I was shaking bad enough to make anyone believe there was an earthquake happening. Let me tell you, there’s nothing worse than sitting alone at the line with only a clockface counting down the seconds (50…40…30…20) until the buzzer signals the start of a race where everything has to be performed perfectly from the time you’re let go to the moment you’re racing down to the finish line hammering with everything you’ve got. I finished in 41.5 seconds. SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> That was good enough for 11th place, and first place was just four seconds away. I’ve decided that I hate 500m TTs.

The next day I showed up again on the line along with 19 other girls, staring each other down for the victory of the 6k Scratch race (a scratch race is just like a crit, just in a velodrome). Actually, everyone already knew who was going to win the scratch race, it would be a girl named Coryn who had only lost a Junior National Track race when she was 10. She’d won gold for every single other race, and she’d won the 500m with a time of 37 sec. It would only be a question of when she would make her winning move. As the race started I sat at the back twiddling my thumbs, waiting for the real race to begin.

Coryn set the fuse with a fake attack near the start. She was caught easily, and her plan rolled exactly how she had calculated: a counter attack went off, and the field chased it down within a lap. Then Coryn made her real move with an attack that made a 20 ft. gap and held for about two laps before the strung-out field finally caught it. Coryn swung up and the exhausted field did so as well which left a perfect clear path at the bottom, and which shoved the most perfect opportunity right in my face. I wasted no time before diving down the banking straight to the bottom, underneath all the riders and right off the front before anyone could even shout, “Ho ly Guacamole Batman!”. I whizzed so close past the faces of the coaches on the apron (screaming “Attack! Attack!”) that I could have reached out and punched one in the face. I flew past the cameraman flashing the light for his photo, and sped by the lap counter that read 12 laps to go…wait a second! 12 laps to go?!?! What in the Holy Toast’s name was I thinking?!?! Who in their right mind attacks with 12 laps to go?!?! Jessi Prinner does, that’s who.

The adrenaline was pumping through me at 10 laps to go; at six laps to go I couldn’t feel my legs anymore and Coryn was leading the field in a desperate chase to catch me; at four laps to go my lungs felt as if they were going to explode and Coryn was begging the field in a panic to help her chase me down; at three laps remaining my vision was getting blurry, I could practically hear the lactic acid sloshing around in my legs, and I just wanted someone to shoot me; at two to go I wanted to punch the lap counter official for not making it one to go; and at one to go all I could think about was, “DON’T CRASH DON’T CRASH”, because knowing me I would probably crash into one of the coaches on the apron. Thankfully, though, I managed to cross the lin e in one piece, taking the gold scratch race medal, and leaving Coryn in a huff at her loss.

The next day I had to wake up extra early (at 8:00 am!) to warm up for my final event: the points race (a 30 lap race in which riders sprint for points every 5 laps and 1st place gets 5 points, second gets 3, third gets two and fourth gets one. The bell signals the points lap). It was a hot day, and even though I drank roughly 68 gallons of water, I still somehow managed to obtain what is called “cotton mouth” ( no not the snake, but just as deadly) where it feels as though someone stuck a wad of cotton in your mouth and it becomes agonizingly dry. From the beginning it was slow and bunched up; everyone was just ambling around in circles waiting for the first points. Just two or three laps into the race a sudden clashing and scraping sound erupted from behind of a five girl pile-up and the race was instantly neutralized. About five or six laps of riding slowly around the apron later, we all started off again with all the crashed girls back in the pack (gosh I feel safe). During the ten hours it took to finally scrape all the bodies off the ground, my mouth kept becoming more and more painfully dry. As we rode around I kept trying to summon up all the saliva from the pores in my mouth, but it was bone dry in the cave. The bell lap finally came, and the field exploded with jumps and girls fighting for position. I was flung back into the far reaches of the pack, far out of contention for points. It remained like chaos for the rest of the race, and for the first four points laps I didn’t earn any. Just when it seemed all hope was lost, I attacked and rode away with Coryn, getting second place points and eventually passing her in the end to earn first, miraculously putting me in third place for the race.

Not only did I earn a third and a first place, though, but I also placed second for the omnium (the overall ranking).

I was a little disappointed that I didn’t get a jersey for winning the scratch race, but I did leave with the bling, so all is good.

Until next nationals…oh, wait, that’s tomarrow…

-Jessi

The Cooper Report: Wolfgang Freitag TTT

Last weekend' s two man time trial was an enjoyable experience for me and I am sure for my partner, Rob, too. It is a good feeling to walk away from a race and feel pretty satisfied with your, or in this case our efforts, despite all the little mishaps. Really, though, what would a race seriously be like with out something to blame the little shortcomings on. From the gate Rob and I worked together. We had great communication and really looked out for one another. Rob was in charge of pull times and pace, I just got to ride. We had the opportunity to pass back and forth a water bottle, since Rob's abandoned ship 15 min in to the race. And Rob had the pleasure of a swivel arm rest on his TT bars, due to his massive forearm busting the screw out. We made sure to watch wind position and not to pull off too hard. All in all we tried to keep it as streamlined as possible, for a couple cat 4's that is.

I would have to say that last back straight was nice! Smooth as can be, the wind at your back, and the finish line in sight. Rob and I saved enough energy to really lay it out coming home. There was a little traffic and may have cost us some time but really it wouldn't have mattered. One more pull each and we came across the line with 1.16 and change (results are a little off I would say) Still it was good enough to rake in a 1st place finish for cat 4 on a nice sunny day. Being my first 2 man I would say it was fun and I am looking forward to another one.

-Ryan

Marshall Report: Wolgang Freitag TTT

I thought I would share this race report...it's exactly what not to do for a 2-man TTT!

It all starts with the Pre-Race prep a couple days before, or Friday, July 6th. Got up at 5:15am, and ran an 11 miler at about 7:20 per mile pace, with my running group.

Big mistake number one, DO NOT PUT IN A LONG TEMPO RUN TWO DAYS BEFORE COMPETITION...especially on sore legs (left hip flexor/ham problem).

Ok, on to the day before stuff...did almost all the right things, took in fluids, electrolytes, carbs, easy soft-pedal 14 miler, etc. However, got to bed little to late, got about 5-1/2 hours sleep.

Race Day...here's where the problems begin.

Steve Gage & I got there late, set-up trainer, and put in about 8 minute warmup, never got HR into "AT" range at all. Really needed a minimum of 25-30 minutes, primarily because of my left flexor/hamstring problem.

3-minutes to start....

grabbed my TT helmet, and noticed that the back plastic strap was broken...my partner, tried to fix it, and couldn't...

now it's over to start line...we pull up and offical tells us we have 34 seconds to start. Now where both worried, as I handed my helmet to the race official's son, who tried to fix it...we miss our start time.

Race official tells my partner to go ahead, and I'll catch up...as there still working on my helmet...my partner goes up the road about 25 yards, and waits there...as I grab my helmet back from the kid, I hear the words...5-4-3-2-1 the next group just left.

Lost 55 seconds, not to mention the momentum, and stress we both went thru!

Were finally off...Richard Kreutzfeldt had to take double pulls, to let me warmup. I didn't get into a rythem until about 8 miles or so.

Finally, second lap goes better...we finish in 1:20:42 about 3 minutes slower than we expected.

I apoligize to my partner, whom, by the way is almost dead even with me in overall Matts Series (with the two throw-outs, I'm 2 points ahead of Richard, in 4th place).

P.S. - I'm staying overnight in Genneseo, next Saturday, so I'm closer to Cordova...the Dice 40k TT on Sunday! Maybe, I'll start checking my equipment too!

Bob Marshall/
ABD Multisport

Oehmen Report: Riding With Cicadas & Character Building

Riding with Cicadas
So last month my riding partner says to me on Saturday lets go to the Orland park forest preserve tomorrow. (Which is a lovely ten mile loop in the south suburbs) Then i ask have you been there in the last couple weeks because the cicadas are really bad by my house right now. She assured me she only saw a handful and they were fine. So I set out at 7am to go biking in circles while she sleeps in. She meets up with me after 40 miles. I say to her on the phone as she calling me to say she is here, "You haven't been here in the last couple weeks.... the cicadas are pretty bad." Then she admits she hasn't been. So a handful of cicadas landed on me and another handful flew into my wheels (which was gross because cicada juice got on my legs) Then there was the occasional sprinkling of "rain" which my friend and i suspect was a birds eating a cicada overhead. Then there was constant dodging of them flying overhead. Around lunch time cicadas get really loud. All the males are looking for mates and they just go crazy. I guess if you only get to do it once before you die, everyone would be very desperate. So one landed on Pam and i took a picture, then told here about it.

Character building
Whenever i have to do something i don't like i consider it character building. A couple weeks ago i went on an easy mountain biking trail but i am really bad at that kind of stuff so i considered it character building. Then i got lost on the trails and rode longer than i had intended. Ooops! Then there was that 80 mile ride where we got rained on for over 10 miles. Which i would take any day over yesterday. Yesterday i did the heatstroke 100. Pam didn't come with. I don't know why she didn't want to drive over an hour to bike 100 miles in 100 degree weather. My bad hydration habits often lead me to dehydration and then in hot weather i start to get heat exhaustion. It already happened this year and lead me to cut my last century 20 miles short. So i was upset about that and i said it would happen this time. So here i was thinking that i needed to be sure i drank lots of water and sprayed myself with it all the time. I started the ride feeling ok but i have been nursing a cold and a sore throat all week. It cause me to only ride 40 miles last week and the 4th of July ride was very slow. Plus i somehow sprained my ankle last month but i am ignoring that. (Stupid ankle) So I am by myself knowing that if i latch myself onto a group i would push myself too hard and forget to drink. Around 30 miles into the ride the was a curve ball. A train was stopped on the tracks and a guy was trying to fix something. A lady in a car next to us asked how long it would be. He suggested that she turn around. Then we ask, can we go through the empty flat. He says i wish you wouldn't and i wish the other riders didn't. And i am thinking well why would you tell me someone else already did and he probably doesn't want to get in trouble by saying we can. The lady in the car was all like , "you guys have some real balls" in a i hate all cyclist way. So i say to her, then can you help us find our next stop because we don't know our way around here. She suggested we turn around then turn left then ask a business how to get there. Haha i found that very funny in a it's bad enough that i am doing 100 miles... i am not also going to get lost! So there was a group of five of us and we team worked it to get the bikes across. I stood on the train and I passed the bikes over to someone on the other side. I wish i remembered to take a picture. Before the other three people came across but all the bike were on the other side. The train guy warned us that the train was moving. So i hoped off and i am thinking great we did all this work an the train is moving again. No worries it only moved around 20 feet then stopped again. We were on our way. The story at the rest stop seemed to be that half of the cyclist were going around and the other half were going through the train.
So anyways the character building part. So around 60 miles the heat is sucking but i am doing good with my water. I actually have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the ride which never happens to me. Can anyone explain to me why an 80 mile ride is easy but once you go over that it gets hard? So anyways around 80 miles my thermometer say 102 and this is where i cracked last time. But this time i refuse and i keep going. I keep telling myself that i am character building. I think it is even harder when you are by yourself. No one to help push each other. I feel great today. And i can't wait to do another next week. I get a great amount of pride every time i finish one. It must be all that character building i do!

Ok thanks for reading my very long rambling. I don't write stories to the club often!
Liz Oehmen