LaRue Reports in from the Giro D'Italia


Looks like everyone had a good weekend of racing. Meanwhile Nancy and
I went to Italy for a days in Venice and 2 days at the Giro. We Spent
the first day roaming around Venice. Catching all famous sites and the
tourist traps(souvenir shops). The city was really nice. There were
lots of sites and the famous canal with the boats for the romantic
types (not Nancy and I). We had some great pasta and wine on the canal.
Then we hooked up with a tour group and went to the Dolomites for the
Giro. We rode the finish climb on Saturday when Sella won. That was a
great climb. It was 9k with 10% average. Half way up I saw the Devil
and had to stop and get my picture with him. It seems to be my mission
on these tours to find him and get the pic. I went to the finish and
looked around. Then I went back down to the 2k banner and watched the
race. Man there were some faces of pain!! I was waiting for my friend
Steve Cummings with a Coke and a Mars bar. He was in the last group
with all the Brits Cavendish, Wiggins, Thomas, Millar and several
The next day we went to the start and looked around. I found the
Barloworld team van and talked to Steve. He was telling me how hard
the stage was and how the next 2 stages were out of control. They were
climbing about 10,000 ft a day. With an up hill TT the next day with
23% grades in it. We went about 2k up the first climb from the start
and watched. They left the start and went up a climb,10k with 8%
average. The promoters of the Giro were insane this year with hard
climbs throughout the whole course. We rode up the climb and I was
going to go the the finish but the weather was bad and the roads could
have been closed. I decided to ride back to town and get some beers
and watch the finish.
Italy is one of the most beautiful places we have been in Europe. The
mountains are fantastic with some really hard climbs. They remind me
of the climbs at the Tour of Georgia. I added a couple of pics from
the trip. I will bring all my pics from all the tours when we come in
town in a couple of weeks.
Nancy and I are planning on riding the Bartlett ride on Thursday the
12th of June and going to Sushi boys on Saturday after the Carroll
County race. I am wondering who is going to race and what category?
I sent Ebert some more pics and some videos to post on the ABD website.


Irene Pang Reports in from AZ: March to May Races

Hi Everyone!

Greetings again from the now-sweltering state of Arizona! I was in
the mountainous northern portion of the state last week where it
actually snowed 3-5 inches, yet 6 days later, temperatures reached 110
degrees in Phoenix just 2 hours to the south! The northerly portions
of the state are where most races here go in the summertime, where the
7000 ft altitude cools things off just enough to hold a race. This is
all just in case anyone is curious about the races here. Good luck to
everyone during this upcoming big Memorial Day racing weekend!

Below, the placings summary is first, followed by a report on mountain
bike races (4), followed by some road races/events (2) and criteriums
(3). Although the placings below are in the single digits, often, the
number of participants in my category were of the same order of

State Finals mountain bike, Marathon
Women 3rd
State Series Championship Overall, Marathon Women 2nd
Nova National mountain bike race, Marathon Women 2nd
Gardner Canyon mountain bike race, Women Expert XC 19-39 4th
Prescott mountain bike race, Women Expert XC 19-39 3rd
Colossal Cave Road Race, 35+
Women 3rd
Tour of the Tucson Mountains,
Female 5th
AZ Championship Criterium, 35-39
Women 1st
AZ Championship Criterium, Cat 3
Women 5th

5/17/08 – State Finals mountain bike race and Series Championship
So this last weekend was the final race of the State Mountain bike
series, for which I elected to do theMarathon event once again. It
was a 30-mile course mostly through pine forest with large rocks and
roots scattered about to add plenty of challenge. Due to the 7000 –
8000 ft elevation as well as the lack of familiarity with trails in
the area, I decided to test out some altitude acclimation since this
has always puzzled me. People say that for high-altitude racing
events, it is best to either arrive at least 2 weeks ahead, or if that
proves impractical, arrive right before the event. I've often found
that arriving the night before and sleeping there seems to help, but
that may be just due to the lack of a lengthy drive (and thus
immobility and stiffness) right beforehand. So I tried to arrive a
few days ahead, which is theoretically not the greatest thing to do
due to a dehydration effect that sets in before you actually get fully
acclimated (according to some info I found on this matter). During
the middle and latter portions of the race, I did in fact feel rather
dehydrated and sluggish when out in the sun especially, but this
turned out to not affect my final placing. Folks typically stronger
than me were still ahead of me in the end, folks about the same
ability as me were somewhat stronger initially but due to other issues
(navigational and other) ended up behind me, and folks typically
slower were still slower. Much of this race was held in areas
bordering private property and/or frequented by gremlins. On race day
and the days leading up to race day the gremlins were out in force -
directional signs and trail markers indicating the correct route were
often removed, turned around, or moved to erroneous locations creating
confusion at possibly 50+ trail and road intersections along the
route. However, it was not utter confusion so long as one had the
opportunity to pre-ride the course to make one's way around it despite
a lack of signage and ignoring incorrect markers. Unfortunately, many
of the racers apparently did not have an opportunity to do that. I
would estimate that roughly 50% of the men's field and 100% of the
women's field made detour(s) along the course due to this (my detour
was minor), and all throughout the race, folks who were initially
ahead of me would pass me later following such detour(s). In the end,
I ended up 3rd female. Interestingly, 1st and 2nd came down to a
sprint after almost 3.5 hours of racing separated by a mere 0.1 second!

Afterwards, the omnium format series totals were also calculated,
which determines the State Champion in Marathon. I ended up 2nd by 1
point (out of about 350 total points) although there was an 'error'
involving the weights; i.e. - the early-season decided – upon omnium
calculation in the stated rules was not followed. If it had been
followed I would have been ahead by 5 points. Although I had mentioned
this before the race, this was not done in the presence of an official
and was rejected, and after the race, I was still debating with myself
whether to protest it or not because in reality the only reason my
total was higher was due to some 'bonus' points that most participants
earn by doing trail work. I thought I could perhaps bring it up
later if so desired (since it's only arithmetic after all!) since
everyone was so busy getting results out at the time. However, after
looking through the NORBA rulebook, I believe this falls under the
'protest to an official in writing within 15 minutes of announcement
of results' rule, so the lesson learned here is that if I think I
might want to protest, I should do it immediately after verbal
announcement of results (since results were also not posted in this
case). So as a result, my overall series finish is 2nd – although it
would have been nice to be first, I guess it was not to be had this
time around!

3/15/08, 4/4/08, 4/19/08 – 3 other mountain bike races
A few other mountain bike races prior to this included the Nova
National race 4/4 in the Phoenixarea, which is part of the National
series. Amateur age-groupers raced 2 laps for 47 miles while Pro/Open
raced 3 laps for 70 miles. Since this was a National Series event,
strong competitors from around the country and occasionally Pros from
other countries participate. Over half the course was similar to dirt
road, so there were actually 3 of us pacing together, which is a bit
unusual in a mountain bike race. On my second lap, I became ill and
slowed considerably, and had at least one inadvertent attempt to toss
my stomach contents upon the desert floor in rapid fashion. During
this second lap, I was actually lapped by 2 of the Pro men, which
means that they had completed 2.8 laps in the time that it took me to
complete 1.8 laps!! Translating roughly into road terms (via a
probably inaccurate calculation due to varying aerodynamic drag), this
would be like me going 20 mph and them going over 31 mph for 4
hours!! I ended up 2nd in my age group, but there were only 2 of us
…. I also did another 2 mountain bike races for which the finishes
were not particularly notable, but I did manage to fix a broken chain
and dismantle and reassemble my rear derailleur cage mid-race! You
see, the official NORBA rule is that you have to carry all necessary
tools with you and work on any mechanicals yourself, if you intend to
finish a race. I don't think everyone follows this entirely though
because it's only enforced if someone protests. I was not able to
complete the Cross Country series because both the Cross Country and
Marathon series required a participant to register and at least start
that particular event at the Finals.

4/6/08 – Colossal Cave Road Race
This race featured a 9-mile circuit with about 300 feet of climbing
per lap. At this event, there was a tandem category, but there were
only 2 tandems entered. I had entered the 35+ Women category (5 laps)
which also raced with the 50+ Women (4 laps) and the Cat 4 Women (5
laps). This was a mere 2 days (40 hours, to be exact) after the Nova
National Marathon race. Apparently, this was not enough time for me
to recover well-enough for a near-ideal race. I got dropped after
less than 1 lap when the pack was merely climbing up a hill at a
relatively steady pace! Fortunately, about 40% of the field had
already been dropped by then, so after being caught by a group 1 lap
later, I worked with this group from which a few others dropped off,
and a few others were caught. There were no other 35+ Women in my
finishing group, and I ended up 3rd, which surprisingly, was still in
the prize money!

4/27/08 – Tour of the Tucson Mountains
This was actually a benefit ride for scholarship(s) offered by the
University of Arizona Alumni Association, so it was a mass-start 800-
person 70-mile road ride. Some of you may be familiar with these
events held by the Perimeter Bicycling Association of America (PBAA)
since their flagship event in the Fall, El Tour de Tucson, is attended
by several thousand cyclists. The leaders of this event ride it like
a road race, so there is a cordoned-off section in the front where
those who qualified may stage themselves. Unfortunately, I was not
qualified because one usually qualifies by finishing under certain
times at some PBAA events within the past 3 years, which I simply have
not done recently since I was in the Midwest. One can also qualify by
being Category Pro, 1, or 2, by winning a local stage race such as the
Tucson Bicycle Classic or possibly the Tour of the Gila (in New
Mexico), but those do not describe me either. Thus, I was left to
fend for myself among all-comers. Due to the large number of people,
the start was slow and the lead group was long gone by the time I had
rounded the first couple corners. After chasing for about 10 miles
without getting much of anywhere and with no idea how many women were
ahead of me, my new goal was to try to finish under the time cutoff to
qualify for the condoned-off section in a future event. So for the
next 25 miles or so, I simply got with a group of perhaps 50 that had
formed. Antsy to go a bit faster after that, I somehow managed to
initiate a break of 3 from that group, which then turned into 2, but
then we caught others etc. However, unable to keep up that desired
pace, I and others were caught by the original group again after 15-20
miles and simply rode to the finish with them. Unfortunately, my
finishing time was 3 minutes longer than the desired cutoff time in
the end, at 3 hours 13 minutes (the cutoff time is 3 hours for men,
3:10 for women), but I had a good ride anyway, met and chatted with
some new people, and was the 5th female (on a single bike; there tend
to be lots of tandems in the lead group especially)

4/12/08 – AZ Criterium Championship
This was a smooth-surfaced 8-corner 0.75-mile course in Phoenix. I
had entered the Women 35-39 race and the Women 3 race. All Masters
Women categories started together, so there were a total 14 of us. I
am sometimes slow about getting clipped in which apparently becomes a
problem in tight crits when those who get in front of me (which is
everyone) get gapped rather quickly from a strong group that has
formed ahead, and when I am too uncertain about others' lines to pass
effectively on the first few corners. So within the first lap, I was
in a group of 3 behind the lead group of 3, and the lead group of 3
was simply stronger and more efficient than my group was. So we
simply continued, occasionally rotating (but with no real order) until
the lead group lapped us. Although I was already 1st in 35-39, I
jumped in anyway as they came by and finished with them.
Surprisingly, the others I was with did not jump in also. As it
turned out, this was practice for the Cat 3 race. In the Cat 3 race,
a similar thing happened, except that this time there was a lead group
of 4 and a chase group of 6 and unfortunately, the chase group was not
rotating with a nice logical order, which in my opinion threw off
efficiency. So after awhile, I simply went to the back. Once again,
we were lapped by the lead group, at which point I jumped in and no
one else did. So my placings were 1st Women 35-39, and 5th Women Cat 3.

5/3/08 – San Tan Crit
This was the first-year running of a 7-corner 1.1-mile crit in the
Phoenix area that consisted of a triangle and a square separated by a
straight stretch of road linking these two polygons. Therefore, the
straight stretch carried 2-way criterium traffic separated by vertical
traffic pylons. I was a bit dubious about this setup at first, but it
seemed to work as field sizes were not too large and people were
mostly careful about the pylons. I was late for the Women cat 3
event, so due to my own tight schedule, I entered the Men 50+ event
instead. (The officials here use the rule of thumb of adding 20 to
Master Women's racing ages and concluding that a Master Woman may
enter whatever category that age man could enter, which would mean
that next year, I could enter Men 60+, but that seems a bit overkill
to me – I think I would continue to enter no more than 50+ )
According to my Powertap, this turned out to be a good workout for me
– my average power for 40 minutes was higher than I would normally
expect if I were to, say, do a TT, but that could just be me ….

5/4/08 – Cyclo de Mayo Crit
I was rather excited to be doing my first Women's 1/2/3 crit of the
year here. All my other crits had been Masters or Cat 3 or Cat 3/4
Women. The course was a 0.5-mile almost-rectangle with several brick
corners, a speedbump (low - not bad), and a roundabout-like structure
that protruded just enough onto the course that a single paceline
going through would need to deviate their path by about 1 foot. I
actually got off to a good start this time, but unfortunately, I
flatted on the first or second lap and had no wheels in the pit. So I
promptly pulled out, disgruntled, but managed to convince the
organizers to allow me to ride in the Men Cat 3 crit (next race) after
I had fixed my flat with a spare tube. In the Cat 3 race, I seemed to
be having substantial problems over the brick sections, feeling semi-
not-in control over those sections, but after speaking with others, I
concluded that it probably had to do with the characteristics of my
bike combined with my light weight. After a while I started coasting
through the entire brick sections, only for a larger gap to form thus
necessitating a harder sprint after each brick corner. I only lasted
something like 12 laps before I became extremely tired from the
sprinting and dropped out. Despite my ride time being much shorter,
my average power was lower than the previous day, but my peak power
was much higher.


ABD Women shine at the Monsters

Several ABD Women were also out in force at the Monsters at the Midway
this weekend and turned in some mighty impressive results.

Jessi Prinner took 4th in the Womens 1/2 and Sue Semaszczuk took 4th
in the inagural Cat 3 womans race. Sue was lead out by her teammate
Marilyn Powell, who was doing her second race of the day after taking
3rd in the Masters 40+!

Keeley Report: Monsters of the Midway & Wheels on Willy

cat 3
Lined up with 60 riders, 6 of which were ABD, so it was nice to ride
with a crew today. Our plan was to stay out of the wind and move up
at the end for the inevitable field sprint. We did a good job of
being aggressive a few times early in the race. David Reyes and his
father Al jumping off the front on several occasions. I found myself
way back with one to go, found Jay Corgiat's wheel on the backside and
took the express to the front of the pack. Jumped on Al's wheel going
into turn 3, took a decent line through turn 4 and sprinted to a
respectable 7th. Fast race, fun race, easy race when you could stay
tucked behind the big guys. I believe Ben was top 20 as well with the
rest of the guys finishing in the top 30 or thereabouts. Not bad for
our first stab at teamwork, it is only going to get better. There is
something to be said for having so many friendly dudes in the race
with you.

Wheels on Willy
master 3/4 race

We lined up, seemed like about 50 or so in the field. The official
held us at the line for an extra minute as they cleared a car from the
course. They then called the Chrono-metro team up to the front of the
line en-masse for what I thought was a photo-op. It turned out to be
an impromptu call-up to thank them for putting the race on. I'm not
usually one to cry foul, but it was a little iffy that they had them
start pretty much across the road about 5 feet in front of the line.
The whistle went off and we took off at a leisurely pace being the
chrono-wall. One of their riders took off and had about a 100 meter
gap by the time we cleared the tricky downhill turn 2. Coming through
turn four he had about the same, so I decided to join him, seeing as
how he had about 15 teammates in the field and the move might actually
work. I looked back and saw that I had a nice gap, with Jeff Watt
from Vitamin Water glued to my wheel. We joined the Chrono-metro guy
on the backside of the course going into turn three and began trading
pulls. My memory is bad, but I think we were up there for a lap or
two and the gap grew no bigger than about 100 meters. I felt like we
were probably in good hands with VW and Chrono in a break, but it was
not to be. We were reeled in about 10 mins. into the race and a few
more attempts would be made to create a break, I was in several of
them, but none had much chance. About 20 mins. into the race I found
myself up the road with CBR's "editor" and Jeff Watt. "We need a
Chrono-Metro rider to make this work" shouts the editor as I am
thinking much the same. Within a few turns up screams a Chrono-Metro
guy, we trade a few pulls, but the pack is right back on us. Now we
are past halfway, so time to sit in for the field sprint unless
something worthwhile forms up the road. I was just chilling about 4th
wheel and another rider screams full blast directly into my ear at
another rider to get off his ^$%^#^# bike. My CAT5 reflexes
immediately kick in and I turn my head 180 (as the guy next to me does
the same). His skewer slices through one of my spokes and I am off to
the wheel pit. I was blessed with a good sendoff from the pit man (he
must work out) and got back into the mix. Bad line into and out of
turn 4 and no sprint for somewhere in the late 20's, what a bugger.

Cat 3 race

Bad clip in, faded wayyy back and took until about 30 mins. into the
race to make it to the front. The race was fast from the gun and did
not let up. I felt very shaky still from my earlier mishap and made a
few mental errors that almost resulted in me being on the deck.
Stayed in the top 10 for the final few laps and did not follow a good
wheel into turn 4, resulting in a good hard sprint for 11th.

P1,2,3 race

Was literally shaking as I sat at the line with Tim H from Vitamin
Water. "What are we supposed to do here," I ask. "Strap in and enjoy
the ride, corners should be smooth. There will be a lull and then all
Hell will break loose," was his response. Well, it was breaking loose
from the start. I began near the back, clawed past a few people in
the first few laps (there were 125 in the race according to the
announcer), kept clawing, began finding myself being gapped riders,
became a gapped rider and sat up 6 laps into the fray. Glad I was in
it, wish I could have hung out longer. Our elite team lit it up
pretty nicely, taking 2nd in a 5 man break and 2nd in the field spring
along with some primes. A.S. showed some huge nuts again and finished
top 3o with the big boys.


Prinner Report: Vernon Hills Grand Prix

Hello Everybody,

I was a little crestfallen to not be able to make it to the Baraboo Sharks RR on Saturday, so I instead turned my sights to the Vernon Hills Grand Prix on Sunday.

Indeed, it was a grand race. 40 percent of the field consisted of just Alberto riders. Now, I know what you’re all thinking. “Gosh, that sure is an unfair advantage!”, you might say. Well then, let’s rephrase the statement; there were two Alberto’s ladies. Yeah, you don’t even have to do the math.

Anyway, the race started out tricky seeing as though the road was wall to wall with cyclists. Sue and I sat on the back of the pack, but we didn’t worry because we knew we had the super-awesome bike-handling skills and experience required to move up when we deemed necessary. A lady in blue (a.k.a 20 percent of the field) pulled us around for about two laps, and I was starting to get a little antsy. So I attempted my first attack of the race. It was to no avail, though, because the mighty power of the colossal field was on my wheel in an instant. No worries, though, it was only one of about 8,000 attacks I was going to attempt in the race. In fact, I think I may have attacked just about every lap. So much for surprise; every time we rounded turn three everyone started sprinting because they knew I was going to attack.

Anyway, eventually one of my attacks worked, and luckily I had Sue there to block the front of the field for me. I soon found myself in a meager group off the front consisting of the two Alberto’s ladies and me. Both of them worked together and kept me sandwiched between them at all times. So what did I do to counter this move? I attacked! Eventually one of the women got dropped and it was just two of us working together. So then what did I do? In unison now….I attacked! And what do you know? It worked! I gained almost a third of a lap on the lady and rode across the finish line pumping my fists in the air like I just won the Tour de France. Close enough.

So then, of course, I had to stand on the podium and claim my victory. And that is when my worst nightmare came true. The announcer guy decided it would be a great idea to interview the top three riders, but little did he know that Jessi Prinner has this severe disease called Stage-Fright. Definition of Stage-Fright: a huge, vicious monster lurking in the dark that only strikes when one is plopped on a stage (or other elevated area) in front of a large crowd.

Announcer man, “So, Jessi, it must feel great to have claimed the overall victory. I noticed how you attacked with just three laps to go when you were with only one other rider…what compelled you to make this decision instead of waiting it out to the end to sprint?”

Jessi (speaking to brain), “Okay Brain, time to kick it into high gear. Make Jessi’s mouth say something interesting!”

Brain, “……….”

Jessi, “C’mon, don’t fail me now!”

Brain, “……….” (a soft ocean breeze and the sound of crickets chirping can be heard in the backround)

Jessi, “Dang it! Recall something from past experience…..I must have learned something useful in school that can be applied now.”

Brain, “The Law of Embryology states that ontology recapitulates phylogeny. The product of the reciprocals of two positive numbers is equal to the reciprocal of their product. Desertification contributed to the migration of the Bantus in Africa.”

Jessi, “This isn’t helping.”

Mouth, “********************” (This quote has been hidden to protect the identity of…..well…me. It shall forever be forgotten because if it isn’t, there is a large possibility that it will forever go down in history as the worst sentence ever put together by a human being, much less spoken in front of a vast crowd.)

And so that ends my tale of Vernon Hills. Next time I will be prepared for my speech, and when my moment comes, I will say, “hold on a sec Mr. Announcer Man, I gotta get my notecard out…”

Until Next time,