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,


Bertucco Report: Green Mountain Stage Race Wrap-Up

ABD and racing fans,

It's been a few weeks since the final stage of the Green Mountain Stage Race. For those of you following my Twitter updates, you know that it was a pretty rough 4 days of racing for me. Racing up Vermont's highest paved road on stage 3 nearly killed me. But I finished to fight another day which is more than I can say for a few riders who called it quits.

The final day was a brutal 35-lap crit that has seen me, in years past, spit off the back in just a few laps. For you St. Louis racing fans, imagine the University City crit (with the Alley of Death) and throw in a fast descent/hard left turn/out-of-the-saddle-strung-out big-ring climb combo, and you have the Burlington, Vermont criterium.

But I had been beaten and crushed by this crit so many times, I knew what it would take to survive the day. Knowing and doing are two different things altogether though. The following is a handy guide to surviving a race, any race, that you have no business surviving.

Step 1:  Win the sprint to the start line. VERY important. Miracle of miracles, I find myself neatly sandwiched between the top 10 GC riders who got call-ups before they let the rabid pack loose from our staging area. CHECK!

Step 2: Avoiding inevitable crashes. Early on in the race, the furious pace led to guys overcooking the corners. Despite relative good positioning early on in the action, I find myself delayed by a nasty crash into a wall of hay-bales. Fortunately, I keep it rubber side down; but I'm gapped off from the peloton and I don't know if my capable of catching back on.

Step 3: Believe. The next few seconds would be critical to my success or failure. "No f****** excuses, no f****** excuses" I repeated this over and over. Out loud. It was the only thing that got me through the next few corners. Profanity aside, I had to be smart too. Taking advantage of being off the back, I was able to carry higher speeds through corners that would slow most of the field I was chasing. Soon I was back and in the thick of it. Check!

Step 4: Remember your roots. There are no better crit racers than those who have been smacked around year after year at the collective slug-fests otherwise knows as Superweek. I just kept telling myself, "you are a crit racer, you are a crit racer." Which in a way, is kind of a lie. I race most crits terrified. Search even the most exhaustive race results database going back to the early 90s and you'll hardly find my name in the top 20 of any crit. But sometimes you have to BELIEVE THE LIE to survive. Check!

Step 5: Know WHY you are racing. This is important for all of you to remember. You are in the race for your team and/or yourself. So when yahoos behind you are shouting at you, you must keep a calm head and do what is right for you and/or your team. Single file up the big-ring climb, the rider in front of me loses the wheel in front of him. We are gapped and I must make a split-second decision about how to reconnect with the riders going away in front of me. I'm close to my limit, but I know the corners that lie ahead, so instead of going into the red-zone only to hammer on the brakes in turn one and have another blistering 5 to 27mph acceleration to deal with. I keep it going steady and hard, MY PACE, up the hill.

The rider in back of me takes exception to my technique and shouts, "If you can't close the gap, get out of the way!" I'm incredulous. Do yourself a favor, unless that guy shouting at you is your team leader (and even then, such behavior is really not acceptable), ignore him and race smart for you.

Sure enough, within the next two turns, I'm back on the pack and easily glide past the guy yelling at me who decided to burn one of his matches by getting back to the pack about 5 seconds before me. Check!

Step 6: Enjoy it. It doesn't matter if you finished in 34th place. It doesn't matter that the district representative will not be impressed by your performance. It doesn't matter that you aren't standing anywhere near the podium. All that matters is that you recognize that you did something really special. You did your best.

Now it's time for you to get ready for next season on the road. There's a whole calendar of races ready to try and tell you that you're not good enough. Too bad they're wrong. Really wrong.

-Marc Bertucco
New York, NY


Amy Halsall's Ironman Wisconsin Report

All - this is my race report from my first Ironman in Wisconsin on Sunday. I finished in 14 hours and 15 minutes!!!! If you are interested (or just want to view the pics), read on.....

So, it is official….I am an Ironman! It has been a long and fun journey. I loved the training even when it was tough. My amazing triathlon coach, Jenny Garrison, kicked my butt literally this summer and I thought at times she was trying to kill me before I got to race day. Instead she showed me how strong I am and how much I am capable of. So, the race was a big celebration and I’m so thankful to all of the people who came out to support me (and those supporting me from a distance)! It was so awesome to know that so many people were cheering me on. I hope you enjoy this race report of my journey and the pictures. http://picasaweb.google.com/ausimity

I forewarn you that this race report is loooong (like an Ironman!).
I started the day at 4:00 AM after a solid sleep. I ate a plate of pancakes, gathered my things, and Keith and I drove into Madison. We parked a few blocks from race central, Monona Terrace. I dropped off my special needs bags by the capital knowing I would have access to them at the half way point of the bike and then the run. Next Keith and I went to the bike transition where I had placed my bike the day before. I pumped the tires, added my water bottles and placed food into my bento box, and helped others pump tires. Finally I went into Monona Terrace and added food to my bike transition bag before sitting in the hallway to relax and pass time. I drank Gatorade, waved at people I knew wishing them luck, and just relaxed. Then I headed down to the swim start at about 6:15 AM for a last minute port-a-potty stop then into the wetsuit. About 10 minutes before the start I got into the water. I stayed close to shore for a while and stood. A couple of minutes before the start I swam out to the back of the group. Then the horn and go! The swim was a fight the whole time for space. I fared pretty well but went quite slow trying to keep myself from getting panicked as guys swam over me, clobbered me in the head, or grabbed my feet. I made it around once and felt ok. The second trip was much better since I had more space. I think more open water pack swimming will help me improve. Out of the water I was curious to see what the trip to transition would be like. I started to get my wetsuit off and then reached a row of shouting volunteers. I stepped up to two women who pulled the arms off, pulled it down, and then told me to sit. They each grabbed a leg and pulled. The wetsuit whipped off. I got up, took my wetsuit from them, and was off running up the parking ramp. Cheering fans lined the way and I was grinning the whole time. My masters swim coach, the person who gave me confidence to swim in triathlons, was there and was screaming her head off as I passed by.
Into transition I changed out of my swimsuit and put on my bike clothes and helmet. I ran out of transition feeling great. I got almost to my bike and realized I forgot my race number. I had to run all the way to retrieve it. That took quite a while, at least several minutes. I ran back into the bike area and a volunteer screamed out my number while another volunteer grabbed my bike sitting lonely on the rack. Most of the triathletes were out on the bike already. I ran with my bike to the mount line and rode down to street level. As soon as I got to street level I realized my Aero bottle was not latched in place. I stopped and secured the bottle the headed back out. I must have bumped my bike computer in the process because it quit working. I didn’t realize it at the time and figured I could ride without it no problem and didn’t want to stop again. I thought if these are the only problems I have on the bike then I’m golden! That was the case. I rode really strong and happy the first loop eating and drinking as much as I could. I LOVED the spectators. The steep hills were packed with screaming people. The second loop started out fine but I could feel myself fading. Muscles were starting to feel tired and it was getting harder to stomach fluids and foods. But I held strong thinking of all the people on the course. I knew my friends and family were out there waiting for me. The last 30 miles were hard. I was so ready to get off the bike and started to feel mental doubt creep in. I made it up the last big hill on the loop and headed back to Madison. The last 12 miles to Madison were a mental battle knowing that the bike finish line was so close. Finally I was on John Nolen Drive and could see Monona Terrace and was riding along the lake. Amazingly the swim course was gone! All of the buoys had been removed and the
 lake was back to normal. I rode back up the parking garage drive where a volunteer immediately took my bike. I was able to walk into Monona Terrace and leave my bike in his hands. 
I took my time changing into completely dry, clean clothes and using sanitary wipes to get the bugs off my legs and wipe the salt off my face. It was refreshing. I headed out to the run course feeling drained. It was 4:00 PM at this point and with 26.2 miles to go I knew it would be a challenge. I ate a Gu and started to run when I hit the timing mat onto the course. The cheering spectators were encouraging. I kept my run to a shuffle and was ticking miles off at about 10:00 pace. I walked at each aid station every mile and tried to take in fluids and food offered. It was not settling well and soon my jog turned to walk. I struggled to run 15 seconds, feeling so nauseous and dizzy. What was frustrating was that my legs and muscles felt so good and strong. This was a place I’d never been before. I walked most of the way back to the 13.1 mile turn around. Right before the turn around my masters swim coach was there. She completed IM Wisconsin last year and immediately recognized the look on my face. I was panicked. I didn’t think that I could go on another 13 miles feeling the way I did. I thought I might pass out in the road and didn’t know what to do. My head felt fuzzy, my stomach felt like it wanted to jump out of my throat, and I felt like there was a veil obstructing my vision. My coach jumped onto the course and wrapped her arms around me and immediately began asking questions about how I was feeling. She told me the most likely cause of my symptoms was lack of sodium. I though I’d done well with all of the sports drinks I’d had and didn’t think my sodium would be so low. She said I needed get the chicken broth they offered on course at the next aid station and start sucking it down. It wasn’t far to the next station and I did as she said. I’m not exaggerating when I say it was less than a minute as I was drinking the broth that I immediately felt the change. Suddenly my head was clear, the nausea gone. With my head and stomach on board my legs were ready to go! I began to run and it felt amazing. Suddenly what had been hazy was sharp and clear. I was aware of everything around me and I could feel a smile creeping on my face. My family, prepared to see me dragging myself by them again saw a smiling, running person instead. I could see the shock on Keith’s face as he registered the change in my body and attitude. I felt so excited to run! Dark was coming on as it was about 7:00 PM at that point. I continued to walk aid stations mostly drinking broth. I started adding some cola, bananas, and water. I plugged away not knowing what my pace was except that I felt incredible. This was the best I’d felt all day. I ran most of the second half of the marathon. I’m sure it was slow but I felt like I was cruising and loved running in the cool darkness of the night. I saw fellow Masters swimmer Frank and we chatted and jogged but I floated by him. I’d seen two other friends (including amazing Ironman Allison Moe) but they were ahead of me at that point. I started to feel fatigue creep into my legs in the last few miles but pushed it out of my mind imagining the finish line and my family there waiting. As I ran into the final stretch, I felt my legs turning over faster and faster as I soaked in the lights, the crowd, the music, and couldn’t wait to fly across the finish line. I crossed over into the arms of two friendly volunteers who guided me through the finish shoot asking me questions and assessing my physical and mental state. I got a picture and then was shown where the food and medical tent were. The first person I saw was Keith grinning over the crowd. I was so thrilled to see him and showed him the coveted finishers shirt and hat. I saw the rest of my cheering crew next and felt amazing but knew I needed to get
 through to the food tent. I went straight in and picked up chips, pizza, and a cookie. I sat down and tried to eat but that’s when the dizziness set back in. I got up and went out. Keith helped me sit on the curb but the world began to spin. I have passed out before in my life and felt like that might happen again. I headed to the med tent and talked with the doctors. They weighed me and I was only 2 lbs down but I was probably retaining a lot of fluid that wasn’t able to soak in. They let me lay down with my feet up and gave me more broth. It wasn’t long and I was feeling 10 times better. It wasn’t too long before I was back out giving me people hugs and thanking them for all of their support. Kerri, Wayne, and Kayla had a long drive home and had to work in the morning. It had been a long day for everybody.
I changed, ate, and watched some more people finish before Keith and I headed back to the hotel. Keith had already retrieved my bike and transition bags so we could just leave. Back at the hotel it was past midnight when I showered and Keith headed out to get me some chicken tacos. I ate, stretched my back, and then collapsed into bed feeling completely relaxed. The next day and even today I am sore and fatigued but I’m less sore than after many marathons or even training sessions. It is still unreal that I did it because it seemed so impossible! But with the amazing support of all of my family, co-workers, friends, and especially Keith I did it! I loved it and it felt amazing to overcome the hard points and battle to the finish.
So this is more like a short story than anything, but I left a lot of stuff out as well. I hope that you enjoyed it and take a look at the pics. I tried to photo document as best as I could so I could share as much of the experience as possible. I just love triathlon and am sad the tri season is over. So now it is time to find the next goal after a nice recovery period. Perhaps a marathon this winter. If nothing else, I’ll look forward to the Turkey Trot, Reindeer Run, and other fun events that I enjoy each year. Also I can’t wait for the 2009 Chicago Marathon where I’ll cheer on many fellow athletes. Let me know if you are running, and I’ll look for you on the course! And to answer the question I know you’re asking, yes, I will do another Ironman one day. Want to join me?
Amy Halsall


Prinner Report Posted from Gateway Cup

Jessi Prinner has a great report from her 8th place finish at the first day of the Gateway Cup in her first NRC race!


Dunne Report: Downers Grove

Downers Grove report, Sat Masters 4-5, Sunday Cat 5 #2

Where do I get my “I survived Downers Grove” T-shirt?
Saturday was a beautiful day, a bit windy and I was hoping for a top 20 placement in the Full field Masters 4-5 in Downtown Downers Grove.
By the time fellow ABD riders Gary Rulo and the Sarge and I entered the course; we were already lined up at the back of the starting field. Gary’s comment “were going to have to do a little work” rang true. ABD rider Paul Zelewsky. was lined up just down the way from us. Together ABD had a good presence. The usual suspects were also in attendance. Tower, XXX and Bike Heaven all had a strong showing in the field.
As the race started, Gary and I moved up and found Paul and started to make good progress up the field. That is until maybe lap # 4. An accident on the uphill in turn 4 collected both Gary and I. Paul managed to just miss THIS wreck. The Sarge passed us asking is we were OK. Both Gary and got up, assessed our damage and moved to the wheel pit for our free lap. We rejoined the pack and continued to hook up with Paul moving into good position. The race itself was not as fast as I expected. Maybe the wind help keep the group together. During each lap between corner 2 & 3 I could hear the ABD faithful cheering us on. With 3 laps to go, the pace picked up between turn 2 and 3. A few attacks were brought back by the group and I could tell that it was going to be a bunch sprint. Paul, Gary and I had made up positions between the downhill turn 5 & 6. We hung tight just around the top 10 and had very good position coming out of turn 8 heading up the start / finish hill. Then about 20 meters before the start /finish, a rider (do not want to name team) pushed through along the barricade. He forced past me and Gary, by as he passed Gary, he hooked a XXX rider (Rob) and they both flipped into the barricade. You know what happened next, 3, yes 3, ABD riders down at once. Luckily everyone seemed OK. (I did hear the next day that a South Shore Wheelman was hurt, but will recover ). The XXX rider’s bike was broken ½. Seeing this, I feel lucky. I managed to remount and finish the 2 laps, but the damage was done. Bottom line is we had a good race going, we all felt strong for the final 2 laps, but as luck would have it was not our day. I had fun; the skid marks on my body will go away and not much damage done to my bike. Although I did not reach my goal of top 20, I can still make a good story about crashing twice in one race.
Sunday Cat 5 #2
More of the same
Lined up 2nd row behind a South Shore Wheelman with fellow ABD rider Jim Lund. Whistle blows and with in 3 seconds I am on the ground again. The guy in front of me falters clipping in and boom, 4 guys ride up my …..back. I replace my chain, remount and chase the field. I manage to catch them around turn 7. I regroup, try and recover and then work on making my way to the front. With 3 laps to go I’m in good position and holding. One lap to go and the front of the field are moving single file through turn 5 & 6. I make a move up to around 5th place between turn 6 & 7. Entering turn 7 faster than any other point of the race, made for some interesting lines through the corner for some riders. The rider to the inside of me bobbled and forced me wider than I wanted making me have to force my way back into the street before that fast approaching outside curb came up and grabbed me. I was pushed back a few spots, but managed to pass a few riders up the finish hill for 8th. .
All in all a fun weekend of racing, Considering my training the last few weeks has included Guinness and only a few days of riding a week, when I was not on the ground, I felt pretty good. I am looking forward to more racing with the Sarge, Gary and Paul.

John Dunne


Prinner Report: San Jose Training Camp

Jessi Prinner has an update at her blog about heading to the US National Team Training Camp in San Jose:
San Jose, CA


Prinner Report: Junior World Championship Trial

Hey guys!
This is the rider report you’ve all been waiting for…drum roll…Junior World Championship Trials!!!  This was perhaps one of the most important races of my career as a junior racer, and I had my sights trained on it all winter.  I think this event is what kept me half-sane during all those lonely, gut-wrenching computrainer workouts at the bike shop.  As long as I knew there was a light at the end of the tunnel, and a purpose for all those workouts, I didn’t feel like all that effort was for nothing.  My #1 incentive happened to be located in Nashville, Tennessee this year.  Believe it or not, my goal had nothing to do with square dancing or cowboy boots, but instead a time trial and a road race within the country/western capital of the U.S. 
                After an 8 hour drive from Chicago to Tennessee, I was feeling surprisingly unfatigued (haha, that’s not a word).  I think it may just be my love for travelling, and the excitement of being in a new place I have never been before.  Whatever the case may be, I was psyched for a shot at qualifying for Junior Cycling World Championships, which will be held in Moscow, Russia, from August 7-9.  The winner of the road race and the TT automatically qualify for the event they won, and the rest of the Junior National Team is decided by nominations. 
Saturday I arrived at the first event of the Soto Classic; a grueling 6.2 mile TT along a well-known road called the Natchez-Trace.  Now I must mention the quality of Nashville’s roads, seeing as though I am a cyclist and pavement is my workplace.   Most of you can imagine the roads around Chicago;  some are so bad, you begin to wonder whether or not the government hired a squad of chimpanzees to lay the road, and a blind elephant to patch up the pot-holes.   Sometimes I feel as though a 20 mile ride ends up being one or two miles longer with all the swerving I do.  Nashville, on the contrary, has some of the smoothest roads I have ever experienced, like roads that have never been touched by a cars wheels.  I could ride for miles along the Natchez-Trace and not spot one flaw on the perfect asphalt.  In fact, it’s almost a little bit creepy, like I accidentally rode myself into the Twilight Zone without realizing it.
But I digress—I could go on for days talking about pavement, but I don’t like to bore my audience with details, especially those non-riders out there who right now are going, “IT’S JUST PAVEMENT FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!!”  They wouldn’t understand.
So anyway, I spent a good hour preparing and warming up for my time trial, riding over the course again (checking one last time to be sure there weren’t any pot-holes) and talking to my ABD buddy Jenny Busch.  As it so happened, Jenny had spent numerous summers doing research in Nashville, Tennessee, and knew the place so well she could scout out the nearest Mom-N-Pop Country-Fried Biscuits-N-Gravy Pancake House with a blindfold on.   I think all Southerners just have a built-in radar for these restaurants.  Northerners, on the other hand, are more likely to flee when they see such places.  In any case, given the closeness of the racecourse to Jenny’s home, she decided to drop by and support me in my endeavors.  I find that supportiveness and friendliness tend to be natural traits of ABD team members, almost like it’s inborn.  And if it’s not, then we are quick to convert those sinners. 
I felt that it was to my advantage that the course was 10K (6.2 miles) because that also happens to be the distance of a certain indoor event we all know quite well.  Since I’d been doing the indoor TTs for four or five years (see, I’ve even lost count), I already had a good idea of what type of effort I could do for that particular distance.  From the time the clock started running I visualized myself once again on one of those awful computrainers, and tried to block out all the nerves that could possibly cramp my style.  I knew focus was the key—every ounce of my attention was trained on the effort at hand, losing sight and letting up for one moment could cost seconds.  I was flying; I made sure to spin out in my junior gears in the downhill and max out my watts on the uphills, judging to be around 270-300 watts as I would have done on a computrainer.  After the midway point I felt even faster as I estimated that my gap was closing to my minute-man, and I passed one girl several minutes ahead of me just before crossing the finish line.  It wasn’t until much later that I finally saw my time.  At first I was appalled to see I had made 2nd place with a time of 16:20 right behind 1st place Coryn Rivera, but then even more shocked when I saw I had lost first place by one second.  It’s always the most painful when the gap to a victory is just marginal, but seeing as though it was the closest I have ever gotten to Coryn’s time, I felt some degree of satisfaction. 
After making several trips to the hot tub the night before, I arrived at the road race the next day feeling fresher than I had expected.  The race was to take place over a grueling hilly 55-mile course accompanied by a scorching sun.  Within the last two miles was a monster of a hill that had to be over 10%, and the terrain seemed to just keep going up and up and up.  If Hideaway Hill is Dr. Jekyll, then this hill must have been Mr. Hyde. 
Well anyway, the race began with about 12 girls and nothing really happened for the first several miles of the race.  We rolled along as if we were on a nice Sunday group ride, looking around at each other to see who would make the first move.  Coryn Rivera attacked first on a sharp downhill, and as soon as the group rolled up on her, Kendall Ryan counterattacked.  Since it was only the first few miles of the race, everyone sat up, not bothering to put in an effort to chase.  Her gap continued to increase steadily as the miles wore on, but no one wanted to cooperate in catching her.  We finally hit the first major hill of the race, and the group immediately split, leaving five of us off the front with Kendall still ahead.  I wasn’t surprised at who made the cut; Kaitie Antonneau, Jackie Kurth, Anna Young, Coryn Rivera, and me.  All four I had expected to end up with at some point in the race.  For a moment or two, we attempted a chase, but it was short lived seeing as though nobody really wanted to take the chance of pulling their competitors and then being attacked.  Both Coryn and Kaitie attacked several times, and eventually Coryn and I managed to gap the other riders with roughly 20 miles to go.  We worked together to try to catch Kendall, but by that time she was so far ahead that our efforts really got us nowhere. 
With just two miles to go, we hit the final hill, and Coryn and I tried numerous slow-motion attacks (seeing as though we were only hitting about 10 mph at most).  It ended up coming down to a sprint, where Coryn outsprinted me for second, and I took third.  I’m glad nobody took any pictures of that finish because I’m sure I looked like a mess with salt stains all over and gel caked to my bike.  My coach, Mike Farrell, had told me to eat 4-6 gels during the race.  The result was not pretty, especially during the latter part of the race when a considerable amount of gel ended up on my hood/brake lever/fork/cables, etc. 
After the race Jenny Busch took my family and I on a tour of downtown Nashville.  Believe it or not, girls actually dress like Taylor Swift, complete with cowboy boots.  I ate chicken fried chicken, and to my surprise, it was delicious.  Unlike Chicago, downtown Nashville had hardly any traffic, and didn’t purposefully try to run any pedestrian/cyclists over, unlike Chicago where we suddenly become moving targets.
Despite all the fun I had over the weekend, it wouldn’t have been made possible without Jenny Busch’s and my parent’s assistance, Rob Jungle’s wheels, and the support of ABD.  Now I just have to cross my fingers and hope to make the National Team.
Is there anyone on the team who knows Russian?
Thanks for reading,


Prinner Report: Quad Cities (and Not So Radio-Ready)

Hello ABD,
        Even though school has gotten pretty crazy in the past two weeks, I still managed to find time to travel to the Quad cities, and then Nashville Tennessee for some major hard-core racing.  I’d like nothing more right now than to just sit and vegg out since I only have two days of school left, but I figure these reports are too important to hold out on any longer.

        Two weeks ago I hopped a ride with Sue to drive down to race the infamous Melon City and Quad City criteriums.  I was really looking forward to upping my results for this weekend since the best I’ve ever done was top twenty, and even then that was only when I wasn’t busy crashing myself out on every available corner.  The field was just as tough as ever with several pro-elite teams scattered throughout.  Meredith Miller from team TIBCO was there, as well as Amanda Mill from team Lipsmackers.  I also noticed how many of the teams had radios strapped to their ears, and thought about how cool it would be if Sue and I had earphones like that.

Jessi Prinner speaks into radio, “Pssst, Sue, are you there?”

Sue: “Yeah, I’m here”

Jessi:  “Sue, I’m riding about five riders back on the left.  Now I just move up one spot.  Now I just blew my nose.  The lady next to me has some really cute gloves.”

Sue: “Jessi…”

Jessi: “Oh no!  This lady just cut me off.  Okay, now I’m turning…”

Sue: “Jessi…”

Jessi: “Alright, I’m still on the left, about four riders back now.  Someone drew a smiley face on the road…oh wait, maybe it’s a frowney face…”

Sue: “Jessi!”

Jessi: “What?”

Sue “I’m right next to you”

Jessi: “Oh, right.  Oh!  You’re the one with the cute gloves!”

No, now that I think of it, that wouldn’t work out.  Sue and I would probably just end up talking about the weather and telling each other “Knock knock” jokes when we really should be focused on racing. 

        Anyway, the race was a total of fourteen laps, which may not seem like much on paper, and wouldn’t be if the course was flat, but fourteen laps sure seemed like plenty by the end of the race.  Everyone, of course, attacked on the hill, and I even managed to get a small break going with three other riders for one hopeful moment.  Nothing got far, though, and the move was shut down within half a lap, as it was too easy for the field to gain ground on the downhill.  The course itself is unique in the fact that it has a weird shape that squiggles through a park, with a steep, fast downhill, (at the bottom of which lies a speedbump) followed by a steep, slow uphill.  From past years I learned that the first rider to the top of that hill on the last lap is almost guaranteed victory, because by that time everyone is so gassed that an actual sprint is almost nonexistent.   So my plan was to be first up that hill.  It’s too bad about 30 other riders had the same plan in mind, because by the time the last lap came around, everyone was gunning for the front, and one rider (Meredith Miller from TIBCO) already had a significant gap up the road.  So the rider mentioned ended up winning the race, while I got neatly boxed in on the left with my last time up the hill.  Pooling together everything I had, I used my sprint to loop and dodge around a minefield of scattered riders, all jockeying for position towards the top, and finished with a respectable 8th place.

        The next day I crossed over the Mississippi River into Rock Island to race the infamous Quad cities criterium, also known as “Rage in the Cage”.  The skies looked threatening, and for a while the forecast predicted thunderstorms for my race, but by the time my start time arrived, the clouds were looking less bleak, almost as if they decided to stop crying for a while to watch the Pro women 1,2,3s race.  From the moment the whistle was blown, the race took off in a frenzy of attacks and counterattacks.  Team Lipsmackers coordinated their moves well, one right after the other.  I made sure to stay positioned near the front to be ready in case any major breaks developed, and tried several failed attacks before one break finally stuck.  The group consisted of six heavy-hitters, including Meredith Miller, Amanda Miller, Catherine Walberg, Kristen Meshberg, and Toni Bradshaw.  This power group consisted of the right recipe for success, and each of us pulled through consistently and worked together like a well-oiled machine.   At first, I thought the break wouldn’t survive seeing as though it was only halfway through the race, and our gap lingered at about 20 seconds for a few laps.  Then, Meredith Miller took a crazy strong pull for about half a lap and our gap instantly increased, and it was all uphill from there.  By the end, we were roughly half a lap ahead of the field, and as we rolled by the center barriers I could peer over the spectators and see the actual pack rolling by as we rolled by.  I could probably have thrown a waterbottle to one of them they were so close. 

        With under ten laps to go Meredith Miller began her brutal attacks that tore apart our breakaway, but none of them actually succeeded.  With just two laps to go, we were all together, and as well rolled though start-finish, a gambler’s prime was called for $60 on the next lap.  It’s no coincidence they call these primes “gambler primes”, because in order to win one you have to sprint on the bell lap, which is risky considering you could get gassed with just one lap to go.  I took this risk into consideration during the whole 2nd to last lap, and debated the worthiness of the risk.  But hey, $60 is a lot of money to a junior like me.  I thought of all the things I could buy with that money; a pair of shoes, a helmet that was on a super good sale(not that I would need one or anything), a hamster, a pair of head phones, 60 songs on iTunes, 60 snickers candybars, an iPod stereo that I could turn up really loud…the possibilities are endless.  So, in case you haven’t figured it out yet, I went for the gambler’s prime.  I really don’t think anyone else even tried for it, because when I looked back, I had a huge gap between the break and me.  And then I thought:

Gap + 1 lap to go = VICTORY!

So I floored the gas pedal and figured, “Hey, I already took one risk today, might as well take them all!” For almost an entire lap, the gap stayed, and just as I rounded the second to last corner, the group came roaring by me with Meredith Miller winding up her sprint and Kristen Meshberg hot on her wheel.  Meredith took the sprint, and I, feeling like dog chow, took fifth place.  Not bad, though, considering I stepped up from 18th, to 5th in one year, a huge jump considering the size and strength of these races.  Not only that, but I made podium as I was awarded the “Most Aggressive Rider Award” for burying myself at the end, and got an interview with some radio announcer (he was taping my voice, so I’m worried parts it might show up on the radio).  Overall, I’d say Memorial Day weekend was a success, and definitely one I’m adding to my race resume.

That’s all for now…
-Jessi Prinner


Watson Report from Colorado

[Zach Watson is an ABD Club member and Elite Team rider living in Boulder, Colorado. Zach has been an ABD member since the team’s original inception as a Junior program in the mid 90’s and we are proud to still have him on board]

Hello, ABD Club. Here’s a quick report on some races this past weekend. Next up: the Quad Cities races.

Saturday:  Sunshine Canyon Hillclimb.  Basically a mass start 9 mile climb up one of the nastiest climbs in Boulder, last 3 miles on dirt.  Chilly start, headed off and the smack went down as soon as the gun went off.  Oooh that hurt, watching the watts at 425 or so and we're on the lighter grades in the first mile!  I yo-yo'ed a bit and caught back on about 3 times after getting detached, but I got dropped for good a little over halfway up.  Just couldn't hold the pace and my legs were fairly blown from hanging on during the steep stuff.  So I rode to the finish by myself, with a few others, the race exploded and everyone just came in one-by-one.  I was fairly upset since I had climbed well at Gila, but I am learning that a "sprint" up a climb like that really isn't my niche in the climbing world.  Probably would do a lot better if we did about 80 miles beforehand.  I climbed the course 2 mins faster than I did last year so there is improvement, but 25th out of 41 isn't great!  The wattage numbers were pretty high, 10 min average was 405, overall 329.  Ouch, that hurt. 
Sunday:  Bounced back nicely.  North Boulder Park Crit, apparently a coors classic heyday classic course.  They did like a dozen call ups, everyone showed up today.  Frischkorn and Donald from Slipstream, Baldwin from Rock, Garcia from BMC, Chris Wherry, Scott Moninger, Colby Pearce, Dan Schmatz, Ian MacGregor and another Type 1 guy, a Bissell guy, and the regular Boulder fast guys.  So a pretty stacked field for a local race, a lot of horsepower present.  The race splits due to the narrow roads and dodgy turns so I kept to the front.  Frischkorn took off with about 30 mins to go and I stuck right on his wheel and was joined with Colby Pearce and a couple others.  A good move but alarm bells went off in the field and we got reeled back in.  So it came down to a few laps to go and a couple guys got away, and we almost got them on the line, but Ian MacGregor won.  I kept a good position and launched out of the last corner about 6th wheel.  Sprinted hard and passed a couple, got 4th place.  
So my crit riding is spot-on and tactically I am playing well.  I got pretty down after the drubbing I took in the hillclimb so I was pretty low on morale at the start but I got out of that funk pretty quick and rode a smart race.  Looking forward to memorial weekend!  

Thanks, hope you're well!


Prinner Report: Hillsboro Roubaix

Hey Team,
                I’m sure most of you tuned in yesterday to watch a very eventful Paris-Roubaix unfold, even though I’m still a little bummed they never show a women’s Paris-Roubaix.  I’m sure women racers have just as much, if not more, enthusiasm about racing those cobbles as the men.  I know I was envious.  I just hope that one day maybe I’ll get the chance to race on one of those cobble stretches with an impossibly long and unpronounceable name, strewn with crazy spectators that make obstacles of themselves.  For now, though, I’ll just have to settle for the bastard son of the Queen of the Classics; Hillsboro-Roubaix.
                With this having been my fourth year of racing the grueling Hillsboro road race, I was surprised at how familiar I was with it.  I could even point out the exact spot along the side of the road that, four years prior, I literally stopped mid-race and lay in a ditch.  Better yet, my mom (who was also racing that day) eventually found me sprawled along the road and even stopped to give me a massage.  Believe it or not, I actually got 13th place that year in the cat 4s. 
                But looking back on that pitiful day, I realize that I have come a long way, and I finally see how ridiculous I must have looked laying by the side of the road.  I hope that most people have erased that from their minds by now.  I can’t have Webcor or Colavita knowing about this.  Quick roadside breaks are not exactly smiled upon in Paris-Roubaix, and worse yet, there’s a slight chance my mom might not be there to give me a massage.
                Anyway, I felt confident as I lined up for the Roubaix once again.  The course consisted of two 22-mile laps with a tough course mixed with nasty little bumps (as Sarah Tillotson once called them) and long, blustery stretches of road with no shelter from the wind.  The final mile to the finish is a loop around the downtown area that takes you up a long, killer hill that leads into town (actually I think the only reason it seems so bad is because it’s at the very end) followed by a sharp turn and a fast descent onto…drum roll…THE COBBLES.  I wish I could say Hillsboro contained 37 miles of cobbles like Paris-Roubaix, but I think it’s more like 0.37 miles.  It’s just enough to make you realize that cobbles really aren’t that much fun.  Just a tip: they look a LOT smoother than they really are.
                Well, the race began and I made sure to situate myself in a decent position in the top fourth of the field.  I figured I would have some time to get settled in before any major attacks came, but apparently the field thought otherwise.  Rebecca Much (a Webcor Pro) sat in second position from the gun, using her unique ability to smell attacks and knowing that the winning move was just around the corner.  We were not more than three miles into the race when the attack came on only the second hill of the day, and the field shattered instantly.  A break of three ladies formed (including Rebecca, Catherine Walberg, and Sydney Brown), setting a record from the year before of the earliest successful break I have ever seen.  Three other ladies and I formed the chase group.  Indeed, this year the field was far more intense than the year before.  Not only was it bigger, but the teams more vast and some of the big guns had come out to claim the prize of a stipend for free racing and lodging for Nature-Valley.  There weren’t just cat 1’s in the field this year; there were Pros.
                Since the break was not so far up the road (just a few hundred yards), I assumed we would reel them in in no time.  15 miles later, the three ladies were still just a tantalizing distance away.  There is a possibility they could have been playing with us as a cruel joke.  And just when I was starting to convince myself they were just a hallucination, the gap closed and we finally joined the front riders.
                With my sharply honed senses, I could tell some of the ladies were getting tired.  My first clue was after turning a corner when one lady hit the apex and made a straight, unwavering bee-line into the ditch.  I battled internally on whether or not this was intentional.  I, too, might have done the same thing four years ago.  It was to no one’s surprise that she got dropped at the beginning of the second lap; I didn’t even see her go, she was just there one instant and gone the next.  Perhaps a spectator can recount seeing a cat 1,2,3 lady laying by the side of the road, and maybe even stopped to give her a massage.
                Once again we set off into the backroads rotating in our neat little paceline for one last 22 mile loop.  We made good time at a pace of a little over 21 mph, especially considering the killer winds, which in some places seemed to be coming at us in all directions except from behind.   The field was nowhere in sight, and a lady wearing all pink got a flat tire. 
                So coming into the final downtown mile there were only five little Indians left; the survivors on a long and treacherous journey over the Roubaix.  The decisive attack came on the final long uphill when Rebecca Much exploded past the pace car (which got caught behind some other finishing riders) and gapped us as if we were standing still.  My legs were shot from the many hard miles of racing, and I was instantly separated from the other ladies, and forced to finish in a grueling solo to fifth place.  I was still pleased as punch that I managed to not only hang with, but work alongside the top riders in the region, not to mention racing and actually competing against a seasoned pro racer like Rebecca Much. 
That definitely gives me incentive to train hard and race even harder to reach my goals this year.  That includes making the junior national team and qualifying for Junior Worlds that will be held in Moscow, Russia in August.  My first test in going to be in late May at the Junior World Trials in Nashville, Tennessee (Jenny Busch, I know you will be happy about this).  If I manage to qualify, I’ll see if I can get away with wearing my ABD booties with my Team USA kit at Worlds.
Until my next adventure,


Prinner Report: Kenosha & Beloit

Hey Team,
It’s definitely about time I started with the rider reports again since I’ve finally got something to talk about (let’s face it, nobody really wants to hear a report on the indoor TTs.  This is about the time of year that we all just prefer to forget about them). 
                My first race of the year brought me out to Kenosha to race on one of the widest, flattest courses I’ve ever seen in my life.  Not to mention one of the windiest.  And it didn’t help much that there was an airport next door, and a little ways from that a giant, smoke-belching factory of some sort.  I was a bit tentative at first seeing this; not sure whether I would come home with some sort of a mutation.  An extra leg wouldn’t hurt, really.  Anyway, I didn’t come to Kenosha to race with the women, as most would have assumed, but instead my first race of the season was with the cat. 1,2 men.  I thought it would be a good omen.  Actually it was more just for training purposes, because you can’t really go any higher than the men’s 1,2 field.  Well, I was definitely excited and ready to go out and kick some butt after a long, dull winter in the trainer (my rollers were out of commission for a while.  I trained so hard that I snapped them right in half.  If you ask Farrell he’ll say the molding was defective, but I like to think otherwise).  Plus, I just received my brand new ABR license, even though I was a little bummed it didn’t rank me as Super Galactic Professional like I had asked.  Oh well, maybe next year. 
                So the men’s 1,2 race began with a meager field of about 25 guys on the line (I was really hoping for a Superweek turnout of at least 120), but I still got my workout by sitting in and practiced basic pack-racing skills like moving up, holding my line through turns, fending off riders to keep my position and blowing snot on the rider behind me.  Since a decent sized breakaway had gotten away early on in the race, I figured going for the win was futile, and besides that the wind was really a monster and nobody’s bridging attempts were making it very far.  Rob Jungals attacked and stayed away to the finish on the last lap, while I attempted to secure a good position for the field sprint.  I somehow went from third rider with half a lap to being boxed in at the back by the last straightaway, so I counted it as a pack finish.  I was pretty pleased, though, with my first performance of the year, and I didn’t go home with an extra arm sticking out of my head from that scary factory.
                The next weekend I showed up at Beloit with only one desire in my mind as I stepped out of the car—to go home.  For some reason I had it in my mind the day before that it was going to be sunny and beautiful up at the crit/speedway, even though people were telling me left and right that it was going to miserable and possibly even snow.  So when I arrived at the race the following weekend, I was actually surprised to find that it was really, really cold.  And windy.  And believe it or not, the course was even wider and flatter than Kenosha, seeing as though it was actually a racecar course.
                I was even more surprised to find that about 12 women had actually decided to show up.  Did they, too, share the same mental delusion as me?  My own teammate, Sue, should have known better than this.  She pretty much all but writes a research paper on every race she does.  In fact, I wouldn’t doubt the odds of her knowing the ground temperature as well as the atmospheric pressure that day.  The day before she had been wisely hesitant about going, but I coaxed her with super slick words and convinced her to suffer with me anyway.
                So my original race strategy had been to wait until about halfway through the race to attack since it was 55 minutes long, and I figured that way I would conserve my own energy as well as whittle down the field’s.  Well, it sure sounded like a good plan, but in reality I attacked on the first lap, sending my race strategy right out the window.   Immediately a group of about five ladies formed and we worked together trading off pulls, steadily increasing our gap from the field.  That’s pretty much all we did for 55 minutes.  I decided not to attack since one of the riders was Kristen Wentworth, a super strong lady on Kenda Tire who is known for being a powerhouse.  To attack her would be like me trying to wrestle a grizzly bear.  Absolutely pointless.  So I put my money on the final sprint, hoping she wasn’t amazing at that, too.  The final lap arrived and Wentworth tried a beast of an attack, but I managed to catch her before any large distance was put between us.  For the remainder of the lap I sat on her wheel and then began my sprint way too early and suffered all the way to the finish line.  But I still won.  And I got two waterbottles and a baselayer long-sleeve out of it.  Hallelujah. 
                ‘Till next time,


Freund San Dimas Race Report

Hey everyone,

So here is how the San Dimas Stage Race which included an uphill 3.8
mile TT on Friday, a road race Saturday and a Crit on sunday went from
my prospective.

Well the TT wasn't great. I had a good warm up, I felt pretty good,
and unlike Carter I don't mind TT's usually. However, I've never done
an uphill TT and to make things worse I went out a little too hard.
This is my biggest problem for TTs. I mean I tell myself to relax
don't go out too hard and I don't think that I went too hard from the
gun but it was after maybe 1/2 a K, when I got my 30 sec man in my
sites. Then I started to go too hard I caught and passed him probably
in the first K. I relized however I was going too hard too soon but I
could already see my 1 minute man and I kept the hammer down. I caught
and passed him probably around the 3K mark. So I still felt decent
for about another 20 seconds then I suffered the most just after half
way and before the last quarter of the race and it wasn't a good
suffer. It was the you have too much lactic in your legs and you will
slow down. This is not good because it is the section I should have
been going my hardest. So all in all I ended up with 15:26 in ninth
place. My first thought was "wow not good I hope Ebert doesn't kick
me off the team". Well maybe it wasn't that extreme but I was not
happy. Well it was on to the road race.

In the RR there were time bonuses available on lap 3,5,7 and also on
the finish. The race was very non-aggresive, barely any attacks and
the few that there were, were half hearted solo efforts which would
get chased down almost with easy. This is very different from the few
colligiate races that I've had this year which usually have relentless
attacks fro the gun. Everyone went hard on the climb but crawled over
the top taking time to recover. The pace was constantly up and down
but never that hard. So on the 3rd lap I attacked over the top of the
second climb about 3k's from the finish. I had a decent gap, however
I was caught on the long straight to the finish with about 150 meters
to go. So on lap 5 I took 3rd in the field sprint and then got myself
into the only break of the day that seemed like it might have a
chance. There was four of us and one of the guys was in the top ten
with me. I think we may have had 30 seconds or more at one point and
even put the two's field inbetween us and the main pack. We were
about to catch another large group of riders from another field but my
breakmates lost there legs. One dropped off the back while I tried to
power us over one of the climbs and the other 2 didn't want to pull
anymore. I tried to push the pace taking the lead for the entire
first climb but I could tell they were done. We ended up getting
caught just before the end of lap 7th however I took 4th in the field
sprint just out points/time bonus placing. So I sat in for the final
lap waiting for the field sprint. I ended up in eighth. Not very
good. However I learned some things from these field sprints which
prior to this I haven't had too much exspierence..
1. Enroll in Josh Carter Sprinting classes. 2. I was in too big of
gear for this sprint. 3. I was positioned too far up in the field
with a straight away that is 1k long. Lastly at the end of the sprint
I need to start looking for holes and the line rather than wheels. 4.
Enroll in advanced sprinting tactics with professor Carter.

Sunday the Crit. Well you could say I'm consistant because I took 4th
again in the time bonus sprint and eigth for the stage in another
field sprint. This race was another race which doesn't exactly suit
my tactics. It was decently fast with no real attacks and everything
getting chased down. It seemed as if everyone was content with a
sprint finish. I wanted to sit in and launch an attack with 2 laps to
go however someone stole my thunder and attacked with 3.5 laps to go
and I would have joined him but I was not in position. There was a
large team of Bishop guys there who had a couple guys in the top 5 and
they chased hard and kept the pace high. We caught the rider with
about 500 meters to go. I was a little spent for the sprint finish
because I kept following wheels that where going the wrong direction
so I had to keep excellerating to get myself in position (not making
any friends having to force my way back into line). Needless to say
the sprint was subpar. So a 8th place finish for the stage and 8th on
the GC.

All in all it was a great week in Cali. Great training and good
racing. Also good company, thanks again to Ebert and Rosa for putting
up with me for a week.



Carter Report: Pace bend RR and Walburg RR

Hi ABD'ers
Thought I would drop a short recap of the races down here.  I will start with Valley of the Sun in Phoenix, AZ.  It was a 3 day stage race with a TT, RR, and Crit based on time.  Now, it is no seceret that I hate TT's, but I actually was ready to really try and do well at this one, full on areo set up.  5k into the 22k TT I managed to find the biggest nail on the rode that went clean through my wheel.  Two thoughts went through my head: 1st- I am so glad that I have a great excuse as to why I did not do well.  2nd- Oh crap I have to ride the next 17k on a flat wheel so I can start the next day, I hope somebody will be there to score me in a hour or so.  Lucky for me they had a sweeper to pick people up in my situation and they gave me 5 minutes slower than the slowest time of the day, so I could start the next day.  RR went well, the results show me as getting 2nd (and I still would have done well) but with 1k to go they neutralized our finish because of a crash at the finish line in the 3s race.  So it did not really count.  The Crit went well also, long story shot, a Rock Racing guy and Waste Management guy got off the front with 1 lap to go and I got 2nd in the field sprint for 4th.
This last weekend I went the suburbs of Austin, TX to the Walburg and Pace Bend RRs (two big TX races that everyone has been talking about).  Saturday was Walburg- it was a long hard day in the saddle.  We had cold, clouds, rain, sun, warm, and wind (a lot of wind).  It was so windy that for about 5 miles in the cross wind I was trying to control my deep carbon Bontrager wheels at an angle as if I where going through a corner (only I was going straight).  I could feel my bike sliding sideways on the wet road.  I missed the 3 man break.  In the last 10 miles a 4th guy got away and I won the sprint for 5th.  Sunday was Pace Bend, it was a very cool race.  A 6.2 mile fully enclosed wide road loop with rolling climbs and a lot of dudes (130+ starters)  I quickly figured out that this race was going to come to a field sprint, it was too easy to sit in and to many guys with fresh legs.  Now with that being said it made it very hard to position for the finish.  There was a corner 400 meters to the finish and it was all up hill (not exactly my cup of tea) but I was ready for the fight.  I got boxed in coming out of the corner and had to soft pedal to get an open lane with 200 meters to go.  I got boxed in again and soft pedaled to get the line.  By the time I hit the finish I had caught all but 1 guy, all I needed was 10 more meters, but that is bike racing.  I will take 2nd place anytime.  That is all the races I have to report for now!  I will be at it again this weekend at Lago Vista.  Wish me luck!


The Nowak Ski Trail Report

Hey all ABD'ers, there are some AWESOME x-country skiing conditions in the area.  Here is my first hand update on the local and some not so local trails.

The DuPage Forest preserves are in pretty good shape.  I classic skied Herrick Lake on Monday and the tracks were very good (other than one area where an old lady was walking in them).  The skate area had a lot of walking traffic, but looked to be decent.  Also checked out Arrowhead Golf Course and there was a nice wide skate lane.  The tracks there were not as good as Herrick Lake.

Also checked out Blackwell FP and the conditions were similar to Herrick Lake.

My personal favorite, Deer Grove FP in Palatine has EXCELLENT conditions right now.  This is all self groomed by the skiers there (i.e. me and a few other guys).  There is an unused road that travels from the west-most parking lot off of Dundee Rd. east for about 5K that is in very good condition right now.  It is very firm and getting fast.  There are also a large network of skied-in tracks that are getting worn, but overall they are pretty good.

Also, Rockford has a nice system at Rock Cut St. Park.  Check out the link below for Northern IL Nordic.

For those of you looking for a bit more adventure and challenge, I highly recommend the South Kettle area by Eagle, WI.  The Nordic trail system is in excellent condition right now and the DNR of WI does an great job of grooming.  If you are looking for a more challenging and anaerobic workout the trails at McMiller are also excellent.  This is also a shooting range and during the weekends it can be a bit concerning hearing gun shots.  However, this is a World Cup level trail and will leave you gasping.

Here are a few links for more info if you are interested.

Ski Reports:


Hope to see you out there.  Feel free to send any ski related questions, I'd be more than happy to answer them.