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,