Thursday, October 28, 2010

Racing has gotten easier...

If you don't believe it, see this 1950 Cyclocross race!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Cross Crusade at PIR


Jeff shows his battle wound after the Master's B melee. We have quite the team knee bleeding thing going on these days!

Keegan, Esteban and DeyShaun all raced very well in the Juniors Cyclocross Series race at the PIR Cross Crusade. It was a true mud-fest. Here are Keegan and DeyShaun dismounting before the barriers on the run-up.

We had some sunbreaks, and Danny O'Brien found a rainbow to take a picture of.

Here are Esteban and DeyShaun negotiating the final sloppy turn before the paved finishing straightaway.


Dry Heaving.
M.M. Blomberg

On an effort scale between 1 and 10,
you have reached 11.
A young rider from Trusty Switchblade dry heaved, twice, during the 8:50 AM race. Awesome. For some reason, that made my day.
Our rainy arrival at PIR for Cross Crusade race #4 blossomed into sunshine and clear skies. Being a Portland native, I knew it wouldn’t last. . Mother Nature spent the day playing RED LIGHT, GREEN LIGHT with wind and wet. Walking the course, I got a sense of what kind of experience today's race would be. Muddy, flat and fast with a chance of down pour. Hills were short and rideable. Long straight sections allowed for speed. Tube popping pot holes, a huge deep puddle known as The Lake, and barriers on the run up were in place to slow you down or trip you up. No place to rest. Period. The sky dumped all it had including tent lifting wind during the 1:00 PM race, but slowed to a fine sprinkle for the ladies line up and hour later. Starting in the third row of Master A’s gave me a good look at my competition for the day. A few new faces but the usual suspects were on board for this road race on a cross course. All of my pre race shivering stopped once the whistle blew and the chase began. Julie Swearingen (Mtn View Cycles) got the hole shot, leading way out ahead and I never saw her again (she won). Up and over the cement slab barrier, I quickly passed Sue Granjean (Showers Pass), leaving her behind for a few laps. Mud in my eyes didn't slow me down. My chase group morphed into Margie Bradway leading (Team S&M), Christy Love (Team S&M) and Amy Rice (Lazy Tarantulas). We pushed the whole time and Margi was on fire, leading the group for most of our 5 laps. A muddy technical section on the back of the course slowed everyone down (barely) each lap and allowed me a little catch up time. Rate of effort is a 9 and rising. Come on legs! Get a move on!! By lap 4, we dropped Christy but Sue and Sarah Eustis (Bike Attorney) caught us to join the chase. On the long flat sections we actually formed a pace line. A fan yelled, ‘Sarah, they are DRAFTING YOU!” Bet you never heard that in a cross race before. At the bell lap, Sue and Amy were able to get ahead into the lead positions before the team tents that led to the barrier run up. Margi took a hard inside line trying to pass a slower rider and both collided, leaving them on the ground. Just me and Sarah in the chase group now with Amy and Sue just ahead. Sticking on Sarah's wheel, I was going to get her no matter what it took. Up the hill, over the barriers, then back down the muddy hillside to a right turn on to pavement. On this final right turn that leads to the finish, Sarah got stuck behind another rider. My sprint door opened and I jumped through it. Up out of the saddle, Click, Click, Click go my gears! Much to her surprise, I flew past Amy for a 5th place finish. No crashes, no bleeding and lots of mud. What a great way to finish my year of road racing, short track and cyclo cross at PIR.
We had a great team turnout! Dave, Greg and Jeff sucked it up in the rain and Estaban's dad,
John Hardiman even turned out to race. Juniors Keegan, Dey Shaun and Estaban got their share of mud too. Keegan told me after his race he lost the use of his rear brake and still finished. He is turning out to be quite a confident rider. My partner in crime Sarah came to get some even though her cold was still hanging on in her chest. Muddy and smiling. Great way to spend a Sunday.

Throw an Elbow!

Blind Date #4
M.M. Blomberg

First-aid lady smiles and greets me with, “You again?”. On this chilly Wednesday night, I find out she had already cleaned and patched up twelve other riders and I was lucky number thirteen. Arriving just behind me is a men's A rider who crashed in the Velodrome (12 mph buddy, that’s all you needed to ride the wall) and had some nice road rash to show for his efforts.
Another sunny Fall day at Alpenrose but long shadows and a drop in temperature arrived earlier than usual for the 6:00 PM race. By 7:00 PM the single speeders and B’s were racing in darkness. Welcome to my world. The course was just as fast as last week, with more grass added through the S turns down the field. Less gravel on the uphill climb from the bottom of the field was a welcome site, making this an excellent section to sprint. Our run up was much drier and more racers opted to ride the right side including the some of the beginner men and women’s B’s (video coming).
All of the A ladies were at ease and chatty at the line up. Guess we were happy Alice “Whoosh” Pennington (Team S&M) finally stayed home and took a night off from crushing. Tonight was about me and the Tangerine Flame putting the Orange Crush on these ladies now that Alice was out of the way. My competition was Julie Browning (CyclePath), Christy Love (Team S&M) and Amy Rice (Lazy Tarantulas). Off the line, I was neck and neck with these three through the first lap. Amy lost her position when she ran into a stake in the grass section by the Velodrome allowing me to sneak by. One racer down, two to go. With Julie building her lead, I stayed on Christy’s wheel lap after lap, creating a gap with the rest of the field. I made up some time by riding the run up a couple times too (YEAY!). By lap 5, I overtook Christy (she kept chasing) and set my sights on trying to catch Julie. Now I’m in 2nd position and feeling strong.. Then it happened..... Thump, crack, CRASH!!! Caught my heel on the 2nd barrier and went down HARD on both knees. For those keeping score, GRAVEL - 2, KNEES - 0. Christy made sure I was OK as she passed (as did Amy) and told me to take a minute. A minute? Are you crazy?! I can’t take a minute in this race! Climbing back on the bike was grueling. Knees are screaming, blood running down both legs but I am trying to find a way to fight my way back into the race. Two more riders overtake me. Ughhhh. Come on knees! By the time I hit the gravel hill climb I have recovered enough to chase again and try to regain lost ground. Kim Rueter (Sorella Forte) and I went back and forth for three laps, all coming down to who took the run up better each time. Kim was just ahead of me into the bell lap and I gave it everything, trying to ignore the screaming in my knees. Beating me to the run up, I thought I could catch her as we entered the final barrier section into the finish. Not tonight. Beat me by a wheel across the line putting me in 6th place. I might not have laid down the Orange Crush tonight, but I put up a good fight.

Csaba moved up in his group taking a 17th place finish. Sarah, (you should see her bruises!) coming off of her illness this , put in a good effort but there was talk of a little Argie Bargie in the ladies B's and beginners. Just throw an elbow next time Sarah!

Zombies Are Coming!

Ride Fast,
Take Chances,
Zombies Are Coming!


What does cyclocross have to do with zombies?
If you think about it, Zombies can stalk you through anything nature throws at them, they fall down and get back up a bazillion times, and you can’t seem to get them to stop chasing you.
Welcome to Sherwood....

Excited Cross Crusaders were treated to a beautiful day at Sherwood Equestrian Park (don’t all horror movies start with a beautiful day in the woods?). This was the place to challenge your downhill speed, running and climbing skills (out running zombies requires stealth and fitness). More like short track than a cross race, we were served up bumpy single track and super climbs. The major crash site seemed to be in S turns by the team tents before the downhill into the trees. Dry conditions made these corners very dusty and small ruts kept throwing riders to the ground (see photo). Note to self. Stay off the ground!
Surprisingly small turn out in the women’s race considering how sunny it was (hmmm, women disappearing? I’m sure it’s nothing). No call up for me but I did start in the front row next to Amy Rice (Lazy Tarantulas) and Sue Grandjean (Showers Pass). Sue crushed at Rainier so I figured staying with her would be a good bet. Boy was I wrong. I jumped off the line but made a poor gear selection (WE NEED MORE POWER CAPTAIN!) and ended up in 4th position into the S turns by the team tents. Staying upright and avoiding the ruts we shot through the opening in the trees to the off camber section. Super fast down hill to an uphill hard right turn that led into a huge run up (added after the 10 am race to lengthen the course).
Momentum on this down hill carries you further and allows for a dismount closer to the run up. Great plan until Sue forgot where she was going and stopped WAY short into the turn causing me to put on the brakes. “Hey, why don’t you ride like an A for a change?”! Yeah, I didn’t say that, but I thought it. And with that, a blur of girls passed to the left of our near collision. Ughhhh. Off to chase up the hill. Once to the top, the course opened to a slightly down hill left turn that drops into a dusty field of S turns. I flew through here chasing Margi Bradway (Team S&M) for two laps but she took a line too wide in lap 2 and wiped out on her shoulder in the dust. Goody! My chance to create a gap (I should have known her speed and determined gaze meant she was one of THEM)! Plenty of chances to gain on your competition in this race if you were willing to hit the down hill sections with enormous speed. Thinking I’m making excellent time, I take the 2nd barrier section, leaping across a muddy gully to the other side with bike in hand. Now for more climbing. As I reach the ‘killer’ portion of the climb. I hear it, in the distance behind me like a whisper. “go margi”. Oh crap. Could it be? It got louder, “GO MARGI, GO GET HER!” Doesn’t matter how beat up she is, she just keeps coming! Turning on my own supernatural speed, I chase her up the hill and back through the start shoot until w
e are at the run up again. And then it happens. Another rider stops short of the hill and I almost crash into a small tree. I’m fine but my brake got stuck under my rim and I lost 30 seconds trying to un-wedge it. Oh disc brakes, where are you when I need you? Two laps to go and I do nothing but chase and overtake those who have not yet been bitten. Unfortunately, my supernatural speed was not quite enough to stop the unstoppable but I did beat Granjean!
All in all, it was a nice day to get chased by zombies.

Congrats to Greg and his awesome hole shot! He kept up the pace but fell off a little towards the end. He did tell me he only had two really good laps in him. Keegen and Dey Shaun had their game faces on. Both did outstanding in their fields and Keegan is really moving up! Didn't see Sarah before or after the race but Shane told me she wasn't feeling well and didn't finish. Feel better Sarah! You gotta a Blind Date on Wednesday. Michael made an appearance and rocked 22nd place in a field of 73 in the 50+. Mike should race more often! Good job to Dave who always looks determined. I missed Eric's race but it looks like he is moving up in a very challenging field.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Sunday, October 17, 2010


by M.M. Blomberg

Training be damned. I think there is power in cool socks. Dressing with more confidence for my third Blind Date, I felt as though I had finally come far enough to dawn my new knee highs(see photo) and rock it out. This mid October Wednesday brought sunny skies, but we couldn’t escape a chill in the air as the hour grew late. Our course was long, fast and incorporated some muddy sections that hadn’t quite faded since the rain two days before. The lines through the large field were a little soft and took us over more grass than last week. I found this new field route much faster and the soft grass was helpful in taking corners without worrying about washing out. New tonight was a Hole Shot preme to be given to the 1st racer in each category to reach a tractor parked at the sticky climb into the woods. The back tree section was the same but the rain had changed good ol’ Mr. Run Up into a slick, sticky climb to a left turn onto the pavement and back around the Velodrome. Even some of the pro/A men were running it. Thank goodness I put spikes in my shoes.
The dating scene was a little smaller than usual for my 8:00 race. Nine women tonight instead of the usual fifteen. But what they didn’t know was, I brought my secret cotton/lycra weapon to lay the smack down and smite the weak (pretty sure my lighter Tangerine Flame Kona helped). I flew off the line and jumped way out ahead of the pack. Alice Pennington (Kona rider, otherwise known as Whoosh) and Bridget Brown (River City) chased me through the field and caught me before we hit the left turn onto the gravel. They beat me to the Hole Shot preme but not by much. Alice sailed away into the trees (shocking I know) but I stayed with top series leaders Bridget and Julie Browning (CyclePath) for the first five laps. No crashes and my legs felt strong. An unfortunate line on lap 5 left a Bridgetown Velo lady crashed out with a sprained thumb by the Velodrome. Mid race I was lapped by the Men's A's leader but I never saw Alice again after the start. By the bell on lap 9 I was thinking, “WOW, am I really in 4th place? Whoohoo!” I even passed a couple of the A men during the race. Yeah, that’s right. Fear me, fear my socks! Plenty left in the tank for the final lap and the long cold ride home.
Thanks super socks!!!

Csaba’s dating life improved with a nice 20th finish in a tough field of over 65 guys. Sarah rode strong and is following in my crashing footsteps, finishing her race smiling and bleeding. Nice work passing ladies on the run up Sarah! The only fatality was in the men’s field (A/pro possibly) with a rider taking trip to the hospital for a broken collar bone during my race. Dating is hard. But I guess we like it rough.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Worth Every Penny!

“Climbing like a Billy Goat”
A Rainier Cyclocross production.


For today’s performance, the role of Pinky was played by the Tangerine Flame (Kona).
The roll of Whoosh was played by Sue Grandjean (Showers Pass).

I had very high expectations for this 2010 version of the 2009 classic. The program promised ‘RAIN, SHINE AND PLENTY OF CLIMBS!”
The show began with the arrival of over 1000 racers to the small river town of Rainier, OR.

The scene was set on a cool rainy October Sunday at Rainier H.S. Playing the role of Billy Goat is a relative new comer, Cyclisme darling, Mielle Blomberg.
She cut her teeth and paid her dues in productions like PIR Short Track and Albany Criterium Championships earlier this season and worked he
r way up to a new roll in the Master A’s. The last minute addition of a lighter bike made this a welcome change to last year, although Pinky will be missed. She watched the performance from the Pit.

Rain does not dampen the spirits of our hardy bunch of players in this outdoor venue. Like a band of wild horses waiting to be released from a corral, everyone was chomping at the bit and the performances were outstanding! The first Act included numbers like “Let’s crash into the barriers”, “Off Camber Slip n Slide” and “At Noon the Rain Stops”.
After the Kiddie Cross and Men’s fields completed their song and dance, the ladies chorus stepped up for a real show stopper. A slip up on the off camber section during the intermission sent one of the performers to the hospital just before the curtain went up. But the show must go on!

3rd row in the line up and a near miss crash with Ann Kennedy (unattached) at the start left our heroin chasing hard for the first lap. This venue proved perfect for her and she really showed what she had been working for all year. Clean lines delivered through the first half of the number gained rave reviews from audience and fellow racers alike who showed their appreciation with cheers of support and ringing cowbells.
A few slip up’s were forgivable in the sticky muddy tree section and the Tangerine Flame proved a very strong companion in tricky technical climbs. Where others walked through their lines, our Billy Goat and her Kona rode the un-ridable.

The final build up to the big finish came down to an outstanding cat and mouse chase between Sarah Eustis (Bike Attorney), Margi Bradway (Team S&M) and Mielle Blomberg (Word-RCB). Passing both Margi and Sarah in the rooted downhill that led to the infield barriers, it looked like this would be a fight to the finish.

This number had intensity and passion!

The “Hill” brought the crowd to their feet. With both Sarah and Margi chasing our Billy Goat leader hard up the final climb to the finish, it was exhilarating to watch them get out of the saddle and sprint, up hill, to the finish.
These ladies were very evenly matched and stole the show with a 5th place finish by Sarah, followed 14 seconds later by Mielle and Margi in 6th and 7th. A real standout this year was first place winner Sue Grandjean (Showers Pass).

A Cat 1 Mountain Biker who finished her performance 2 minutes and 81 seconds ahead of the pack. Special mention for Sarah Hunter who showed her grit and determination in her new “Women’s B’s” roll this year. I see big things for her in the future! Also, I enjoyed the new leading men played by Eric, Isacc, Dave and a real cutie, Shane.

What a show! It was worth every penny.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

"Car-Talk" Concluded.


in Portland,
Jake Hansen

10 months ago,
in the luxury of a Silver Mercury Sable station wagon, Stephen Bedford, John Benenate and myself agreed to undergo a mission we decided to call "Car-talk."

"Car-talk" meant the decision to prepare to compete at the Elite National Track Championships in the Points Race.

At the time we did not fully understand the work and amount of time such a goal would demand.

"Car-talk" was all consuming. It was in my thoughts, my dream, my prayers and every breath of air I drew in. Stephen Bedford and I were dedicated to becoming the best bicyclists we could be for the day of the Points Race October 3rd.

Well, that Points Race saw us both DNF.

Back when we made the goal, we didn't really understand it would mean Points Races including qualifiers and one in The Omnium, Scratch Races that fit our "roleur" style, and the time trial "Pursuits" that got us there. The Omnium included a Flying Lap and The Kilo as well.

So the three days of racing before hand were full of plenty of successes.
And big misses.
Like "last place" in the flying lap with a time that was beat by 4 girls(world record holders) in the Womens Omnium.

But we both threw down 4:57 4k Individual Pursuit's that were Personal Bests for both of us. (I know John is most proud of these)
But certainly the heroism of Bedford's (after his first crash early in the race) blocking, sitting up with defending Scratch Race champ, Bobby Lea, allowing my last minute attack for 2nd place in the Scratch Race to Former National Champ Kit Karzen of Beverly Hills helped our spirits improve. As did the 6th place in the Kilo by Bedford whose 1:10 held up as fastest for most of the morning.

Bedford and myself got 13th and 12th respectively in the six events of the Omnium. It was a brutal two days of racing and we still had two more to go. Now just beginning to compete in single events for the National Champ Jersey.

We fought hard in the Scratch Race and Pursuit Qualifiers which were like National Caliber events in their own right- harder than anything we had ever competed in back home. I got 4th in my qualifier, and Bedford WON his. Then he was immedietly taken out from behind and fell thirty feet upside down adding more pain and wood slivers to an already damaged, bruised and bleeding body. Two times on the deck now for him. We couldn't believe how tough he really was.

On the night before the big events Bedford was moaning in his sleep, agonizing from the pain. John and I both became sick with pollution sickness, but I got a fever. When the big races finally came we were just not fast enough to beat guys like Jame Carney and Dan Harm. We were beyond "toast."

The points race on the final day was FAST. Bedford was heavily bandaged and I was spewing green gobs of gook from my nose every 30 seconds. We were both off the back in about 25 laps.

In hindsight, the whole week was a great experience and we met lots of nice people and saw lots of really fast bicycle racing. I am happy it is over though, a nice break from bicycle racing seems necessary, or I may never come back.

Of course I look forward to team rides and watching some people ride through the mud with wreckless abandon. I will be fired fresh soon enough, but thanks to Nationals 2010 and the path of "Car-Talk" I will never be same again.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Crossers Cookin' in Crusade!

Fall is a time of year

when it is difficult to defend against the

huge opposition

that surges into the peloton with Cyclocross.
Thanks to diligence from new Juniors, improvement from veteran men,
huge leadership
from one very slim (Fit!) woman
and her team of strong ladies,
Word RCB is actually moving up the Oregon BAR in the cyclocross season.

Our two new "A's" Mielle Blomberg, and Eric Lanners have offered incredible performances. Now they are working on their speed in the very fast world of Elite Oregon Cyclocross.

Their leadership in Cyclisme is both grand and humorous as made evidence by a recent report from Ms. Blomberg...
Blind Date appetizer
M.M. Blomberg

for this warm Fall evening started with a pre ride lap on the newly lengthened course before the Beg men/women's B race at 6:00 PM. The back gravel section, still on the menu, was not to the liking of most as it smelled like cat litter and took regular bites of it’s own from elbows and knees (including mine) in the hard right turn into the trees.
Our specials tonight include a lap in the Velodrome and a faulty light in the back of the course at a hard left turn that would randomly go out, leaving you to ride blindly into the dark. Good thing I brought my own illumination.
Sarah missed her start time with the B’s but jumped in a lap late and gave it everything she had. A super awesome wipe-out gave her a doggie bag of road rash on her leg that she can enjoy for many days to come. Csaba, coming off a week of illness, was glowing after his race. See kids, Cyclocross racing is better than chicken soup for a cold!
My main course was 15 ladies, racing for more than an hour due to the lengthen route. I decided not to go out as hot as last week and my legs served me much better. Our old friend the “run up” was there to greet me but it didn’t suck so much this time. Alice Pennington was right on time to serve up a big plate of whoop ass. Mmmm. Tastes like chicken. To cleanse the palate after the race, I enjoyed a little first aid for my elbow and knee.
The night came to a close with a cool down ride home with our race MC Luciano and his very real doggie bag. Poodle pal Maz riding copilot in his bike bag..

Thank you to Sarah for staying late into the night to cheer me on in the dark! I placed 13 of 15 this week & only got lapped by the leader once.


Coaches Calling!

So many decisions, and when confidence needs to be high.

I was in it to win it, I didn't want to risk mistakes by saying things alone. So I used my venerable coaches.

And my coaches are great coaches! David Pulliam and Ken Nowakowski are two of America's finest and they were there with us every step of the way.

I owe a great debt to them as their guidance is what kept me dialed - and our guys too.

Bedford is talking to Nowakowski above about gear selection.

David Pulliam called all our races perfectly and we marked the guys he told us to. David was never wrong.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Ready? Get Set, Go!

Before the men of Cyclisme raced in the big Scratch, Points and Pursuit Races, they also raced in an Omnium including such events.

When the two days of Omnium ended, they had to race heats of "Qualifiers."
This is the start of one of the Points Race Qualifiers.

In this huge pack only four guys qualified and our guys were two of them.


In this picture Jake is so tired, he can hardly see straight. but he knew he had to warm up well to be ready. So here he goes...

In the 4k "Pursuit" that both men had trained for, they went to California and turned in 4:57s.
Indicating a speed of over 30mph. This time is just 3 seconds slower than the Alpenrose 4k record.
For each of them it was a personal best.

Jame Carnie -American Hero!

Newly crowned National Scratch Race Champ,
Jame Carnie has won twenty National Championship Jerseys.
He did not race in the Omnium National Championships because his bike rack was slammed on his knee by his lover. Crime of passion? No, just an accident.
I was amazed by his poise, while on the road, he scratched out of the competition, took the time to heal, then won himself a National Championship.

See what a nice guy he is too! video below.


In the Omnium Scratch Race our Jake Hansen finished 2nd place in a daring last minute pursuit.

Also in a last minute pursuit was our Stephen Bedford in one of the three Scratch race Qualifiers for the Scratch Race National Championship. In this qualifier Stephen Won! Qualifying him to race Jame Carney Later that night.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Big Rollers!

Known by the announcer as "the Boys from Portland!" Jake and Bedford made quite an impression at Nationals.

Livestrong's Justin Williams

Filming by
Jamie Carnie

When Justin was coming up, he rode for Major Motion and his coach David Pulliam in L.A.

When I told him about b.i.k.e., he said
"Oh yeah, I know about you guys. We wore you on our kits when I was on Major Motion."