Saturday, June 30, 2007


I'll fill in with more descriptions later, but here are the highlights......so far...

Eric and James in town for a few days...Eric with bike, James without bike but definitely armed with an outdated SF Tourism Book.

Monday: Sushi and Irish Bar in North Beach.

1) Ride. Alpine Dam Loop - Tam - Home (about 6,800 ft. of climbing)
2) Tour. Chinatown, North Beach, Wharf, Marina, Black Horse on Union for some Cask pulled ESB's!!!

1) Ride. Hwy 1 up to Stinson Beach, up Panoramic to Tam entrance, then Headland's Loop (another 6,800 ft.)
2) Tour. Chinatown, Japanese Tea Garden, Haigh-Ashbury, Random Bar, Castro, Mission, Zeitgeist for some pints
Tuesday's Ride

Wednesday's Ride

Self-shot of us leaving Tam's Peak on Tuesday

Parent's in town Thursday - Sunday...
- Thursday: Chinatown, North Beach, Wharf
- Friday: Breakfast at Cafe Trieste in Sausalito, drove Highway 1 up to Stinson Beach...then continued up to Marshall for lunch...back down 1 and up Bofax Rd up to Tam's Peak...then Headland's Loop (easier trip by car)...then we met up with Aunt Joan and Uncle Greg for dinner at Scoma's.

Tomorrow - Ocean Beach, Cliff House and then Half Moon Bay to see the Maverics...maybe more...

My parents fly out late Sunday and then Denny fly's in Monday for a week...more to come.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Race Recap

Burlingame Criterium (South Bay)

Today's crit really seemed slow and easier than most others I've been in out here, but it was a tight course and crash-tastic. At one point, I almost had a guy sliding sideways plow into me...I narrowly avoided that one and then with 2 to go (and feeling amazingly fresh), I moved up into my ideal position for a sprint finish. During the final lap, one guy took the turn ahead of me WAY too hot and went all the way out to crash another guy into the steel fence and cracked his Trek Madone (saw him afterwards). He also took out my buddy Ken in the process. At that moment I had two choices: 1) Barrel into these guys and probably break my fork and go end over end or 2) Hit the brakes hard, wait for a safe spot to move around them while I watch my prime position fade away. I chose the latter and rolled in for 49th...sucked... The finish was my kind of crit finish...two easy turns (more like curves) and then just one long straightaway. I really thought I would give us a good west coast result.


One of my Get A Grip Teammates, Eric, is coming out this week to ride and he wants to climb as much as possible...should be a tough Tuesday/Wednesday for us. Can't wait.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Jersey and Shorts!

Today, I rode in my jersey and shorts. No arm-warmers, no leg-warmers. Not hot, not cold . Awesome weather today. My riding buddy got sunburned, but my Italian skin soaked up the sun and just made my farmer's tan even "better".

That's all for now...Burlingame Criterium tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Tour of Ohio - Seth Meyer

Seth Meyer, one of my Get A Grip Teammates, is toughing it out in the Tour of Ohio in an Elite Pro/1/2/3 category! He's been posting a recap of each stage on the Get A Grip Racing Team Blog.

Check it out when you get a chance...Today was Stage 3; a 64 mile Road Race with 5 KOM (King of the Mountain) climbs. Seth found himself in an early (less than 10 miles in) breakaway that nearly made it to the finish...he was in this break with some of the best...check out his posts on the team blog: Click Here

Keep killing it Seth!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Race Recaps

Saturday morning began with an early drive to the Specialized/Sierra Nevada Criterium in Folsom, CA. Threats of 100+ degree weather turned out to be a beautiful, sunny, 80 degree day. The crit took place in a small business park, very similar to the Wood Dale, IL course...smooth, wide and curvy roads. I raced with some friends out here and the plan was to take turns up front and get in anything that looked promising.

Saturday's Action:
At one point, maybe 15 minutes into the 50 minute race, Gabe (Squadra Ovest) was bridging up to a small break with one other and I jumped from the pack and joined them in the successful bridge to make about 6 of us off of the front. This group was well represented and worked together for about 2 laps and then just totally stopped working. Baffled by this, we returned back to the pack. There were a few other attempts, but everything was shut down until two guys took a pretty strong flyer off of the front that only one of them held. Chris L. (Squadra Ovest) lead the chase and caught him with about 1 to go, setting up the sprint finish. I felt great and thought I was in perfect position, until the inside line I had went slower than the outside line...21st. DOH!

After the race, I traveled up to Nevada City, CA with my Aunt and Uncle for the Nevada City Classic on Sunday. Nevada City is a historic town nestled in the mountains with an elevation of about 2,500 ft. The course was 1.1 miles with 160 total vertical feet per lap...the bottom of the course had two screaming fast turns that were lined with hay bales (and piles of replacement bales on stand by). Sunday was much hotter...nearing 100 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. Click on the picture...that turn they are about to go into (turn #2) tightens up 1/2 way thru...maybe 110-120 degrees?
Sunday's Action:
OUCH. This is a climber's race and I still have Midwestern legs compared to these guys. About 20 minutes into the race the climbers decided to attack and leave me behind. I was all alone with a couple occasional stragglers for the following 30 minutes. The stragglers would pull away on the climbs, but I would catch them thru the bottom turns (The System Six could practically lay flat on it's side thru these turns) and then repeat over and over. Little did I know, the breakaway group was hot on my tail and when I was climbing and veered right, they were smoking up the climb on my right...it was almost very ugly and with only 3 laps to go, I decided to take the safe route and get off of the course...I had no idea how close the field was and didn't want to repeat that situation again. (So yes, you read that right - I almost took out the winning breakaway, which would not have been cool...honestly, the officials should have pulled me that last time thru the line.)
Here are some interesting stats to show the difference in the two courses:
- Saturday: 47 minutes/21 miles/26.3 mph average
- Sunday: 48 minutes/15 miles/19.3 mph average

Extra special Thanks to my "Nor-Cal Pit Crew" (Aunt and Uncle) for keeping my carb & protein stores high, giving me a bed to sleep in, carting me around, scouting the course over and over, cheering and even recruiting random people to cheer for me all around the course!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Weekend Racing...

Hopefully, I'll have a good post to follow-up this one...

I'm ra
cing the Specialized/Sierra Nevada Criterium this Saturday in Folsom, CA (Near Sacramento). The course is a flat, 2-corners, connected by a horseshoe-shaped road - that should remind me of home.

Sunday is the opposite end of the spectrum. I'm going to give my best at the Nevada City Classic. This one sounds rough...

"1.1 mile, 7-turn, counter-clockwise loop with 120'+/- of climbing per lap, reaching speeds of 50+ mph on the straight-away downhill across the start/finish. The course is 1/3-downhill, 1/3-uphill and 1/3 rolling/flats. Considered one of the most technically and physically challenging 1-day courses in America"

From what I hear, there is no time for recovery because of the screaming descent that turns right back uphill. Pray for me. Gear selection is still in play...need something to get up, but something to haul it back down. 11x23 or 12x25...comments welcome. Being a flatlander, I'm leaning heavily towards the 12x25.

Here's a photo of the uphill:
And here's the downhill:
-- I almost don't even want to mention the Nevada City Classic so that I don't have to write up a recap...too late now...

I'm excited to race in Nevada City, because my Aunt, Uncle and Cousin live there (nearby), so I get to hang out with them Saturday night and Sunday before/after the race. If I get dropped, I can go spend more time with them...it's a win-win situation.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Bike, Hike, Beer, Bed...

Today's Nature Report:
Great ride this morning with a few of the Squadra Ovest guys (Tam-->Stinson Beach-->Bolinas-->7-sisters-->Tam-->Home)
-- Saw the usual birds
Hiked a crapload on Mt. Tam with one of my roommates and her friends
-- No wildlife sightings
Got in the car to get home from the hike
-- This family of deer was right on the side of the road out! (papa deer is off camera)

Here are a few other pictures from the hike:

Jessie taking a break in the cold spring water

Trail on the way down - her name is Ribbit

Potrero Meadow

Random Shot

On the way home from the hike we stopped at the Fairfax Festival (aka: Eco Fest) and then Cafe Trieste in Suasalito for some food and a few beers.

Lastly - My Cannondale System Six absolutely BOMBS decents...I can fly into a downhill switchback so hot that it scares the crap out of me, but the bike tracks the turn flawlessly. I love it.

Today got an A+

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Coffee Substitute...

View from Mt. Tam this morning at 8am. (SF in the distance, just above my saddle)
Click pic for full effect.

MotionBased.com -- http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/activity/2955119

Monday, June 4, 2007

Weekend back home

(Photo above by Ludger Roedder, an old powerhouse of a teammate)

I want to thank my family, friends and teammates for a great weekend back home in Chicago.

I was able to hit up a happy hour with some old co-workers, dinner with friends...continued to drinks afterwards, race Saturday and Sunday with my teammates and see a bunch of my family at a cousin's annual BBQ.

The racing was amazing. I've said it often, but my team back in Chicago is super strong lately and it was fun to be a part of the action. A full race report is available on the Team Get A Grip Cycling Blog. I have a lot of friends that race and was thrilled to race against them once again. I even ran into a couple friends that were there to watch...one that I haven't seen in years.

Race Report Teasers/Top Finishers:
-- Devon took 2nd in the Women's 1/2/3, both Saturday and Sunday.
-- Emily won her first race ever entered on Saturday
-- Steve took 3rd, Eric 5th and Seth 11th on Saturday in a breakaway of 12...Uwe was there, but unfortunately tipped over.
-- I nearly took the sprint finish on Sunday, but WDT's strongman, Mark Serafin, came around me for the win just feet from the line...I want my win back, August? James "Cipo" Holton pulled in "just" behind me in 7th. (James and I have a Winfield rivalry...I'm winning)

Anyone catch the Winfield Crit on Cycling.tv?