Saturday, December 22, 2007

Final proof for the uniforms and Monsters announcement

Monsters of the Midway - the race organized annually by UCVC - will be held on May 17 (Saturday). Please mark your calendars: we'll need tons of people on race day to run the show.

It only took Champion System two days to produce the art for our uniforms after I sent them our design - thanks, no doubt, to Liam's professional work. I had to make a few (small) changes and then approve them, but now the final art is here! Click on the links to see the designs (huge pdf's!!!). This is exactly what you will see on your uniforms.

Arm warmers

Happy holidays.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Here's the design we sent to Champion System. I hope you like it. A big, big thank-you to Liam, who toiled endlessly with his computer to produce these wonderful uniforms, and had the patience to listen to suggestions from four or five different people.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Cross Natonals: Round 1

Devon and I braved the ice storm on Wednesday to make the long drive to Kansas City. Though the roads were in good condition, we drove through the remnants of the storms destruction including over 50 cars off of the sides of the roads. However, when the sun came out the conditions were truly beautiful. The inch of ice covering all of the trees made it look like they had been all dipped in silver while they sparkled in the sun.

Getting up early to pre-ride the course on Thursday, it was in decent condition. They had driven a 4-wheeler over the course to break up the crust of ice so it was mostly riding through ice-cubes. The conditions were quite varied with some mud, a few sheets of ice remaining, bits of snow, and a lot of the cubed icy mix. The course was well designed with a long open paved hill to start then entering the dirt with lots of turns and many challenging off-camber sections that became very slippery as it warmed up and the conditions turned to mud. Just before the finish there were two sets of stair run-ups and a few more tight hairpins before the big open finishing stretch.

Unfortunately, I had a starting position on the last row of about 50 riders as I just registered in the last week that it was available. I thought that the open climb would enable me to gain a lot of ground, but when the whistle blew everyone was going all out to get to the ice in the best possible position. I moved past 10 or 15 riders but my position was still not very good. No matter, I decided that I had to keep making ground early, so I ignored the grooved in line that had been created with the race before and just rode through ice chunks for the first half lap, passing many groups of people. When I passed by Devon and my Dad spectating they yelled that I had moved into the top 20 and I was behind a group of 4 or so more riders. Ahead of that the field was well strung out with the leaders far ahead. Starting strong and in good position makes a huge difference.

After the first half lap I was able to settle into my own pace, pushing hard in the straights and trying to not make mistakes in the corners where the course was either icy or turning to slippery mud. I ended up picking off the riders in the group ahead of me and was passed by one rider late in the race who was a bit faster than me around the corners but slower when we could power. We went back and forth for the last few laps, but in the last lap he was able to open up enough of a gap before the finish stretch so that I couldn't close the gap and come around (though I still gave it all I had to make him work a bit for it at the end). Overall the conditions made the course very challenging, but it was a fun race to try push myself and learn to handle my bike on new surfaces. Pushing through mud for 45+ minutes is always a challenge.

The temperatures rose later in the day turning the course into a mix of soupy mud and grass and causing ice to rain down from the trees that it had been covering. It will be interesting to see how the course holds up to 2000 racers over 4 days. The weather is now calling for 4-6 inches of snow tomorrow before we race again on Sunday. Up next for us is watching my brother compete in the 13-14 race today and my dad compete in the 50-55 race on Saturday. Sunday Devon races first in the Collegiate Women's race followed by me in the Collegiate Men and Devon finishing off the day in the Elite Women.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Update on Cycling Team Members at National Championship of Cyclocross

Aspen Gorry came in 14th in today's Men's B race. He was 4 minutes behind the winner, Ryan Knapp, who has previously competed as an elite rider (usually Pro or cat 1) at some USGP races. Aspen should be proud of doing so well in a category traditionally patrolled by circling, carrion-eating, sand baggers :).

Next up, collegiate races for Devon (racing for Team Get A Grip Cycles) and Aspen on Sunday, and the elite race for Devon on the same day.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

CX Continued...

To add on to Claus' blog... We had a great turnout this weekend at Montrose.  It was great to see Claus out for his first 'cross race (in the snow!).  I think he was the only one out there riding with toe clips which does not make getting on and off your bike easy.  Yet he still came in 3rd in his race - way to go Claus!  

Jeremy was out for only his second race.  I think we have him hooked (although once you try cross, it is hard not to be hooked).  Unlike his first race, he went out nice and steady and then passed people the whole race.  Aspen and I were watching the race from a slippery corner... it was a fun place to watch because half the people wiped out or nearly wiped out on the corner, but Jeremy was one of the few riders to discover the outside/less slippery line... he's a smart one!!

Another 'cross newbie this season is Liam.  His bike looks more and more like a 'cross bike every race!  Despite the fact that he has been carrying around the heaviest bike all season, he's been crushing the competition.  After winning a 4b race handily this season he's moved to 4as and is consistently placing in the top of the field.  Next year we may get him on a 'cross bike... the competition better watch out!

We also had a host of veterans show up this week.  In the 30+ race, Patrick started the day off for the UCVC crew in his first of two races (thats a lot of hill runups in one day!).  Then Joel, Tim, and Thomas gave a stong showing for UCVC in the 40+ race... despite a couple wipeouts (its hard not to wipe out in the conditions we had on sunday) everyone finished the race with smiles!

Aspen probably gave the most exciting showing of the day.  He lead the race from the start, but had several strong competitors close on his heels.  With a couple laps to go he was in the lead, then out of the lead, then back in the lead, then out of the lead (with only half a lap to go), and then he came around for a big finish and won with quite a large gap behind him!  I think I might have done more running watching his race than in my actual race :)

I too had a good day and owe a huge thanks to the UCVC cheering section that came out to watch.  Carly and Ben were out to see their second 'cross race ever (I think they really want to ride... next year we'll get them on bikes).  Jason braved the cold to see his first 'cross race and got a workout by watching Aspen's race with me.  And Jon, our veteran fan, was out all day not only cheering, but also being a huge help between races.  All in all... a great UCVC showing.

Overall, it was a fun course and fun conditions.  Chicago Cross Cup does great work to bring 'cross racing to our area.  A big thanks from the UCVC for putting on a great series.  

(Pictures from: and

Cx and other random stuff

So since Francisco invited more posts here I am doing my share:

Devon and Aspen both won their Cx races this Sunday. Congratulations, great job. And Liam and Tim also did a fabulous job, as far as I could tell when I was cheering them up.

I also did mt first ever Cx race and I can only recommend it - it was a lot of fun, if only they would not always force me to get off the bike and back on again (read: I almost crashed into the hurdles several times)

Rumors also are that Aspen almost got into a fight with the guy who finished second, I am trying to figure out where he lives and what car he drives so this won't happen again. just kidding of course

And then I did the HP Time Trial all by myself yesterday Monday evening at 7 pm. My finishing time was 14:48 which is of course unofficial and can only be confirmed by a bunch of squirrels and two runners - noone else dared to be out there last night ... But surprisingly the path condition was pretty good, I was more scared to slip on large grains of salt than on ice, but then maybe I was just lucky. But it was much much better than in the morning where I tried to go on a ride with Liam but we both crashed about 3-4 times, it took us about 30 min to go from Istria to the hill at 47th, and it was safer to ride in the snow next to the path than on the path itself.

end of the story, more to come and whoever shows up to the next timetrial (and finishes it, in whatever time or condition) will be awarded a special homemade Austrian reward ...

Climb on ah sorry ride on (or whatever bikers say)

Ice only in my cocktails please

I would normally not write about this on this blog because it's not about cycling or the club, but the word got around and I need to clarify.

They say that if you ride bicycles long enough you'll break your collar bone. And I did break my collar bone. I just wasn't riding a bike.

Last Sunday I was walking out the front door. My girlfriend was ahead of me. She stepped on the concrete walk on my front yard, which appeared to be wet from melting snow. It turns out it was covered with a sheet of black ice. She slipped and fell, landing on her butt, back and hitting the back of her head. I went to her rescue and slipped too, landing hard on my left shoulder.

The doc said it'll hurt for two weeks, till it heals substantially. In the meantime, I'm taking happy pills. My girlfriend was tested for brain injuries - the CT was clean.

So, as much as I'd like to brag about breaking my collar bone while, defying the elements and common sense, I was riding my bike on ice, that's not how it happened. So, please, by all means, ride your bikes on the icy path, you're just as likely to break a bone as you are walking to the grocery store.

PS: A few years ago Charlie chipped his hip bone when he fell on black ice, on the infamous icy bend of the path near Ohio beach. He was in pain and unable to bike for months. He's been terrified about riding over that ice ever since, just like I'll be terrified about leaving my house from now on. Any "funny" stories about biking on ice? Please share them. Happy riding!

PS2: The guy in the picture is not me: it's an artist's conception of who I would like to be as a cyclist and how I would have liked to break my collar bone instead of stupidly slipping on my front yard.