Wednesday, November 19, 2008

We have moved!

The UCVC blog has moved here. Please keep visiting us! Don't forget to update your RSS feed.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Thanks Saris!

After coming off of a strong 2007 season, the UCVC had its eyes set on another successful season for 2008.  The club attracted a record number of 90 members this year, ranging from elite racers to newbie’s having recently acquired road bikes.  The enthusiasm and skills of our racing members promised a successful season ahead for the collegiate racing team.

The biggest obstacle that we face at the University of Chicago is the endless winter that begins as early as October and can last well into April. A good 6 months of icy bike paths and frigid temps is enough to wipe out early season enthusiasm that forms under the sunny skies and beautiful weather of September.  In the past, group rides fizzled out as temperatures became unbearable and our riders were left to figure out how to stay in shape and get ready for the first collegiate races on their own. 

Luckily, this year we had a generous Saris Sponsorship to help us form team indoor training sessions.  With a fleet of Fluid2 Trainers and Aluminum Rollers, UCVC indoor training sessions began!  For some it was their first indoor riding experience on trainers, and for many it was their first attempt at rollers (which aren’t as hard as they look).  Often riding inside can be a gloomy winter experience, but being able to ride together with teammates made for fun times.

Winter training helped the team come together and kept the enthusiasm for racing high throughout the winter.  We had a record 9 riders come out to the first race in March, with 5 racers competing in their first ever road race!  We even came home from the weekend with two 1st place finishes and a 3rd and a 4th.  (Thanks to the Saris racks, we were able to easily transport the bikes to all our races!)  The success continued throughout the season for our racers, with 23 top-five finishes overall.  The strong results were enough for our team to win the D2 MWCCC Championship!  In addition, we had one rider win the women’s D2 MWCCC Championship and sent 3 riders to nationals. 

All of our Collegiate National Participants spent the season training on Cyclops Powertaps.  For Aspen Gorry and Carly Schuster, it was their first time competing at Nationals.  Devon Haskell returned after finishing 4th overall at last year’s nationals.  This year she came in 4th in the criterium and won the road race.  Her placings earned her the Omnium National Championship! 

Overall, UCVC has had their best year to date.  Thanks again for the Saris sponsorship.  The quality trainers, high-tech power taps, and easy to use racks certainly helped us in our successful season.


UCVC gives their pre-race prediction as they warm up on Cyclops Fluid Trainers




Saris trainers are great for warming up on cold days...



... and for downtown crits when there are no good roads to warm up on...


Thanks Saris!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Lights, Lamps, and Shorter Days

Heya folks! As you all know, the days are getting rather short, and I think this week may be the last that super early into work will allow for ride time afterwads... or at least daylight ride time. I am thinking that as long as the roads are dry and temperatures not too unreasonable, a nighttime ride wouldn't be the worst thing. Do any of you have suggestions on lamps, headlight, and lights? I don't want to break the bank. I do want to be safe!

Also, a friend recently wrote of another woman in her cyclocross race, 'She was living in the cottage of wattage.' I really liked that term.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Guest Speakers

Last night I attended a meeting of CU's cycling team as I recently discovered I am allowed to race in the conference season in the Rocky Mountain region. The team's size is huge, which is really cool to see, and they have regular Monday night meetings. They often line up 'guest speakers' for these meetings, people who agree to come in and talk to the team about different cycling-related subjects from bike fits and physical therapy to nutrition to competing internationally. Boulder is an easy area to find such people, certainly, but this idea struck me as something cool for the good ol' UCVC to consider. I bet there are UCVC'ers who know people who would want to do this, and it never hurts to ask someone. I know J. is running a series of workshops for beginners and has done a ton for cycling in Hyde Park, and this could be another way to increase knowledge and enthusiasm about cycling.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Meltdown


I got back to my mountain biking ways a couple of weekends ago at the Palos Meltdown out in the forest preserves west of town on top of the Manhattan Project detritus. Hosted by CAMBR, the great guys who keep Palos well-kept, and a shop called Richard's Bicycles out in Palos Heights. I haven't raced mtb in 4 years, so I went out to try and get back into the groove of mtb racing, which pretty much means dealing with pain for the duration of the race. At the sport class call-up I Lined up in front sporting my trusty Schlitz jersey, sprinted like hell to get into the single track in 5th position, and then settled in to dealing with the pain for the next 1.25 hours. Passed a couple of guys and was rolling with XXX'er Greg Heck (who's hosting the Jackson Park X race this Sunday) and we worked our way through the 20-29 field that had started 2 minutes ahead. He was on a rigid 29'er which turned out to be a great choice for this course. On the big grass sections he steadily pulled away and I dug deep to catch him again on the technical backside. Unfortunately, as soon as I made contact cramps set in, and it was all damage control until the finish. I held off a hard-charging Guinness rider and ended up with 2nd place in the 30-39 age goup - not bad for the first race back. I rolled around easy to get the cramps out, congratulated the other guys from my mtb posse and promptly went to get a hamburger and coke with my wife. I was gone eating when they did the awards ceremony, but when I got back they took my picture alone on the podium (above). Kinda like the Flemish saying, "no one else in the picture"... but not really. Nice crowd, great promoters, good times. 

Monday, September 15, 2008

UCVC: First Forays into the Chicago Cyclocross Cup

In honor of this weekend's opening of the Chicago Cyclocross Cup, I am posting photos featuring Thomas Berube, Andrew Nicholson, Pat Kelly, and Jon Tenney from the first UCVC team forays into cyclocross . If you look closely you will find proof that the Ironman will make me skinny, that the XXX-Athletico jersey have improved greatly over the years, cross can be raced with a 3,000-pound mountain bike, and Thomas was, in fact, a racer.

All of the pictures were taken during the 2003-04 season, which I believe was the first season of the Chicago Cup. The first four were taken at the Wheeling race with the remainder taken at Jackson Park. Tenney and Berube had matching bicycles courtesy of Get A Grip Cycles and Cannondale.





Friday, September 5, 2008

Make Sure to Train This Winter


Don't end up like these guys (or me). They would not be good at pedaling a bike. Maybe they could eat the tires.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Result of the sox poll

Assuming that the price of the socks is between $10 and $15, how many pairs of socks would you buy? Total votes: 30
  • One pair of each kind: 14 (47%)
  • Two pairs of each kind: 2 (7%)
  • Three pairs in total: 5 (17%)
  • Four pairs in total: 3 (10%)
  • Five pairs in total: 0 (0%)
  • More than five pairs: 0 (0%)
  • Just one pair: 4 (13%)
  • No socks at all: 2 (7%)

Which kind of sock would you prefer? Total votes: 31
  • Tall socks (4''): 10 (32%)
  • Crew socks (2''): 18 (58%)
  • I would buy both: 3 (10%)

The poll is now closed.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Sox poll

IMPORTANT!! I (Francisco) changed the poll, because the first time I forgot to include some relevant options. You should vote again, if you did it before Friday 8/29 7:00 AM. The poll has been reset. Sorry about the changes.

The club is making custom socks and we'd like to know your opinion before we order. The socks are made by DeFeet and customized with the school's and/or club's colors and logos. We will have two designs available, both cool-looking, but different. They're not male- or female-specific. The socks can be used for running or other sports too.

Please don't vote more than once. If you have any questions, please ask Devon or Carly. Thanks.

The poll is now closed.

Holding Down the Fort

Whilst the youngster racers have flown the UCVC coop for the summer, it should be known that long (and not so long) time members Eric Norstrom, Tim Belton, Thomas Bérubé, Rob Fairbanks, Suchandra Thapa, and Jeff Norris have all been doing their share of riding and racing in the maroon this season. Eric has been posting solid M4 and Masters crits & road races. Tim can be seen on the path at all hours, mondo 53x11. Thomas has been doing his usual brevet madness. Rob posed as and injured Francisco at the Chicago Crit! Suchandra has jumped headlong into M5 racing solo style. And Jeff has posted respectable results in this, his first real season of racing.

I'm sure that there are others out there, too.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Cross Is Here!

The collegiate cross schedule has been posted. Here are the races:

Nov 1/2: Mizzou
Nov 8/9: Michigan Tech
Nov 15/16: Purdue
Nov 22/23: Lindsey Wilson
Dec 14: Nationals in Kansas City

For more collegiate racing info, sign up for the Midwest Collegiate Cycling Conference (MWCCC) group at http://groups.google.com/group/mwccc

Yay for Cross!!!


Monday, August 25, 2008

CX and other blogging continued elsewhere

I am continuing the series of Cyclocross 101 posts on my own cycling blog, Morning Roll, which I just started. In fact, from now on I'll do all my cycloblogging there, except for posts where I specifically write about UCVC, which will remain here. I have also copied all my previous Vélo Café posts to the new blog.

I encourage everyone to keep visiting, posting stuff, and writing comments on UC Vélo Café, and also to visit Morning Roll and to leave comments there too.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Question About Switchbacks

The point of this is not to rub in that I live in the best place for riding. It's a real question, and it could affect parts of my road racing. When a road is really steep, say 14-20%, for a while, is it better to ride a switchback on the inside, which is shorter in distance but steeper in grade, or outside? Or does it even matter?

On a slight aside, have you guys ever heard of the term 'paper boy weave'? I hadn't until this spring, and I totally had to bust it out yesterday, even with a 27 on my back.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Crosstube

Once you're done watching all the great how-to videos Francisco has been posting, you may want to head over to Crosstube to see the techniques in action. I was making a list of the watchable (and it takes more than bad 80's hair band music to make them unwatchable) 'cross videos I could find on Youtube when I stumbled on Crosstube -- it is essentially just that kind of list nicely divided into categories etc.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Al Stern Road Race 2004

A picture of three (Kent, Eric, and Jon) of the six cat fours who raced that day. We thought that we were awesome, but we actually sucked.
Mark Edele who now teaches at the University of Perth, Australia. Mark's bike was a piece of garbage, and we kept hoping that he would ride it into the lake and be forced to buy a new one. Debbie MacDougall, the first female member of the UCVC to race her bike. She would later marry Mark and move to Australia with him.

Andrew, now teaching in one of the SUNY schools, Ben, who does mathematics research for some slimey, money-grubbing hedge fund, and big-headed Sam Yount, who probably still lives off his parents. In 2004, Sam was trying to be a professional triathlete so he went running after his category 3 race.
Although we look like tools in these photos, Andrew and I actually came in second in the Ironman Triathlon Collegiate National Championships later that year.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Do bike lanes increase pollution?

The argument is that bike lanes reduce the space available to cars, contribute to traffic congestion, and therefore cause more idling and more pollution. Obviously, the answer to this question depends on:
a) Whether bike lanes decrease the number of cars in the street
b) Whether they increase the CO2 emissions of the remaining cars (via reduced speed)

I don't take a stand on the issue, but I found it stimulating to read and think about it, in today's Wall Street Journal (I'm not sure whether the link will remain ungated, so I'm pasting the whole article below).


San Francisco Ponders:
Could Bike Lanes Cause Pollution?

City Backpedals on a Cycling Plan
After Mr. Anderson Goes to Court
By PHRED DVORAK
August 20, 2008; Page A1

SAN FRANCISCO -- New York is wooing cyclists with chartreuse bike lanes. Chicago is spending nearly $1 million for double-decker bicycle parking.

San Francisco can't even install new bike racks.

[Rob Anderson]

Blame Rob Anderson. At a time when most other cities are encouraging biking as green transport, the 65-year-old local gadfly has stymied cycling-support efforts here by arguing that urban bicycle boosting could actually be bad for the environment. That's put the brakes on everything from new bike lanes to bike racks while the city works on an environmental-impact report.

Cyclists say the irony is killing them -- literally. At least four bikers have died and hundreds more have been injured in San Francisco since mid-2006, when Mr. Anderson helped convince a judge to halt implementation of a massive pro-bike plan.(It's unclear whether the plan's execution could have prevented the accidents.) In the past year, bike advocates have demonstrated outside City Hall, pushed the city to challenge the plan's freeze in court and proposed putting the whole mess to local voters. Nothing worked.

"We're the ones keeping emissions from the air!" shouted Leah Shahum, executive director of the 10,000-strong San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, at a July 21 protest.

Mr. Anderson disagrees. Cars always will vastly outnumber bikes, he reasons, so allotting more street space to cyclists could cause more traffic jams, more idling and more pollution. Mr. Anderson says the city has been blinded by political correctness. It's an "attempt by the anti-car fanatics to screw up our traffic on behalf of the bicycle fantasy," he wrote in his blog this month.

Mr. Anderson's fight underscores the tensions that can circulate as urban cycling, bolstered by environmental awareness and high gasoline prices, takes off across the U.S. New York City, where the number of commuter cyclists is estimated to have jumped 77% between 2000 and 2007, is adding new bike lanes despite some motorist backlash. Chicago recently elected to kick cars off stretches of big roads on two Sundays this year.

Famously progressive, San Francisco is known for being one of the most pro-bike cities in the U.S., offering more than 200 miles of lanes and requiring that big garages offer bike parking. It is also known for characters like Mr. Anderson.

A tall, serious man with a grizzled gray beard, Mr. Anderson spent 13 months in a California federal prison for resisting the draft during the Vietnam War. He later penned pieces for the Anderson Valley Advertiser, a muckraking Northern California weekly owned by his brother that's known for its savage prose and pranks.

Running for Office

In 1995, Mr. Anderson moved to San Francisco. Working odd jobs, he twice ran for a seat on the city's Board of Supervisors, pledging to tackle homelessness and the city's "tacit PC ideology." He got 332 of 34,955 votes in 2004, his second and best try.

That year Mr. Anderson, who mostly lives off a small government stipend he receives for caring for his 92-year-old mother, also started a blog, digging into local politics with gusto. One of his first targets: the city's most ambitious bike plan to date.

Unveiled in 2004, the 527-page document was filled with maps, traffic analyses and a list of roughly 240 locations where the city hoped to make cycling easier. The plan called for more bike lanes, better bike parking and a boost in cycling to 10% of the city's total trips by 2010.

The plan irked Mr. Anderson. Having not owned a car in 20 years, he says he has had several near misses with bikers roaring through crosswalks and red lights, and sees bicycles as dangerous and impractical for car-centric American cities. Mr. Anderson was also bugged by what he describes as the holier-than-thou attitude typified by Critical Mass, a monthly gathering of bikers who coast through the city, snarling traffic for hours. "The behavior of the bike people on city streets is always annoying," he says. "This 'Get out of my way, I'm not burning fossil fuels.' "

Going to Court

In February 2005, Mr. Anderson showed up at a planning commission meeting. If San Francisco was going to take away parking spaces and car lanes, he argued, it had better do an environmental-impact review first. When the Board of Supervisors voted to skip the review, Mr. Anderson sued in state court, enlisting his friend Mary Miles, a former postal worker, cartoonist and Anderson Valley Advertiser colleague.

[bike]
Rhonda Winter/San Francisco Bicycle Coalition
San Francisco cyclists protest bike-plan delays in front of City Hall.

Ms. Miles, who was admitted to the California bar in 2004 at age 57, proved a pugnacious litigator. She sought to kill the initial brief from San Francisco's lawyers after it exceeded the accepted length by a page. She objected when the city attorney described Mr. Anderson's advocacy group, the Coalition for Adequate Review, as CAR in their documents. (It's C-FAR.) She also convinced the court to review key planning documents over the city's objections.

Slow Pedaling

In November 2006, a California Superior Court judge rejected San Francisco's contention that it didn't need an environmental review and ordered San Francisco to stop all bike-plan activity until it completed the review.

Since then, San Francisco has pedaled very slowly. City planners say they're being extra careful with their environmental study, in hopes that Mr. Anderson and Ms. Miles won't challenge it. Planners don't expect the study will be done for another year.

Meanwhile, Mr. Anderson and Ms. Miles have teamed up to oppose a plan to put high-rises and additional housing in a nearby neighborhood. He continues to blog from his apartment in an old Victorian home. "Regardless of the obvious dangers, some people will ride bikes in San Francisco for the same reason Islamic fanatics will engage in suicide bombings -- because they are politically motivated to do so," he wrote in a May 21 post.

"In case anyone doubted that you were a wingnut, this statement pretty much sums things up!" one commenter retorted.

Mr. Anderson is running for supervisor again this November -- around the time the city will unveil the first draft of its bike-plan environmental review. He's already pondering a challenge of the review.

Write to Phred Dvorak at phred.dvorak@wsj.com

CX 101 on video: Off-the-bike skills II

1) How to go through barriers in a CX race (by Mickey Denoncourt)

(Velonews.tv has its own video on going through barriers, but as of the time of writing this post, I couldn't play it. Maybe you'll have better luck: How to get through barriers. Click on the "how-to" tab. You'll find this video near the end of the list.)


2) How to run in sand in CX racing (by Mickey Denoncourt)

Monday, August 18, 2008

CX 101 on video: Off-the-bike skills I

So you have dismounted and need to carry your bike: How do you lift it? How do you carry it? How do you drop it back on the ground?

1) How to carry and shoulder your 'cross bike. (Again, click on the "how-to" tab and scroll down to the end of the list of videos.) From VeloNews.

2) How to carry a cyclocross bike on a shallow run. (By Mickey Denoncourt.)

3) How to shoulder a cyclocross bike for a steep run. (Also by Mickey Denoncourt.)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Points rides-Classification as of August 16


GC (top 15) - August 9

Points

Miles
1
Elisabet
63
480
2
Joe
51
465
3
Jeremy
47
340
4
Francisco
36
275
5
Andreas
31
290
6
Dan
28
205
7
Bernard
26
190
8
Mickey
26
240
9
Jesse
24
120
10
Sarah
23
155
11
Araba
23
120
12
Joel
22
205
13
Philippe
22
205
14
Jonathan
19
85
15
Suchandra
19
85

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Some weekend CX fun

A seven-minute excerpt of the 2007 Women's UCI World Cyclo Cross Champs. I'll be back on Monday with more educational videos.

Friday, August 15, 2008

CX 101 on video: remounting

1) VeloNews' video is the best I could find. (The guys approach the subject from a, hmmmm, male-centric perspective, but I'm sure everyone can benefit from a smooth remount.)

How to remount your 'cross bike. (Click on the "how to" section and then scroll down to near the bottom of the list of videos.)

2) Mickey Denoncourt didn't do a very good job of making videos about remounting, but here are his two cents anyway:

How to remount a cyclocross bike at a run

How to dismount and remount in cyclocross racing

Free books from a tricycle

From DailyCandy Chicago:

August 15, 2008
Free Ride
The Book Bike
bookworm!

Once upon a time, there was a bibliophile named Gabe Levinson who wanted to spread the word about his passion for books.

So he did the obvious: ordered a custom-built tricycle with a 200-pound capacity and wrote to dozens of publishers asking for book donations. The hook: He’d ride around in his Book Bike and give away free books to the masses.

The responses flooded in — from McSweeney’s, Dark Horse Comics, Not for Tourists, Drawn & Quarterly, and Washington Square Press, to name a few.

Levinson now spends his Saturdays pedaling around Chicago parks giving away free reads. Cops have tried to stop him, but he woos them with his bounty.

This Saturday, you, too, can be wooed (check his website for location).

Pretty cool in our book.


For locations, go to somethingtoread.net.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Points ride-Classification after August 9


GC (top 15) - August 9

Points

Miles
1
Elisabet
59
445
2
Jeremy
47
340
3
Joe
47
430
4
Francisco
32
240
5
Andreas
31
290
6
Dan
28
205
7
Bernard
26
190
8
Mickey
26
240
9
Jesse
24
120
10
Sarah
23
155
11
Araba
23
120
12
Joel
22
205
13
Philippe
22
205
14
Jonathan
19
85
15
Suchandra
19
85

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

CX 101 on video: Dismounting II

The first of today's videos doesn't teach a new skill, but brings up an issue that is relevant to those of us who are building a CX bike now: the setup of your brakes.

1) Dismounting II. Part I. Dismounting a bike at speed in CX racing.

I can't explain it better than cyclingnews.com does in its CX section:

Often the brake levers are set up opposite from road bikes, so that the left lever controls the rear brake. This is to allow for better speed modulation during a dismount, where the racer is still moving quickly, has already swung their right leg over the bike and only has their left shoe clipped into the pedal and has their right hand on the top tube (or down tube) ready to lift the bike. Using the left hand to brake the rear wheel allows for a smooth deceleration without the risk of locking the front wheel or making the rear wheel pop up.
Would our in-house CX experts care to chip in with their experience in this matter?

Now a video on how to dismount in sand, which apparently is different from dismounting in other terrains:

2) Dismounting II. Part II. How to dismount in sand from a CX bike.

Let's wrap up the dismounting section with a summary from VeloNews (hat tip to Bernard for directing me to these videos):

3) Dismounting wrap-up from VeloNews. How to dismount your 'cross bike. (Scroll down about two thirds down the list of videos.)

Monday, August 11, 2008

CX 101 on video: Dismounting I

Mickey Denoncourt explains the basics in three videos (watch them in that order):

1) Dismounting I. Part I . Introduction to dismounting and remounting.

2) Dismounting I. Part II. How to dismount a cyclocross bike.

3) Dismounting I. Part III. Doing a step-through technique.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Points Ride August 9th

Proving that the points rides are never dull, we set off into uncharted territories this week. Okay, they were pretty charted, but we did ride a new (for the points ride) route, and we traveled with the Tatitos for the first half of it. We followed Team Tati's excellent route out to the riverside town of Willow Springs, where we found hills, trees (like foresty kinds of trees), hills, awesome roads, and some hills. Once there, we wished the Tatios well and took our own lap around the Palos Forest Preserve. On the way we rode up some more hills before heading back.

We were having so much fun, I neglected to take a single photo, but I feel compelled to relate that the points ride regulars are getting very strong! Thanks to Team Tati for having us along: I think I can speak for all the points riders when I say it was great riding with you!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

CX 101 on video: more "get-excited" stuff

OK, one more get-excited video and then I'll post some educational material... This one is more about the atmosphere surrounding CX, plus some people talking about the sport.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Cyclocross 101 on video: a prologue

I'm gonna start posting videos about cyclocross, starting with the basics and hopefully proceeding in an organized way towards more advanced stuff. (Warning: this is a learning process for myself too, since I've never ridden a cross bike...)

Watch this first to get excited...

Points ride classification - August 2

Time to update the general classification of the points ride series. Elisabet's maillot jaune is proving hard to grab. Regulars (and ride leaders) Jeremy and Joe continue to amass points, but Elisabet rarely misses a ride. Will Je-Jo be able to take the top spot when when she's temporarily gone in September?

Andreas quickly made it to the top ten, after attending several rides in a row. He shouldn't have any problem climbing to the top five and crossing the 500-mile mark if he can make it to the upcoming longer rides.

J is fighting hard for the lanterne rouge spot, accumulating -27 points (!!!!!) in a single ride. Whether he broke 27 different rules, or the same rule 27 times, I won't discuss. But it's not hard to believe that he could accomplish such feat in a single morning (those of you who've ridden with J know what I'm talking about...). Please don't do what J does.


GC (top 15) - August 2

Points

Miles
1
Elisabet
54
395
2
Jeremy
47
340
3
Joe
41
380
4
Francisco
32
240
5
Dan
28
205
6
Bernard
26
190
7
Mickey
26
190
8
Andreas
26
240
9
Jesse
24
120
10
Araba
23
120
11
Joel
22
205
12
Philippe
22
205
13
Jonathan
19
85
14
Suchandra
19
85
15
Charlie
18
170
48
J/Tati
-14
120

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Points ride Aug 2

A nice points ride to Shererville Starbucks on Sat, joined by the (hard-core!) TATI crew for coffee while down there. Beautiful day, little traffic, good company, and we were back well before noon! Definitely, a success.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Jeannie Longo Is One Tough Cookie

Since May, Jeannie Longo has been training and racing in Colorado in preparation for Beijing. Sure, she's headed to some bigger races like Mt. Hood, but she also has shown up to almost all the local things. Sometimes she races in the men's 35+, a field that is stacked with former pros, former Olympians, and other local strongmen, and she walks away in the top three. When she races the women, she always adds another one to her list of over 1000 career wins. 1000! I think I have 3-5 career wins, and 2 of them don't count as they were by default, so 3. She is also in her 50s, went to the Olympics the year I was born (1984), and is a really cool person. She hangs out after the races and shoots the shit with everyone and talks about how much she loves Colorado. I would love to be badass by proxy by saying that I have raced against her, but really she and I have only ever shared the same start line for a very short amount of time, and then she lights the field on fire, cooks it, eats it, and spits it out. The picture is lifted from a friend, M. Hottman, and is of Jeannie accepting a medal at the Salida Omnium. She is so cool, and though French, I'm totally rooting for her in Beijing!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Chicago Crit, and Hoping It's Not a One and Out.

pic: Bernard & Jesse try bribing Devon into racing the Men's 4s.

Thanks to everyone who raced, watched, and stumbled upon the inaugural Chicago Criterium on Sunday. In what appeared to be an almost overly polished production (read: testing the waters for the Olympics) the day-long event offered a reasonably exciting course, some decent racing, and excellent free entertainment, if not sufficient shade. Title sponsor ING was giving out chilled water in fancy little bottles, rides in a hot air balloon, and orange cowbells, to boot.

I counted at least ten UCVC racers this day: Suchandra and Rob in full kit, with the remainder in lime green, black, or orange for their summer teams. Better yet, the points ride crew arrived, maroon akimbo... and another twenty or so friends/children/spouses-of came to watch and wonder.

Let's just hope they do it again next year. And if not, the next Monsters director should try to borrow that hot air balloon...

Friday, July 25, 2008

Chicago Crit. No excuses.

Come out and watch the most spectacular bike race in Chicago this season: the Chicago Criterium. Click on the link to see the schedule of races. This is the first time the city puts on this particular race, and who knows if they'll ever do it again.

When: This Sunday
Where: Grant Park (the finish line is on Columbus, right by Buckingham Fountain)
Who: The very best from the Chicago cycling scene and beyond. (Including Team Tati. Advice: Watch the clockwork orange at their best in the men's 4 race. I believe Liz will be racing in the women's 4 too.)

And if this doesn't convince you, this will: Jumbotron. That's right. The city is installing a giant screen for your viewing pleasure. Watch the riders sprint, bridge, corner and suffer to the max, in the maximum possible size.

Aside from the finish line area, I would recommend turns 2 (Michigan Av with Jackson) and 4 (Columbus with Balbo) for spectators. Watch cyclists take those downhill turns screaming fast, and probably some live crash porn. The hard kind. (Hopefully none of us Tatitos/UCVCers will star in that movie.)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Evanston Crit

Photos courtesy of J~ my low res shots were not nearly as good...

The cat 4/5 lineup. Note Liam front left in TATI orange looking down. Were it not for the folks who should be in Cat 4 or higher, Liam would have had a podium spot.


Liam in action:


And Jess, in a race I didn't see


Points Ride July 20

We had a nice leisurely ride north, with a few other people on the path (including some Fleet Feet runners), but it wasn't as crazy as expected! Then up to Evanston to watch the racers. Great job! Super fun.

See you on the trail~
jeremy

Points ride classification-July 21

Below is the classification of the points ride, as of last weekend. Sorry I didn't post an update last week.


Classement générale (top 15) - 20 juillet

Points

Miles
1
Elisabet
45
310
2
Jeremy
42
290
3
Joe
38
345
4
Francisco
32
240
5
Dan
28
205
6
Bernard
26
190
7
Mickey
26
190
8
Jesse
24
120
9
Araba
23
120
10
Joel
22
205
11
Philippe
22
205
12
Jonathan
19
85
13
Suchandra
19
85
14
Charlie
18
170
15
Sarah
18
105

Friday, July 18, 2008

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

This Sunday in Chicagoland

Enjoy a beautiful day of bicycle racing this Sunday (July 20). Evanston is putting on its annual Northwestern Healthcare Grand Prix, part of the prestigious International Cycling Classic/Superweek series.

The organizers have put together an excellent website, including a guide on how to watch a criterium race. The course is smack in the middle of town, so you'll have plenty of coffee shops and outdoor seating to enjoy the festivities in comfort. (Leave the sweating and puffing to the racers...)

I would say that this is one of the two big events within rideable distance of Hyde Park this summer, so don't miss it! (The other one is the Chicago Criterium, on July 27.)

The morning and early afternoon will see the lower category races. Tati will be present at the Men's Cat 4/5 race at 9:00am, with its trio of creamsicles Liam, Dan and Bernard, provided that the former two recover from their recent injuries (I am not ok yet). (Warning: the race might be delayed a few minutes.) Then the duo of tangerines Carly and Liz will make their appearance at 1:00pm in the women's 3/4 race. I presume that our stars Devon and Aspen will be there too, albeit in Get a Grip colors. And we might even have one or two guys racing for UCVC. Cheer for them all.

There will be some sort of concert/dancing with live music at 3.00pm, kids races also at 3.00pm, and the pro races after 4.00pm.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Misc

As its title suggests, "Training and Racing with a Power Meter" is a training guide for wattheads. People familiar with the book tell me, however, that it's a good read for the workouts, even if you don't have a power meter. Only $14 on Amazon.

Hat tip to Tim H., who swears by Fausto Coppi that this book is better than the Training Bible.

* * *

After riding the Panaracer Ribmos for a while (ok, only two days), I confirmed my suspicions: these are not tires for racing bikes. It's not just the weight, it's that they feel very different from regular road tires. I knew they would offer very high rolling resistance and poor acceleration--that's to be expected. What makes them unacceptable for me is the uncomfortable sensation they provide when leaning into a turn: the transition from the center to the side of the tire is sharp and unexpected. This is perhaps due to a big change in the thickness of the tire or in the composition of the rubber, or perhaps to the "pointy" shape of the cross-section, I'm not sure.

There's no point in training on a tire that doesn't corner at all like racing tires do. They might perform better with slightly wider rims, but I'm not sure. If you get lots of flats or absolutely hate ever having a flat, stick with Schwalbe Stelvio Plus. They offer superb protection without sacrificing as much in terms of performance as the Panaracers do. Reserve the Ribmo's for your commuter bike.

Regarding racing tires, Dan may have found the optimal combination of speed, grip, and puncture protection. He set up his bike with a Schwalbe Ultremo in the front, for speed and unparalleled grip among clinchers, and a Panaracer Extreme Duro in the back, for better puncture protection while keeping weight and grip within acceptable limits. Maybe he can share his impressions (or maybe I will, since I've copied his setup).


Weight (g)
Price
Panaracer Ribmo360
~$30
Schwalbe Stelvio Plus
310
~$42
Schwalbe Ultremo
190
~$45
Panaracer Extreme Duro
240
~$26

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Le Tour live and free (in English)

http://www.justin.tv/giac2007

UPDATE (7/22/2007): the link no longer works, at least today. I read on steephill.tv that ASO, the Tour organizers, forced steephill to remove their link to justin.tv, because it's unofficial streaming of the Eurosport broadcast.

Oh well... You can still see live video from Eurosport. Go here, scroll down to "Le Direct: Live Video" and click on the Eurosport video link.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Points ride-June 29

Joe is slowly clawing his way into the top of the classification. He's now number 4, tied with Dan in points. (It certainly helps Joe that the Tati folks are busy with their strenuous training rides on weekends now.) The ranking is still commanded by Elisabeth, in spite of skipping this weekend's ride.

Only three people came to the latest ride (perhaps due to the anticipated rain?). Our brave riders endured rain and heat going north (and then south) to cover 70 miles. The hero of the day was Andreas, who rode longer than he ever has. He's now 23rd, with 11 points and 105 miles. Will our Greek man make it to the top ten?

Next weekend we put a hiatus in the series of points rides, since many folks will probably take advantage of the 4th of July holiday to go on a long weekend out of the city. We'll resume activities the weekend of 12-13 of July. We'll send an e-mail.



Classement générale (top 15) - 29 juin

Points

Miles
1
Elisabet
41
275
2
Jeremy
36
240
3
Francisco
32
240
4
Joe
28
260
5
Dan
28
205
6
Bernard
26
190
7
Mickey
26
190
8
Jesse
24
120
9
Araba
23
120
10
Joel
22
205
11
Philippe
22
205
12
Jonathan
19
85
13
Suchandra
19
85
14
Charlie
18
170
15
Sarah
18
105

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Fun rides

Recreational riders, here are two websites with calendars of rides (some centuries, but also some longer and shorter ones):
-Mike's Illinois Bicycle Rides (rides in IL)
-Midwest Bike Rides (rides in IL, IN, WI, MN, IA, MO, OH and MI)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Tires and caps

Some of you know about my unshakable devotion to Schwalbe Stelvio Plus, the most durable, puncture-resistant road tires I've ever used. (The Plus is important; regular Stelvios are a completely different breed of tire.)

Now that my current pair is begging for retirement, I've found out that they're out of stock. Apparently, those lazy Germans don't produce them fast enough... Still, if you can find them, BUY THEM. But if you can't, Panaracer is coming to the rescue with their own version of an ultra-strong road tire: the RiBmo (hat tip to J/Tati).

I'll write up my impressions as soon as I get my hands on them and use them for a while. For now, their "facebook profile" is rather unattractive. Panaracer seems to be marketing it as an unashamedly strong, urban tire, with a deeply marked tread pattern and all. (Schwalbe tried to disguise the sturdiness of its little beasts by putting very shallow tread patterns on them and calling them "race tires.") Plus, the Ribmo's only come on 25c or wider--the Stelvio Plus are 23's, althought they look more like 25's. The weight of both Panaracers and Schwalbes is around 340g.

Yes, I know, I know: in a world of ceramic bearings and titanium derailleurs, a tire that weighs more than your iPod is completely unacceptable. But Stelvio Plus tires are meant to be for training and commuting in urban settings. (And by the way, Schwalbe claims that the Ultremos are as puncture-resistant as the Stelvio Pluses, at almost a third of their weight. In my experience, that is absolutely false.)

If you stick to the lakefront path you probably don't need Ribmos or Stelvio Pluses. But city streets in the south seemed to be covered by a blanket of glass, nails, metal shards and what not, and rare is the day when one person or another in my training group doesn't get a flat... Plus, I believe the old-fashioned theory that training on heavy, slow components makes you stronger...

* * *

Today Carly was wearing the most stylish, well-fitting cycling cap I've seen in recent eons. She had it custom-made (no wonder) at little-package.com, a one-woman operation in Portland, OR. You'll have quite a few decisions to make before you place an order: style, fabric, ribbon and size, at least. As for me, I think I will order a "Carly special" (black, cotton twill, with two asymmetrical orange stripes). Enjoy.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Points ride classification-June 21

No major changes this week, as most of the participants in the top of the classification came to the ride and everyone got the same number of points, regardless of which ride they did. Everyone except... J, Mickey, Dan, Bernard and myself, who skipped a red light in a moment of excitement while trying to chase the lead pack, and so got penalized with -1 point. (Note to yourself: don't follow Mickey at the traffic lights.)


Classement générale (top 15) - 21 juin

Points

Miles
1
Elisabet
41
275
2
Jeremy
36
240
3
Francisco
32
240
4
Dan
28
205
5
Bernard
26
190
6
Mickey
26
190
7
Jesse
24
120
8
Araba
23
120
9
Joel
22
205
10
Philippe
22
205
11
Joe
21
190
12
Jonathan
19
85
13
Suchandra
19
85
14
Charlie
18
170
15
Sarah
18
105

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sat Points Ride

Great ride yesterday. Slow group had a leisurely ride north, a nice coffee, and an empty path southbound at 9am on Saturday--truly amazing! The few rain sprinkles sent the runners home, I think. Happy riding~

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Points ride: classification as of June 14


Classement générale (top 15) - 14 juin

Points

Miles
1
Elisabet
37
240
2
Jeremy
32
205
3
Francisco
29
170
4
Dan
25
135
5
Jesse
24
135
6
Araba
23
120
7
Bernard
23
120
8
Mickey
23
120
9
Joel
22
205
10
Philippe
22
205
11
Jonathan
19
85
12
Suchandra
19
85
13
Charlie
18
170
14
Joe
17
155
15
Ari
15
50

Friday, June 13, 2008

Dauphiné Libéré on TV

Click here to watch the Dauphiné Libéré, live and free (in Danish).

Monday, June 9, 2008

Former UCVC Rider Gets in on the Anti-Doping Fight

J (full name is Jean Jacque Cabou) was one of the guys who led the charge of the UCVC into the collegiate racing scene. After stints working for the government (including our own Mayor Daley), it seems that he has been pulled into the dope wars.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Results of Monsters are finally up

ABR finally sent the results.

pre points ride June 7


Nice ride, all!

Points ride: June 7

The fifth ride of the series went in the casual spirit that characterizes this event.

Earlier this week I announced that I would grant an extra point to everyone who sported the UCVC jersey. I have to say, carrots work like a charm: twelve folks showed up in the club maglia. In fact, the only three who didn't are guests in this ride, not members of the club.

"People will do anything to get an extra point," Joel said. (Hmm..., I'm starting to get Machiavellian ideas...) Or maybe people just wanted to see me go insane with glee... I don't know.

The incident of the day was that one of the riders (actually, one of our guests) broke the rear derailleur and the chain. Our able mechanics McGyvered the drivetrain into a single speed, and our unfortunate friend was able to ride to Starbucks and back home--I'd give him an extra point if he were a UCVCer.

Below is a (partial) general classification. (The list of participants is getting longer and longer, so I'm only posting the points and mileage of people with more than ten points--the rest of you still have your points, I keep a full list in a spreadsheet.)

The classifica is now commanded by the Catalan mafia, with Elisabet ahead by just one point. Dan, Jeremy, Jesse, Araba and Bernard are close behind.

Classifica generale - June 7

Points

Miles
Elisabet
30
170
Francisco
29
170
Dan
25
135
Jeremy
25
135
Jesse
24
120
Araba
23
120
Bernard
23
120
Jonathan
19
85
Suchandra
19
85
Mickey
16
50
Ari
15
50
Joel
15
135
Philippe
15
135
Sarah
14
35
Noah
13
120
Charlie
11
100

According to the initial schedule, all our century rides were gonna take place in September (we had two in mind, the North Shore Century and the Apple Cider Century). I'd like to have another one in August, perhaps as an alternative option to a regular ride, for folks who have achieved sufficient endurance by then and can't wait...

Somebody mentioned the "Dairy Farm" or "Dairy Queen" ride, or something like that. Mickey mentioned another one, I can't remember the name. If you have suggestions about centuries that will take place in August, within two hours of Chicago, leave a comment or e-mail me.

Friday, June 6, 2008

"The Climb"

I'm glad somebody mentioned this blog: "The Climb," the account of a regular dude's quest to complete a mountain stage of "le Tour." (Hat tip to Thomas Sutton.)
Looks kind of entertaining.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Matteson is back

Just in case you don't read CBR (and everyone should), the Matteson crits are back this Tuesday. Free entry to everyone who shows up early to sweep the course this week!

(I wrote about the Matteson practice crits before here.)

The race site has been under construction recently and the South Chicago Wheelmen folks have had to put the event on hold for a coupl' weeks. It looks like there's gonna be a narrow window of three weeks during which it'll be possible to hold the event again. Thanks to SCW for putting on these races!!