Monday, July 29, 2013


I've been listening to the album "Country Grammar" by Nelly a lot lately. By a lot, I mean maybe once, half-way through. By lately, I mean today. This is another fine example of rap music being very different listening to it as a 23 year old with life experiences rather than a ten year old listening to it all fresh and shiny, proud of his first rap CD purchase- way cooler than Jennifer Lopez CD's. I mean, uh, Beastie Boys CDs....

Apparently that tattoo says "Lunatic"
Another great example of this is the album Word of Mouf (sic) (sic=thus was it written). I had this one as a wee lad, but I had the edited version. We listened to this album on the way home from  Cascade and I learned that when listening to it unedited, the songs are longer, much more filled of words and significantly more descriptive.

Normally when I don't update after a race it means Ish went bad and I don't feel loco enough to write up stories. This wasn't the case from the final two days of Cascade. I've just been busy. I've been doing some real man shit. Real life shit. Just real adult shit, man. Real talk, real deal. Really.

So let's take a ride on the magic memory train where I'll share with you Cascade stages 5 and 6 and then that real manly stuff I've been talking about.

We did the crit and it went. My favorite part was when I noticed the sprinklers going on and drenching all the spectators on the slowest part of the course. I was having no luck getting to the front of the bike race so when I was going 8mph through the third and fourth corners of the course I was able to notice these things. It was ALMOST like this:

We finished and then ate food and then Jon and Staz napped.

Sunday's stage is one that pretty much daily I think to myself "omg, Ian, that course is perfect for you. Do dank things there, ok?". Then, the race comes around and I find myself thinking things more along the lines of "WTF? WTF? WTF?" (why this fast? x3). Then I get dropped and scheme for years to come when one day I'll have the good ride that I've been promising myself since I was a second year u23.

This year I crossed the bridge from terrible ride to pretty good ride but no result. This is something that I'm ok with, but nowhere near content with. I made all the front splits on the climbs, chilled in the group while Staz and Steve melted in the break, and plotted. I put a lot of emphasis on the word chilled in that above sentence, because Harry Dynamite went back for bottles and ice socks approximately 1 million times.

Hero work.

We raced, the break got caught, and I learned just how different the finish stretch is at race speed rather than dropped and sulking speed. I did a good sprint from tooooooo far back and finished directly in mediocrest place. Maybe some day I'll do a good'un here and I can be famous too!

Ya see, Rhae does winning and gets compared to Jens Voigt. Interesting.

I returned from Cascade feeling slightly mature. I decided that to continue my maturation, perhaps become an adult and maybe just maybe eventually be growned-up enough to have a GREAT race on the Awbrey Butte Circuit, I needed to do more adult things.

First, I went to get my car's emissions checked.

I failed.

Then, I went to the shop to see about getting it fixed. It was $900. I said no thanks.

I failed.

Next, I got a haircut.

I won.

Then I went to an art show, classy and adult-like of me.

Then, I decided that being an adult was for softies so I slept till ten and went bike riding. I went pedaling, where I saw something that I thought epitomized specifically just what's wrong with this world. I was stopped at a light, and crossing the street were three girls. These girls were, if I had to guess, 10 years old. They were wearing sunglasses, carrying purses, and drinking Starbucks frapasomethings. Somewhat disturbing.

I continued on with my ride slightly concerned with how the world is evolving. Soon, I came across a group of ~ten-year old kids riding their bikes in the street. I passed them, made the corner, and one of the kids bunny hopped the curb, sprinted up the sidewalk, and shortcut passed me back. He yelled "woohoo!" and threw up both hands in a victory salute. His friends cheered behind me.

Faith = restored.

Then I brake checked him into the next corner and attacked as hard as I could.

Officially mature.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Cascade time trial event and road biking race

I started this yesterday so if it sounds confusing, you probably should stick to your Archie and Jughead comics.

Today we did an aerodynamics contest in the Kentucky of Oregon. These certainly display some strengths and weaknesses for people.

I really like time trials. Each one I do I'm surprised that I still like after, and I get excited for a TT days in advance. Turns out that if you like something, you don't automatically win. Which I'm fine with, because I would be winning Kobyashi type contests and I really don't want to be a winner of those sort of things.

Pretty typical morning, really. We drove in the van listening to Jon's Australian rap. It's better than regular rap because they have fun accents and rap about kangaroos and Fosters beeyhur. We arrived at the parking lot, see a professional team parked DIRECTLY next to the "absolutely no event parking here" sign, park the van, repark the van, warm up, start house, go.

I pedal way too briskly for the first eight miles. I catch my thirty second guy 300 meters before the turnaround, pass him, and begin to crank home. Then my 30sec guy drafted me the entire eight miles back to the finish line. TTT minus my participation. This was new to me, since it was so blatant. In fact, he passed me once and swung off as if he wanted me to rotate through. I didn't.

Here's the fun part. He's from a line of famous people. You see, this chap that started in front of me and had the easiest last 8 miles ever is a Moser.

That's right! He's a nephew or son or grandson or something of Francesco, and that would make him a cousin or brother or son of Moreno who got third on today's stage of the TDF.

Check out that crazy wheel!!!

Anyways, I've unlocked the secret of all the Moser's family success. Silver bullets! Speaking of those, Steve's aero water bottle fell off during his start, so he didn't win.

Then I went to the river instead of posting and when I came back I was hungry and after I ate I was sleepy.

Then, we woke up at 5:15 am to eat and get ready to go to start of our next stage, which was at 8:30 in the morning.

That means that lots of people had to do this:

The Bachelor stage parking situation is quite large, since its sole purpose is to be a place to leave vehicles. That means a normally terrible situation is actually quite painless. You may have thought that I was talking about where to place a large van, but the real conundrum comes when you get to the start of a bicycle race with 200 power meter geeked out cycling lunatics and you need to sync your Quarq and your Garmin. Normally, this smells like trouble. But, this spacious Bachelor parking lot is extra big since the finish is no longer a coned off spiraled parallelogram like in years past and that allows for perfect pairing possibilities. See!

Photo credit: Graham Watson
So once everyone had taken care of what they needed to take care of, we were off for a downhill bike racing contest. This course has a finish climb, and they advertise it as so. What is left out is the fact that we covered the first 90 miles in three hours. You can do the math, Will Hunting.  Good!

Gameplan is as simple as it always is on paper: make the break, stack the break, go 1-2 from the break with a big enough gap to take over the GC, Best Young Rider, Points, and KOM jerseys. We were WELL on our way to doing that today when after a tumultuous first 40 miles (so about 45min of race time, something like that) Chris and Jon worked their way into what appeared to be the dankest group to ever get off the front of the Cascade Classic, with nearly all teams represented with multiple riders a piece. I took this opportunity to try and relearn how to breathe and to make my legs work slightly better than they had been for the first bit of the stage. Not too successful on that front. CyclingNews got a great photo of Staz and Jon in that move:

After a spirited chase by Jelly Belly which made me hate my legs and my decision to not be a computer nerd and pedal things instead, the move got brought back. Then, the group collectively decided that now was the perfect time for a big 'ol crash. Let me tell you what happened to me in this bicyclepalooza.

There was a whole lot of braking in the field as everyone skidded and swerved to avoid the carnage. I had to brake to avoid hitting person one on the ground. Person two behind me chose against that option and bumper car rammed me directly in the most sensitive spot of my bicycle. The derailleur. I quickly ate a cookie to gain some mass, and instead of going down with the person behind, I did a bicycle version of this with the entire strength of my Shimano derailleur:

Rolled out of fine, kept pedaling, and then was informed by Staz that my hanger was bent all out of shape like when you put 3 laundry bags in the wash together and they come out broken and twisted like a Skrillex song.

The good news? I had a spare bike on the car. The bad news? The race (mostly my teammates) was (were) going ape up the road to try and get into the next move. I was stuck in a limbo area- I couldn't shift too far up otherwise my whole biznaz would get destroyed and I'd probably end up in the ditch. I also didn't want to stop and get a change right then, because the race was going too fast. So instead of going all snapping turtle with my teammates at the front of the race, I twiddled my thumbs waiting for a good moment to get on a new bike. That finally came, and Doug jumped out of the car and got my bike off to the roof faster than cartoons. I like cartoons.

I got back in the bike race, and worked my way to the front just in time to do nothing of value. I almost won the race into the base of the climb but lost that too, and rolled in with a big group about two minutes down. Jon had a good climb despite riding in the break today and finished in the second group on the road.

Then we rode home from the stage finish to end the day at 113 miles and about a 27 something average speed.

Good news. I can hear normally out of one of my ears! Goood times.

Credit: the world wide web

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

cascade update

i've decided to forgo using the shift key on my computer because i can't be bothered.

I've changed my mind because that looks as if it was written by an infant, and the only infancy that I'll participate in today was the level of my bicycle pedaling up and around Mackenzie Pass. However, after evaluating the results from today, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that my 139th place on the stage was attained with far more cunning than you may imagine. You see, Cascade lets 200+ register in order to stack that paper cheese. Then, in a display of their power, hack the field to 150 riders before the criterium bicycle tournament on Saturday. For some, the GC battle is for the top 10, even the top five if you are one of the talented few who didn't find today's stage hard. For others, the (I'd argue) real GC battle is for 150th place. I... placed... myself pretty far back today, but not TOO far back. What a relief!

Let's rewind to last night's prologue, since I haven't mentioned that yet. Everyone's favorite thing to do after 2.3 mile time trials is to pick their race apart until their actual effort is a limp comparison to what they could've done. If all the prologue deities and gypsies aligned, every last one of us silly, incredibly alike bike racers would be winners. Which, if I understand life (aka bike racing) correctly, isn't possible.

As you can see in this photo, I have scientifically proven that there is only one winner in bike pedaling:

Ok, so I was talking about prologues, how they are short, and how there are always spots where you think "OMG I totes could've gone faster here". When the time gaps are this close, it's easy to see where you could find that extra six or ten or 13 seconds:

I'm going to mind ramble and shuffle you now. After all that lead-in, I'm going to instead be grateful of my 21st. Rather than be pissy that I didn't go X seconds faster so I got X place, check out the fact that I STOMPED the 13 sec back group! That's right folks, I was the winner of the losers in that ONE second space from spots 21-28. Let's talk about where I made up those seconds, rather than where I could've gone faster. Booyah
  • I trimmed my gorilla arms this week! I saw Steve shaved his arms prior to the UCI win in Delta, so I assumed that simply by trimming my arms I'd be set for some sort of miracle. Even though I wore a long sleeve skinnie, I'm going to assume this = +.5 seconds
  • As mentioned in my pre-prologue boredom post, my head has been all congested and such. This was an extremely helpful thing for two reasons: the weight of my head tripled to at least Lang mass, and that made it so I was able to keep in the aero position much better than normally. My heavy head stayed low. The second reason involved my clogged ears. I couldn't hear myself breathing, so I just had to assume I could go harder. That is AT LEAST one second. 

  • Our team van was parked about 200m to the finish. This allowed us to watch people cross the line, see their technique, and evaluate their performances as they finished. This was all fun and games until I realized that I would soon be riding on the same course as the other pedalers and passing the team van as well. The extra motivation of making sure that I kept composure through the last 200 meters had to have been worth at least 12 seconds.
  • I wanted to pedal hard. = +1/1000th of a second
More proof that I have a heavy head this weekend! Here's the descent off of Mackenzie Pass. Apparently we got loose this year.

To pass the time, I've been reading about bank robberies. Don't ask why. Seriously.

In this research, I've discovered the legend of a man named Willie Sutton. This guy was an excellent bank robber because plain and simple he had a great time while doing it! Slick Willie dressed up in costumes like he was trying to give out a court summons to an unwilling participant. Then, while all costumed up, he'd hit you with the "surprise, I'm not the mailman. Give me your money!" Super simple, super effective.

Speaking of super effective, Staz and I were telling eachother stories in the laughing group today. I use that term loosely since our group was getting attacked and guttered repeatedly. Also I told one story and Staz couldn't think of any. Regardless, the moral of this story (not the one I told but the one I'm telling now) is that while bike racing in warm weather, I dream of slurpees. I requested our vehicle stop for frozen beverages immediately upon finishing. We stopped at a place that advertised smoothies. The elderly Russian woman who greeted us called Staz handsome and told Doug that he couldn't have whipped cream once he turned 50, so he should take advantage of it now.

The end.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Killing time in Bend

My ear has been clogged since I think Saturday. My sinuses have been slightly Kennettronned and I'm fairly certain that when I sprinted in the Derby Dias criterium I sent some sort of reverse osmosis from my sinuses through my ear canal and it got stuck there like when the guy from Home Alone tries to sneak in through the dog door and instead gets hit in the face with a frying pan.

Because of this strange anomaly occurring in my head region, I've been talking louder, hearing less, and becoming much more aware of my surroundings. That, plus the Cold brew that I had at Backporch Coffee this morning made for a weird pre-prologue bike ride. The world felt slow motion and as I moved through it at extraordinary speed and quietness, I couldn't help feel like I had finally made it as a cast member in one of the greatest animated films of all time. Besides Ratatouille. I spelled that right on the FIRST try.

All this slow motion quiet life has had me thinking a lot about the latest book that I read, called "The Way of the Peaceful Warrior". There was a section of that book where it talked about a concept called Satori. This idea is reflective of that haze you get when doing something important, when "attention rests in the present moment, when the body is alert, sensitive, relaxed, and the emotions are open and free. Satori is the warrior's state of being". I can't even begin to express how excited I am that since Saturday, I've been in a permanent state of Satori. Something to do with that ear thing has had me fully immersed in the present. I can't be distracted by far away noises. I can't be bothered to listen to anyone's conversations.

So, it seems that I'm a warrior now. Which is appropriate, since my power creature for tonight's pedaling is a combination of these beasts:


Saturday, July 13, 2013


Bike racing is the weird step-cousin sport in North America. Television would rather show extreme fly fishing rather than twilight criteriums. Apparently, TV can't catch "it"- the combinations of things that make bike racing so spectator friendly and exciting.

The Gastown GP has figured it out. Whatever it is. The allure behind this race seeps into the air and there is a general buzz as the combination of 200+ racers and 10,000 spectators share the enjoyment of something truly beautiful.

Gastown is a race that has been around for a long time. I spectated in '08, and watched Svein Tuft make everyone look silly and in the process of that make ~20,000 dollars. Last year I was super excited to even be in the race. It's a race that I had always wanted to do and just being in the field was a great experience. I didn't reallllly race though. I rode around and got 80th. I wanted, and was ready, to RACE this year.

But first! Being a twilight crit and all, we got the great pleasure of going on an easy AM spin. This was even more excellent than usual, because our host house was quite near to a well-maintained bike park.  This park had your choice of obstacles: Dirt jumps, turns and berms, rhythm sections, drop-offs and mountain bike trails. Since Jamis recently announced a new cyclocross team, we figured we could do some fun activities to test the limits of our frames and skills. This means that I watched as everyone else got loose, because we all know how I feel about mountain biking.

Steve trying to scuff his new shoes. Credit: Winger Studios
This trail was marked beginner, so I gave it a try. Credit: Winger Studios
Just 6 guys and we're having a good time, having a good time. Credit: Winger Studios
Alright, so we went biking and then drove to the race for more biking.  I just can't get enough.

The course at Gastown is a loooong rectangle-type shape with a little zig-zag instead of two 90's and a U instead of two more 90's. Since that made about as much sense as a Shaggy song:

Here's a picture of the course to clear things up:

It was a headwind on the downhill back straight and, since I know a lot about weather, it was the opposite on the front straight. When you were going the other direction. So it was a tailwind.

The name Water St. is somewhat grumpy to me, because on lap three I lost my water bottle somewhere between the last corner and the huge set of bumps on the finish straight. Every time that I rode past a puddle on the course, I did this:

Moving on. People stage for this race almost 30 minutes before the start of the actual pedaling. It would've been nice to have lined up in the front, but I didn't get there. Oh well. I'm under the impression that if you can't move through the pack to get to the front, then you don't really belong at the front anyways. So I set about getting to the front. Here's a strange photo that I found from the startline:

Credit: Scott Robarts

As you can see, Steve got a call up and got the excitement of being on the start line when they had the photo with the Jr. Devo team. You can see why I find this incredibly fortunate:

Credit: Scott Robarts
We got going, I made it to the front in time to see that Steve had already gone in the breakaway, so I spent the next bit covering moves and getting yelled at for not helping chase Steve down. Steve going in the breakaway surprised me so much! Usually that guy is content to just sit in and wait for the race to happen around him.

We continued racing, I got thirstier, and soon it was 10 laps to go. David towed me into great position, but I was using a lot of energy to keep it, so I drifted back to about 15th-20th wheel. Here I could take the corners fast without being in the swarm in the top ten. It was perfect. Getting the bell with one lap to go, Steve brought me up the outside of the field and as we went through the 180, I was in the top five. Things were great down the backside, and I started to prepare for the sprint. As the race swarmed into the third corner, I made an instinctual move to try and shoot the middle to grab Ken Hanson's wheel. I did that! And things were great. Then, the swarm pushed me in, I grabbed brakes, and then I lost some spots. Oops. Negative points. I did a sprint that I was happy with, passed some people, and finished up 12th on the day.

Credit: Greg Descantes
It was pretty cool to actually be a part of the bike racing at Gastown instead of just riding around. Turns out that 10,000000 people on course make a lot of noise during the closing laps. Only 11 more spots to go until that lucrative $15,000 prize!

Thanks to Global Relay for bringing Gastown back, and thanks to the drunkards for yelling especially loudly.


Monday, July 8, 2013

I don't know where I am

At last update, I was in Wisconsin for Nationals. That went far from planned and then my dog ate my blog post so, sorry.

After finishing the Nationals road race at 6:00 pm on Friday night, I went back to the hotel, packed, and went to sleep early. At almost midnight. My alarm went off at 3:35AM and we were out the door for the airport by 4. At 4:30, we arrive at the airport to find out that our 6AM flight had been delayed "at least" two hours. Unfortunately, our connection in Denver was roughly one hour earlier than this suggested possible new flight. That meant we had to find another connection to Seattle. This happened to be another airline that didn't exist at the Madison airport. That meant we had to just hope that when we landed in Denver, we'd be able to pick up our boarding passes at the gate.

Our two hour delay turned into a three and change. Turns out that the plane broke in a serious way the night before and they worked all through the night to fix it. Uhhh. To make matters more exciting, when we finally got on the plane at 9:15AM, the two maintenance workers who had fixed the plane flew along with us. Just in case it broke mid-air?

When we left the hotel in the morning we knew we weren't going to see the Tour stage. Then, when our flight was delayed two hours, we knew we'd be able to see some, but not all. Then, when our flight was massively delayed, we got to see the middle chunk of the stage. I had joked earlier that our plane would finally be ready at about 15k to go in the stage. We boarded the plane at 20k to go. Then, I found the stage on our Frontier TVs. We were quite thrilled, and got to watch the last 15k. Except the last last 1k part, because the TVs turned off.

Doug exercising in the airport

8 AM "Tour viewing"

+ we had the extra five inches of legroom for some reason, which is stanky delicious
OK, so we got to Denver and got on a plane. I begged Marissa to get the Sprinter van and come get us at the airport and she obliged, so in roughly 30 minutes I was off one plane, made plans for pickup, and on another plane. We landed in Seattle, and ALL of our bike bags came out within three minutes of arriving at the gate. This was an amazing accomplishment. Doug and I stayed at the carousel and waited for the other bags. They weren't there. Then, all of a sudden we found them on THE WRONG carousel. So somehow all of our bags arrived. Swagens.

Marissa picked us up, we had lunch, and then at 3:30 Seattle time (5:30 Madison, 13.5 hours of traveling) we got in the van and headed North to Canada.

Here, Jon learned lots of interesting things about Canada. Alan learned lots of interesting things about Jon.

We made it across the border and headed straight to the bike race where the rest of the team were preparing to race. We got to the course at 6:50PM (17 hours) and I built my bike and rode the trainer for an hour. The race ended at 9, we were out of there by 9:30, and I was in bed asleep by 11. That's a 23 hour day. I think. No one check my math, but it was a long day.

The fun continues! I woke up Sunday morning and stole food from my teammates.

Then I got in a van and went to do a 94 mile road race. We're in Canada, so the race was actually in kilometers, but I can't find Jon to do the conversion right now.

Last year was one of the biggest moments that I got to be a part of as a cyclist. We took control early, our strongest team showing of the year, and Steve backed it up by winning the race. We came into this race with confidence, and Steve very openly announced that he felt good and wanted to win.

Well, yeah.

Credit: Tour de Delta FB page
As you may be able to notice, Steve backed up our work again, but on a much different scale and method.

Let's start from the beginning.

At last update, I was in Wisconsin for Nationals. That went far from planned and then my dog ate my blog post so, sorry.


The course was a new one for the Tour De Delta. Instead of a dumbbell circuit like in the years past, we did 13 laps on a 12km circuit. There was one power climb and lots of cornering. It was very large amounts of fun. I wish more bike races were over three hours and involved cornering. I mean, check out how awesome the GPS data looks from the race!

Doesn't that look FUN!

Last year we had an unfavorable breakaway up the road, chased it down, then Steve went into a late move and won out of that. Things went a little differently this year. One constant: We smashed the teamwork.

I went into the first significant move of the day, we got out of sight, and I was sure that I had finally made it into "the move" at a big race. I was all excited, thinking "this is perfect, Steve will bridge up then I will ride till I'm dropped!". Then, 20 minutes later, "the move" ended and Steve countered his way into THE actual move. Bravo!

Credit to Canadian Cyclist

Credit: King Lang
Steve rode his way into the break of ~10 riders and while he pedaled away up there, the rest of us swarmed the front and covered moves, ready to ride across in whatever group was motivated to get to the front of the race.

Credit: Canadian Cyclist
After each of us covering roughly 1000 moves, Staz finally got into a group that chugged across the gap. Then, Staz got to have the pleasure of DRIVING the move and leading Steve out when it came time for sprint practice.

Credit: Greg Descantes
All this pulling made Staz a happy chappy.

Then, when Steve won, we were all happy chappys!

It's been pretty rewarding for each of us to come to one of the only UCI races in North America with a rider motivated and ready to win, and go about doing that. This was a different team effort than last year, but an incredible all-around effort just the same.

I mean, Jon didn't start and spent all day in the feed zone throwing bottles at David. That's a good teammate.

Jon in the feed zone

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Madison Square Garden

We were at dinner yesterday (in Madison, WI) and I was sitting at the end of our table. Next to us were a pair of people who I immediately pegged as being on a date. Doug didn't think so, but I think that I proved him wrong with a combination of logic, flair, common sense, and suave demeanor. I mean, the guy was dressed super fancy-like, and the woman was wearing jeans. Anyways, I overheard some* of this date because they were basically on my lap. In one of his not funny stories, he was explaining to someone that he "was from Madison. NO NOT MADISON SQUARE GARDEN DAMNIT". I'm not sure that their date went well.


I'm having a very stressful morning. I woke up, and Jon had already connected his laptop to the hotel TV via HDMI cable with the Tour playing. Excellent. Then, we walked the 1/2 block to the coffee shop (which is also a liquor store. At first I was surprised, but then realized it was BroCal that took me there). When I returned from the coffee, wine, and spirits gala, Ryan's dad Dean had made us pancakes. I sat down, ate a pancake, drank a coffee, and here I am watching the Tour day Francia.

Nacer got dropped because he isn't wearing a skinflute

Rewind a little bit. I arrived at the Denver airport and snuck up on Kennettron. BOO! Here are some pictures involving Kennett.

This terribly taped cardboard box was not Kennett's?

Speaking (showing) of creeper photos, here's another!

Jon re-applied hair gel before we went to dinner. Pimpin' aint easy.

If you hadn't figured out yet, I'm in Madison for the National Championships. I came in yesterday, I am racing the road race Friday, and I leave Saturday morning. In and out, just like a hitman.

I am motivated, fit and ready to pedal hard. And, luckily for me, I'm in Wisconsin not the Madison Square Garden. Sounds like a terrible place. I wouldn't go there if I knew the way.

Back to relaxing.

Maxin, chillin all cool.