Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Lookin' all "Pro"

Our own Lambert Vaes riding up the Galibier last month in the French Alps, like a BOSS.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Ocala Road Race (Sunday)

Lambert Vaes (2nd) and Kerry Duggan (3rd) represented in Ocala for the orange and gray of Cycle Logic.

Basically Lambert and I plus a guy from Florida Velo attacked 50 racers on Pumpkin hill (Germantown) and managed to stay away the last 4 miles to finish 8 seconds ahead of the bunch. (and as it turned out 3 massive crashes near the finish)

It shouldn't have worked. The field must not have seen two guys with similar jerseys - but Mike said he and several Florida Velo racers immediately and agressively "got fat" on the front.  Sweet. 

Lambert go 2nd and I got 3rd. We didn't contest the Florida Velo guy winning because  A)  he was fresher and worked a bit harder  B) he was not in the GC so not a threat and C) we were so freakin' tired at the end and just kind of rolled across the line together all weary smiles.

Overall, none of us were in the GC money because we suck in time trials and have bikes areo as a 12 pack.

Note:  Look at Lambert, he SO needs to work on race number location. At least he used more than two safety pins this time. Sigh!.


Friday, April 26, 2013

Boone Roubaix 2013

Crazy Dan Boone and Dr. Pain's Lessons of Dirt

April 20th 2013

When Mike Robinson's (AKA Dr. Pain) wheels hit dirt he morphs into a Lycenthrope or shape shifter.  His aero position drops four inches, leg speed increases 20%, pupils dilate to improve hazard handling, and heart rate and wattage spike. His usual mild personality devolves into an ill-mannered terra-planing competitive S.O.B..

"Never stop pedaling when you hit a sand trap" he advises. "It only slows you down and you'll stop or crash. Bomb all descents at top speed. You need the speed to vault the potholes of death."

I have learned to never let him get ahead of me in deep sand. Somehow he just always floats away leaving you flailing the bike in shin-deep sugar sand unable to get going again. But I am grateful for his negative tutelage for it has proved invaluable in recent Roubaix events.

Being uncomfortable descending smooth pavement switchbacks at 50+ mph, I now rely on my new ability to turn it loose on the dirt and put time on timid rivals. There were several dirt sectors in this race that allowed me to do just that and end in overall victory for my age group. (50-59)

Our 250+ mass start race began in 38 degrees and ended in the mid forties. Hiding in the van huddled over the heater proved a poor strategy. We were told there would be a neutral lead out across the cold, rain saturated field but nobody told the lead car which immediately  took off out of sight. This left all 250 people struggling to stay up front on the twisty, hilly potholed course.
The carnage was unbelievable. No crashes, but within 2 miles the lead group was down to 25. My legs felt like lifeless turkey bones kept in the fridge too long. It was a painful struggle just to keep in the draft near the back.

Mike and Jayson were nowhere in sight.  So strange for the Mudd brothers to vanish this early.
Eventually pavement appeared, the pack slowed slightly and It felt like a grand fondo.
With a super-human effort a red-faced Jayson managed to get across the gap and latched on to the very back where I had pitched my tent.  "Oi!" he breathed. "I made it. Bloody hell I'm knackerd!"
"Welcome back dude!" I congratulated his effort slapping him on the back. A few seconds later we started one of the longest steepest climbs of the whole race. An un recovered Jayson began to slide backwards. "Bollocks!" he cried.  "See ya later mate........" and he was gone. I felt bad and considered giving him a push......but only for an instant because the 20-40 year-old riders were now climbing away from us single file and because he is not sponsored by Bike Works/Cycle Logic. Maybe next year he will be orange not blue and I will help him. Maybe.

Eventually I came off too. This climb was steeper than Hogpen at 6-Gap but not as long.

A few miles later I was joined by two younger guys from Team Pittsburgh and we started sharing the load. Me on the uphills and dirt, they on the fast paved downhills. Everytime we hit dirt I thought of Dr. Pain. What would he do?  Keep the pressure on, never hit the brakes and bomb the descents and potholes. A pattern set itself up......climb just hard enough to retain Team Pittsburgh.....descend fast enough not to lose them......then imagine chasing Dr. Pain on the next dirt sector. When my buddies came off I couldn't help a feral Robinson grin.

At one point a strong but nutty local rider bridged up. I think he was on drugs. He was way too animated. Every hilltop or hard effort he gave a rebel yell at the top of his lungs.  "Yee-ow!!!, feel that BURN!!!  C'mon boys!  Let's ROCK!!!  Hoo whee!!!"

I think he rode bandit.  Everybody had a three digit race number.  His was folded up to reveal  "6."   But he was strong and we let him help us like the Woody Allen joke:
A man visits a psychiatrist.
"My brother thinks he's a chicken."
"Have you told him he is not a chicken?" says the psychiatrist.
"No because we really need the eggs" the man replied. 
Later he started whistling the sag truck to take his vest.  They politely ignored him.  They knew something.......maybe he was the crazy side of the Daniel Boone clan. We kept the eggs though.

Finally we turned onto the final gravel parking lot loop and under the finishing banner. Team Pittsburgh raced itself hard for 15th place. Crazy Daniel ignored the banner and headed for the free beer. I rolled under the banner in about 2 hours 41 minutes.

Jayson came in 9 minutes later and Mike a scant 5 minutes after that. We all had the same basic tale.  We got dropped by the youngsters then rallied by forming small chase groups the rest of the race.
Few riders seemed to have road skills and required lectures on efficient rotations and echelons. There must be more mountain bike riders in these kinds of races.

We all agreed the promoter Andrew "Stack" Stackhouse is much friendlier and more approachable than all Florida road race promoters combined.  He was very interested in everybody having a good experience. He was MC and also drove the whole course filming and offering help and encouragement to all the racers he encountered. He walked the parking lot welcoming everybody one at a time.
We will definitely be back next year and will do as many of his upcoming races this year as possible.

Here is the video that Jayson O'Mahoney put together...enjoy.


Friday, March 22, 2013

Rouge Roubaix video

Our good friend, former teammate and new GCC president, Jayson O'Mahoney, put together a great video highlighting portions of the 2013 Rouge Roubaix. Cycle Logic's own Scott Pfaff features multiple times throughout the footage. Enjoy.
You can see other video's from Jayson here

Monday, March 18, 2013

Rouge Roubaix #15

Five Mile Bridge

Bridge...........Must....be around.... NEXT corner......groan!......maybe NEXT corner......aaaagh!   Where the @#*% is that Fve Miles from the FREAKIN' End BRIDGE?!Keep going......turn that big gear. DON'T lose that wheel in front ... it just gets EVEN harder!  Hate my chain.......chain gang.....that's what I'm freakin' on - a chain gang - doing life without parole!  Out of GU, fuzzy thinking, on the verge of swooning.
Somebody make me stop!

This is what the last 20 miles of Rouge Roubaix the 15th feels like........somewhere just before the "Five Miles From the End" Bridge. Mile after mile of twisty, turny, rough chip seal road. Every corner looks the same. BANG through the pot holes, SLAM over two dozen wooden bridges and DODGE the dodgy bits. All on your skinny tire 10-speed bike. The only concession to conditions was to bleed tire pressure to 90.

Even before that there were 101 miles of big hills......big paved hills......big dirt hills.... with steep wheel-sucking sand patches and slippery marble-strewn, scary descents over and over.  When the hills flattened out Mr. Gusty Headwind showed up and spoiled the pack party. Keep going, keep going. Save a little punch for the dirt sections if you can. Eat another Double Shot if ya got it.

Scott, Justin, Ed and Kerry during their pre-ride.
Scott dropped the GU I gave him. The one he REALLY had counted on getting him home.  I had just rolled up to him and Jayson after chasing (with two other guys) for two hours due to an early  flat. Our boys were with the shattered remnants of the first chase group which failed to bring back 5 pro-elite masters. They were exhausted from the noble effort.  "I see you still have that GU I gave you this morning" I said.  It was sticking out of his left shorts leg. "Yeah, I really need it now" he groaned.
Then, like a bad dream, it suddenly fell to the ground and popped a few wheels back. His entire body slumped so hard there was a shock wave. "No soup for you"! said Chef Roubaix.

Jayson and I took a few pathetic pulls to help the pack out. Suddenly my two former buddies punched it up a hill. On the verge of fainting I managed to bridge up then looked back. Nothing back there. So sad.

The fourth and last dirt sector came and went bringing tears to our eyes.  My two younger companions (40 and 43) had mercy on their older shadow and didn't insist I match pull for pull. For a while. I was no threat to their race I kept teling them. They didn't seem to believe me but I kept clawing back from their increasingly unfriendly surges.
My goal was to stay with them to the bridge. To the Bridge.....the Bridge.  All will be fine after the Bridge. Eventually we hit the Five Miles To Go Bridge. Everything should be fine now. Two miles to go and my buddies left me struggling up one last hill. One mile to go and my front tire went flat. "You gotta be FREAKIN' kidding" I mumbled to no one. Luckily a wheel truck was right there.  Unluckily the only spare left had a CX tire so wide I barely could pound it on with brakes wide open. I spun it. Nothing happened. The tire was so tall it dragged on my fork crown.
This race cursed me to the very end!

One mile to go. I was afraid of capture any second. Nothing for it but to buck it home. Like a stuck pig it squealed every rotation. Squeal! Squeal! Squeal!
Burning rubber was a worry but soon the finish line rolled past. The tire survived but now sported a flat top. The crowd cheered wildly for every hollow faced racer that finished - mostly solo. I had never seen such a far-away look in Scott's weary face. But now we could sit down at least. Justin worried us coming in half an hour later, but he had two flats. Ed was in 4th position 2/3 into the race but somehow faded from there. The quiet man wasn't elaborating. Jayson was just "knackered".

Scott, Kerry, Ed and Jayson post-Roubaix
After showers, jambalaya and local beer Jayson and Ed lay horizontal in the room avoiding their painful "Roubaix Butts."  They swore they would never do this race again. Two hours later they couldn't wait to race it again. They must have spotted the Five Mile Bridge and hope was renewed.


[editorial note: Kerry's effort earned him the top step on the Masters 55+ podium...he's just too modest to mention it in his own story. Congratulations Kerry!]

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Southern Cross 2013 report

Mountain people say if you don't like the weather just wait 10 minutes and it will change.
They lie. The 51 mile Southern Cross extreme CX race was 28 degrees at the start and 34 at the finish - 3 1/2 cold miserable hours later. It was so cold at the finish the hot lasagna they served outdoors
was brittle before we sat down. During the race a power bar was a flat, cold rock. Completely inedible.
Mike's gummy Power Blok clicked when he dropped one. Water bottles spouted an ice dome with slush that had to be chewed.

Unaccustomed to these conditions Ed, Mike and I pawed through a ridiculous plethora of of bike clothes in every possible combination. What to wear?
A 12 mile 20% plus dirt  climb is best  done naked. However, an 8 mile descent begs a wool burka.
If you have to change a flat you'd best start a survival fire. We ended up horribly overdressing to cope with standing still 30 minutes at the start. Surely we could peel layers later?

The course itself was miserable. A 400 person mass start is crazy enough without ankle-deep slimy red Georgia clay.  Imagine riding a light dusting of hay over a blaze of fresh dog crap.  Deep slimy ruts formed as 800 tires slipped helter skelter careening around the initial technical CX 1.5 mile start.  The air buzzed with angry orange blobs launched off tires and and slapped onto bike frames, vests and sunglasses. My heart rate maxed out at 195 running up one of those shite hills less than 2 minutes from the start. But.......suddenly  you notice you aren't cold anymore. Now you are feverish.

No time to change as we left the dirt and began forming little  echelons  desperately chasing other little echelons heading toward the first 12 mile climb.

About 20 seconds ahead I could just make out Ed's familiar orange Cycle Logic kit safely esconched in the lead group-but no matter how hard I sat-on we just couldn't close.  (I didn't catch Ed until he crashed and flatted 30 miles later.) But soon the 12 mile rocky climb began.

Immediately I was baking like a butterball turkey with the stops stuck.  Sweat soaked through 4 layers of  lined lycra and dripped down my open chest as my ticker beat 175 at 6 mph.
Legs were somewhere between track standing and 30 RPM.

What was I thinking?  Everything moved in slow motion for an hour.  Riders I could catch in 10 strokes on the flats were actually 20 seconds ahead. You had to carefully thread through a minefield of quartz and granite rocks as big as melons.  Touch one this slow and you might not get going again. Cries of "that's it!" echoed up and down the valley as people started walking.

Eventually you top out at the feed station where  volunteers clang bells in your face, yell "good job!" and generally piss you off — not racing.

And then you descend, and descend, and descend some more.  Four zippers head North now.  Over-gloves are found. Your powerbar is now a lollypop-all you can do is lick it.  Luckily the Gu still squeezed out - on my cheek, on my gloves and on my jacket.  At 29 degrees and 37 mph
your eyes weep, your nose gushes and your hands ache on the brakes.  Throw in ruts and dodging boulders around every other blind curve understand how Ed eventually crashed.......and flatted at the same time.  He hit a big rock, flew over the bars and ended up on his knees facing away.  He didn't mention this to me when i came upon him calmly fixing replacing his tube.  At the end (he still caught me for all that) he had a mild concussion, a bloody bulb on his upper back and minor strawberries. Truly The Fighting Irish.  The Fighting Irish that do yoga.

A few more hard, hot climbs, a few more freezing,scary plummets and we ended back on the final 1.5 cyclocross section. Mike was so tired he chugged half a can of the traditional beer hand up at the hardest run up hill. He said it was a tempting to bail and cruise the 1/2 mile paved shortcut  back to the warm Mommobile.  But we both managed to click back in and stagger on with honor- ignoring even more irritating cheers of "good job!" or "come on buddy! ride through the creek! You can do it!"  Personally, I was in a black mood and mumbled "I don't give a #%*#!" and simply sloshed through the frigid  water not risking a fall on my #%*#in arse this close to the end.

Unfortunately we don't have  video due to "technical" issues -meaning it was too cold to remove gloves and push tiny camera buttons and that our Australian film crew had a broken collar bone.

Overall the event is well worth attending and rates a "10" in overall experience. They just need to do something about the climate up there. Brrrrr!


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Spring Fling - bunch sprint

Final moments of the Masters 35+ B DeLeon Springs Road race in Deland, FL on 1-27-13. 

The 3-man break had already decided the podium, but with two money spots still on the road, the field digs to the line. Cycle Logic's Paul Messal had good position, put his head down and claimed 4th place on the day along with a few bucks.

click image for larger viewer

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

A Clean Team

Cycle Logic has pledged it's support for the Florida Clean Ride Fund and fair competition at the local amateur level. We're looking forward to a fair 2013 road racing season and we appreciate the steps being taken by the FCRF to increase the chances of that taking place.

Click here to see the current list of 2013 "Clean Teams"

Friday, December 07, 2012

Bring It On - facebook event page

Visit the Bring It On event page on facebook and let everyone know that you're going to be throwing down on January 19th, 2013

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Monday, October 08, 2012

One Hundred Spaghetti Legs With Dirty Red Sauce

October 6th's Spaghetti 100 Kids on Bikes charity ride brought out the best and the worst in the 100 or so entrants of the 62-mile dirt "ride." The best was raising money to help underprivileged kids with bikes and safety programs.

The worst occurred when the promoters dangled a "World Champion" (of Tallahassee) rainbow jersey for the first across the finish line.  Suddenly a charity  "ride" morphed into a full-on "race" with all the associated selfish and cutthroat tactics that could be mustered to possess the golden fleece. 

Cycle Logic was well positioned because of it's reputation for "dominating the charity rides" and according to the ride promoter "turned a lot of local racers heads this weekend" with their brute strength and devastating team tactics. 

Cycle-Logic racers Rob "Chicken Chucker" Robins, Mike "Dr. Pain" Robinson and Kerry "K-Dogg" Duggan formed a sleeper alliance with Bike Works mountain bike star Clint "The Rock" Gibbs, CX endurance master "Frisbee" Todd Leedy and newby Justin "Chase Everything That Moves" De Leo.   

The alliance worked. Very well.  

Once we hit the first hilly red dirt section, 100 starters quickly funneled down to 30 players after a silly crash that dammed things up briefly.  Rob's video camera recorded a spectacular tumble mania and his own subsequent acrobatic hand stand save. No harm done but Rob, Mike, Clint and Justin were forced to stop and regroup.

Todd and I managed to escape the confusion, chased and sat on a strong player we called "Green Hat." He was frustrated we wouldn't work, but eventually understood we had trapped teammates. Soon the pack caught back on, almost immediately one of us attacked. When one was caught another would launch. Over and over for the next three hours the 6 of us kept it up.

There were dozens of hills and boggy areas where small group or solo attacks worked well at whittling down and tiring out most of our rivals. A few teams camped out at the back but instead of sandbagging (hard to draft on sand, mud or sandy hills) it turns out they were just pooped. 

The pack eventually was down to about 8 players, not including the 6 of us. Our sleeper cell strategy was long exposed but there was little the locals could do about it.

Twelve miles to go. We were now backtracking hilly sections that were suddenly much longer and steeper.

Off the front! (went Dr. Pain)
To the front to block! (went the Gainesville combine)
Across the gap! (we allowed one rival teammate to bridge) 
Another team was then forced to bridge up everybody.  
Attack! (went Clint or Rob or me)  
Over hill and over mud.  A few more rivals faded off the back. 
Keep the pressure on! Force the few strong riders to work even harder to keep us in check!

Our original plan was for either Mike or Rob takes the fleece. At the very least someone from Gainesville. Riding your guts out for someone else is very liberating and actually more fun because there is no pressure to win-just to ride hard and have fun.


Eventually I managed to bridge up to an FSU racer on a solo escape. Together we went hard up and over another oak canopy hill. Twisting, turning, up and down, we took 30 second pulls until the chase slowly vanished behind.

Five dedicated teammates politely but firmly swarmed to the front. Team passive/aggressive went to work. Nobody gets away-nobody makes us work. Smile when you want to stick your tongue at them.

Up front, FSU and I increase the gap even though we overshot two turns in the confusing maze of dirt side roads. Don't panic.

With 10 miles to go FSU cracked on a long dirt hill. I didn't see it coming. One minute we were partners in crime,
the next his legs got a lethal injection. I felt sad. Sorta. He might have out sprinted me at the end.  Most do.

Ok, put head down and just ride home.  Roll the biggest gear you can spin. Concentrate on breathing instead of 
painful legs. Don't fall off bike. Repeat. Ultimate reward is getting off the damn bike. Oh, and the fleece.

Behind me Rob has deemed the gap was big enough to safely launch. Nobody can catch him. Another mile and he would have caught me. I would have welcomed it.

Totally shattered, the finish line vanished under the wheels. The pain stops and turns to euphoria. One or two minutes later Rob chucked his chicken across the line too. Another short gap and Mike rolled in for 5th. Could have got 3rd but the "finish" was an ambiguous zone of road graffiti. No matter.  The game was well played. We are covered in red mud but grinning like 10 year-old boys.

That is the real Fleece!


Friday, April 13, 2012

Race of the West report

Ed Dunne's race
Forty hilly miles combined cat. 5, 60+ and women.

Halfway into the race Ed bridged up to the winning break of 7-8.  Near the end legendary 62 year old Dave Viney left the group and towed an unnamed cat 5 to first.

Ed got 2nd (and a bronze metal) in the field sprint for 3rd.

Good show Ed.

Kerry's race. 50+ men
Seventy hilly miles.  Thirty eight starters. Hill challenged Big Belgian Lambert Vaas pulled the plug at 60.  After 69 miles and 69 painful attacks/surges it came down to an uphill headwindy sprint (more like a stagger). Imagine 15 arthritic, cramping Lemmings trying to throw themselves UP a cliff.  The Dogg got 5th and $35.

Thank goodness this is the last decent road race on the Florida calendar.  Time for a rest. Time to just run around inside the fenced yard a while.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Bumper Bikes and Saint Purnell Parts the Sea of Mud.

Those who live on the mighty Mississippi are kissin' cousins to plagues and flood, miracles and mud. The river gives, the river taketh away. Ain't no thing - just deal with it and move on. Happens all the time they say.

Even before the 14th running of the 105 mile Rouge Roubaix bike race began, the host town of Saint Francisville had a problem. Four miles from the finish, a 100' long bridge flooded over, leaving a huge tree across the middle and a knee deep, gooey brown mud-slide at both ends. No earthly way to run a bike race across it.

Three members of Cycle Logic bike race team and one frenemy from another team came upon this scene of devastation on a reconnaissance drive the night before. While a half dozen anxious and unaccountably rude young racers milled about in panic and disbelief - Irish Ed Dunne calmly scouted out an alternate route involving a high sandy ridge and floating across on an oak stump Noah's Ark style. "Easy as Mississippi Mud pie." he implied.

While pretending to consider this dubious solution we were distracted by the god-awful thundering of a giant diesel engine approaching from upon high. It was Saint Purcell and his almighty bull dozer of justice. Raising his 10 cubit wide bucket he quickly smate the evil mud from both sides and cast the stubborn tree back whenst it came. There was rejoicing amongst the lycra clad chosen. The race was saved! Laisser les bon temps rouler! Let the good times roll.

Race Day
Race day morning and we lined up in mixed category race waves. Ninty-three of us were promptly escorted out of town by the High Sheriff of West Feliciana Parish with motorized Race Bible Angels beseeching us to "be not tempted to cross the yellow line at any time or be cast down unto the hell at the back."

Without incident our sweaty little tribe flew over 25 miles of smooth and sinuous roads with no great change of race position-until the 9 mile long rocky road to hell began. Immediately the slippery gravel, potholes and hills thinned the pack to about 25. Two miles later a dangerous single file snake of 15 guys were opening up a dangerous gap. Shaking off my stupor I moved to the front then put the hammer down. A few guys, including Frank Jennings (1st last year) Randy (2nd last year), my teammate Lambert Vaes and Jayson O'Mahoney jumped on my wheel as I dove from slippery corner to slippery corner to shrink the gap. Thirty seconds later I latched on to what would become the winning break.
Sit in. Recover. Go again. Sit in. Recover a little less. Go again. Think about famous Greg Lemond quote "...It never gets easier-you just go faster."

A mile or two later I notice Jayson, who is a much better time trialist than I, inexplicably vanish off the back. He had one of his few bad days apparently and later broke a spoke. At least it wasn't his chain again. Belgian teammate Lambert Vaes was on the verge of catching back on but flatted. He went on to finish 4th and in the money even so.

Emerging back onto blessed pavement I counted nine 40+ men and three of us 55+ men. No women at all were left, unlike the two previous years, the pace was apparently too high this year. But it was time to make sure we stayed away from the other 80 riders so I encouraged a big rotation long and loud enough (emphasizing that we were 55+ and no threat to their prize list) that we held the chasers off.

An hour or so later we left the big rolling paved hills of Mississippi and headed back towards Louisiana onto dirt on Blockhouse Hill. Blockhouse is about 1 mile of 15% packed gravel road with a fat guy at the top waving a crisp $100 bill for the first up. Three or four guys went after it hard leaving the rest hoping they would blow up and come back to us when the pavement returns 2 miles later (which all but one did). Once you reach the top you plunge down and up two more short but steep hills with deep, wheel sucking sand at the bottom - which you hit at 40 mph trying to hold momentum up the other side. You realize this watching guys suddenly fishtailing and face - planting all around you.

Being a mediocre cross biker I too was soon fishtailing and looking for a soft spot to land when a sort of miracle occured. I say sort of miracle because a string of obscenities, including the lord's name in vain, erupted violently behind me as a 180 lb blasphemer rammed my rear wheel and "bumper-biked" me back upright and through the sand pit unscathed and rolling back up the hill. At the top I was amazed there was no damage to my tire or wheel. I love my Kryseriums. After 5 years of racing and 3 Rouge Roubaix's they are truly bullet proof.

Soon, 4 of us were back on pavement then quickly chased down two more. More importantly, only Gus Ferrar and I were left in the 55+ with Randy still fighting the sand pit. Sweet! lots of horsepower and little obligation to chase hard.

Eventually we entered the last of the dirt sections. The first hill was almost impossible to ride up without falling over on the steep, slippery gravel and 17% gradient. I was determined to finally ride up it unlike last year when Frank Jennings (who went on to win anyway) popped a wheelie right in front of me and stopped everybody cold.

This year Gus and I were side by side torqing out 20 rev's and rocking back and forth when he also popped a wheelie and stopped everybody cold. I must confess, I blasphemed him as he thrashed on the ground trying to unclip. Seeing an opportunity to sneak away with 1st place I ran my bike hard up the rest of the hill, jumped on and bombed the next few scary dirt rollers like a bat out of hell.

It was to no avail. The dude is very strong, he chased me down and kept me on the rivet every uphill. Luckily I have been taking descending lessons from Jayson and gained it all back while I put my brain on hold, just as I was taught.

Back on "pavement"
For the next 20 miles Gus and I rode in the company of 3-5 40+ riders who came and went (backwards) fighting fatigue and leg cramps. For some reason Gus either felt really good or didn't realize I was his only competition left and took almost as many pulls as the youngsters who wanted to rein in the last guy off the front. I pulled a fair amount of time but leg cramps dictated a slower speed than most of the others. Ya got what ya got.

For a while I considered telling Gus I wouldn't fight him for first since he was stronger but stopped short. Who knows what he really had left. It could be a bluff. Let him prove he is stronger. My team wants me to win.

Well, he was stronger - quite a bit stronger as it turned out. The final sprint is up a nasty two-step hill. Whatever cramp you silenced talks loudly now.

"Shut up legs!" I said.

At the top of the first hill I surged ahead a bike length. "He's fading! He's fading!" I thought. "Please stop! Please stop!" said my legs.

"Shut up legs!" I said again.

I hear a gear click and two youngsters with Gus in tow were suddenly 2 bikes in front of me. "Sit down! Sit down you moron!" yelled my legs. I sat down.

I am not Jens Voigt. I listen to my legs.

My legs won the argument. I got second in the race. We both felt blessed by Saint Francaisville and will be back next year.

Laissez les bon temps rouler!


Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Southern Cross Race and Mr. Dobalina

Paging Dobalina, Mr. Bob Dobalina. Paging Dobalina, Mr. Bob Dobalina.

Google this name. You will eventually discover it's from a strangely addicting repetitive song by The Monkeys from 1967 called "Zilch." Like an irritating jingle that won't leave you alone it was firmly lodged in my brain for the whole weekend by a certain little Australian monkey at the start of the 2012 Southern Cross Extreme Cyclocross race last weekend.

Three middle aged (plus) road racers decided to drive 450 miles to torture ourselves and 3 expensive bikes up and down 7000' of climbing and 50 miles over rough dirt paved with granite outcroppings. But before this fun the race promoters insisted we navigate an insidious cylocross course of felled trees, knee high clingy kelp-like grass fields, slippery stream crossings and 10' high vertical ditch walls.

Paging Dobalina, Mr. Bob Dobalina.

The weather report called for 38 degrees with a high of 46. Wind at Springer mountain ridge clocked at 35 mph with gusts. Possible ice on the roads. Just before the race my bottom bracket was making cracking noises every stroke. The race mechanic rode a little circle, shrugged and said "don't worry about it. Aluminum and Titanium always do that."

Paging Dobalina, Mr. Bob Dobalina.

Back to the car. Nervous chatter with Irish Ed and Aussie Jayson. Make jokes about how differently they pronounce the "F" word.
"I'm freezing! What are you wearing? Will I sweat like a pig on the the climbs then freeze on the way down?" Throw clothes in the car. Grab them back out. Take turns nervously peeing behind car. Cram down Sport Beans for no good reason.

Paging Dobalina, Mr. Bob Dobalina.

Ten minutes to start we head towards the start only to see 300 people already lined up 8 wide and football field deep. Crap!
Remember it's a mass start. Men up to 40, Men over 40, women, juniors and "others." The whole gaggle is supposed to sprint
50 yards then leave the pavement en mass into a grassy hole shot that plunges down out of site like a double black diamond ski hill.

Everybody intends to be at the very front to avoid the inevitable log jam as the course funnels down to 4' wide at the felled tree.
For some reason Jayson and Ed decided to be good boys and slink to the very back of the herd. Having not been schooled in proper U.K. finishing schools I stopped two rows back and weaseled my way into 15th position. Unlike selfish roadies, I found X'ers extremely polite and accommodating. They actually smiled and made room for me. When the gun went off Ed and Jayson continued being good boys politely waiting a full minute to even clip-in. I was half way through the course. Good on them!

Being so far forward I was able to comfortably hold position thru the narrows, up the kelp hills, over the felled tree, cross the slippery stream, up the vertical wall and 100 yard hill that few could ride up.

Then we hit blessed pavement and 20 or so bikers ahead formed eschelons heading out of the vineyard and toward the first 12 mile dirt climb up Springer Mountain. Jayson and Ed were still seething in line at the felled tree with 295 people flailing around in front of them.

Paging Dobalina, Mr. Bob Dobalina.

Half an hour and a few dozen minor ascents and descents our little group of 6 guys hit the base of Springer chasing 15 or so top guns. Springer Mountain has an average grade of 15% with several long sections of 25-27%. The road is so rough and steep only 4 wheelers can keep moving. That, and bikers with a minimum of a 34 X 28 gearing. It takes most people over an hour to top. Our little group eventually lost 3 off the back and I was 100' (and 30 seconds at that speed) behind the rest turning squares at about 7 mph. Somewhere in the 27% purgatory section, 137 pound teammate Irish Ed quietly floated up and past me like a polite wee shadow. "Ah Kerry. stay with me now" he breathed. Finding little draft at walking speed Ed slowly vanished into the boggy mist like the Tuatha De Dannon never to be seen again. Left alone in my granny gear, the Monkey's mantra seeped back matching my cadence......

Paging Dobalina, Mr. Bob Dobalina.

At this point the rear tire started bottoming out on the rim from time to time. A few bounces confirmed this. I was down to about 20 pounds. Stopping at 27 % is out of the question. You'd only trackstand then stupidly pull a Wiley Coyote over the cliff face. Twenty minutes later I hopped off and found it was holding. Should be ok. Forgot about it and started the 8 mile 15% switchback descent. Several people came past at irresponsibly fast speeds. Eventually it ended onto a three mile stretch of civilized pavement. Now my body knew what do - go into a tuck and run down the last 4 to pass me. No skill required. Approaching 35 mph the 20 pounds in the rear hissed as loud as a commercial sandblaster and rolled about as well. Crap! Can't stop now! Bridge up! Bridge up!

Ok-bridged up just as the last big climb back up and over Springer Mountain began. Eight miles straight up. At least I was in my element and soon dropped everybody except a really nice 18 year old named Boris. Yes, Boris from Birmingham. We stayed together the whole climb. Nobody passed us except two tall guys on single speeds. They don't count. It had to be an illusion.

Paging Dobalina, Mr. Bob Dobalina.

Just over the top my rear tire finally gave up the ghost. Tire change took 3-4 minutes in a cold 35mph wind-fumbling with cold hands, over stuffed pockets and my only air cartridge audibly depressurizing.

The last big 8 mile descent was much rougher, sketchier and scarier. Several rude people I'd dropped flew past drifting through the bumpy corners at speeds I wouldn't do on pavement. They don't count either.

Eventually the pavement returned with 5 rolling miles to the finish. Up the road I acquire a good target-another master with better downhill skills. In two miles I was doing most of the work pulling us up to a group of four when he attacked me! Sneaky old bastard! He came back but the die was cast.

We were in 13th and 14th position in the 40+ category so it seemed silly-but- he slowed, I slowed.

Minutes later we entered the vineyard, leaned into a screaming downhill only to slam on the brakes as we were abruptly directed back onto the final 2 mile 'cross course of death by a loud bell ringing blonde. She was pointing at a vertical wall. Imagine an 8' tall red clay cinder block wall leaning just slightly away from you followed by 100 yards of 45 degree "finish you off" hill. "Go old guys!" she screamed. Side by side scrambling up the climbing wall I noticed my companion set his jaw and grind his teeth in anger. "How could she tell?" was all I could think of to say. Side by side the top of the hill turned into another hill but paved. HIs 'cross skills were better. We had both changed to the small ring at the base but he still had it in the 11 when he jumped on his bike and proceeded to fall over. One second back I chuckled, jumped on my bike and almost fell over too. "Go old guys!"

Paging Dobalina, Mr. Bob Dobalina.

Over the pickle and through the woods we battled back and forth. He dropping me on the technical stuff, me grinding back and passing on the grassy hills. He'd pass me with superior dismounts and remounts while I had the superior skills of bruising trees and ramming marker posts.

Eventually he crossed the finish line a second or two ahead of me to take 13th in the "Old Guy" category. Well done. We kept the race honest to the end.

Ed was standing with a gaggle of grinning racers who finished well ahead and said he loved every bit of it except having to stop twice and squirt more green sponge to keep his tire going. Tubeless seems to be the way to go-that and losing 14 pounds.

Half an hour later, "angry tank" Jayson unloaded his bike from a pickup truck. His chain mysteriously broke at the bottom of Springer Mountain half-way into the race. He was understandably in a black mood but vowed to redeem himself the next day on the Doc Holiday road race (which he did) and at next years Southern Cross Extreme 'Cross race. Ed and I also vowed to return but I assure you Mr. Dobalina will not.

Kerry Duggan

Monday, February 13, 2012

Swamp Classic podiums

Team Cycle Logic/Bike Works had a very successful weekend in Gainesville, Florida February 4th & 5th.

Darryl Tompkins, Lambert Vaes and Kerry Duggan rode as a team to secure a 4th place finish for Darryl in the 50+ Masters category on Saturday's circuit race. Lambert was the consummate teammate at Sunday's downtown crit, chasing down breaks and bridging gaps so that Darryl could be well placed for the sprint. Darryl finished fast enough to obtain a spot on the podium and show off Cycle Logic's new team kit.

In the 40+ masters Omnium, Cycle Logic/Bike Works team member, Rob Robins rode three solid races in one of the most hotly contested fields of the weekend to finish in third in the omnium. Former Cycle Logic member, Jayson O'Mahoney got into the winning break of Saturday's circuit race which also enabled him to finish on the final podium. Congrats guys!

In the woman's Cat 1-3 criterium held downtown Gainesville on Sunday, Cycle Logic/Bike Works team member, Cindy Tompkins sprinted to a 3rd place finish. That podium, coupled with her 5th in the circuit and her win in the time trial meant that Cindy would also finish in the top 3 for the overall omnium.

All in all, it turned out to be a heck of a weekend for Cycle Logic. Thanks to everyone who came out to support the Orange and Gray. Stay tuned for more race updates as our team tackles races throughout the year.