Aug 28, 2009

I always, without failure, chose the slowest cashier at the grocery store. I'm also pretty good at chosing the slowest lane of traffic. All this despite a combined 5 years working at a grocery store and pizza delivery.

Aug 23, 2009


Shimano started making 11-25 cassettes! I ran an 11-23 all this year and I couldn't tell you how the extra 16 tooth cog felt different than the old 16t-less nine speed. It could just be that I spent all those years mountain biking (or that I still ride a single to work every day), but I've never felt the need for a corn cob cassette. I have, on occasion (Bear Mtn comes to mind), wished for a lower gear. Also, with an 11-25 and a 42 tooth, you can spend a lot less time shifting and have cleaner shifts up front when you need to.

Aug 21, 2009

How to win a sprint, by Tom Boonen

Or, How to come in second, despite having better fitness, by Tyler Farrar.

I've been waiting for an American sprinter to show some form for a while now, so watching Farrar these last few months has been a real treat. He's got a lot of potential but still a little rough around the edges, as Tom Boonen shows here.

From the beginning of the of the last turn, it begins to unravel for Farrar. Follow Boonen's Red, Yellow and Black through the video to see whats going on.

2:01 The peleton enters the last turn; Boonen is just inside and behind Farrar.
2:02 Boonen takes a tight inside line while Farrar takes a wobbly outside line
2:04 The group comes out of the turn and Boonen and Farrar bump, Farrar cedes the better line.
2:06 Behind Boonen, Farrar fights with Chicchi for Boonen's wheel and eventually wins it.
2:10 Farrar is forced to close the gap that opened while he was fighting for Boonen's wheel. All this while Boonen has had a clean, steady wheel to follow
2:18 Farrar is still in good position, on Boonen's wheel inside of 500 meters. Boonen has a slightly better position behind Mark Renshaw (aka the reason Cav won all those tour stages), but Farrar should have a good enough sprint to make up the difference.
2:20 Boonen starts his acceleration and moves right, Farrar slides to Boonen's right. This is the key point in the sprint, Tyler needs to make use of the open space to the right and accelerate past Boonen or back off and wait for a differnt line, but instead hesistates.
2:21 Farrar starts his acceleration, but it is too late.
2:23 Boonen has moved right and closed the hole Farrar was trying to use.
2:24 Farrar has to stop and restart his sprint to the left.
2:26 Farrar is boxed in by Renshaw and has to wait to come around Boonen.
2:28 Enough of a gap opens that Farrar can accelerate, but he's within 50 meters now and doesn't have the space to get around Boonen.

All of this happens in less than 30 seconds and its never a bad thing to be runner up to a guy with Tom's resume, but if Tyler had made just a single decision differently, he would have had an easy win. Tom illustrates how the right moves can make up a big difference in fitness at the end of a race. Nevertheless, Tyler has shown to be in the top level of Euro sprinters which is the first time an American has been there.

Aug 13, 2009

First Try at Track Racing

Yesterday I picked up Mark and headed down to the Kissena velodrome to give track racing a try. I borrowed a bike (a Gitane!) and entered the cat 5 race. Mark was nice enough to give me a few tips as we warmed up. Apparently it worked, cuz I won the three races I entered, the Win and Out, Points and Scratch races. Hopefully I can make it back next week to race on the track some more.

During the racing I got to meet no one line and some other cool trackies. I like small events, people are a little more friendly when there aren't 150 people in a race. Kind of reminded me of ski jumping.

Aug 6, 2009


Dear Karl Nelson, The following request to change your USCF category has been approved and processed by USA Cycling:knelson3111 - 2009-07-21 9:14Member: Karl NelsonLicense: Road RacerRequest to change category from Cat 4 to Cat 3

Aug 4, 2009

Short Thoughts

If you scroll down and listen, Jens Voigt reluctently says he won't ride this years Tour of Denmark, which I guess implies he was planning on riding it before his horrific crash. I didn't realize it until now, but the Tour of Denmark starts only 2 days after the other Tour finished. Thats 26 days of racing over one month. Wow.


Giant is releasing some light mountain bikes next year. They're offering a Reign X frame with almost 7" of travel that comes in just over 6 pounds. For comparison, the '06 BMC Fourstroke I sometimes race on weighs about the same.


If you like watching the Classics (races, that is) you need to be watching Cyclocosm's How the Race Was Won. His blog is alright, but these 3 minute highlight reels break down the race in frightening detail. He's at his best covering one day races, where skill and guile can make up for brute strength and every little tactical move is important.

I've added a link to the side to search my blog. Everyone should have one of these in their blogs, since blogs are a sort of personal history.

Aug 2, 2009

Cadence number 6

6th round of the Cadence Cup. Larry's still leading Polka Dots and Pink (whats with the womens clothing for leaders?). I was a few points out of Green, so my mission for the day was winning both sprints and helping Larry when I could.

The sprints went alright. I snagged the first one with a little effort. They rang the bell again a lap later and it was time to work again. John helped me out both times, but I was caught a little flat footed the second time around and was runner up. First and second gave me 5 more points, enough to get past the current leader with 8 points, but someone got 3 more points and was able to sneak past both of us. So, no green jersey's for me.

After that it was help out Larry time. He got pretty good leadouts for both KOMs and now he has first place in the bag. In the final sprint he was boxed out and too far back for any points. Luckily, second place in the GC didn't get any points either, but Larry's got a really slim lead going into next week and is going to need a good result to finish in the top spot.

The cat 4's were especially excitable. In addition to the usually yelling and hand waving, on the final lap I heard guys yelling out "hold your line in the turn" and "don't cut me off". Um, what? This is bike racing. The whole point of the race is to finish ahead of you. If I have the skills to take your spot in the field, without causing a crash, I'm going to. If you don't like fighting for a wheel, enter a time trial.

Waiting for the start

Sprinting for green points.

Leading Larry for polka dots.

This guy was doing laps while we were racing. If you look closely, you'll see an electric assist like we used to install at Edina Bike.