31 December 2012


i'm back and better than ever. well actually, i'm sick. i developed a cough over the weekend before christmas and i woke up yesterday feeling pretty bad. just a cold but i'm a wuss. training has actually been a bright spot - while my total hours are not at mid-season form, i've been very happy with the intensity i've been able to hit.

back to the week before christmas,

m: 1:45 (commute w/ add on)
t:1:00 (commute, home in freezing rain)
w: 1:00 (trainer w/ 4x 3 minutes hard, 3 minutes easy)
r: 0 (shoveling out of the blizzard)
f: 1:00 (trainer w/5x 3 min hard, 3 min easy)
s: 1:00 (trainer - single leg pedal drilss w/some 30 second sprints)
n: 1:10 (10 mile run in gresham)
total: 7(ish) hours

last week:
m: 0
t: 1:00 (ski at pleasant view)
w: 1:00 (trainer 5x 3 min hard, 3 min easy)
r: 1:20 (ski at pleasant view)
f: 1:00 (trainer 5x 3 min hard, 3 min easy)
s: 2:15 (1:30 ski at blue mounds w/cal in backpack, 45 minutes trainer (3 x 3m h/3m e)
n: 0  (woke up achy/sick feeling)
total: 6:35

i'm hoping for one more good solid week. assuming i don't get any worse throughout the day, i'm going to try and get 1:20 on the skis tonight. sprinkle in a couple of trainer workouts, ski workouts and hopefully some running just to get all systems ready. then, it's nationals week - with races on wednesday and saturday. the course was plowed over the weekend - it is going to be epic!

our break was a nice mix of home time, manageable travel and logging workouts. i'm at work today but get a 'recovery' day right away tomorrow.

happy monday.

19 December 2012


my bike commuting days are over. riding home in the freezing drizzle last night was sketchy at best. i was contemplating a ride in today but robin asked me not to. in hind site, it was the best decision. people are out of their gourds on the roads lately it seems. that, and the bike lanes/shoulders were icy.

i'm going to do a trainer workout tonight. nothing tomorrow (unless i'm able to get out on snowshoes) and then go from there. the next few weeks will be interesting with regard to training.

happy wednesday.

18 December 2012

man oh man

i sure hope the other rider isn't todd wells. when i heard that crawford was involved in doping my two major concerns were powers and wells. powers has been outspoken and seemingly forthright regarding the issue (whatever that is worth any more). wells recently shut down his season a little abruptly (he had been saying was going to shoot for cx nationals/worlds but then all of a sudden decided not to due to sponsorship obligations to mtb). whenever these guys don't do what they said they were going to do, it usually has something to do with eligibility. i really hope i am wrong.

doping happened. just about everyone with any meaningful results over the past who knows how many years were most likely on something either on a banned list or later banned. why can't everyone fess up at once, instead of this trickle, and then collectively move on? they all doped. they are still phenomenal athletes who did phenomenal things. rather then dredge the past, the powers that be should focus on prevention and policing in the present.


on my ride home last night i was feeling fit and strong. as i turned on to the military ridge trail i began to feel a little melancholy. it looks like the upcoming snowstorm will effectively end my commuting season which began back on march 5th. this year i've made some pretty solid breakthroughs in terms of racing results and a lot of it comes down to my bike commuting. i've even grown to enjoy the rides home in november and december that haven't ever seen the light of day. especially while riding on the military ridge trail - nary a soul in sight, just a tunnel of darkness with a bright spot of light to show me the way.

my melancholy feeling also had to do with the fact that i will need to rely on the trainer to get any meaningful bike time after thursday. my approach is going to be simple, short and intense. never over an hour - no need any more. just enough time to warm up, attack the intervals to fuel my high end gears and then cool down. just long enough to watch a pro cx race on youtube. it's only 2.5 weeks that i will have to rely on the hamster wheel. i'm also planning on filling in the gaps with running and (hopefully) skiing. this snowmaker is looking to be a windy one so it may not serve as the ideal snow base.

happy tuesday.

17 December 2012

solid intensity

another good weekend in the books. friday night was pizza night - after putting calvin to bed i went for a run. now that he has a normal bed it is tough not falling asleep. and if you do, good luck getting anything else done the rest of the night. i got a nice 6 mile run in and felt ok doing. i'm glad i have no lasting effects of my pulled calf muscle.

saturday was boys day. cal and i went to watch the black star drum line at concerts in the rotunda. i must admit it was pretty awesome. i wanted to go to breakfast for lunch but cal vetoed it - he wanted mac and cheese at noodles. saturday was the peak of his cold so it was difficult to keep him happy from time to time but i really enjoyed the day. later on i logged a trainer session with some intervals thrown in. while on the trainer, i watched this year's world cup at koksijde in its entirety. man sven nys is something. he just kind of dangles all race and then cranks it up at the end. definitely my favorite belgian.

sunday for me was an 'off' day. not off from riding, but just never felt like i woke up. crabby, not making great decisions, just off. we did take calvin to see santa and for the first time in his life he appeared to enjoy it. i rode the badger trail which was in great condition considering the rain/snow we've gotten the past week or so. i'm in the midst of a solid block of training - extending tonight, normal commute tomorrow and then maybe extending wednesday ahead of predicted snow. then, it looks like my days of riding outdoors may be done. i'm seeing predictions of anywhere from 6 to 18 inches depending on the track. we'll see i guess. if we do get snow i sure hope it is a lot - i'd really like to be able to add skiing to my training.

m: 0 (rest day)
t: 0 (rest day)
w: 1:30 (commute, add on)
r: 1:10 (commute)
f: 0:45 (run)
s: 1:00 (trainer w/intervals, 5x3 min 'hard' w/equal rest)
n: 1:45 (badger trail)
total: 6:10

OK considering i took two whole days off. and now, the stretch run. i've got reviews to finish/give, i've got project planning to do for the rest of the year and i've got to see if the snowblower still starts!

happy monday.

14 December 2012

f it

you know that saying about guns? you know the one that goes "guns don't kill people, people kill people." well, i would say that guns had a lot to do with the murder of 18 elementary age children today. maybe we should have conceal/carry for 6 year olds. then maybe this wouldn't have happened.

i generally assume the worst in people. i don't have a very optimistic view of the people around me. i just assume that when push comes to shove, most people will do what benefits them the most just about all of the time. i am always amazed at how many people are willing to take risks with other peoples' lives while driving. this, however, is beyond all i could ever imagine possible. these shootings are progressively re-defining american cowardice. and now not even kindergarteners are safe at school.

it is a lovely time to be a parent.

13 December 2012

one more time

yesterday was a grind. one of those days where nothing comes easy. all day at work i was struggling to get anything done. roadblock after roadblock - my absolute favorite thing is when clients badger me about timelines while i'm waiting for them to send me samples or a protocol or sign the proposal or all three. when can you start? i can start when you send me the samples! and don't get me started with reviews.

my ride home last night was no better. i just was not feeling it. i got to the military ridge trail and instantly wished i had ridden my mtb. i opted out of trail riding, did a little more road riding and then headed home settling for a 1.5 hour day.

we finished up decorating the tree last night. we have this elf on a shelf thing (named thomas) that we have been hiding for calvin every night. that kid should be a bomb sniffer or something - even when we think it will be tough for him to find he comes downstairs and finds it immediately. i sure wish i was that  observant (my wife probably does too)!

the ride in was better this morning. i have an eye doc appointment tomorrow so will have to drive - maybe i'll try running again now that my calf seems all healed up. it was weird, my calf was still pretty painful during saturdays race but felt 100% normal during sunday's race. counter-intuitive to me that back to back hard efforts would be a good thing for a mild injury but i'll take it!

happy thursday.

12 December 2012


i'm just going to say it - i hate sram drivetrains. i've been riding the motobecane w/sram apex for awhile now and i flat out don't like it. the double tap is counter-intuitive to me when i'm riding hard. the set up/adjustments seem finicky at best. i'm constantly adjusting them and i still don't get a ride that matches any of the shimano stuff i've ridden. and, it all seems a lot more sensitive to the abuses of racing. i built up my november race bike with the ultegra shifters/rear derailleur that originally came with my motobecane. put it on, adjust it initially and i haven't (literally) touched it since (besides cleaning/lubing it). those shifters/rear derailleur probably have 40 races in them not to mention a ton of training and they work like new without any babying. this sram stuff has never been right (completely new set up this fall) and after two hard laps over the weekend is in complete disarray. oh, and from what i've observed they break easy. i went with sram because i wanted to match what robin was riding on her road bike. i really regret it and just might pull it all off, convert back to single speed and sell that stuff.

anyway, i rode in this morning and will try to cob together some length riding home. i have a feeling the military ridge won't be ride-able on the moto but i'll give it a shot (should have ridden my mtb). my legs felt pretty good this morning although my upper body was more sore today than it was mon/tues.

i meant to put some pictures up from the past few races but forgot. we sort of decorated the house last night. i am really lacking holiday spirit this year. i actually don't feel like as inundated with ads this year. just really focused on cross i guess - and now with only two weeks to go the christmas crunch will be on.

and on top of it, work is really really busy for me right now. reviews are due by the end of the year on top of a lot of client work. all that and i need to take 3 more days off or lose them. must focus but it is hard when i really don't want to do any of it.

happy wednesday.

11 December 2012


i have to admit, not riding yesterday was enjoyable. i am far enough out from my next race that my planned couple days off are giving me zero guilt. i briefly contemplated heading to afterglow for a little more racing this weekend but the race is on saturday and on saturday i'm busy. robin and her sisters (is that a woody allen movie?) are have a cookie baking day so i will be spending the day with calvin. i'm excited to spend the day with my buddy!

i did make it to the car wash to get my bike sprayed down. the hose has finally frozen for the winter (i left it out because it is held together with duct tape due to several different breaches caused by mice). i also registered for nationals. prices go up today!

one more day off today and then back on the horse.

happy tuesday.

10 December 2012

championship weekend

what a great weekend. before i get into my cyclocross racing blah, blah, blah i wanted to mention how much i enjoy our christmas tree tradition with the knutowski's. we've been hitting up westres tree farm for many a year and it is fun to look back at our photos to see how the crew has changed over time. benny, sydney, oliver, eli, calvin and now jackson. there is a new soul most every year (although this is the first in a few). the bonus was a snowy morning which just feels right.

anyway, back to friday. after getting cal my sister becca came by to watch calvin for us while we attended a cookie party. it was fun, we met a lot of local triathletes and got to talk with mark harms a little. we raced each other all season but hadn't really met so that was cool. saturday morning came and before long robin was kitted up and ready to rock her race. she had an ok first lap but really found her 'juice' on the second lap. you could tell she was building up steam but got passed by the mens single speed leader so didn't get to do the third lap. still, for not having ridden a cx bike since september she killed it. i got out for a quick lap and then we headed back home so i could get kitted up and calvin could get lunch/take a quick nap. i left a car at badger prairie with my pit bike so i could just ride to the course as warm up. the time went fast and i rode over, did another lap, did a little warming up on the backside of the park and then (as usual) race time was on me before i knew it.

i got a crappy start. i clipped in quick, i felt like i rode out of the start fast but somehow i was back further than i wanted to be. i never really felt all that comfortable out there and it was fast fast fast hard. a pure roadie course. i got in a group with 4 other guys the and i was in dangle mode. i'd fall off the pace on the flats, rally and catch them going uphill or on running portions of the course, only to get dropped again. on the last time up over the big hill i cracked and lost them all. i gave it everything i had but i just couldn't hold their wheels. my effort was good enough for 8th place. our church was having a baby sitting event to raise money for the youth group so we dropped him off and went downtown for dinner at graze. it was lovely - one of our favorites.

sunday was tree day. we woke up to a winter wonderland (pretty much dusting of snow) and after a nice breakfast/coffee i went outside to put the limus tires on the bike. getting the early start at the tree farm meant we pretty much had the place to ourselves which actually was kind of nice. we got some good shots for our christmas card this year and we actually followed our plan of not getting too crazy with regards to size of tree.

back home with enough time to get the tree off the car/in the garage, get my kit plan situated, drink a little more coffee and then head to the race. team wisconsin generously let me warm up in their heated tent which was nice. before long it was time to race. this time, i felt like i got a bad start but ended up with the whole shot which was key to not being drenched 2 minutes in. the snowy/muddy track was fun, fun, FUN! tyson, chris newlin and maciej got around me on the hill when we ran into a very slow cat 1/2 rider. a gap formed but i decided to spend as much energy possible to catch back on to maciej's wheel. i figured that we would eventually catch tyson/newlin - but that was wrong. maciej and i duked it out the rest of the race and i finally got some separation with a lap and a half to go and came in with a solid third place. i'm happy with how i rode - once i figured out strategies to get clipped in and that the big ring was better than the little, i rode well. if i'd figured that out earlier i think i could have caught the leaders but oh well.

training -
m: 0:20 (running, left calf pull)
t: 1:10 (commute)
w: 1:45 (commute, add on)
r: 0 (rest)
f: 1:10 (commute)
s: 2:00 (state championships)
n: 1:45 (regional championships)
total: 8:10

mini-break today and probably tomorrow. then, it's time to start ramping up. mike was trying to talk me into joining him/jeff for afterglow in chicago but it is saturday and i can't. the new years races are appealing in that i'd like to get out and move the legs in a race before nationals weekend but i just don't think it is happening. i think i can get the intensity i need doing intervals on the trainer - not my favorite but do-able for a couple of weeks.

happy monday.

07 December 2012

the good times are killing me

man i am messed up. my whole left side feels like it is knotted up. the only good part is that as soon as i start riding a bike i feel better. on the ride in this morning my legs had some snap! the weather is looking great for the weekend. rain/snow and upper thirties. solid. i love racing at badger prairie. i am decent in the mud (and running is a  strength). the field is big and deep - especially saturday - here is to laying down the best ride i can and seeing where that gets me.

strategy wise i really need to stay with early moves better. i've been missing the selections and have found myself chasing the past two races. time to dig and go for it early because by not doing so i miss any opportunity of a high finish because the race is a minute or two ahead of me.

two races, a hike into the woods for a christmas tree and a cookie party tonight. going to be a tired day on monday!

happy friday.

06 December 2012

the hill people

extended my ride home last night. i stopped briefly at badger prairie so see if any course markings were up - the answer is no. but, the course leading to and following the run up had been mowed and seemed a lot less bumpy than last year. that run up seemed longer than normal but then again, it was pitch black dark. my calf and hip did not enjoy running and my hip is super sore today - doesn't bode well for the weekend but i just have to go out there and do what i can.

for some reason today feels like friday. wishful thinking.

happy thursday.

05 December 2012

a wreck

my calf didn't change much throughout the day - if anything, it got a little better. but my hip pain increased. it always amazes me how a slight injury/imbalance can affect other parts of you. after getting out of work a little later than normal and in light of my soreness, i decided to take my shorter return route home. well, some 16 year old didn't see a motorcyclist at the intersection of pioneer and mineral point and that intersection was closed. i must have just missed medfight but didn't miss the clean up. they weren't willing to let me through so i had to ride to timber lane (on mineral point) and then home in effect extending my ride. since i was already running late, i had to hammer it home so that i could get calvin from daycare before 6. yikes. anyway, i feel great riding so this thing will mostly just affect me on the run up/barriers.

i'm going to extend my ride home tonight, take tomorrow off and then do a little bit of riding friday. i'm contemplating taking a couple days off next week to recharge/heal before i make the big push to nationals. it will depend on the weather a little.

happy wednesday.

04 December 2012


i decided that i would just run for a bit last night. i wasn't feeling the best when i got home from work for some reason but i pushed through and once i started running i instantly felt better. a mile or so in on a good surface on flat ground i felt something 'give' in my left calf followed by some pain. i tried to walk it off to no avail. so, i turned around and headed back home. i did a couple rounds of ice, stretching and foam roller to try and nip it in the bud but we'll see. hopefully this isn't something that persists through the next month of training leading up to nationals.

in hind site, it wouldn't have been a bad idea to just take the night off. that race took it's toll on me and i should have read the tea leaves so to speak. it's just that all season i've been doing something after race days and it has been working. oh well, live and learn. at this point, if i miss a few days it won't kill my fitness ahead of this weekend. of course as i type that i feel obligated to mention that i rode in this morning... it didn't feel great but wasn't terrible. oh, i woke up with some stiffness in my left hip as well.

not the best timing for this but at least it is cycling. if i were running i'd definitely not train through this type of pain/sensation - i'd close up shop and hope for the best on the weekend race. but, riding often helps with this type of stuff so i'll keep going but monitor it closely.

sorry, but this is so very important. it could be the difference between 4th and 6th place in the wiscsonsin state masters 35+ 1/2/3 championships (if that didn't read with sarcasm it was intended to). oh, the life of a hobbyist bike racer.

happy tuesday.

03 December 2012

big hillin'

friday was an off day from the bike. for some reason i got a ton of stuff done at work - things that have been hanging over my head for a bit.

saturday we had a lazy day. breakfast and then concerts in the rotunda which this weekend was ballet (calvin loved it). more coffee and walking on state street and then home. as i was getting ready to ride it started to rain - i waited until it stopped but ended up getting pretty wet. i thought for sure sunday was going to be a mud fest but...

when i arrived at the venue it was dry. like, no signs of any water dry. which is ok because if that course had been a mud fest i would have gotten like 3 laps. the hills were ridiculous - just like last year. i got a good start, third wheel again going into the first climb of the hills. held for a bit, got passed by melcher/harms/maciej/unwin. passed lee after he flatted and newlin with whatever issue he was having. and that was about it. the course was brutally tough and while i used to consider myself a climber this proves that i'm better on power climbs rather than sustained climbs. something to put on my list to work on. at times i closed on maciej but as soon as i'd start thinking i could catch him he would surge. we were both having 'off' days but at least i felt like i was in the race. ended up fifth for the second time in two races. heading to my 'home' course for the last 4 races of the season - i love badger prairie and hopefully i can regain my form from earlier in the season.

too foggy to ride in (also, afternoon/early evening rain is on the forecast). i'll get out for a run tonight which i have been meaning to start adding in more of.

last week:
m: 1:40 (commute, add on)
t: 1:00 (commute)
w: 1:40 (commute, add on)
r: 1:00 (commute)
f: 0 (planned rest)
s: 1:00 (rainy mtb ride)
n: 1:45 (booty cross)
total: 8:05

my volume has remained steady but i'm feeling stale out there. hopefully mixing it up a little (running, intervals) this week will re-energize my legs.

happy monday.