Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Monday Travel Day #cxnats

4 Runner loaded to bear
Monday is a travel day and a day to recharge a bit after a couple hard races in Chicago. There were a lot of expectations for Chicago, but racing in the same nasty mud conditions we had the last couple OVCX races was a surprise and the kids needed some time to recharge.

So we loaded up the truck and headed to Verona. Hills that is. Gravel climbs, icy descents.

Surprisingly I got two teenage kids out of bed at 8:00 am, had breakfast, packed the car, loaded up the bikes, and out the door on our way to Madison by 11:00 am. Dad’s always have schedules and times we expect to get things done by, but rarely do dad’s plans meet up square with teenage productivity. Somehow today we did it.

Starched flags the whole way up
Once we got on the road we were glad we had plenty of time to get up to Madison. We were greeted by temps in the upper teens and a head wind all the way in the low 20’s mph range. Normally this is a touch annoying, but today we have the Thule Mountaineer rooftop box (big enough to be a coffin for a 6’ 5” guy), two bikes on the roof, and four bikes hanging off the hitch. A 20 mph head wind was like riding a TT bike with an Zipp 808 front wheel and a disk rear wheel and being adamant that you had to stay in the aero bars – you know you are going to get bounced, you just never know when and spend a lot of energy steering into the cross.

We drove a leisurely pace, thanking the Illinois department of highways along the way for raising the tolls on January 1st. The tolls on I-90 north of Chicago to Wisconsin now takes $3 a shot. Adding up the tolls and their increased price from south of Chicago all the way to the Wisconsin border it will now cost $20 just to pass through Chicago. My first thought was “DAMN!”, but then I started thinking…if we want people to think about driving every place at any time this is the way to do it. If it was going to cost me a Jackson a day to drive to work just in tolls, you can bet I would be thinking about alternatives to driving my car.

Verona-Still Work To Do
We drove into Verona and headed to Badger Prairie County Park and immediately noticed one thing: ice. Ice on the driveway into the park, ice on the course, ice in a lot of places. Immediately we talked about Bend in 2010 and the ice time trial we had to ride there. When comparing conditions side by side there was no comparison. The ice at Bend was way, WAY worse than anything we just saw in Verona. The ice in Bend was so thick that there were ruts in the ice, and it really never went away. The ice in Verona will go away with a little salt and some reasonable temperatures.  (Jan 2nd Course Preview Video courtesy You Tube/Ted C Burns/CX Magazine.)

After hitting up a Chipotle in Middleton, WI (the McDonald’s of cross racers) we hit up our hotel and started to get settled. And by settled I mean the kids went played in the pool while I washed six bikes and 3 additional wheelsets in the shower. When we finished in Chicago the mud was sticking to the bikes and on top of that freezing to the bikes. As a result of the freezing temps we didn’t want to wash them outside in Chicago – last thing I needed was water getting in sealed bearings, freezing, expanding and having to run to bikes shops collecting bearing replacements. So I channeled my inner Dusty Labar and soiled the shower.

Now the bikes are clean, the kids are refreshed, and we have all ridden on trainers on the hotel to shake out the legs after yesterdays beating in Chicago. Tomorrow we start our quest to learn, prepare and compete in Nationals – look for insights on the course and tires in tomorrow edition. We will try to get reviews of the current conditions utilizing the following tires:

- Vittoria XG (almost exactly same as Challenge Grifo)
- Vittoria XM
- Vittoria XN
- Challenge Limus
- Clement PDX

- Clement PDX
- Clement LAS

I have also included a few fun photos below. Teenagers are fun, interesting, and perplexing to travel with – they are so easily distracted by normal every day items.

Occupado! Sorry kids, can't use the toilet right now

Pretty nice hotel pool, even has life guards

Hotel with bunk beds? There were fights over the top bunk
I found them in the closet playing with the hotel safe.
Seriously, I did not stage this.

1 comment:

Nicole Borem said...

Good luck to you all! That was seriously crazy mud/ freezing on Sunday... I think I just laughed my way around the course the entire time at the disbelief of how much my bike didn't work in the least bit. So I wander how that hotel shower is holding up now!