Monday, November 29, 2010

Jingle Cross Rookie


I'll make it quick with just the highlights

- MWI teammates (and wives) are awesome and a great bunch of 'cross racing nuts!!!!

- Mt. Krumpet is no joke (up or down)

- Friday Night: Cold, slick, and cold - 11th

- Saturday: Tough (but good for me) run up and slick riser, broke pedal, awesome 'Chili' bike swap in the pit - 12th

- Sunday: Solid race start to finish with some muddy sections - 7th

- MWI teammates and wives are awesome (and yes, I know I repeated this)!!! Chili has ruined me for all others...

- Blue rig and Challenge tires killed it all weekend long!

More to come later but for now...

video

Sunday, November 28, 2010

That's It!

I'm done with this year's cross season.

I pulled out of the second day at Jingle Cross in Iowa City. Had a bit of a challenge getting the bike up over the barrier with two laps to go. This was after several long, long run-ups up Mr. Krumpit. That was enough of a sign for even me to read. Time to pull the plug, even with a fun Illinois race next weekend.

I've pushed, cajoled, requested, beaten, intimidated, and threatened my body enough this season. I started 21 races, finished 18, finished fifth overall in the 45s, had some good 5th places finishes, renewed some good friendships, made new friends.

Overall a successful season with my wife inc. We had a lot of fun throughout the season.

Time to start healing and resting. Time to rebuild hip and leg muscles, shoulder muscles. I'm already planning with Craig on how to build up my hip muscles and build core strength.

I had good equipment this year. The Blue Norcross bikes performed flawlessly and the Challenge tires gave me confidence in corners and mud.

I'm already planning my 2011 schedule to be physically ready for the whole season. I've already written about the plan to ride a lot of mountain bike, some TTs, some road races and crits - and a LOT of weight lifting, pilates, and yoga.

It's exciting to think that maybe that not only I can come back to where I was prior to the crash, but even get seriously faster and stronger. Everything this season points to more strength and speed next year.

Bring on 2011. Thanks for reading. And thanks to everyone who cheered me on this year, especially the crew at mwi. So many friends and family members encouraged me this year. The wall of noise from the mwi tent at races was awesome.

Boom!

Paul Chili Warloski

Thursday, November 25, 2010

I'm not done yet

Just when I thought I was going to hang it up and call it a season, I decided I'm not ready.

Sitting at the breakfast bar in my kitchen this morning, sipping coffee and looking at facebook, I really, really, really had the urge to ride my cross bike. That urge turned into the want to race, immediately! But Jingle Cross is out of the question for me with things at home happening. So what to do!?

BAM! Chicago Cross Cup is expanding the 4A's and 4B's to 100 per field instead of the usual 75. Currently as it stands both the A's and B's are sold out for IL State Championship race on December 5th. I'm friggin' all over that. Get me on a waiting list or something! My BLUE needs to tear up a cross fast! Throw Chili's Grifo's (or Fango's if I'm lucky to have "awesome" weather!) on and Imma gonna get me a podium!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Mom I'm Changing Majors!

Two Part Post - Wisconsin State CX Championship Race Report and some news!

News: Mom I'm Changing Majors!

Well it's official folks, for next year I have decided to tailor my studies to major in Cyclocross with a minor in Road Racing. I just love cross so much more, it only makes sense for me. I'll just be starting my training a little bit later this winter and enjoy some more varied sport time (read rock climbing, skiing, snowshoeing, and anything else that I do to stay off the trainer) before base building. Racing will start in June instead of March with Quad Cities in Illinois, but then I'll be staying local for a few select Dairyland and Superweek races to tune the engine for CX season.

Race Report:

It all came together. The morning of rituals, breakfast, the warm up, all went perfectly today. 3rd row start, which was not exactly where I wanted to be, but I was on the inside lane and got clipped in immediately. Shot up the inside and got to fourth wheel for the first corner. A little too much hesitancy (I really don't know if that's a word, but I'll roll with it) from a couple of riders in front of me in the corners let Nate Labecki (EXPO Racing Junior) slipped away almost immediately. Them damn juniors.

I moved up pretty quickly on Lap 1 to second wheel after a couple crashes from 2nd and 3rd place riders, who I was in a group with. Biffed the uphill double barrier re-mount on Lap 1; just missed the pedals enough not to get clipped in and started loosing momentum. Lucky for me 3rd, 4th and 5th place fellas were still there, so I used one of them as a post and leaned on him with my shoulder to get situated. Thanks guy!

Picked up the two spots I had lost fairly quickly on the straights coming into and out of the start finish and for the next two laps I maintained 2nd place with a slight gap. I was getting word on the course that Nate Labecki (EXPO) was 14 seconds ahead of me with one to go and was making mistakes (later found to be that he crashed several times).

Bell Lap and I was starting to slow slightly. I got passed by Travis Gruchow somewhere before the finish coming into the bell lap - maybe the uphill barriers? So I'm now sitting 3rd and chasing 2nd. Legs are getting heavy, but lucky for me there were several dedicated MWI Superfans on course cheering me on. Couldn't have turned the pedals any faster without their support.

I mustered up my last bits of energy to close the gap on Travis in 2nd and was coming hot into a right - left greasy chicane. Braking, braking, braking..... too much speed! Oh chican't! Went down and was passed immediately by Marc Ano (IL). Got up, mounted my steed, but wait! I can't ride with my bars twisted 70 degrees off center! Pounded them back and off I went again.

I knew two guys were breathing down my neck, Larry Gundlach (MadCity Velo) and Jesse Collins-Davies (MAGNUS), so I had to play tactically. I knew Larry has got a great kick in open sections, so I needed to make him tired before the finishing straight. I went hard into every technical corner and then scrubbed nearly all my speed in the apex before sprinting out. Making it twice as hard for Larry and Jesse to come back up to me. I attacked the climb and threw caution to the wind on the twisty decent. Larry was still tight on my wheel over the barriers, but he choose to run the hill instead of remounting. I nailed the remount and was to the next corner before he was on his steed, but he caught me again when my front wheel started to go out from under me on the uphill off chamber section. Played tactical again through all the trees as I was in front still. Hard in, nearly full on stop and sprint out. Four more times. I thought I had him.

Over the foot bridge for the finishing straight and I'm givin' her all that's left. Shifting, down in the drops, I feel someone coming around on my right, Larry. 25m left to the line and we're rubbing shoulders and bumping elbows. Got 'em. Nope. Pipped at the line. 5th Place (4th if you exclude Marc Ano from Illinois).

This year has been excellent for me. Totally found my niche with cross. Many thanks go out to the whole MWI Team and Sponsors for their support this season. I may not have had this awesome of an experience without them.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Not Quite What I'd Hoped For

Given the form that was coming around, I'd hoped for a podium spot at today's race. Not because it was the Wisco state championships, but because it was the last 45 plus race in the series.

I felt pretty strong in warm ups, got the Grr face and attitude, and felt ready to go at the start. Bobbled the clip-in, but pushed a big gear to catch the leaders. One racer took a bad inside line in the first corner to pass me, then slid out in front of me, forcing me to a complete stop. The three at the front kept going.

And somehow I never regained confidence in the corners. My heart rate went through the roof, and once I calmed myself down, the race was gone. My tires felt low so I switched bikes. Those tires did not grip in the greasy corners, so I switched back. I lost so much time to other riders in corners because I was so damn tentative.

It was one of those days. 

I don't know what I was afraid of, the corners were slow enough that if I fell, it was no big deal. But I never relaxed until the last lap. Beat Eckel again, but that wasn't really the goal today.

I maintained my fifth place overall for the series. Given this is the first year back after the crash, and I was actually able to race every race, I'm pleased. Last year I had to pull out in October to get the pins out of my knee so the fact that I'm still racing in November is good.

Next year, I'm doing a boat load of mountain bike races so that I'm comfortable drilling corners at high speeds. I'm also going to do one million jumps over the summer to build some snap along with some time trials to build speed at a top end.

I'm also going to not worry about the season-long series. I'm going to Louisville, Cincy, and other races. I want to race the elite race in the local series or the 30 plus, just to keep my head fresh.

On Friday, we travel to Iowa City for Jingle Cross. Tomorrow I'll be excited to go. Once I get my head out of my ass and relax, which I can do away from the home races, I'll have some fun.

The high in Iowa City on Friday is going to be 30 degrees and we race in the dark under the lights.

Break out the thermal skin suit.

- chili Warloski

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Kansas Double Race Weekend

Contrasting weekend races were on tap with the Grand Prix HPT (an auto dirt track race course) being traditionally crazy fast with long straights and fast 'infield' and outer sections, while contrasting De Stad Cup at StMU featured climbing, technically challenging sections, and a little more climbing.

Saturday I arrived in Topeka to cool temps (dropping steadily as the night progressed) for the GP HPT night race and this year was a 180* change from years past. Rain the days before made everything a muddy (the thick paste type) and it was clear you better have brought your running legs (which I just happened to pack - smiling still). Most of those who chose to 'ride' the thick parts of the infield were rewarded with clogged wheels and derailleurs, while tactical riders moved a tad slower, but much more consistent keeping their bikes operational. I chose the path of the 'tortoise' and ran most parts and by night's end bagged 2nd in the Cat 3 race, which was defined by physical and mental discipline.

After a good night's sleep it was off to Leavenworth, KS for Sunday's De Stad Cup #2 held at St. Mary's University and is by far my favorite venue. With so many different terrain features with which to work they didn't disappoint again this year with lots of climbing, downhill barriers, optional technical run/ride ups and super fun flowing tight corners (and of course off-camber, but that's a given).

Legs felt pretty heavy from the prior night's run-fest during warm ups and early laps of my Cat 2/3 race, but after 2 in they opened up and I was able to get down to business; too bad the leaders were already gone with little chance of tracking them down. Had a blast riding this course and finished a decent 6th place against a strong field. I did notice that only one rider ahead of me raced the night before (just saying...).

Both events the BLUE was solid and even with the shallower clearance on last year's model it never clogged up and performed like a champ. I personally hope we continue our relationship with Blue for future seasons as the Norcross is a freaking rocket. Saturday night I opted for my Vitorria mud specific tubulars (sorry Challenge) which hooked up great at low pressure in the thick slop and shedded like a dog on a white couch (perfection).
.
Mike G. kitted up for both events and had solid results at each; no signs of the Crust either day... must be saving up for something special at Jingle Cross. Only six more races left for the 2010 season for me and while I am looking forward to my rookie appearance at Jingle Cross I'm more focused on a solid result the week following at the Missouri State Champs.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Some People Can Race Sick

Some pros can ride sick and still do a great race.

Not me! The Saturday and Sunday races were both a lot of fun, but not so successful!

I traveled to Indian Hills for the ChiCrossCup race Saturday. These guys want to host a UCI race there some day. They're ready! It's a great venue with an excellent facility. The course should take advantage of some more of the off-camber little hills on the golf course, though. It needs some more technical challenges!

I never planned on going really hard Saturday, just hard enough to open the legs a bit for Sunday. I did have a chance to heckle Nikki Cyp and the officials, though! No idea where I finished, though, nor do I care!

And speaking of technical challenges, Paul Roltgen created a crazy course for Sun Prairie. Full of short punchy climbs, off-camber turns. Kind of felt like a BMX race in some respects. It was a blast. Another one of those courses where you wanted to race again.

But my legs fell off somewhere on the course. There was a small explosion and boom, they fell off, just one and half laps in!

My whole goal was to follow Greg Ferguson's wheel. I stuck behind Dave Eckel for too long, but when I passed Dave and tried to bridge to Greg's group, it wasn't happening! Boom!

So I limped around the course, having fun with it. But if someone had offered me a beer at the top of the hill, there's no doubt I would have stopped and shared it! I finished, somehow getting 7th out of 12 or so.

I'm hoping that with some active rest this week, a good training week, I'll be firing on all cylinders for Sunday's state championships. It would be nice to end with good legs and a bang.

Not a boom where my legs fall off.

Sun Prairie CX? More Like Cold Prairie!

Wow. Sun Prairie CX hosted by Brazen Dropouts was a stellar course. Pure cross here folks. Short hard climbs, numerous off chamber turns, triple barriers and two run ups (one was a possible ride up, but ridicuously steep) made for hard technical racing.

I wasn't expecting a whole lot coming into today's race with only riding on Monday and Tuesday, and then moving the remainder of the week in addition to working! Oi vey. Let's just say the legs were stale and I was happy to just ride my bike to relieve some stress. But I gave it a go and was top 5 or so on the hole shot. Side bar: the only part of the course that I did not care for was the starting chute. It was too short and narrowed quickly. Also with using the parking lot that part of the course was on wasn't the best idea either as riders and vehicles were dodging each other all day right next to the race course....Anyways, with my lack of fitness this week, I slowly dropped back from 5th position. Couple spots each lap. Dammit. Ah well, I felt like crap and legs and lungs did not want to go any harder. 12th on the day isn't shabby considering.

Still playing with tire pressure. Rear Grifo was good, but was running the front a little bit too soft. Slid the front out on the fast up hill off chamber on lap 1 and the grass - pavement - grass transition didn't feel too hot either lap after lap. I'll get that one of these days too. Hopefully by next weekend for the State CX Champs! I've been re-playing last year's State course in my head over and over. Feeling very well mentally prepared; now just need to ensure next week goes as well on the bike for it all to come together.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Double Down Saturday

Since Crusty already gave his rundown of Saturday's race in Lawrence here, I'll try not to repeat what he said, but I do have to agree that it was bumpy, but not this Bumpy.

I toed the line for two races on what started out as a cold and a bit dew-y Saturday morning, enough to get my feet a little wet on the pre-ride before the 10:00am Masters race, which turned out to be a pretty good start for me, where I stayed with the 40+ pack for most of the first lap, so I guess you could say my fitness is improving after 2 months of this, but not this. I settled into a back and forth battle with a Wheatland rider, and I probably should have rode his wheel a bit longer on the last lap, but I passed him right after the run-up, and tried to get away, but he caught and passed me on the last uphill stretch before the final turn to the line. Overall a good race on a bumpy and progressively more and more rocky course. Back on the Blue for the first race this season, I had the Fango's at 25psi, just a bit softer that Crusty's 27, but I thought it was good for the slightly softer, slightly less rocky early morning course.

About an hour later, I took to the start line for the single speed race. The course had dried, hardened and a few more rocks had been exposed. The SS'ers raced with the Cat 4's again, but started ahead of them this time. I could definitely feel the first race in my legs from the start, although I was consistently passing riders (ok, Cat 4 riders) on the long uphill, where the one gear ratio gave me the advantage of having to pedal hard to keep moving. By the end, I was really whipped and rolled in 6th out of 8 SS'ers.

I did, however, get to try the Challenge Latex Tubes, since I'm still clinching up the single speed rig. I pumped them to 30psi, and that was probably pretty good for the course. I could tell the difference from the regular butyl tubes that I used last week. The latex tubes are definitely "softer", and probably could run a couple psi lower than a butyl tube, great for 'cross. There is a slight weight advantage with the thinner latex tubes (about 35 to 50 grams per tube, depending on your tubes and your scale), and even though the cost is 2 to 3 times the cost of a butyl tube, I think they are a great investment for clincher riders looking to get a little closer to a tubular tire without the investment of new tires and wheels.

I don't think I'll make it to Topeka next week - Saturday night courses are hard to make - but I might make it out to the University of St. Mary in Leavenworth, site of several races last year.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

ChiCrossCup - Woodstock

Maybe I got a little something this season after all.

Roscoe and I traveled to Woodstock, Il for a ChiCrossCup race. We signed up for the 30 plus race, but neither of us felt terribly ambitious at the start.

Within 20 yards of the start, the chute narrowed. Guys were going to be pinched. Sure enough, after the whistle, a mountain bike dude was pinching me into Ross. I let off the gas and was now WAY back in the 65-rider field. (I passed that dude with a vengeance later on!)

Since we were there to train and have some fun, we both were nicely relaxed. And since many Chicago racers use their brakes WAY TOO MUCH, we had fairly easy times moving up in the field. Riders also had issues with the short sand pit, crashing, stalling out. Don't get that at all. Even when I forgot to shift up, I still powered through it easily.

In the whirly section first lap, Ross was just ahead of me so we said hello as we passed each other! I kept him in sight until the last lap when his big-ass motor had more juice than my skinny-ass motor.

I passed a boatload of guys in the race, but I had no idea where I was in the field. So it was a pleasant surprise to check the results to see I was 14th! Ross finished 8th! Imagine if we had taken the race more seriously!

It was a great course today, lots of flow. EXCEPT for the two barrier sections, placed at dumb-ass parts of the course. You couldn't run over them, just kind of step over and keep moving. They totally disrupted the flow. The rest of the course, though, was awesome, full of fun little climbs and descents, and tight corners. 


I'm totally stoked tonight, even though my legs are dead. I rode completely within myself, rode hard, and just picked off guys one - sometimes three - at a time. There's hope for me. I keep wanting to sing "Ain't no truck big enough" but that's going to be bad karma or something.

Next week, Mike and Ross bring the mwi circus to Fort Collins. And since it's sponsored by Fat Tire Ale, I'd sure like to be there. But I'll head down to Hilton Island for the Chicago race, then to Sun Prairie for the next to last WCA race. I hope Chad, Patrick, and Aaron will be able to join me!

I'm not sure if you can call what I'm doing peaking, but I'm certainly coming into some form. I felt like a bike racer today.

Ummmm...it's bumpy?

Well if some of you read the twitts? going out yesterday you may have seen the mention of a 'bumpy' course. Just to get this straight, we ALL race on the same course. We ALL appreciate the effort put forth by new promoters. BUT when the question was asked of me ALL I could say was 'ummmm...it's bumpy'? Showing utter politically correctness and gratitude for someone stepping up to make us have a racing weekend.

BUT when there is open field, no pavement, no gravel, non technical, 2 barrier section, spiral of death, one drop in(that was rideable for some people) along with a Jingle Cross climbing style hill added in. (BTW I learned I can climb all of a sudden this year. Can you say ego boost rolling into Jingle?) Not much to say but 'bumpy!'

To the race report. 2nd row start on the grass(did mention this course is grass?) Got a decent start top ten. Finally starting to get my starts of old down. About time now that the season is almost over! People falling down on the bumpy grass corners(why?) Glad I was running my Challenge Fango's at 27 lbs. Only bottomed out once on a bump I didn't see in the malay of the first lap. Honestly I'm not going much farther than that on how the race unfolded. I managed to gain several positions back on the long climb but lost them for some reason in the spiral of death. I OFFICIALLY hate that obstacle now. I finished in tenth which is in the right direction considering the ebb and flow of my season.

So today it's a road or mountain bike ride due to the fact that the race is at the same 'bumpy' venue.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

One Bigger Gear...

No, I don't think so Paul. I'm fine where I am :-)

The cheers and heckles where greatly appreciated today at Estabrook as I really needed them after working until 4:30AM, sleeping three hours and being grouchy.

A less than stellar start, as one of the fellas that got a call up to the line for being top 10 in points, had some trouble finding his pedals or something like that. Top 15ish was not where I wanted to be on the roadie course today and I had to burn some matches to get myself up to the top 10. The course was so wide open and lacking technical aspects that I dig, that the top 10 cat 4's stayed together for basically the first two laps.

Not much to speak of during this race, other than going slightly cross eyed into the first set of double barriers after coming out of the circle of death. But that only happened on the last two laps in my severe oxygen deprived state - so no fall down and go boom for me.

Unfortunately I lost two spots on the last lap. One in the barriers, when someone couldn't make up their mind what side of the barriers they wanted and switched mid-way through, and another through the trees just before the finish. And to top it all off, the guy that got me through the trees was on...... a mountain bike..... feck. But you gotta be pretty strong on this course with all the open sections, so maybe he was sandbagging? Yea, I'll go with that.

8th on the day isn't shabby considering the few hours of sleep and work. I think it may have contributed slightly to my mental preformance, but wasn't a physical limiter. Still need to work on the tight technical corners and play around with tire pressure in the rear. Kept bottoming out on the roots and in the single track.

One race at a time, though. Maybe I'll get it all right for the State CX Champs?

Maybe?

I discovered my big gear today.

And although I still didn't feel good, I was much faster at Estabrook Park, the 8th WCA race of the series. Beat a couple of guys who are strong TTs on the road. But I don't think either one was feeling his best today. There's definite improvement.

I replaced my 46 with a 44-tooth ring, and that allowed me to stay in the big ring all day today. I kept shifting last weekend, and was waiting for the chain to get sucked in.  I rode the Williams wheels with Challenge Grifo XC file treads and flew on the mostly grassy crit-style course.

The previous weekend featured two WCA races, and both were top-notch. Halloween Cross at Washington Park was better than ever. Luke and the Trocodero boys added a stretch and utilized more off-camber technical turns. I loved the course.

On Sunday, Herman and I traveled to Madison for the first ever cyclocross race at a Madison city park. Nice course with some challenging terrain. The best feature was a sweeping off-camber descent of a hill. The only downside was the run-up. I'm not a fan of long, steep run ups any longer! I felt okay on the day, but didn't feel like I was going until there were only two laps to go. I would have liked another two laps at that point.

Tomorrow, Roscoe and I travel to Woodstock, Illinois. I'll do the 30 plus and get my old man's ass handed to me. But it's good training to stay in fields of that size.

And with my new chain ring, I'll be able to hammer along, even though the course description promotes a lot of hills.

I'm getting sad the season is already more than half over. There are only three WCA races left, another three Chicago races, and Jingle Cross in Iowa. That's it.

Can't wait for nationals to extend our season. Even if it is in the middle of the damn winter.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

'Cross STL Style

Hopped over to St. Louis this past weekend to see what Bubba (local series) had going on. Saturday night was a 10pm start time for the Open/A race on a fairly open grass crit style course with one triple barriers section and a long sand run (a little surprised to be the only one 'shouldering'). Raced pretty solid (for me) for the hour long effort and finished 14th. STL is really developing on the 'cross scene even though it seems like it's more of a party where a bike race breaks out wherein KC is a bike race with only Crusty getting rowdie. Favorites for the night was the 'money grab' from the mouth of a huge dead fish-on-a-stick during the beach run and the guy in the B race dressed in a fully inflatable Sumo outfit (barriers were hilarious).

Sunday's venue was the same, but the course changed to more technical with still only one triple barrier section (beach run removed). I was looking forward to this as the night before I made time on the little bit of technical stuff we had and lost on the open power sections. Lined up with the Open again and near the end of the first lap I was in a solid position when I goofed on a turn and dumped pretty hard causing my front break and shifter to go inoperable for the rest of the 55 minutes - ugh, I was dead freaking last with a single speed machine. Luckily the course was pancake flat and the one gear I had was a decent fit so off chasing I went. Gave solid efforts for the hour race and was able to bring back some to finish 17th. Slightly frustrating, but really like the strength workout it gave me (lemonade from lemons...).

video

As always the BLUE was solid and responsive while the Challenge Grifo XS's were the way to go (those things are crazy fast). The kits still get attention and a group referenced the 'pro' setup at the USGP's; nice job boys, keep it up.

This is the halfway mark of my season with 11 races in the books and 10 more to go. Looking forward to the extended seasons in the upcoming years as 'cross is such a short season for such a fun event.