Thursday, October 25, 2012

Down on the Farm

First, I'd like to give a big thanks to the folks that hosted the Joule's Cyclocross event in Lawrence this past weekend.  Michelle Jensen and her Freestate Women's Racing team seem to have a great relationship with the landowners, and in its third year, they all have developed a great race on a permanent cyclocross venue, just outside of Lawrence, KS.

I made it out the second day of the two day event last Sunday.  The course mainly grass with a few rocks and a lot of dust.  It was fairly long - about 7 minutes - but wide with lots of room to pass, and only one dismount on a steep run-up.

We had a little rain the week before, so I was expecting a soft muddy course, but it was pretty hard and dry, although not as bumpy as it had been in the past.  The SS'ers rolled off early, with the Cat 4's.  I had a good start , sticking with the lead group until the spiral.  I battled in 5th or 6th most of the race, but pulled ahead in to 5th on the third time up the long uphill just before the turn to the start/finish.  I powered when I could and used a some of the Cat 4's to recover and bridge up to the next group. I finished 5th, and even with Britton and Joe in the race, I didn't get lapped.

Back to Riverside this weekend for Boss Cross 3&4.  Thanks again to Roger for the pic.

Monday, October 8, 2012

A crisp fall day in Lawrence, KS

I drove over to Lawrence Sunday to race day #2 of the 360 Cup at Centennial Park.  The 360 Racing guys put together a pretty cool course, with enough variation to appeal to everyone.

The course was pretty well worn in by the time I toed the line for the SS race at 2:00pm - Saturday's race used the same course in reverse.  The dry dusty conditions, and what looked like some fresh sand or top soil made for a few sketchy corners - there was a really sketchy off-camber 180 left hander that was really loose that I had better, and faster, luck running - I could carry a lot more speed into the corner, and my shoes really gripped well in the loose dirt:

There was a set of uphill 1-plank barriers a short way after this, followed by a really tight turny section, then lots of longish power sections with some flowing turns, a sketchy down hill, a set of full barriers and run-up, and a long section of flowing turns thru some small trees before a long run on a bike path back to the finish line.  I felt great, and finished with a top-5.  I still need to work on the back-to-back tight turns, but I did feel a little smoother.

Since it has been really dry here over the past month, I decided to try out my new Clement LAS file tread tires.  I ran them with latex tubes at 32 to 33 psi, and maybe could have run them a pound or two lower pressure.  I was really happy with the cornering - the big side knobs really dug into the harder and grassier corners, and did really well in the loose dirt too.  I think the way the diamonds get a little bigger and taller from the center of the tire to the edge, and puts a big, tall diamond in between the side knobs, really help with the dry cornering.  I think the LAS' are a great dry condition tire, and I'll keep running them if it stays as dry here as it's supposed to.

Thanks again to Roger Harrison for the pictures.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Two weeks in

Well, the beginning of the local K.C. 'cross season is off to a good start - Manion's Cross a couple of weeks ago and Boss Cross 1& 2 this past weekend.

I kicked off my season at Manion's Saturday race.  I'm only racing Single Speed this season, so I toed the line with about 15 others, ready for what was going to be a hard course.  Manion's is on the side of a hill not far from the Kansas River (or Kaw River, if you prefer), and, yes, climbing was on the menu.  There was  some slightly off camber runs across the hill, but the main features were a zig-zag sawtooth run down the hill, and a GRIND back up.  The course was fairly short - about 5:45 to 6:00 laps - and since tight turns and zig-zags aren't my strong suit, I got strung out to the back early, and chased all race, and finished well down.  It was a challenging course with a lot of tight turns, but pretty tough for the first race of the season.

Boss Cross #1 was this past Saturday at E.H. Young Park in Riverside.  Once again, I was with about 15 others in the SS race, which ran with the Women's Open and Men's 3's (where other MWI'ers Ira podiumed in 2nd place, and Dale finished top 20 after placing 3rd in the Masters 50+ race earlier in the day).  I really liked the course - flowing turns, twisty turns, power sections, short hills, rideable short barriers, stairs, two sand pits - a really wide open course.  I had a pretty good day and finished top-10, cheered on by my own private cheering section of my wife, my in-laws, and two dogs.

Boss Cross #2 ran the same course in reverse with a couple of minor changes - dropped the stairs and only one set of standard barriers.  A slightly smaller SS field took to the line, and I got off to a fair start.  The changes seemed to speed up the course, and really had some power sections to create some separation.  I finished with another top-10, and felt good passing a few riders on course.

I have been riding a lot this summer, working the hills for power, but hadn't gotten much race pace changes of intensity.  I could really feel it at Manion's and day 1 at Boss Cross, but by Sunday, I felt a little better powering out of turns and putting in bursts of power.   I know I should have that kind of power coming into the races, but by Boss Cross 3 & 4 at the end of the month, I hope to pass and power away from a few more riders.

Thanks for my sponsor and Roger Harrison for the pictures.

Saturday, September 29, 2012


  Hey mwi crossers: While we have a lot of fun in the midwest, I keep hearing about this Gloucester race like it's some kind of Holy Grail of U.S. cyclocross.
   Maybe those east coasters think too highly of themselves and don't know the jewels of the middle part of the country in Wisconsin, Chicago, Cincy, Louisville, KC and Mizzou.
   But maybe they have a point.
   And there is mud there this weekend. It's even snowed for some editions.
  Maybe it's time for a team pilgrimage to cross Mecca.
   Who's in?

Finally. On An Off Day Too

   For as much as I love the Planet Bike USGP in Sun Prairie, I've never done well there.
   It's early season, it's usually warm and dusty and kicks up the asthma, it's the first race "away from home" weekend. I don't have much race fitness since I don't do much road racing in the summer.
   This year on Saturday was no exception. I came in hurting from a crash and working through a cold.
   The course was pure JP Ericsson: twisty, turny, lots of off-cambers. Huge Fun.
   "You've outdone yourself," I told him.
   "Paul, you say that every year," he said.
   "It's true every year."
   It truly was his best edition. And Sunday's course was even better. I only wish his calls to the weather gods had been heeded and we had some rain to soften the course.
   So Saturday's finish was in the usual 30s, feeling badly.
   But Sunday was funny. I felt even worse. I seriously was hoping for a quick flat tire or seriously considering not even starting. But once the race started, I felt fairly strong and finished in my first top 30 at 27th. Not sure what happened, but the irony was delicious.
   I wish this stop of the USGP was in November when I was feeling strong. Maybe I need to fly out to Bend for the USGP there....

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

... And We're Back! '12/'13 in the South has Begun

'12/'13 Cross season opened up in the southern parts of the MWI kingdom with a points series at Dogfish 'Cross in Hermann, MO.  Two great days spent with friends, teammates, and doing what we all love - Racing Cross.
Was fortunate to grab two wins in the Masters 45+ and take the overall points.  Crusty, Ira and Dale rode well in their respective races (except for Ira's crash on day 2 taking him out of the race) and no doubt will be forces to recon with each weekend. 
The Castelli kits... what can you say?!?!?!  Perfect fit, incredible feel, and Mike's design once again hits a home run - AWESOME! 

Dale and I are meeting up with Crusty in Madison this weekend and look forward to hanging out and racing with them 'Yankees' (Wisco MWI crew).  Gonna be fun!

Monday, September 17, 2012


   Glad we have John Jones on the team.
   If not for his two wins this weekend in the Dogfish Cross in Herman, Mo, the guys on this team would be seriously over-shadowed by the women.
   So far, Alyssa, Claire, Amber, and Patti have all podiumed this season. Most more than once!
   John has the guys' only two cyclocross podium appearances. Stud junior Ian did finish third in Chequamegon Short and Fat.
   Maybe the men need to rely on percentages. We finished in a certain percentage of the total riders?
   Really, though, that totally doesn't count. Kind of like getting a good game pat for trying.
   Step up, boys.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Learn to Race Cyclocross Clinic in Milwaukee!

  So you've seen the adventure of cyclocross.
  Or you heard about the sport where people on bikes run through parks, run up hill, ride through sand, mud, grass, dirt, and always have a huge amount of fun.
  Cross is truly an adventure sport that requires full body fitness and a strong core. It's a different kind of challenge course. This time on bikes.
   You don't have to have a cyclocross bike. A mountain bike or hybrid with some knobbies on the tires will do just fine. Some juniors ride their BMX bikes. You want to be able to have some traction on the grass. Buy a nicer bike when you try your first race and get hooked.
   Because you will get hooked. It's that much fun.
   Here are the particulars of the clinic.
   - It starts Sept. 11 at 5:30-6:30 at the Mitchell Park Domes. The other dates are Sept. 18, 25, and Oct. 2.
   - We're prepping for the Cross the Domes cross race Oct. 6 put on by our team.
   - Each clinic will cost $10 or you can pay for the whole session for $30.
   - Each clinic will focus on a different cyclocross skill.
     Sept. 11: dismount, remount, barriers
     Sept. 18: cornering, bike handling.
     Sept. 25: starts and strategy
     Oct. 2: race preparation
   - You can register on site or at BikeReg
   - If you have questions, send us a note or make a comment on the Facebook page.

Can't wait to see you all there!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

MO State SS Champs

Last Saturday my new MWI teammate Ira Brown and I hit Hwy 44 up to St. James for the UFD MO State Single Speed Champs.  Neither of us even knew St. James had single track, but turns out there is around 8 miles of single track well hidden on the southeast corner of town. 

There was little expectation leading into this; it was just great having Ira back and any day on the bike is a better one than not.  Decent turnout with some fast guys on hand and some fun solid promoters (Eric and Dan from Route 66 Bikes).  Temps were nice and cool for the 3 lap (7 miles per) 21 mile race.

After a lite warmup it was time to go.  Fast start on open gravel roads for about 1/2 mile before hitting the single track.  Oh, turns out the single track was tight, twisty, and tight (did I mention tight?).  This was not so good for me as I need it a little more open with pedaling and not so much handling, but it was what is was so we are going.  Hit the single track around 4th or 5th with Ira right on my tail.  After the first lap I was 5th and feeling like I rode way about my head actually flowing pretty well on the tight stuff.  2nd lap starts and quickly three guys fly by and I jumped on the back holding on for dear life.  The leader gaped the rest and dangled off the front about 20-30 seconds (we could see him from time to time as the trail doubled back).  A DJR (or DRJ, not sure the team name) guy leading our trio was killing it, but I was able to dangle on the back.  We hit a end of the lap (about a 1/4 mile gravel road) and the DJR blows (felt bad as he was killing it) and the Team Segal guy and I get a gap.  I stopped at the beginning of the last lap to grab a new bottle (and a gel) while the Segal guy took off.  I chased and 1/2 thru caught and dropped the Segal guy.  Rode well the rest of the lap and nabbed 6th at 1 hour 51 minutes.  The 5th and 4th place guy were less than 1 minute ahead, but the front 3 were gone...  Ira rode well getting 9th not to far back.
Much like the couple marathon races I felt better as the race progressed, but the concentration was the most intense I've had in a race for some time due to the tight single track.  Had a lot of fun, but with the rising temps of summer that was probably my last mtb event of '12.  Mission accomplished for this season as my handling is the best it's ever been and my fitness for longer events was solid without overly taxing my body; the base is laid!
With that said I'm now looking for a month of crit/circuit races on the road to get a little leg speed going.  This weekend is Tulsa Tough and as of now I'm doing both days in the Masters field.  In a couple weeks is Tour of KC (with one of my favorite courses at Longview CC Saturday and a routine crit on Sunday) which dropped from three days to two and then Tour of Lawrence with the 'monster' circuit on KU's campus Saturday and a routine crit on Sunday.  Having no interval session with my HR above 165 (threshold is 184) I am looking to 'hang on' at each of these and simple improve form (i.e. results/placings will not happen). 
After that it's a couple weeks laying low then building to 'the season' in mid-September.

Monday, April 23, 2012

'12 MTB Season Opener

So here we are again with the build up to 2012/'13 'cross season and that means spring MTB'ing building some 'off-season' base and working on acheiving the legendary 'Crusty Skillz' (bike handling).

Yesterday was my first race of '12 and luckily it was on my 'home turf' of Sac River Trails in Springfield, MO for the OMBA CARAMBA.  This is where I do a majority of my trail riding and know the system pretty well.  This place doesn't really put a single speed at a disadvantage as the course it tight, rough and twisty with only a couple 'pedaling' sections.

I jumped in the marathon class on my SS Trek Rig in a solid field of competitors for the 3+hr event.  I regulated my HR and pace early and built on it every lap starting in 4th place on the 1st lap of the 5.56 mile loop and by the finish (6 laps) I nabbed 2nd place (3hrs 14min).  I felt solid as the race progressed and am happy with my fitness.  BTW - I am 10lbs lighter than this time last year and I am liking it...

Up next is a handful more mtb events before hitting the crit scene mid summer.  'Cross can't get here fast enough!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Colt Says MWI Best CX Team...

... based on the FUN Factor (when you are a non-pro squadra what else is there)!

Watch more video of Who's #1? Cyclocross Rankings 2011/2012 on

Mike, Jessica, and everyone else who has fired up the propane heaters, popped up a pole, or dipped up a bowl of chili for a visitor at 'The Compound' all I can say is THANKS, you guys ROCK!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

One Day After - CX Nationals

The results were not as good as I had hoped: 37th after a starting spot of 36.

And the end came way too soon as the overzealous USA Cycling official pulled a large group of us that were more than half the course in front of the leaders.

But it was still a pretty successful race.

I started in the fifth row and moved up a lot in the first three minutes. The course was in horrible shape: Deep frozen ruts were throwing guys' bikes every which way. There was a lot of broken tape on that first lap.

Somehow, though, I rode through a lot of the carnage. I was riding stupid maybe, not really thinking or caring about the likelihood of crashing. I just pedaled the bike.

I was probably in the top 20 and moving up through the first pit. I even passed people going up the hill.

A rider who had crashed early came up behind me early on the hill and caught a rut. He apologized as he ran into me.

I, though, caught a rut too, and crashed into the tape. Unfortunately, I was in a big gear and then had to run all the way up the hill.

Game over.

Most of the field passed me. I got back on at the top and was a little tentative then.

By the start of the second lap, I was feeling more confident, and could ride the ruts decently. And by the third lap, I was riding stupid again, turning off the thinking, even when Dave. E crashed hard in front of me.

I was feeling great on the third lap, passing a lot of people and gliding through the now melting ruts.

That's when I got pulled. And that's why I was so bitter. Just when I was feeling good...

I had a few words for the official, but wisely moved away before I said anything really stupid. I was fired up, though.

I ended the season on a positive note, knowing full well what I need to work on for the next year. I'll do another post for on my season and what I've learned from this process.

It's been a good year. I'll leave it at that and move past the bitterness and not being able to race another lap!

It's definitely been a good year.

Now it's time to go watch the elite women and men rip up the course.

Friday, January 6, 2012

One Day to Go...

I'm trying to keep calm today. It's sort of working!

By this time tomorrow, I will be done with my first ever national cyclocross championship race.

At least I'm ready for the post-race: I bought some Scotch and some cigars to enjoy while cheering on the other Saturday racers.

I drove to Madison last night for a brief visit to the CX Magazine party to meet publisher Andrew Yee. He's been kind enough to publish my column this fall about how to stay focused and positive in recovering after  my bike-truck crash two years ago.  

It was cool to hear Andrew talk about the future of the magazine. Its arrival is always a treat, and I've been honored to write for them.

I didn't get a chance to meet Molly Hurford, an online editor, or Josh Liberles, the editor, but I hope to meet them during the rest of the weekend.

The Madison trip was also about getting my numbers and sign my registration. I didn't want to worry about it today.

I just want to leave school as early as I can today, drive to Badger Prairie, pre-ride the course after the fast masters' women finish, and do nothing but eat and rest for the rest of the evening.

It's been a bit of a challenge to remain focused here at school. I really should have taken a personal day, but I used it to travel to Cincinnati to race. Trade-offs.

I'm writing now like I feel: a lot of nervous energy. So I'll try to immerse myself in school work for the next 20 minutes until the kids show up for class.

Fergie said to expect the energy level of the race to be high, especially at the start. I want to line up behind Dave E. since a) he's a big guy with a big draft and b) he usually gets fast starts and moves to the front quickly. Dave, you ready?

I'm a six-cylinder diesel engine that for one day is going to pretend he's a 12-cylinder turbo-charged diesel that takes no prisoners.

Fire it up. We got to 11 tomorrow.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Two Days to Stay Calm

Thursday, Jan. 5, 2012

I'm trying to stay calm.

In two days, I'll race my first nationals cross race. I have zero chance of winning, but I have, if everything goes perfectly, a decent chance of finishing in the top 20.

I've been doing everything I can this week to rest, recover, and mentally prepare.

And while I've been telling myself and anyone who would listen that it's just another race, I'm lying. It's nationals.

It's a bit of a circus now in Verona, right outside Madison, and I wish I was there. I check my twitter feed constantly between classes, and I keep the tab open at all times.

mwi cross teammate Patti Kaufmann, who does have a legitimate shot at winning a jersey today, goes off this afternoon.

Her 15-year-old son Ian Haupt, The Talent, rides tomorrow afternoon in the 15-16 junior category. He too has a legitimate shot at winning a jersey.

Me? I'm an old guy who has never been terribly fast, and who now has a gimpy leg as an excuse. But I still want to ride my brains and guts out. I want to leave nothing out on the course Saturday morning.

So today I'm spending as much time as possible visualizing me racing Saturday morning. I'm rehearsing what I'll say to myself if things are going really well, and I'm rehearsing what I'll say if the race is a disaster.

In the past, when I've trained for a peak, the race has been awful. The nervous energy and self-pressure added 30 pounds to my bike.

I'm physically ready, and I'll be rested and recovered by Saturday. I'm going to wear out the recovery tights, wearing them constantly at school and traveling. I have a bed set up for Friday night in Fergie's basement. He's racing at the same time, so I won't wake anyone with coffee and breakfast.

I'm planning the warmup routine on Saturday morning. What time I'll get there, what time to start warming up on the trainer. I'll pack all my clothing tonight so it's ready. I want to do this race as well as I possibly can.

Yesterday, I visited Dr. Matt, my chiropractor. I'll visit him again tomorrow morning.

Today, though, is all about mental rest and rehearsal. Visualizing smiling with righteous anger when I'm climbing that hill in the mud, visualizing picking off one guy after another in a slow progression to the front.

Truly, I will be satisfied with 50th if I race as hard as I can. If I'm slow, I'm slow. If I finish 14th, that's great too.

So be it.

Just so you know, I'm adding a little snarl and anger into the mental rehearsal, though. Get out of my way because I'm not using those brakes much, and I'll be taking a lot of risks, especially in that downhill section.

Behind that smile, then, will be one fired-up, old, gimpy-legged, angry dude, who knows this is the last race of the year, and I've got nothing to lose.

Monday, January 2, 2012

It’s Always a Good Day to Ride: Near End-Season Blues and Re-Focus-Ation

Since cxmagazine isn't publishing this...

It’s Always a Good Day to Ride
Mid-Season Blues and Re-Focus-Ation

by Paul Warloski

All season I’ve been racing above my weight class in the 30 or 35 plus events.

I chose that mostly to race with (and against) my teammates, but also to improve my and USA Cycling score. Supposedly the system rewarded racing in more challenging fields.

That didn’t work out so well. After tough races in Cincinnati, Louisville, and Jingle Cross, my score showed that I’m sucking more now than in the middle of the season.

Nice. Just in time for New Year’s Resolution,and Nationals.

I will admit it: I’ve lost focus on the WFQ (Warloski Fun Quotient).  I’ve been wanting, as we all do, for the giant efforts of training to start paying off in results.

That hasn’t been happening.

I’m blaming it on fatigue. I’ve been racing a lot, school has been challenging, and I’ve putting in a lot of work into promoting our Wisconsin series and the mwi cross team races.

It started at the Halloween race at Washington Park. Some kind of stomach bug hit me, and I felt awful, pulling out of the 1, 2 race after two laps. I didn’t travel to Sheboygan the next day so I could rest.

A group of us traveled to Cincinnati Thursday night for the Cincy3 events. We arrived very late to our gracious host’s condo. The course Friday was probably the most physically demanding I’ve ever done. It was all steep uphills and downhills and mud. In a tough field, I managed to fight for 12th until untimely crashes helped me finish 18 of 30-some.

I didn’t feel great Saturday but did alright, and on Sunday, I did the 2 / 3 race to ride with my teammates. Crashes again put me at the back.

I got home Sunday night at midnight and got to sleep by 1, up at 5 to ride to school. So by the time I recovered, I was driving to Louisville! The racing in Louisville, though, was unbelievably awesome. The course was epic, and the scene electric.

I started both days of the 35 plus in the sixth row. I rode strongly both days, but crashed a lot again. My left leg has a bunch of cuts, gouges, bruises, and scrapes.

On Sunday, I rode to Bandman Park from the Ramada. On the way, I saw a bunch of the cat 2/ 3 racers warming up on the road. They were all focused and intense.

I realized at the moment I had become way too intense. I am a 48-year-old dude with a “leg with character scars” who is not going to be a pro any time soon!

I tried to race Sunday with a smile. I found myself able to chase down a lot of people and pass them. Then I would crash. Chase, and crash a second time. Both crashes were dumb driver errors, and while I felt a little better that even seasoned pros like Tim and Ryan crashed on the course, I’m still sick of crashing.

At the Wisconsin state championship, I wanted do well, maybe even end up on the 45 plus podium.  I worked all week on simply remembering that it was just another chance to ride my cross bike! I practiced breathing a lot, thinking that by relaxing I could be smoother.

The first half lap went pretty well at states. Then I just started going backwards. There was no power in the power room, and Commander Scotty from Star Trek was nowhere to be seen. And to make matters worse, as I was sucking badly, none of my teammates offered me a beer handup! A tragic travesty, I tell you.

Jingle Cross was a muddy mess. I tore off my derailleur in the Sunday race. If I can ride up that hill, I’m fine, but if it requires running, it’s just not much fun for me.

And Badger Cross, held on the nationals course, was pretty good. The course is not technical enough for me, but it’s still pretty fun. And I’m stoked nationals is coming to our backyard.

So lately, I’ve been racing and resting. I’m riding to school every day, continuing with the maintenance lifting, and doing a few sprints and jumps for the weekend’s race. There is still three big races left this season, and I don’t want to be in any kind of hole. Or if I’m already in a hole, I want to at least be able to suck in style!

I smiled at a race again finally at an after-season race down in Chicago. The Afterglow, held in a Chicago park, was snowy, muddy, and way early in the morning. I had a blast that day, racing most of the event with my teammate Ross through sand, mud, snow, and some crazy off-camber drops onto a beach.

In Louisville, I had a chance to talk with Georgia Gould a bit. Georgia, as you know, is a world-class cyclist, but cheers on everyone from juniors to old cat. 4s. She was even cheering for me in Cincinnati and in Louisville.

Georgia, as you may also know, had a tough cross season. She raced a full mountain bike campaign this year, and she was clearly running on fumes for the cross season. She started the whole “heckle me” as a way of at least making her poor results fun. Everyone got nervous on Sunday when Georgia found a megaphone while she was heckling everyone else!

Georgia, again, has made the best out of a potentially bad situation. She could complain about a lack of form or fitness or that she’s too tired from the mountain bike season, but she doesn’t. She says she’s just out riding as hard as she can right now, and she started the heckling competition to inject some fun.

Maybe that’s what I need: more heckling. As a member of the my wife inc team, the best heckling I got was last year at the Sun Prairie USGP when a woman I didn’t know told me “your wife wants her entry money back because you’re going too slow!” And I’m not even married!

I’ve been getting a ton of support this year with people shouting “Go Paul” everywhere on the courses I’ve raced. Maybe they see my leg and its “character scars” and feel sorry for me that I’m going so damn slow? Maybe I just need more heckling so I’m laughing while I ride.

This is, after all, a sport where grown men and women ride bicycles through mud, snow, grass, dirt, over barriers, and call it fun.

How can you take that too seriously, especially when it’s not my livelihood?

I’ll be at the New Year’s Resolution race in Chicago and ending the season at Nationals at the Badger Prairie course in Verona.

Bring a cowbell, and please offer some creative heckles. If it’s mean-spirited, I’ll run my bike over your feet. But if you make me laugh, you and I both win.  

Day Two

At least birthday boy Mike Heenan had a great ride, finishing 7th in the 30 plus!

My race, though, was SLOW. I felt slow. Rode slow. Was so slow in fact that superfan Mabel asked me if I was riding a practice race! Yes, Mabel, clearly I was.

So glad I have one more race on Saturday to make up for the weekend. I'm going to sleep a lot, eat right, and be ready to go.

One more for the road!