Something different on skinny tires

We made a team executive decision to vote with our feet (wheels?) and register for the Nebraska State Championship Road Time Trial en masse. Sunday morning, 6 strong and beautiful Sheclismas hit the pavement in the so-called "race of truth" -- 24 miles, solo. All photos courtesy of Dan Farnam.

 Of course, we at Sheclismo World Headquarters all know Sydney Brown is the fastest woman in Nebraska, but it was nice to have her bring home a medal for the team proving as much. She cranked it out in one hour and 47 seconds. So sleek and fast.

Emily Hoesly, who came into the cyclocross scene last fall, joined in on the team spirit and made it across the line our fastest Cat 4 in 1:11:07.

On my shiny new road bike, I was just 40 seconds shy of Emily's time, with 1:11:51. More on that new bike and my experience in a bit.

Allison Hunt came back to the road after a bit of a hiatus, and we're stoked she's rocking our kit. She came through the line in 1:14:21.

Newcomer Emily Grace, who's really the one responsible for getting us all to sign up -- she wants to try a bit of everything before she leaves the States for graduate Physics research in the UK -- threw slicks on her beloved Kona Jake and cranked out the miles in 1:22:43.

And Sara Nispel, who jumped in to register at the last minute, rocked her first time trial in 1:24:02. Note her amazing bar tape style.

Ok, so what did I think of the TT? Well, I should've spent a bit more time on the new bike (an awesome Trek Madone 6 WSD set up for me by the Midtown Omaha Trek Store), particularly in the mock-aero position. When I went for a longer ride Saturday, I felt like the saddle wasn't really in the right place. Granted, it's not my tried-and-true WTB Deva, so I thought maybe it was just different, not bad. Well, it was bad. My hip flexors and hamstring attachments started to hurt from just a few miles in, and I was definitely not sitting on my sit bones, as it were. Ladies, you know what I'm talking about. Gentlemen, I'm happy to explain to you if you ask.

My goal for the race was to get as close to a 20 mph average as possible, knowing that hitting that over the full 24 mile distance with a bit of headwind was likely to be a bit out of reach. The other goal I had was to attain a negative split, meaning a faster second half than first. I hit the 12 mile turnaround at 36 minutes flat, making 1:12 or less the goal. My average speed for the first half was sitting right around 19 mph. After a sloppy turnaround where I thought they were telling me I had to go through the cones, bike-rodeo style, I kicked it up, enjoyed the bit of tailwind, and enjoyed throwing thumbs-up to my teammates who'd had later start times.

My average pace kept ticking up, and by halfway back, I was fluctuating between 19.6 and 19.8 mph. The last five miles, I knew I'd be cutting it really close to make my goal. I pushed, I counted seconds, I went as hard as I could through the finish. I coasted for the first time in 24 miles as I rolled down the road to head back to the parking lot, and when I started to pedal again, I cried out. My hip flexors and hamstring attachments were in agony, and didn't want to work. Whimpering, I got myself across the highway, pulling off through some deep mud and into the grass. I got off the bike, worried I might just fall over. I was spared that, but it felt like I had doll legs or something with how little they wanted to bend. New rapper name: TT-Pain.

Mega-awesome site planning by Greenstreet Velo -- we got to shower in the Yutan High School locker room. My goodness, that was welcome.

In true Sheclismo style, we celebrated our accomplishments with a little Bulleit. Bring on 'cross season...we're ready.


Ponca's Revenge, a Three-for-One Race Deal

Pre-ride team photo for Emily's first ever race. Photo: Matt Gersib
Ok, before you read my post about the Ponca State Championship MTB race, go read Emily's. It's amazing. Seriously, did you do that yet? Ok...read on.

While southeastern Nebraska finally got some much-needed rain Thursday night and Friday morning, up in the northeast, they'd only gotten a trace.

"What if it rains while we're out there," Rafal asked at the start line.

"Unless it's bad lightning, or it really becomes impossible to ride, we're going to keep going," Roxanne replied.

We started the race on dry and dusty trails, nevermind the looming storm clouds and occasional thunder. So dusty, in fact, that right after the upper road crossing on the first lap, I slid out so bad I nearly lost it in the loose stuff. Fun. fast. And through some bad luck for Anne, I'd put a bit of a gap on her, holding it steady by cranking up the climbs on my 1 x 10.

Crazy rooted descent. Photo: Jeremy Cook
My Colorado weekend definitely had me doing much better on the few technical sections this year. It was especially awesome to come through that section with singletrack superstar Rox watching, saying "nice" with every line I successfully picked, closing with "yep, that's it!" as I made it to the bottom.

Ok, so dry & dusty, right? Well, then it started raining. Light at first, which felt pretty good, but then it got heavier. After leading through lap 2, and then having a funny slow slog through now crazy greasy sections with Anne on lap 3, she overtook me on the long climb after the feed zone, when my need to stand on top of my gear was thwarted by my completely mud-packed and therefore tractionless tire. I was frustrated to watch her crank by in a granny gear, more frustrated because in cyclocross, I love the mud. But a thick mountain bike tire full of mud, well, that's totally different. Late in that lap, CX superstar Troy Krause came up to me, and we commiserated that point a bit. This was no muddy cx race. 
Climbing up to the road. Photo: Michael McColgan

As usual, some of the middle of the race is a blur. My bike slid out from under me a few times, but with how soaked and muddy I was, I hardly cared. With the start/finish and feed zone being in separate places on the course, I got thrown off on my lap counting. Emily was all done racing and was great giving me bottles and food, and at road crossings, Megan, Rafal and April gave me updates on my gap to Anne. Their estimates varied from 4 minutes one lap, to closing in on 2 the next, to 10 maybe? I slogged through as the track dried out and the Cat 1s and 2s joined us. I took my fourth-hour pee break. I envied their cleaner bikes and how awesome the trail was getting as I was getting too tired to enjoy it.

Righteous descending. Photo: Michael McColgan
Some parts of the course were rocking fun, and on the last lap, many of them were totally climbable for me once again. I made it cleanly over the steep jump to the road crossing at the top of the bluff for the first time on my last lap. And wow, that was awesome. I knew I was flirting with the cutoff time, and I was pretty sure I wouldn't make it. I was pretty sure I didn't want to make it, not wanting to have to decide. I kept watching my clock, wondering how far up Anne was and guessing she'd be going out for another. I really didn't want to have that happen and have me miss the cutoff, but I just didn't have it in me to push harder. Gersib came by me, saying that even if he made the cutoff, he was done. That probably sealed it for me, and I eased off the gas for good, cruising into the finish 2 minutes after the cutoff, 4 minutes behind Anne, who'd been hoping I wouldn't make it and be crazy enough to go out for a 7th lap.
"You've got a little something on your face." All done. Photo: Jeremiah Grell
I finished soaked, pruned hands, tired, and happy. Thanks, as always, to everyone who makes this as special as it is to me. The smile pretty much says it all.



It's summer-ish. Spent the weekend in Colorado testing my comfort limits (and greatly exceeding their bounds) on close to 60 miles of Rocky Mountain singletrack.

I could probably live there...