Friday, June 11, 2021

The 2021 WCA Cyclocross Calendar

The Wisconsin Cycling Association announced its 2021 cyclocross calendar today and Washington County will have a race for the first time in almost a decade. But that race won’t be at River Hill Park in Kewaskum, where we raced in 2011 and 2012. The new venue is Richfield Historical Park.

There are always some differences between the season that is planned and the season that is raced, and the schedule in its current form recognizes the uncertainty still presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. So, expect some changes but start looking forward to the season.

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Return Of The 200-Mile Week

I was on my way to my first 200-mile week of 2021 last month when bad weather wiped out Sunday the 23rd and I had to settle for a lousy 179. But this week I flew past the 200-mile mark, finishing with 246. I spent 15 hours, 15 minutes in the saddle. It was my biggest week of training since September 21-27 last year, when I rode a personal best 283 miles in 16:44. Stringing together 90° days is always going to meet with my approval, but I could do without the wind. I’m happy with the numbers I put up this week, but they would have been even bigger if I didn’t feel limited by high winds.

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Up With Downer!

Was it only Monday that I was lamenting the absence of the Downer Classic from this year's Tour of America's Dairyland schedule? ToAD caught me off guard in a good way today by reinstating the race. The Downer Classic won't occupy its usual Saturday slot, but a Thursday works even better with my weird work schedule. See you there!

Monday, May 31, 2021

Some Notes To End May 2021

May is a spring month in Washington County, not a summer month, so again we took the bad with the good as the weather fluctuated wildly. We had some days in the 80s, some days with wind chill in the 30s, and everything in-between. We had rain, but not too much. And we had wind … lots of wind. I didn’t have big expectations coming into May, so I’m satisfied with what I got: 17 rides for a total of 550 miles, my highest totals so far this year. Add another 47.4 miles of walking/hiking and it was an active month. Looks like I may have lost a couple of pounds. I’ll know tomorrow when I do my “official” monthly weigh-in.

There was bike racing in Wisconsin—four of my Pedal Moraine teammates competed in the WORS season opener on May 16—and there was bike racing around the globe, with very competitive UCI Mountain Bike World Cup races and a terrific Giro d’Italia. May also was a month of steady progress in the development of the new mountain bike trails at Heritage Trails County Park near Slinger. And here in West Bend, the city has started to install the signs for our first official bike route, the “orange loop.” This is all good stuff!

I did a little shopping in May, adding two jerseys, another pair of bib shorts, and a couple of better water bottles. I’m looking for a new helmet too, but I don’t need much more. I appear to be finishing a process I began last year when it seemed like all my cycling kit wore out at once.

June should be a high-mileage month for me. It typically is, and last June was a personal record: 843 miles. But June will be somewhat atypical this year for the Tour of America’s Dairyland. ToAD was canceled outright in 2020 because of the pandemic. It’s back for 2021, but it will not feature the Downer Avenue race that, for me, was its signature event. Weather permitting, I will be an unmasked face in the crowd in Grafton on June 19 and in Shorewood on June 25. Somebody beer me—the good stuff, not that watery, low-cal, domestic swill—and let’s all start to feel normal again.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Finally: 1,000 Miles In 2021

I was on a mission today … a slow, wind-blown, and by the end chilly mission to reach 1,000 miles, year-to-date. With 5 miles to go I was very conscious of the 13° temperature drop and I retreated to my house for the arm warmers I had talked myself out of about 2 hours earlier. Oh, well. Mission accomplished: my first 1,000 miles of 2021 are complete. This is the latest date on which I reached 1,000 miles since May 28, 2007, and I now have a streak of 6 seasons in which I reached the milestone later than the year before. I’m starting to wonder whether I ever again will finish this goal before the end of April. I haven’t done so since 2017. It probably doesn’t matter, but I always thought April 30 was a good target.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Finding A Little

Today's route, completed counter-clockwise.

If this blog goes silent, then you can be sure I’m not happy with how things are going on the bike. Such was the case for the last couple of weeks. This month began with a pair of 80° days but then rapidly dropped below normal for two weeks. I struggled to find the motivation to ride. I wasn’t completely idle—I did a lot of walking/hiking and I stuck to my strength training schedule in the home gym—but in the first 12 days of May I reached for my bike only 3 times.

Things look like they’re about to get much better: I reached for my bike 3 times in the last 4 days. Today’s ride was by far my fastest this year. Friday’s ride was by far my hilliest this year. The week to come will be much warmer than the week that just ended. I hope that means I can record my first 200-mile week of 2021. I need to start cranking those out like I did last year.

Today’s ride, my 28th this season, got me to 719 miles. I am well behind last year’s pace for both metrics. But I’m going to make an earnest effort to surpass 1,000 miles by the end of May. In a good year, that’s a number I see by the end of April. Yes, I’m that far behind. Good times are coming, though. Better weather, better attitude. Better attitude, better performance.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

The Rusco Trailhead Groundbreaking

It has begun! The southern terminus of the Eisenbahn State Trail at Rusco Drive will have several new amenities this year, and today a group of about 50 people turned out to celebrate the beginning of construction. The ground is being cleared on both sides of the trail to accommodate off-street parking, a bike repair stand, portable toilets, and more. This picture gives some idea of the orientation of the parking spaces:

Several local dignitaries were on hand from the City of West Bend and from Washington County government. County Executive Josh Schoemann read a proclamation honoring the work of Bike Friendly West Bend President Jeff Puetz, who addressed the audience:

Bike Friendly West Bend raised $20,000 for the project and played a key role in keeping the conversation going for more than 5 years. The project stalled when a telephone company raised the issue of liability if construction disturbs its underground lines. BFWB helped to coordinate conversations with all stakeholders at the local, county, and state levels to overcome the opposition.

Puetz is now the outgoing president of BFWB. He is retiring from corporate life at the end of the month and will step away from his leadership role in the advocacy group soon thereafter as he moves on to a new set of goals. Replacing him will be hard—it might be impossible—but there’s still more work for BFWB to do. If you have an interest in that role or would like to volunteer to help BFWB in some other capacity, then let me know. Let’s keep the ball rolling!