• Posted Feb 9, 2004

Spend it with the one you love... on two wheels.

The mountain bike scene heats up again this weekend at Loomis Park in Webster City and it is six weeks until the outdoor road racing begins in Iowa! Yippee!

Why am I telling you something you already know? Because if you’re reading this, you should get out and race in 2004!

If you’re a hardened veteran of the road or trails, make an attempt to try some events in a different discipline. Try a road race, criterium, mountain bike event, roller race, track or even cyclocross!

If you ‘re a newbie or RAGBRAI road-warrior, put a local event on the calendar, get in touch with a USCF-certified coach or local riding group and get the racing bug!

Point is ~ get out there and support the sport ~ you’ll meet an exciting group of people who believe in fitness, teamwork, competition and sportsmanship!



Greg (Rollerhead) Harper Interview

Q: You're the guru for the Kreitler Killer Headwind Roller Races. Explain the allure of indoor head-to-head roller racing.

A: Why not. The allure of indoor head-to-head roller racing is one more challenge for all bike racer wannabees and real racers.

January & February are winter training months. Individuals can work on there pedal spin in addition to many other benefits of riding rollers. For example, ride your new bike or old bike and get saddle time. Rollers help with smooth pedaling that will improve smoothness on the road.

The racing against someone else is pure competitive in nature. Can I beat the other rider? Can I improve on my previous ride time?

Q: What kind of competitor has the advantage in roller racing.

A: Strong power riders. Good spinners like Chris Klaren do well. Riders like Lee Venteicher and Tony Kisch have the power behind the spin for great fast times.

Q: For the aspiring roller racer, what is your training, equipment and competition advice?

A: Training and equipment---the mental commitment to get on your bike with a plan or goal.

The equipment, Kreitler rollers with Killer headwind and flywheel, they are the best. Whisperin' quiet-smooth.

Competitive advice would be to get on your bike and ride. Ride your own 2-mile time trial at home to gauge your time to the real roller race.

Q: Okay. I'm gunning for the victory in the Feb 14-15 roller races. Give me a week training plan and I'll do it to prove that I can beat anyone. (Ed: due to health and family issues, I'm not racing spring 2004)

A: Marco, here is the plan to kick some butt and throw down a good time. Ride.

Work on a combination power-weight training (squats and leg extensions/leg curls.

The latest news includes core muscle exercises (stomach, abs and lower back).

Then there is bike riding on rollers. After a good warm up do a 2-mile race, followed by a 10-minute recovery then do a 2-mile race again.

Good luck, have fun. Ride your bike.

Greg will be in Des Moines this weekend at Irwin’s on Saturday and Bike World on Sunday promoting the midwest’s finest indoor cycling event!


JJ Bailey Interview

Q: Congratulations on being invited to the 2003 Worlds Triathlon Championships in New Zealand! I know you've spent many years in the saddle before entering triathlons. How did bike racing in Iowa prepare you for this endeavor?

A: Thanks, Marc - New Zealand was an unbelievable experience from which I returned highly motivated. Having lived and ridden in IA for the last five years has without a doubt aided me in triathlon so far; the essential reasons revolving around induced mental toughness. Whether it's forcing yourself outside into the heat of our summer furnace, winter freezer, or avoiding it all together and hitting the trainer, crappy riding conditions have helped. I think the solitary nature of road training I've been through here, as well as multiple-hour road races have made the Olympic distance races I'm doing seem short. Hard as hell, but short.

Q: You're a USA Cycling Category 2 racer, right? Usually your events include pros and many with professional aspirations ~ how do you prepare to compete at that level, especially with a full-time job?

A: Yes, I'm a category 2 racer - though I think I could've gone to a cat 1 a couple years ago. I know I'll rub a couple wrong here with this, but my philosophy is that in our current system, it's too easy to move up. Guys can beg district reps. Guys get lucky at a few races (yet have no peloton skills) and move up to the next category, on to be out of their element and be a danger to themselves and others. I will say this though - it's empowering knowing that I've been able to advance my career professionally in a 40+ hr/week job (off the bike) while still getting faster as an athlete. I think that has everything to do with having realistic, yet strong goals while not putting my entire identity as a person on the line for my racing. Don't get me wrong, I'm super serious about training and racing, but I'm not one of those guys who has no other life.

Q: What is your favorite discipline in bicycle racing and why?

A: I can tell you it's definitely not crits! I would have to say that it's a tie between long, hilly road races and time trials. I tend to like the more physically selective races than the ones that necessitate a high degree of nerve and drafting skills.

Q: What is your advice to someone who wants to get started in racing?

A: get out and go! Depending on what type of personality you are, many people get intimidated thinking by all the spandex and team kits. The reality is that the citizens' category is for new racers just like them - full of desire, but short on experience. Get out to the local group ride a few times and you'll find folks at 'your speed' with whom you can train. Also, pick out a few slightly faster riders and use them as 'markers' that you can begin gradually measuring your progress. You're gonna get shelled for a while, but hang on longer next time!

+++ Questions:

Name: JJ Bailey

Hometown: Des Moines
Age: 29
Job Status: under-employed
Family Status: 'dysfunction-junction' ... no, single

1. Current Bike/Components: Road/Training bike - 2004 Litespeed Mira w/Dura Ace 10 sp ... my TT/Tri racing bike is a 2004 Litespeed Blade with Dura Ace 9 sp; wheels: Zipp carbon tubular disc rear and a carbon tubular Lew Palermo front
2. Dream Bike/ Components: I'm definitely on my dream TT bike. As far as a road bike goes, I'd have to say it'd be an Ultimate (Litespeed) equipped with Dura Ace 10 sp. with the much-coveted ADA carbon wheels. Anyone have like $9000 laying around?
3. Bike Racing Team: on the road it is QCP - Trek, a new squad for 2004 based here in Des Moines .... for tri's, the gig is pretty much an independent affair but I have the assistance of some awesome sponsors such as Oakley, Litespeed, and new for this year - SockGuy.
4. Fave Race: Tour of the Gila
5. Fave Training Ride: in Iowa, it would be St. Charles/ St. Marys/ East Peru/ Winterset loop that gets in a little over 100 miles with a lot hills. Outside IA it would be the Fort Collins to Estes Park loop going up Big Thompson canyon while taking the Drake fork to get in some extra climbing. That ride is awesome on so many levels - spiritually, incredible scenery, and where else in the US can you have the opportunity to see bighorn sheep on yards from your face on the steep cliffs up the canyon?
6. How I got into cycling: I transferred from Northwestern University to Colorado State University amidst a fairly cathartic period in my life. I'll spare you all the details, but suffice it to say when I got out there, I was looking something to help me get active again and cycling was it. The group rides and training opportunities had nearly no parallel.
7. Recent Accomplishments: 2002/2003 USA Triathlon All-American, 2002/2003 Big Creek Triathlon winner, top-20 (20th) overall at the 2003 USA Triathlon Amateur Championships, 3rd American (19th overall) in the super-hard 25-29 bracket of the 2003 ITU World Championships in Queenstown, New Zealand this past December.

8. Do you use a coach: yes, I'm coached by Peak To Peak Training Systems out of Colorado. For this year, I'm going be working with both a swim and run specialist, periodically, to dial in my form and get some pointers.
9. 2004 Goals: (knock on wood) stay injury free, help my new teammates on QCP-Trek meet their road racing goals through an informal 'road captain' role, place top-20 overall at the ITU World Championships in Madeira, Portugal this May, place top 10 overall in two 1/2 Iron Man races - a new distance in triathlon for me. I think the 1/2 Iron Man and possibly the Iron Man distance will suit me physiologically best given my bike strength
10. Long-term Goals: (knock on wood) stay injury free, have fun, continue getting stronger on the run and swim, become a professional triathlete in 2006
11. What is the condition of USA Cycling: I'll be honest, as I've been focusing most of my efforts the last two years on triathlon, I haven't paid as much attention as I used to. I will say this, though - it's sure nice to be able to get your license renewed online ... that's a good thing! My impression in that the general member-services initiative is slowly manifesting itself in ways like that. On the more visible and grandiose scale, races like the Tour of Georgia, New York City Championships, and San Francisco are all incredible testaments to cycling's popularity ... though it's sad to see the constant string of perennial favorite races disappear from the calendar due to a lack of funding.
12. What is the condition of Iowa bike racing: Honestly, I'm psyched about this and kind of sad I don't do as much as I used to. With newer races like the TT series put on by Ross and company out in Elkhart, the new races promoted by DMOS around the greater DM area (cross your fingers for better weather this year!), and the Bricks Classic, it's cool to see more races out there
13. Favorite part about training and racing in Iowa: When the weather is 'on', long rides that take you through rolling hills and hardwood forests or even the sea of waving tall green corn can get borderline hypnotic.
14. What could be improved: more clubs with pride and that execute true team tactics
15. Hobbies: caffeine (oh, wait - not vices. hmm), fishin', bow-huntin'
16. Something that you may not know about me: One of the original inventors of the piano-key necktie.
17. Parting Shot: Decide what you want out of the sport and go with it - I see too many guys caught in 'mental limbo' who act and speak as if their life depends on racing but who a.) won't put in the training to get better, or b.) be more realistic. These folks get burned out constantly. There are so many levels that bike racing can be enjoyable; remember, you don't have to sacrifice being a 'good-guy' to be fast.


Random Notes

Don’t mess with the Surly guy: Somebody decided they needed Michael Faas’ 52cm Pea-green Surly Cross Check on BRR worse than Michael. You can pick this one out because it also has a 1x1 set-up and an old SR crank set for single-speeding. This is my first cross bike and I sold it to Michael two years ago. If you see it let me or Michael know @

Share the love:I got this from Chad Vandelune a few weeks ago. “Cam and I came across a man walking the trail at the S.C. and we slowed down like all good riders do and the guy just started thanking us for all the great trails and had a huge smile on his face. It's nice to be loved. Just wanted to share some good news.” Pretty sweet, eh?

Share the money: In the newest IMBA annual report, I didn’t recognize any $100+ donations from Iowa. Maybe we all just want our free socks and that’s it?

Give your Valentine the gift of artwork:

Spring training for Eskimos:

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