College Life/Budget

Much like how the Milwaukee Brewers almost missed the playoffs by hitting a slump right before the end of the season, I’ve hit my cyclocross season slump. As with most slumps it is not by choice. The bills have been coming in so I picked up an extra PAID internship on campus and continue to work at Menards. Now I have no time to race cyclocross because I have to make money to live, which is truly a college students problem, but when it comes to other reasons I’ve missed races I have that covered too.

From Oct. 13 to Oct. 18, 2011, I was being a sophisticated public relations professional at the Public Relations Student Society of America National Conference. I can’t say it was the best trip ever but it gave me a view of the career I hope to find after I graduate. So at the end of the conference I got on the plane with a 2nd place award for the National Organ Donation Awareness Campaign that I ran last year; I was feeling proud but my body was feeling otherwise.

After arriving back in Wisconsin with a sinus infection that I had since the second half of my trip, I decided I was going to tough it out and go to class and work Wednesday through Friday. Riding from home to work to class and back was my only training for the past two weeks. Then the weekend hit and I was dead, my symptoms included fatigue from waking up, a constant headache, and sinuses that wanted to explode.

Monday came and I gave up. My body was cashed so I went to Aurora’s walk-in and it turns out that I had the flu. The flu was causing my blood sugar (being a Type 1 Diabetic) to stay sky-high and thus causing the rest of my body to feel terrible. After five hours of having fluids pumped into me I was starting to feel better and they said I could go home.

Everyone understands being sick feels terrible but missing races feels even worse. So how do you recover from the flu in time to squeeze a few more races?


There are many resources I’ve found while building my cyclocross bike this pre-season and many of them can still be used to find cheap (but still quality) replacement parts. These resources include Ebay,,,, and many more.

Lets start with Ebay because it’s where I saved the most money this pre-season while building up my cyclocross bike. Having a college student’s budget I started with the cheapest parts to replace and worked up from there. The first thing I looked at were chain rings to replace the 53-39t stock chain rings that came with my LeMond Poprad. Creating a “watchlist” of chain rings that were 46t and 38t (that fit a 130mm crankset) allowed me to compare prices and shipping rates (shipping rates do have an impact on the price of the overall purchase). I ended up separately purchasing a 46t Origin 8 chain ring for $23.99 with shipping and 38t Origin 8 chain ring for $10.89 with shipping on Ebay. That makes a total of $34.88 and local bike shop had quoted me $80 for the two.

Other Ebay Deals: Retail Cost My Cost Image
Crankbrother’s Eggbeater Pedals & Cleats $90.00 $27.00 (Ebay)  Eggbeater Pedal
Seat $89.99 $80.00 (Ebay Buy it Now)  SLR Saddle
7800 Dura Ace Rear Derailleur $230.00 $48.00 (Ebay)  Shimano Dura Ace 7800 RD
Tekro CR720 Brakes $70.00 $39.97 (Ebay)  Tekro CR720 Brakes

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When anyone thinks of emotions in sports they think of overcoming the challenge and achieving victory or they may think of the despair of defeat, but cyclocross is an entirely different beast. Looking to the approaching cyclocross season I am filled with emotions.

We’ve all been him or her, the new kid, I am the new kid when I enter my first race on Oct. 1 at Cross the Domes. Besides my nerves, I’m gratefully excited for that day to come. “Cyclocross, to put it simply, is painful,” according to condition coach, Jason Ross. “How much pain can you endure without giving in or giving up.”

From the articles I’ve read in Cyclocross Magazine to the numerous YouTube videos I’ve watched explaining the sport to showing its highlights I know it is everything I’m looking forward to. There will be the crazed, some drunk, fans ringing cowbells and cheering us racers on. The cold fall air will be coming into fruition along with my worries.

It is two weeks before the race and I already have the prerace jitters. Am I conditioned enough? Am I going to crash? If my preseason endeavors racing through campus at UW-Oshkosh to get to class on time are any indication of my conditioning and bike handling abilities I believe my finishing time will be “in time.”

But will I be able to handle the pain? If biking to work at Menard’s after getting run off the road by a typical Oshkosh driver and then still managing to make it to work on time is an indication of my pain tolerance, I believe I will be able to handle the pain of hopping barriers and shouldering my bike.

After two weeks of healing this is what I'm left with from the Oshkosh driver who ran me off the road.

These are all questions that keep racing though my mind. The truth is there is nothing that can be done for the prerace jitters besides focusing on the excitement of the race to come and, “Man, am I excited!”