This season has been less than stellar for me, with the exception of some late season fitness for CX. Even that has a downside...in the time period that i was building up my fitness during CX, I managed to give myself a hamstring problem that still plagues me to this day.
At this point "the end" seems more fitting than ever. I've not raced since November 12, and maybe have accumulated. 4 hours of ride time since then. I guess listening to your body has its benefits, but in cycling, pain is the name of the game, and I think I've gotten pretty good at pushing it aside and focusing on the task at hand...maybe too good...
So now the goals I have for next season are seriously in doubt. I think it's time to play golf again...
Sunday, November 13, 2011
A pic from the Boulevard Cup
Another CX race has come and gone. The weather was good...again...Although, Mother Nature did finally allow the water to flow. That was early this past week, so again, the racing was in "good conditions" albeit a little soft here and there.
The week leading up to this race I didn't get as much saddle time as I would have liked, so I was a little worried about how I was gonna ride. Oh well...I know you get out what you put in and I wasn't going to complain about getting my ass handed to me...I decided to give it my best and see what happened. That's all I can do.
I get to Heartland Park with plenty of time to get signed up and give the course a proper inspection. One of the best parts of this particular track was the use of a dirt track, which was dry but really soft during my inspection. I tried a few different lines and came to the realization that the established race line will be the way to go. The race line on the dirt track got faster and faster as the night wore on. There was also a couple sets of stairs in place of traditional CX barriers. A few short power climbs to keep everyone honest. I thought it was a good track.
Fast forward to the race...I get to the start line early so I can line up in the front. As it turns out, I didn't need to worry about it, due to the points I earned in the series last weekend, I was called up to the front row...that was nice.
GO!! I get a decent start and we drag race along a gravel road for about an 1/8th mile into the first turn. At this point I'm in 5th. We wind our way around to the dirt track and the pace goes to warp speed. A small gap opened in front of me that I managed to close before a left hand downhill off camber sweeper. At this point I was eating a ton of roost...I was totally not expecting to eat roost in a CX race...I've never even eaten roost in a MTB race!!! This caught me off guard to say the least.
We are winding our way around to the infield of the dirt track and 2 guys make moves from the back to the front group. At this point I'm in 8th...I think...
Anyway, the front group starts riding away leaving me in no mans land for the next 2 laps. Towards the end of lap 2 in no mans land, I take a quick look back and the 2 guys I raced with last week are chasing hard. I get to the steps with about a 5 second gap, which was quickly gobbled up when I make a mistake in a slow uphill switchback...oh well, I needed a break anyway.
So now it's Jeff from slimenundgrossen, Roger from Lawrence, and me. We stay this way until the last part of the dirt track which led out to the rest of the course. Jeff pulls over and Roger and I pull through. We race our way around to the power climb and I hear Jeff say "I'm in the wrong gear"!! A gap was opened, Roger was on the front driving it. Jeff never closed the gap, so now it's Roger and me. We roll through the start/finish in that order and I think there was 3 to go at this point.
I follow Roger around to the dirt track. I'm feeling pretty good again and decide to attack Roger to give a solo run to the line a go. I go blasting by him on the first straight of the dirt track, I get a small gap. At this point I am haulin the mail!!! I set myself up for the left hand downhill off camber turn, I realize that I'm going too fast for a feet up turn, I stick my left leg out and lean in. This helps the shoulder knobs bite really well, which they did!! I guess I got the tire pressure right for the track, because I railed around this turn with a hint of a 2 wheel drift without sliding out. This move alone doubled the gap I had, I nail the pedal coming out of the turn and drill it again to the infield section.
At this point I'm still feeling good and riding well. At times, Roger closes the gap a little, but in other parts of the track I would take that time back. He got close but never close enough for me to really worry. I give Roger props for keeping me honest. He NEVER stopped chasing, until it was out of reach...which was on the last section leading to the start/finish. He was about 30 yards behind when I turned onto the start/finish straight, I pedal hard a few times give a quick look back and realize I can finally rest...I cruise across the line in 8th.
I'm pretty happy with that result considering I might have gotten 2 hours of saddle time last week. There's at least one more race for me to do...maybe 2...we will see after that. I'm thinkin it's time for a break this week though. I'm ready for it!!
Monday, November 7, 2011
This past weekend was the 360/Boulevard Cup CX. These 2 races are some of the best events to attend ever!!!
About 1 1/2 months ago I needed to find a goal so I wouldn't turn into a slob and stop riding altogether. What did I find? This 2 day CX weekend.
When I started "training" for this weekend my fitness was...hmmm...not even just okay...but forge ahead I did. I raced and did my training rides like a man on a mission. With the exception of one, I have toed the line every weekend since the beginning of October with the sole purpose of having a good weekend of racing at the 360/Blvd event.
The week leading up to these races wasn't the week I wanted to have. The weather didn't cooperate, and my MTB was having issues...I did man up and ride the trainer, probably not as much as I should have...oh well...I was "tapering" for the weekend.
Saturday comes and I roll to the venue feeling good, and ready to do battle again. I get registered, change into the riding clothes, which was almost everything I own to stay warm...it was 45 degrees and the wind was howling...IT WAS SUCKIN BAD!!!
I do my inspection of the course, and the one feature that had me a little worried was a long uphill grind, I shrug it off and roll on with my warm up. Finally, the time to race comes.
I have learned my lesson when it comes to lining up. I was there with plenty of time to get a primo spot on the outside of the front row. Anyway, the gun goes off and away we go. I got a decent start and was immediately on the limit, but not feeling to bad yet. We wind our way towards the long climb and when we hit that I knew it was not going to be a good day...
The race progresses and I find a good rhythm...there was a few highlights but mostly just suffering and not having the ride I wanted to have...
I crossed the line in 21st out of 31. I wasn't too bent by my result at the time, but when I got home and reflected on my race, I got mad...so based on that performance, I said F**K IT...I'm not racing on Sunday.
The Boulevard race...
So I wake up on Sunday, and start my morning ritual, pour myself a French Press and start thinking about racing. At 8:00 I'm mad as hell and want redemption for my waaaaaay less than stellar performance on Saturday.
I decided to level the playing for this race and borrow a CX machine from the great Bertonio Swiftinelli. I was feeling mean and I needed to take my aggressions out on the CX track and my fellow competitors. I pack my gear bag, take my pedals and cage off my MTB and head to Bertonio's house to pick up my ride for the day.
I arrive at the venue with plenty of time to sign up and do a proper inspection. Ready to ride now, I make a few adjustments to the bike and roll out to get a feel for the bike and check the course.
After about 100 yards of riding, I make a right turn behind the ball field and drill it...I knew at that point I was gonna have a good day. As I said before, I learned my lesson for the call up. I was the first to toe the line and stood there by myself for about 5 minutes...it was great!!!
GO!! We're off, I get a good start inside the top ten, and not suffering at all. We get to the first twisty section and the guys ahead of me stay upright and life is good, because the farther back in the group you were at this point, the bigger the bottle neck and the longer it took to get up to speed.
Racing along on a ridge the rider ahead of me bobbles and I pass him only to have the front end slide out from under me...I was up quickly and only one racer got by. At this point the leaders are gone and I have no idea what place I'm in and didn't really care at this point anyway.
About the 3rd lap, the guy I was racing with are joined by one more. The chess game has begun. For the next 2 or 3 laps we take turns beating on each other riding in no mans land. Eventually a 50+ rider comes up to us, he manages to get to the front of my little group and starts driving it. I'm sitting 4th wheel at this point and we are on one of the faster sections of the track. I look over 3rd wheels shoulder and see a gap open. I knew this was a good move to go with, I make a move to the right and 3rd wheel drifts over and closes the door...a good size gap of about 40 feet opens...I yell at 3rd wheel to go!! He speeds up and the gap stops growing.
The 3 man chess match has begun.
We get to the backside of the ball field and I hammer past 3rd wheel to close within 10 feet. I'm content with this because we are coming to the sand pit and I didn't want to be on his wheel in case he buried himself in the sand.
I hit the pit, get swapped off my line and more or less come to a stop...all the work I just did was gone. I got going again and couldn't close the gap...now in no mans land, there's 2 laps to go.
I put in 2 great laps and manage to keep the guy I rode around at a good distance...until I came to the sand again. I was thinking just get through the sand without stopping and it's over. Of course I get swapped off my line again...that's what I get for thinking!!! DON'T THINK, JUST PEDAL!!!
A few turns later he is on my wheel again, I turn and say to him, that was a gift...he says I'll take it!! At this point we have one long section around ball field number 2, and of course I let him come around me for this part. This leads to a left/right switch back, then on to a concrete path which led us to the final stretch of grass with the finish line.
I set up the switch backs perfectly and was on the gas before he was. He drills it and I'm in the drops drafting. We hit the grass to the finish line, I look over his shoulder and sprint past him to nail down 5th out of 26.
It wasn't a win, but it felt really good. Especially considering the ass kickin I received the day before. I guess the training worked, the timing was off by a day or two I think, but one good day at the races is better than NO good days at the races!! I think the bike had a lot to do with the result, but I felt really good also and I am totally stoked with the results of my efforts!!
Monday, October 31, 2011
My how time flies when you're having fun!! This past Sunday was the Boss Cross 3 CX event at the Raytown BMX track...it was FREAKIN COOL!!!!
Sunday morning the race day ritual began at 6:30 and for some strange reason I stayed focused and was ready to leave on time...It's a rarity for me these days folks.
Anyway, on Saturday night I checked the boss cross blog for the latest info, and what do I find? A couple of enticing pics of the soon to be CX course. One was of the section of BMX track we would be racing on, which consisted of 2 doubles right when entered the track, followed by a HUUUUUUGE 180 degree berm to the left, leading into a double, triple, double section of jumps. IT WAS AWESOME!!
The other pic was of a log barrier which ranged from a foot high on the left side to at least 2 feet on the right side. As I looked at these pics, I was thinking about catching air on the jumps and I'm totally riding that log crossing. I achieved both!! The air was while I was inspecting the course, and the log was during the race...the log was easy!! The air took 3 attempts to clear the double out of the left turn. I have to say, when I decided to go for it on the 3rd try I wasn't sure what was going to happen...I know how to jump, but it's something that I don't do everyday. I Came off the berm and drilled it to the double and launched over it and down the back side like I had been doing it everyday...I was immediately jacked on adrenaline, it was awesome!!!
On to the race...I gave myself plenty of time this time and as I ride up to the start line, they call us up and I keep on rollin to a front row spot on the grid.
GO!! We take off on a section of pavement hard dirt double track, I get a decent start, 4 guys pass me and before I could get through a small opening to get back around, the door slammed shut. We're flying into the first turn, and I didn't realize how sharp it was and just about blow through the tape, fortunately I lean the bike over, stick my leg out and rail right around it like it's on rails!!
A gap opens and the lead group of 4 is going to be gone soon...I dig down a little and manage to keep them within striking distance through the technical BMX section. Once we hit the open field they started gaping me right away...remember the short track comment from the last race?? This track was 2 miles long and FAST!!!
The next couple of laps are uneventful, I'm joined by 2 other racers and we play chess for a few laps. The Slimen racer is going pretty good out on the long fast section and gets a small gap. I'm not to worried, he wasn't quite as smooth as me and the racer from Sunflower. He's an MTB'er too. We get to the BMX section and the gap he created was gone.
The 2 guys I was racing with.
About 4 to go Sunflower and I get a gap and that's the end for Slimen. Sunflower and I trade places a few times on the next lap. At this point I put in a good effort and get a gap over Sunflower. With 2 to go I drill it coming out of the BMX section and increase my lead.
The bell lap...I'm rollin along with a good gap over Sunflower trying to go fast when I can. I turn into the headwind and start to die!! My gap is shrinking fast!! Going with the wind the Sunflower rider gets back on my wheel we make a left and turn back into the wind where I let him come by and I sit on him. We get to the barriers, off, run, and I was back on before he was, which made me happy. I didn't go around because we had 1 more headwind section to go...
We turn into the wind for the last time and Sunflower picks up the pace. We round a right hand sweeper to go with the wind, the pace picks up again. One more right turn onto the start/finish straight and we're rollin pretty good. I look over his shoulder and decide it's now or never...I grab a gear and jump...I gain about an inch and quickly realize the tank is empty...oh well at least I gave it a go.
I finished 10th out of 16. Not bad for such a fast track. The only thing I would have done different is to catch air over the double at least once during the race. I thought about it but didn't pull the trigger...I guess the great wheelie incident of 2009 made me think twice about it.
There's always next time!!
This is the double jump. The HUUUUUUGE berm in the background.
Sunday, October 23, 2011
I hate to say it (not really) but another big blue sky day for CX racing. I'm sure there are people that want cold, crappy, and muddy conditions to race in, but NOT ME!!!
Let's see...I don't remember if it was this morning or yesterday, but I was thinking I need a tight, twisty course with no long high speed sections to level the field a bit. Well today was one of those tracks!!
I managed to pull a 6th in the masters 40+ and this time there was 20 starters. 2 DNF'd, so it will be scored as 18 riders, oh well, I had a good ride today.
I managed to get to the venue with about 45 minutes to get squared away...I don't know where that time went but it wasn't enough. I had enough time to inspect the course, which had 2 sand pits, and 1 set of barriers, and to do one decent effort on a road with a good hill on it, then head to the line and you guessed it...line up DFL in my class...BAH!!!!
As I sit there in my DFL spot, the promoter says we are gonna send all classes at the same time, there was 44 total at that point. I think to myself, hmmm...good thing I didn't show up a minute later otherwise I would really be DFL!!! Starting behind 43 other loonies...That would have sucked IMMENSELY!! Thank you lucky penny!!!
They say go and I get a good start, not too fast but just right. I settle in about 13th-ish going into the first turn...I pass a few here and there on the first lap and find a rhythm that won't kill me.
As it turns out, I'm having a good day, and my pace is just a bit faster than some of the guys that have been putting the screws to me these last few weeks. So I pick one off, he says good job E!! I asked him what's up, he says I'm cramping...I look at the ride time on my computer and a measly 14 minutes of 45 have passed...it sucked to be him!!!
I press on, passing a few more here and there slowly gaining on what would eventually be 6th place, I finally make a pass on an uphill concrete sidewalk and drill it!! I slowly but surely increased my gap to something I was sure he wouldn't close.
With that effort, I got within 30 feet or so of the guy in 5th for a while. I would get a little closer on occasion, but for the most part I couldn't get to his wheel. With about a lap and a half to go, 5th stepped it up a little and put more time in. I managed to bring back a little of it going into the last lap, but not enough to really threaten him for the spot. With about a quarter of a lap to go I put it on cruise and finished 6th.
Like I said before, I had a good day on my bike!! The course was twisty and technical enough to afford me an advantage...I'll take it!!
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Ah yes...another big blue sky day to race under!! The first day of the Joules Cross CX weekend was Saturday In Lawrence KS, and since my give-a-damn broke last weekend I was itching to race again!! I think the powers that be (the gods of dirt) had it in for me on this morning, I did eventually prevail and make it to the start line.
The wake up call was 6:00am, that gave me enough time to roll through my race day ritual and hit the road at 8:00am to give me enough time to sign up, and get ready to rumble.
8:00am rolls around and away we go...a small sidetrack to degrease a chain, then rollin again. So now totally wound and going nuts because it's race day life is good, or so I thought...As we head west the traffic signs are telling me my route is closed...Hmmm...this isn't good!!! I planned my day with no detours!!! At this point life isn't good!!!
We get back on the highway, I'm looking at the time thinking I'm not racing today...F**K!!!!!!
Oh well...I keep on truckin to the venue. We finally arrive at 9:15. My race is at 10:00...I still have time, WOOOOHOOOOOooooo!!!
I sign up, get changed, and have enough time to do an inspection/warm up lap, stretch, make clothing changes for temperature and roll to the line feeling ready...Sheesh...that felt like work!!!
The Boss Cross events found me rolling to the line after everybody had lined up, which meant DFL on the start line for me. Not today!!! I didn't matter though, there was only 6 racers in the 40+ masters...Oh well I'm thinkin at worst, a 6th place finish...It will sound good if anyone asks how I did...
I was sitting on the start line thinking how weird it was to have 6 racers total in the 40+...oh well...my race nerves got the best of me and I say to the 5 guys next to me...Don't let the MTB'er beat you!!! Not a word from any of them!!! This made me laugh!!!
We roll to the line as the 2nd wave to go. GO, and we're off!! I get a decent start, drag racing down the start/finish straight in lean into the first turn in 3rd. After catching air on a small roller!!! The first part of the course was fast and sweeping, good stuff!! Eventually the course made its way down by a pond, where we had to dive down the dam make a sweeping left and climb back up.
I was wheel to wheel with 1st and 2nd at the turn to bomb down. I down shift from the big to the middle ring, the chain bounced passed the middle to the small...I managed to get it back to the middle at the base of the dam and climb up. At this point a gap had opened that I couldn't close...oh well.
The race rolls on, and unbeknownst to me at the time, I was in third until about a half a lap to go...Going into the last lap, a Boulevard rider comes around me on the start/finish straight, which was fine with me, the wind had picked up and it was a headwind now on that part of the course. I jump on his wheel for the draft.
We lean into turn 1, bomb the fast sweepers, he has an issue and slows a bit, so I gun it past him. We roll that way onto the dam, where a lapped rider is going to be in the way as I turn down the dam. Fortunately he drifts wide to the left and I dive down the right and rail around him on the outside of the left hand sweeper before the climb back up...That made laugh on the inside a bit, it was a good clean pass!!
Moving forward, we are heading into the last section, which is another fast sweeping set of turns that end on the start finish straight. There was a set of 3, 2x6 barriers that had finally be knocked over. The Boulevard rider dismounts and runs them. I just rolled over them. Doing this had me pass him, I told him I wouldn't take an advantage and let him have his spot back.
Another rider has joined us now. At the time I didn't know he was in my class, he passes me and a small gap opens between me and the 2 was battling with...Time to man up, I close the gap and we make our way onto the finish straight.
I'm sitting 3rd wheel, drafting, in the cat bird seat. The pace increases, and about halfway down the straight I jump and start grabbing gears. I get to about the lead man front wheel, he sees me and starts to sprint, I gain a little more, but ran out of track...he got me by about a foot. I would have gotten him if I started a bit earlier and taken 3rd in my class...at least I gave it a go!!
Oh well that's racing, I felt tons better this time, and hope to improve upon this fitness. It's nice to feel "good" while suffering again.
Sunday, October 9, 2011
I was thinking about racing CX today, but after what I heard about last years race and how boring of a course it was, my give-a-damn broke...So as I mulled it over...and over and over and over!! I just couldn't make myself do it.
I told leadfoot recently, for me, I have to be 100% in mentally to race. Meaning I have made up my mind and am going no matter what. It makes suffering a bit easier too...
Today wasn't one of those days...The last time I wasn't 100% sure I ended up giving the earth a hug, getting a mild concussion, a very nice black eye and the most bruises from one digger EVER!!! I curse you 8 pins...
With that in mind I pulled the pin on lining up today. So I sat and pondered what I should do...riding is starting to suck and I definitely need something to keep me motivated!!
I looked at the race schedule and there's 26 days til the 360/Boulevard cup weekend. So I'm gonna focus on that weekend, and between now and then try to bring my fitness up a notch.
I gotta throw a race or two in there for intensity purposes, so next weekend is the beginning of that with the Joules cross in Lawrence. It's a 2 day race and I'm doing at least one fo sho!!!!
Hmmm...maybe a coach one day...
Monday, October 3, 2011
The first CX races of the year have come to pass for me. I couldn't have asked for better weather!! At the gun, the temps were mid 60's and climbing under a big blue sky day.
It's Monday now and I have had a bit of time to reflect on my races. Let me say this first. I do CX races for fun, I put absolutely no pressure on myself to do well, and it's easier to have fun...well...as much fun as one can have suffering!! ;)
Anyway, I wasn't sure of my fitness going into this melee, but was ready to find out. On Saturday, I do a couple of inspection/warm up laps. I get around to the sand pit. I stop to take a look, it has a concrete border about 10 inches wide, sand that is bone dry and easily 4-6 inches deep that will prevent any attempts at riding this section. One other section of note was a short steep uphill followed by an off camber hairpin left. Other than that it was pretty much straight forward with a little gravel thrown in for good measure.
So finally the time to line up comes and of course I line up DFL...oh well, why make it easy!!! GO...and we're off. I hit the pedal on the first try and managed to get to about 10th. We race along and finally come to the sand. (A side note...I did not step one foot into the sand on my inspection...BIG MISTAKE!! I did however consider riding the concrete border). I get off and start running through the sand pit from HELL!! It was probably 75 feet across, it felt like a mile. Finally through the first time and back on the bike.
I'm suffering greatly now and look at the ride time on my computer. BIG MISTAKE #2...It said 12 minutes of 45 have elapsed...at this point the mental struggle began. I recover a bit from the course tipping down ever so slightly. I still want to quit, into the sand again. In my haze of blinding pain, a moment of clarity. I will put my bike on the concrete border and run through the sand next to it while it rolls smoothly along!! Suddenly life got a little better. My method to the pit actually had me gaining time on racers that hit the sand ahead of me!! Look at the big brain on me!!!
Time rolls by, eventually I settle in and start feeling better, Suddenly I start seeing racers in my class coming back to me...game on!! I start picking them off 1 by 1. This was little past halfway through the race.
At this point, I'm chasing a guy and keeping him close. Remember the short steep uphill...he couldn't ride it and I could. Any time he gained was lost right here.
With the race winding down, I pass him in the hair pin after the short steep up, put it on kill, and tried to ride away. I put a little time in, but he managed to reel me in again. He brought another with him though...BOOOOOOOOOO!!!!
The last lap is uneventful, I keep the 2 in front of me close with the idea of sprinting them...this didn't work...we all jumped at the same time and this is where I stayed...11th out of 22. Waaaaaaaay better than I thought I did.
After the race on Saturday, and how bad I felt early on, I wasn't too keen on lining up on Sunday but was going to anyway.
I get signed up and head out for my inspection of the course. They changed it a little. The course is run backwards and they removed the short steep up. Probably because there would have been dead bodies everywhere had they left it in...
One sad realization set in when I came to the sand...I wouldn't be using the border...my dismount is on the left, and the course direction dictated that I man up and run through the sand on day 2...
I felt better on day 2, the mental struggle with the quit in me began a few minutes earlier, I REALLY HATE THAT F***ING VOICE!!!!! Anyway...I finally make it shut the hell up and get on with the task at hand.
The race is uneventful for the most part. About the middle of the race a guy passed me, he put a little time on me but I managed to have a little more flow to my style than he and closed the gap. He fumbled and had to dismount, and I ride by him. He stays there until we hit the straight with the barriers. He pulls along side of me, we dismount at the same time, run the barriers, and remount. I was faster back to the pedals and on the gas. This made me laugh at him in a cocky sort of way, he acknowledged it with a yeah you got me...this made me punch it and I didn't see this guy again!!
The last lap. I have about a 10 second lead on 1 guy trying to run me down and one about 5 seconds ahead. I roll through the start finish area, by the pit and out onto a downhill gravel road. I stand and sprint down the gravel road and blow by the guy ahead of me and put another 10 seconds on the guy chasing.
Life is good...or so I thought. One last technical section and 2 more chugs through the sand and it's over...I enter the first hairpin turn and the 2 guys I had worked so hard to get rid of are wheel to wheel and on mine....
I think the last part of this section got he best of one of them. I drill it to the sand and put time in again. It's time to suffer!! I go as hard as I can go around to the last crossing of the Mojave, out of the sand and on the bike, I'm blind with pain and bury it to the line...I look back and I broke him!!! 9th out of 17.
I rode better on Sunday, and I can't think of anything I would've done different either day. I said earlier I don't put any pressure on myself dong these races, I guess that's not really true. I do want to finish 10th or better...it's minor. I had moments of weakness and totally wanted to quit I'm glad I didn't!! It was a groooovy time and I look forward to the next race!!
There you go, now you know.
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Let's see...I'm still alive, which is a good thing!! I still ride a bike, which is definitely a good thing!!! I guess I just haven't had much to write about since the DK 200.
Scratch that...there's been stuff to write about, albeit not very much, I'm just a little lazy!!!
A condensed version of the last however many months it has been since the last post...
After the DK 200 my friend the IT band issue came back and pretty much screwed my training up AGAIN!! So another week off the bike followed by some easy rides blah blah blah...you know the story.
Which brings me to the State MTB race. A state bike race in my neck of the woods for a change and a race that I circled in late January to do well at. I was a little worried about my fitness with the freakin IT thing having it's way with me...The week I took off the bike for recovery from the DK put me right at a month away. That month rolled by with no real pain form my IT and to the start line I went.
By the way, eating spaghetti and trying to type is not so easy....
Anyhoo...That race went better than I had expected. I bought mud tires for that race mainly because I knew it would be muddy!! Guess what...IT WAS FREAKIN MUDDY!!!!
If you've read this blog for a while, I have talked about how much of an advantage it is to inspect the course the day before. In this case it was definitely an advantage, not so much for the course but mostly for figuring out the right tire pressure, which eventually I found the right number and stopped pinballing and loosing traction, woooohooooo life just got a lot easier!!!
Race day morning, I'm getting my bike ready and think, surely it has dried out some, I'm gonna add 2 pounds of pressure front and rear to my tires because it won't be as slick as it was yesterday...WRONG!!!! The conditions were exactly the same...there goes my advantage. Which in the end would have gotten me 3rd in state, I could not not pinball long enough on the last lap to catch and pass the guy in third...I would reel him in and start to put pressure on and then a greasy rock or root or both would bring that to a screaming halt...I've said it before and I will say it again...listen to your gut...IT'S ALWAYS RIGHT!!!!!
Hmmm....oh yeah!! I managed to go on a vacation this year. An epic journey to the Colorado high country. Did I mention we were camping? Before this trip I was all about camping in the high country, now, HELL NO!!! I'm officially done camping. It's not that it was crappy weather, the weather was great, with the exception of the straw that broke camels back. It rained on us for a good 5 hours one night. I wasn't too worried about that til the tent started dripping on me about 2 hours into this event...at that point it was game over for camping.
Moving on...We started in Crested Butte for 3 days, had to stay long enough to watch the pros go flying by on the 2nd stage of the Tour of Colorado. As soon as the road was clear, we burned down the road and headed north to Vail.
We get to Vail about 8:30pm...We try to find a campground with no luck. So we get a hotel room, which I must say was a nice respite from the tent if only for one night. We wake up fairly early and head down for some free breakfast. A local coffee joint that was highly recommended by the paper was spied by the keen eye of Leadfoot and off we go.
The coffee shop was a definite highlight of this trip, just for the fact the locals that were coming in were freakin hilarious for the most part, telling a few great stories whilst we drank waaaaaaaaaaaay too much espresso and coffee. After the first round of espresso and coffee, I get back in line and order the exact same thing for round 2 and the barista says "YOU WANT ANOTHER ROUND...ARE YOU SERIOUS"?!?!
Yes I am. We drank coffee and shots for about 2 hours...it was awesome, I have never shook so much from coffee!! Oh...and a mexican fellow come strolling in bout 8:00 and orders a jack and coke and a beer...odd...very odd...
We head to a bike shop for a trial map to find a campsite only to realize there aren't any in decent proximity to a lot of riding...so we asked the bike shop guy and he points us in a direction and off we go.
We drive up a dirt road where there's free camping only to find nowhere to set up our camp. We drive a little further and end up at a trail head. We stop to ponder for a minute and decide to ride this trail which was about a 12 mile round trip.
This was a good ride, it had a little of everything on it, I would recommend it to anyone!! We finish the ride and Leadfoot rolls down the road to an opening in the trees. About the time I come rolling up he screams in agonizing pain, rips his helmet off and continues to hate life!! I ask him what happened and look down and see the bee that stung him on his forehead try to fly away and die...I was laughing my ass off and I have a great picture of it!!! If I had better computer skills it would be on this blog!!! So we load up and drive from there to Frisco Colorado.
We find a campground and set up house. The next morning we do a ride which was really cool and this one I would also recommend to anyone!! It was a lot of climbing on the way out with some great views but the return trip was a screamin fast descent on some sweeeeeeeet single track!! The one thing I noticed when we were in Vail is there are a lot of dead pine trees. I guess the pine beetle is the cause of this...it's kinda depressing, because everywhere you look, entire mountainsides are brown with dead trees...It wasn't like that in Crested Butte. I'm sure in time it will be unless they are on top of it now...
We finish our ride and decide to pack it up and head to Winter Park for the final leg of this epic journey...it's Thursday at this point. I make the call to stay in a pay campground by St. Louis creek just outside of Fraser Colorado...The last time I was there you couldn't see the sky for the trees...now it's more or less clear cut from the pine beetle devastation...I was bummed!!!
On to the backup campsite in Winter Park, which was heavily forested, and free HOORAY!!! Once again we set up camp and chill for a bit. A quick Eye to the sky says it's gonna rain soon...an hour later it starts. After an hour or so it stops and it's time to feast. It's too wet to try and cook so off we go to town for food.
As I mentioned earlier this is the night that did camping in for me...Fast forward to morning. We get a fire going, boil some water for coffee and oatmeal, and set of for what would be our last ride.
We had initially planned on ending our trip with the King of the Rockies series finale. A 26 mile point to point MTB race. That wasn't going to happen...on the way to inspect this course I throw out when we get back to camp we should pack up and get a hotel room and bail in the morning. This was met with no resistance.
After riding that course I can honestly say that it would have been a brutal race. We get back to camp and Leadfoot suggests we pack up and head home...be on the road by 3:00pm...I'm in!!! We finished the drive at 2:00am...I was retarded tired for the next week...It was a blast though. NO MORE CAMPING!!!! There's a ton more to this whole adventure...
let's see...this is going longer than I had anticipated...so I wanted to use that riding as a spring board for R.I.M. That was not to happen...for some reason it got cancelled...This made me mad!!! I had circled this race to do well at in January when the schedule was posted...GRRRRRRrrrrr!!!!
So instead of that race, I do a standard MTB race. It was 27.5 miles in length, and since I'm getting tired of typing, you get the really short version. I was in 2nd place going into the 4th lap of 4. About halfway through that lap my 1 1/2 month old new bike starts ghost shifting at the rear derailleur...I think it's cable stretch so I try to dial it out at the barrel adjuster on the shifter only to find out it's not working and getting worse. While I'm doing this my pace has slowed, I take a quick peek over my shoulder and 3rd place is at the bottom of the climb i was about to finish. I put it on kill and put some time on him only to be passed on the 2nd to last hill from trying to remedy my shifting.
He goes by and I keep him in site, we hit the last climb and about halfway up I finally find out what was wrong...the rear derailleur hanger snapped in half...game over with 2 miles to go...I finished 4th.
Now that's an update...sheesh!!! I should really post more often so I don't have to sit here this long!!
The first CX race for me is this weekend, I can't wait!!! Race report to follow!!!
Sunday, June 5, 2011
The big day has come and gone. Although I didn't reach my goal of 100 miles, I did reach part of it. That was meeting the time goal and average speed, which was 4 hours or better to the first checkpoint at an average speed of 14.5 or better. I was 3:48 ride time and 14.8 average speed.
There were a few factors in my demise...I wasn't hydrated to the level I should have been at the start. I decided to sit in with the lead group for the first hour, which I did, only to realize that it was a mistake when I finally came off...we were flat out killing it...I had an 18.7 avg. speed when I came off...That's when I knew that my day was gonna get really LOOOOOOoooooong...Shortly thereafter, I'm rolling along and I'm riding with a teammate who was smarter than me in the approach to this melee, he points off in the distance and says that's where we're headed, "Texaco" hill, it's a 3 mile climb...hmmm...
The way I was feeling at that point a 3 mile climb was not what I wanted to do...so I spin along finally reaching this climb, and realize that I will need to put the Truth in the granny gear...it was that steep and loose. I finally reach the top and look around as I ride on...I was taken by the beauty and vast expanse of green that stretched in all directions and of this place I was riding.
I rolled along making sure I drank and ate on a regular basis, groups of riders would come by and I would jump on to their train as long as I could and then back to spinning along by myself...
Many conversations were had with myself. Most riders had ipods going, I chose and I choose to not ride with music, but to face the mental battle with one's self head on...this day was one for the ages...
As the miles rolled by, some faster than others, I would check the mileage. When I reached 50 miles in, I got a small lift...I'm getting close to a much needed break. 10ish to go to the first checkpoint...
Then the course makes a left turn, now headed west into an ever increasing SW headwind. The gravel road I was on wasn't bad, a false flat with a quartering headwind...I push on. With about 8 miles to go, the "okay" gravel road turns to shit!!! It was soft with no discernible line...welcome to hell...this continued on for what seemed like an eternity to a right turn where the wind was giving a much needed push and the surface was back to something a little more friendly...about 2 miles later I roll into the first checkpoint...
As I refueled to prepare for the next leg, I realized that I was pretty much dehydrated, so I decided to sit and drink until I had to pee. After about 30 minutes of waiting for number one to come around, I decided to pull the pin, I was a little bummed about it, but was okay with it. It was 2 hours later when number 1 finally came knocking...so it was a good decision, because I knew that if I took off for the next checkpoint and fell to pieces out in the middle of nowhere, it would be a long time before I would get any assistance. It's better to fight and run away, to live to fight another day. I don't regret pulling the pin at the first checkpoint, which was 58 miles in.
What did I take from this bout of mental and physical testing? A new respect for those who compete in these events and even more for those who have the guts and will to keep going to the finish!!! Will I give the Dirty Kanza 200 another try...I seriously doubt it!!
What follows are the lyrics to a song called "The Badlands" by Metal Church. It's a favorite song of mine and fits the DK 200 to perfection. I changed a few of the lyrics to make it more fitting to the ride. Anytime Flint hills is used it replaces either the word wasteland or badlands...so minor changes...
I ride alone, the Flint hills that I cross
Will take another life, we'll take another loss
I feel a dry wind, dust is in my eyes
The Arctic cold at night, the earth, it tells me lies
God in heaven, my only friend
Will I live to see my journey's end?
As the world awakens me so hard, my values have been changed
I make a promise to myself: Never again
A dusty godforsaken path, endless to my dismay
I know these are the Flint hills, somehow I'll find my way
No more paradise, no more soothing rain
All the sacrifice, the pain is all the same
Still I'm pushing onward, alone I can't deny
My presence fills the Flint hills, my spirit never dies
Will these lonely miles ever end?
Will I live to see my journey's end?
As the world awakens me so hard, my values have been changed
I make a promise to myself: Never again
A dusty godforsaken path, endless to my dismay
I know these are the Flint Hills, somehow I'll find my way
The vultures that circle, cloud the empty sky,
Patiently waiting, they wait for me to die
Tortured and beaten, blistered by the sun
Forceful and heartless, have the Flint hills won?
At one point a turkey vulture circled above me for a short time...this song popped into my head...
Friday, June 3, 2011
The Dirty Kanza 200 has been around for a little while and this is the year I give it a go...why, you ask? Why not??
I recall reading the event description for the first edition of this melee and thinking to myself, that's just crazy!! I guess at this point the last of my marbles have finally rolled away...Welcome to the looney bin!!!
I have a goal for this race/ride, and that is to roll 100 miles in 6-7 hours, asses how I'm feeling, and either call it good, or continue on. As I write this, it's more of a bucket list kinda thing and completion is not a high priority so pulling the plug at 100 is probably what will happen.
If I think completion of this event while being competitive is attainable, then there is always next year, but for now I'm just gonna rub my big toe in the gravel to see how it feels...
As of 6:00 am tomorrow I will be spinning through the flint hills of Kansas...
Saturday, April 30, 2011
Small steps suck to take this time of the year but it's what I have to do at this point...Today was the first ride outside since the bone bender, it felt good to get out on the bike again!! My knee felt pretty good, not 100% but not bad either.
I had more incentive to ride today and that was to benefit the owner of the shop I ride for, The Bicycle Shack. I was going to ride today no matter what my knee felt like, just to show support for a man who has helped me and a bazillion others in and around cycling.
There was a group ride followed by a waffle breakfast to collect donations to help Chris Smedley win his battle with pancreatic cancer. The volunteers were also selling team green Chrisstrong bands. I don't know how many people read this, but you should buy a Chrisstrong band if you see it. He's a good owner to ride for and a good person in general!!
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
I'm feelin a little better about my IT issues these days. I jumped on the trainer yesterday to find out if I could pedal without pain and sho nuff...pain free!!! I did ride really easy though.
Today, I did the same and again the result was good. I was feelin mighty low based on the pain I had and how long it took to recover from it the first time. So with this bit of encouraging news I think my "A" race will still be intact...HOORAY!!!
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Ok, so it's been more than a day since this race...There's a few good reasons why!!
1. It's hard to write an interesting blog when you're freakin tired!!
2. I've been a bit depressed about the IT band issue that I currently have and was feeling waaaaay uninspired!!!
I spent the majority of the day on Saturday getting ready for this race. I had forgotten how much stuff you need to rumble in the jungle. By 10pm I was finally done with the race prep. It kinda sucked that it took that long, but there was an hour and a half nap and a 16 mile ride to prime the legs in there also...
At this point the truck was loaded and all I had to do in the morning was pack my cooler and head to Leadfoots house to be on the road to Lawrence by 7:30. We hit the road at 7:25...Wooooooohooooooo!!!
We get to the venue, park the war wagon, and proceed to get ready for the impending 3 hour melee. Both of us were already registered, so all there was to do was the minor things...We finally head out for a warm up/recon. The promoter had changed the first part of the course to aid in parking, so we scoped it as part of the warm up.
Sufficiently warmed, we realize the rider meeting is going on and by the time we get there it's over...ooooops!!!
On to the start...the start for this race was a LeMans start...We had to run up about 100 yards of rocky jeep road. They say go and I start running, some are sprinting, some are running (me), and some are jogging. Out of about 250 racers, I make it to my bike inside the top 20. I jump on, jam it into the big ring, and pin it!! The first section to string out the race was about a mile of pavement onto double track, into a field, and then into the singletrack.
My plan was to be inside the top 20 headed into the woods and I accomplished this!! The very good reason behind killing it at the start was to avoid having to walk on a lot of the first section of singletrack due to the amount of technical riding there.
As it turns out, the further back you were going into this section, riding became an impossibility. Due to the amount of people and the nature of the track.
At this point I'm inside the top 10 and riding well!! I managed to make it through the technical stuff without being bitched at for going to slow. Out of the gnarly and onto what most would consider sweeeeeet singletrack. I pick up the pace and at this point I realize that an massive explosion is imminent if I don't back off a bit. I ease off a bit to recover, I let a few riders pass and jump right on their wheels and maintain the spot for the 1st lap. I rode into the transition in 11th...
Lap 2...I stop in my pit to grab another bottle and my camelbak. I jump on and punch it down the road again...I get to the first section of singletrack and I'm not riding so well at this point...I think I went a little too hard on the first lap and didn't drink enough water either...
I pinball through the gnarly stuff fairly quickly, get to the sweeeeet stuff and motor along feeling just ok. About half way through this lap my legs start to cramp a little...I'm thinkin this is not good!!! Oh well, I have my camelbak on and proceed to drink as much as I can stand because I'm not using it on the last lap. Hopefully this will help...not so much...
A little while later on the same lap my knee starts to ache...remember the IT issue at the beginning?! I'm thinking at this point...fuck...if this get worse, Im screwed!! So now I'm wrestling with myself with about 3 miles to go on the 2nd lap. I'm not riding well, my legs are cramping, and now my IT band is about to go on strike...FUCK THIS, I'm calling it a day...
This goes on for a bit, and then I see Weedhopper...A young roadie, that has more or less just started MTBing, is a 2 on the road, races for the Mercy team, who was on a team that beat Leadfoot and myself at R.I.M. 2 years ago, and hasn't let me live it down since!! Oh no!!! I think if he beats me today I will never hear the end of it...needless to say I get to the transition and keep going...
Lap 3. In my pit. I take one more huge drink from the camelbak, throw it down, grab a mini coke and chug it, drink as much of my carbie drink as I can stand, eat a gel, wash it down it a bit more coke, and hit it again...
I am now at this point focused again, must not be passed by Weedhopper. Into the gnarly for the last time. On lap 2 I decided that walking briskly up the handful of technical power climbs was a better idea than using 200% effort to try and climb these with the outcome being not making it and having to catch myself, get off my steed and walk anyway...I think it was a good idea, I used waaaaay less energy but didn't look as cool....oh well...
I'm about out of the gnarly on a farily tricky descent when my focus runs away screaming I QUIT, FUCK YO COUCH!!! At this point I proceed to pinball and get bucked off my steed and land on my side in the rocks...I'm almost certain that when I got bucked off I was holding on to the bar going down this hill with my feet following behind me like superman...then I hit the eject button...
None the worse for wear, I laugh it off and get going again. Finally through the gnarly, I proceed to just move toward the finish as fast as I can, which isn't very fast at this point.
Suffering greatly now, I'm about 3 miles from the end and my knee says I quit. It felt like someone stabbed me with a knife...IT SUCKED!!! I had to stop and try and stretch it out so I could finish...which I did. Finally I get to the transition, and say NO MAS!!!!
MY goal for this race was to do four laps. I kinda met that goal. I finished the 3rd lap with 8 minutes to spare, so I could've gone out again. As it was, I finished 14th out of 23 in the mens open (pro,1,2) and 24th out of 134 overall in the 3 hour.
I think if my knee wouldn't have been toast I probably would have gone out for one more. It's easy to say now, but who knows...
I thought about this race for a few days and the only thing I would've done different would be to use the camelbak on the first lap and then ditch it from there...oh well...lesson learned.
As I write this, I haven't been on my bike for a week due to my knee issues. I'm gonna give the trainer a go for a really easy spin, hopefully I make it through with no pain, because my A race is coming up in June...This was to be the start of preparation for that...we shall see...
Oh yeah, Weedhopper finished 2 spots behind me in the class. A small positve!!
Saturday, April 16, 2011
A rant first...so the first race I had planned on doing was cancelled...due to the promoter being a dumb ass!!! The weather was perfect, the course would've been crazy fast, but noOOOOOoooo!!! I'm sure I'm not the only one who was a bit mad about this knucklehead dropping the ball. Deep breath...in through the nose, out through the mouth...that's better...mostly.
Today is the day before the 2011 Bone Bender 3/6 hour race. I have much to do today. I need to get a ride in, but as of right now, the weather is 39 degrees, the wind is howling from the NW at 20-30 mph and I'm not really feeling the whole winter riding gear to get what I need at this point. It's supposed to clear off and the temp move into the 60's, that's when the rubber will meet the road.
Before I do that, I gotta gather all my stuff, mix the bottles I'm gonna use, four I think. Prep the Truth for a 3 hour melee in the mud. I'm bringing the fast tires just in case the conditions are better than expected, but the mud tires will be mounted for the race.
Last weekend, due to the race being cancelled, I spent my time wisely inspecting the course. Just like any MTB race the start will be crucial!!! The first section of singletrack is crazy technical for at least a mile, after that the course has it's moments, but no extended sections like the first.
With that being said, drilling it to the first section will be a painfully
wise decision!! I heard nothing but horror stories of the bottleneck at the entrance to the singletrack last year, fortunately I beat myself blind at that start to avoid such a disaster, it worked!! This year will be no different!!
The race nerves have just arrived...it's a good thing, it's been a while and to be honest, I've missed them.
Stay tuned kiddies, race report tomorrow.
Friday, March 25, 2011
I'm bored and shaking from caffeine so here's a new post!!
When this year began I decided to focus once again on racing in the woods. As of this post my training has been coming along nicely, I managed to stay motivated through the dark times and make it to March with a little (very little) fitness.
With March comes daylight savings, which I think should be done away with but anyway, this means group rides, riding after work, and hopefully the end of the trainer...For the most part this has been the case.
The past few weeks the singletrack at Swope has been perfect!! It's been dry enough to be fast with enough moisture to provide tons of grip everywhere!! This is also known as "hero dirt". Meaning you can ride as fast as you dare with the fear of sliding out or losing traction at a really inopportune moment. FREAKIN EPIC!!!
Anyway...I like to think I can ride with the best of 'em, and for the most part I can. There's not much terrain out there that I fear on a MTB, and for the most part can ride everthing fast...or so I thought...
On this past Wednesday I agreed to meet a friend at Swope for a ride and to give some pointers to help this weedhopper along. I show up and notice another rider with the same team kit he wears, I immediately think to myself, this is not good...I don't know the guy personally but recognize him from racing in the woods and finishing behind him...
So we mount up and decide to spin up the pavement to the trailhead, which is about a 1/4 mile. In this time this guy Tom says he has already ridden a lap, meaning he's warmed up and you guys are gonna go blind as soon as we hit the dirt...remember the "this is not good thought"??? I was right!!!
We drop into the trail, and immediately go to warp speed. The order is Tom, Weedhopper, and myself. Weedhopper is doing good considering this is his 2nd time on his new MTB, and probably his 10th ish time in the woods. He was definitely riding on the ragged edge of his ability!! I was impressed though.
So we're hammering along, the gap from Tom to Weedhopper is getting wider, but there's no place to pass, and even if there was, no warm up and the fact I was going blind from pain would've prevented a pass anyway. The first loop is about 2.5 miles long, mostly flat and and FAST!!
We finish the first loop, and roll across to the technical loop, now I'm thinkin this should slow down A LOT, because it gets crazy technical, with big rocks and Tom is riding a 29er hardtail. I'm thinking oh yeah, gonna return the favor now...WRONG!!! The first section of rocks comes and I stay with him. It smooths out a bit and a small gap opens. No worries, there is plenty more technical riding to come!!
Well...I was wrong. Tom is a freakin machine on a hardtail!! He flat out rode away from me. I was totally impressed and will give props where they are due...he got 'em!!
It has been a long time since I had my ass handed to me on dirt outside of an MTB race. It was humbling to say the least. I kinda knew it was gonna be fast, but it was BRUTAL. Oh well, I needed the eye opener for the season ahead.
This may sound like an excuse but it's a fact. Tom is at least a 2 on the road, and Rides for the Mercy team with Weedhopper. They have been racing on the road already and have held their training camp in the mountains of Arkansas.
I on the other hand, have just introduced high intensity riding into my training about 2 weeks ago...With that being said, I did better than I thought I would. I think a warm up lap would've made it a little easier, but the result would have been the same...getting my ass handed to me and suffering greatly in the process.
If you know me, you have probably heard me say "it doesn't matter what level you ride or race, there will always be someone faster". It's a fact.
So if you ride a lot, check your ego at the door, because at some point it's gonna get stomped on by someone faster.
Sunday, January 30, 2011
Hmmm...It's January 30th and I've managed to get out on the bike 5 times this month...I think. As for the rest of the month, I was pretty productive on the trainer which is good.
At this point I'm still motivated to train, HOORAY!! Sort of. Anyway, this time last year, my give-a-damn broke!!! February was a month of NO TRAINING, there was a few reasons why, but the main one was the weather...
Every year that I've been training, I've always looked forward to the extra light that February brings, getting out on the road after work and slowly but surely getting away from the trainer!!
This was not the case last year...Mutha Nature was a Dirty HOOKER and maybe my lack of motivation was bit my fault. Going into December 2009, I started riding the trainer and outside whenever I could to carry some of the fitness I had through the dark times...I'm pretty sure this backfired...Between being productive through January and Mutha Nature slamming the door to small doses of riding in February after work, my motivation BLEW UP into a bazillion bitty pieces!!!
Learning from mistakes of the past, I'm feeling good going into February. The month of February is a tough one. Racing starts, the weather should co-operate but probably won't, and the light at the end of the tunnel is right there!!
Bring it February!!! I'm ready!!