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.