Monday, December 10, 2012

The State CX Weekend


Where to begin...First, I would like to thank my coach Jeff Winkler at Fascat Coaching. I'm thinkin without him my give-a-damn would have broke about a month ago!! If any of the 10's of you that read this are thinking about hiring a coach, you should look him up at http://www.fascatcoaching.com/

Second, If you're not sure which CX mud tires are good? Go with the Clement PDX, I raced these over the weekend, Saturday was a little slick but Sunday was more or less a mud race and I was never worried about losing grip, EVER!!

Moving on, I started the march to this race in July, this is by far the most training I have ever put in for one race. Did it work? I think so, I had some good results with a couple of wins in there for good measure, but in the end you can't be great every race.

I learned early in the 2012 CX season that, while I raced ok on Saturdays, I always had a better race on Sunday. With that in mind I wanted to race the day before the state race to get that "ok" race outta me and this is what I did. The only bad thing about this Saturday race was I would be lining up in the open class for the first time due to no masters classes and in my infinite wisdom, I upgraded to a 2 when I had the points to do so...


The open race

I lined up with 9 other riders and after riding a couple of laps for inspection I knew it would be a tough day. The plan was to race for 45 minutes, see how I feel and go from there.

Go, we're off and I settle into 3rd as we grind up a false flat in the grass, at this point we weren't going fast at all and I was thinking this won't be so bad then we hit the hill. At the top I had slid back a spot or 2 and was kinda hatin life but press on I did, then we came to the steps. Which weren't bad as steps go but it was about 20-30 seconds of running up steps.


I managed to stay in contact with the group for a couple of laps and then I had to ease a bit and wave goodbye. Now I was riding in no mans land with one or two guys still behind me, so I kept racing. Eventually I'm riding in 9th outta 10 with 10th on my wheel. He seems to be content with my pace so on we ride. I pull him around for 3 more laps and on my last lap I turn and say to him you're on you own and pulled the plug. I raced for 45 minutes and suffered horribly the whole time, it was not a good day for me AT ALL!!!


The State Race



The pic above pretty much says it all. I felt 100% better on the bike compared to the open race. I gotta be honest, I was a little worried after that race on how I would be going for the State race.

On Sunday morning when it was finally light enough to see the ground I could tell it had rained at some point over night. I was thinking to myself it should either be bone dry as it has been all year or full on CX muddy the way it should be conditions. I kinda started to rant about Mutha Nature and called her a whore...well...I guess she heard me and didn't like what I had to say so she kindly rained on us for about 15 minutes just before the masters race, she was even so nice as to make it stop after the first lap!! It was muddy and a bit slick before, NOW it was how it should be!!!

GO!!! I slot into 2nd straight away and am on the eventual winners wheel. As we are descending this off camber hill that lead to a pretty fast left hand sweeper which ended at the bottom of the steep hill. I ease up a bit and give some room between me and 1st just in case. The gut was right, he grabs too much rear brake and slides out in front of me. This had me grab a fist full of rear brake and the back end steps out on me so I let off, the PDX immediately hooks up and shoots me by, disaster averted!!!

At the top of the hill I'm still in 2nd with Mr. Powerslide behind me. It stays this way for a minute until we get into some off camber turns. I came in to one a little fast and pushed the front and had to dab, this allowed 3rd to get by and of course it was up hill out of this particular section so I lost his wheel...grrrrr!!!

So I drill it and stop the gap from growing. At the steps now, he is still within reach at this point but I am going blind with pain now and eventually have to ease for a minute to recover. Back to coherent, 1st and 2nd are riding away and there's not a damn thing I can do about it...at this point I keep the gas on ride away from the rest of the field. An exciting first lap huh?!


About mid way through the race I see 4th trying to run me down and gaining ever so slightly, so I push the pace for a lap and open the gap to something he can't close and this is the way we finished.

Am I content with a 3rd? Mostly, I made it on the podium, which is a good thing considering how long I've been after one of those jerseys, I rode well, pretty much mistake free, my remounts were faster than they've been all season and my fitness was where it needed to be, thanks coach!!

A win would have been SUPA SWEEEEEEEEEET but it wasn't meant to be this year...

E

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Boss Cross 5&6

Boss Cross 5




After Boss Cross 3 and 4 I had enough points to take the leaders jersey from Richard Hu. That made this weekend of racing a little more interesting to say the least. As it stood, I had a 7 point lead over Richard (2nd) and a 10 point lead over 3rd (Josh Taylor) going into this weekend. With that in mind, at the minimum I had to finish on Richards wheel or ahead of him to maintain possession of the leaders jersey. Oh yeah, and make sure Josh didn't get between us if he raced, which he didn't on Saturday...that made my life a little easier FO SHO!!!! To make things even more interesting, I felt about half crappy when I woke up on Friday...that stayed with me all day and felt about the same on Saturday morning, but there was no way in hell I wasn't gonna line up with the leaders jersey on my back.

On to the race...I managed a 3rd today. Michael Smith took the top step, Richard 2nd and me to round out the podium. At the gun, Richard drilled it from the start, no worries, I hit the pedal and went straight to his wheel. After about 6 turns it was Richard, Mike and myself with a gap and riding away from the field. We get to a long gravel path and with about 100 meters left Mike goes to the front and starts driving. He pulls a small gap of about 20 meters, so I wait a few seconds more and when I hit the grass again I drill it and jump across the gap. This lasted all of about 3 seconds, Richard was there quickly as we were still on the first lap. At that point I decide to ride Mike's wheel for a while and soon realize that this is going to end quickly with a huge explosion...so just about the time we end the first lap I ease up and let him ride away, Richard comes around and takes up the pace making. I wasn't going to work with him initially but thought it would be a good idea to put more time on the field to ensure no one got between us to take points.



For the next 4 laps he and I took turns and put more time on the field with each lap. Going into 2 to go, I'm starting to suffer pretty good. About a 1/4 of the way through that lap I was on the verge of blowing up, so I take a look behind and no one is within a 1/4 mile and Mike has set sail, so I eased up and let Richard go. I didn't want to but I think it was going to happen whether I wanted to or not. So I maintain a good pace and ride the last lap and a half solo to finish in 3rd.


Not a great day, but not a bad one either. As I write this I still feel kinda crappy and run down and wasn't feeling even close to 100% today. Hopefully I will be back to normal tomorrow. I did tell Richard I won't be doing any work on Sunday!! I say that now...I'm sure if I need to, to ensure a solid race, I will. It's his job to take it from me and that's not going to happen!! If an opportunity presents itself to ride away from him I will definitely take it, but as it stands, he's not going anywhere without me.

E


Boss Cross 6

I STOOD ALONE UPON THE TOP STEP...1ST PLACE WOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooo!!

I was obviously feeling better today and decided to stamp my authority on this race. At the gun I didn't get the best start but managed to slot into 3rd behind Richard and Josh. This didn't set well with me with Josh between Richard and myself so at the first opportunity I go to the front and proceed to drill it. I sat on the front for about a lap and a half, at this point it was just the 3 of us and we were riding away from the rest of the field.

Content with the situation I wave Richard through and take a break. I guess the accelerations Richard and I were making out of the turns finally took their toll on Josh and we rode away from him. Now, I decided it would be a good idea to work together to increase our gap to 3rd, which we did. The next 3 or 4 laps were uneventful.




During my course inspection I decided to ride a ditch that wasn't rideable the day before for various reasons, but going the opposite direction it was. I rode it 4 or 5 times during inspection and had it down. On to the last lap, I was on the front for a bit and thought it was time to "play the game". I wave Richard through and made sure I hit my lines and was on the gas coming out of the turns. With about a 1/3rd of a lap to go we were on a long gravel path, Richard decided to slow and try to allow the 50+ leader with Josh on his wheel to catch us. I realize this, go around and lift the pace. That simply wasn't an option I was willing to entertain. Still on the front, we are headed to the section with the ditch, I decided to put in a good dig coming out of a turn that lead to a short section of gravel path and pulled my foot off the pedal...that didn't work.




Now in the final complex of turns leading to the ditch and I'm still driving. As we approach, Richard rolls past me as I set up to ride the ditch. He dismounts, I ride it, he remounts and leaves the door open on the inside line to the following left, I move left and start to pass, as I draw along side he has missed his pedal and we bump shoulders, this pushed me towards the course post. Having mad ninja skills on a bike, I managed to squeeze by and take the lead. I punch it for all I'm worth to try and get a gap and it was for naught.


The rest of the course after the ditch was a chicane to a 90 degree left, about a 100 meter grass straight to a 90 degree right onto the 150 meter-ish finishing straight which was pavement. As we exited the chicane I drill it so he won't come by. We come flying onto the pavement and I grab a couple of gears and punch it again and held him off for the win.

It was a tactical battle today, it was a blast!! A win to seal up the leaders jersey...what better way to end the series and represent the leaders jersey!!

E

Friday, November 9, 2012

Colavita and Boulevard Cup


Pics courtesy of Matt (I'm a Bad Mutha F**ka cuz my wallet says so) Cunningham

Colavita Cup

I'm a little late with this post for a ton of reasons, the main one is I'm really lazy sometimes!!!

I was just off the podium on Saturday, 4th out of 19. The Colavita track was a good course with a decent mix of high speed and technical off camber twisty stuff and one big climb...

At the gun I hit the pedal and get a good start, I settle into 3rd behind Roger Williams and an Slimmen und Grossen rider. The pace was pretty fast from the gun but I'm feelin good so no worries. I move into 2nd when the Slimmen rider bobbles at the first downhill off camber 180. I sit on Rogers wheel for the first 2 laps suffering pretty good, he seemed to be on a mission today and was riding well.

The 3rd time up the hill he got a gap and I couldn't close it. A 50+ Trek rider and a 40+ teammate of his go by me and proceed to ride away also. Now in 3rd, Josh Taylor was on my wheel and wasn't going to come around so I just maintain the current pace and keep on rollin.


On the 4th lap I bobbled a little on one of the downhill off camber 180s and Josh went by me. No worries I got on his wheel straight away. On the next lap he gapped me a little, about 40 feet, and this was how we stayed until I dug my pedal into an off camber section which lifted my rear wheel and made me slide out...down to the ground I went. The damage was done at that point, I got going and kept the hammer down but the gap remained the same on lap 6.

On the final lap 7, I was still charging and brought him back a little but in the end the little mistakes I made created a gap that was more than I could overcome that late in the race.

I felt pretty good overall and had a good ride other than the obvious, Roger ended up 2nd to a Trek rider from Omaha, who was a very small person...a classic climber if you will.



Boulevard Cup

A few more steps away from the podium on Sunday. I ended up 6th outta 26...not bad considering the size of the field. Whilst I was doing my inspection I heard rumblings of Shadd Smith is here...I thought great...there goes 1st...he's a bad man and if he's at a race that early it can only mean one thing, racing masters. Oh well, It didn't really bother me because in racing you just never know til it's over.

So we line up and it's official, he comes rollin up last. I say to him, why do you hate us? He responded with " I have soccer games"...good answer! Anyway, they finally let us go, and I get a good start and settle in behind Roger Williams for second wheel. We drag race for at least 1/4 mile with a good section being sidewalk. Just about the time we leave the sidewalk Mr. Smith comes blazin by and takes over the front of the race right before we hit the off camber switchback section.

I guess it pays to get good starts because not a second after the 3 of us had cleared the first set of switch backs, a slower rider with more ability to pedal than to handle a bike, can't negotiate the first switch back while riding and proceeds to blow through the tape into oncoming racers and plows one of them and causes another to flip.



I heard this carnage but didn't realize how close it really was, I never saw the guy coming down and had no idea he went, more or less, right behind me until I saw the 3rd video below, which was the first one posted to youtube. My jaw literally dropped open from how close it was.



The guy that got plowed first is Prayuth Sirasudi, he ended up with a DNF...Mr. No Skillz cost Prayuth a helmet, and a frame, Prayuth told me the top tube and down tube of his NEW frame were cracked...and a concusion for the cherry on top...



Moving on...The first 2 laps has Shadd riding away leaving Roger and I to fight it out. Lap 3 we get passed by 2 more riders and eventually the guy that flipped in the video catches us and rides away leaving Roger and I in 5th and 6th.

As the race progresses Roger puts in good dig here and there, I try to make a move on occasion and he would counter. Eventually I decide to sit on his wheel because it's clear he's not gonna let me by without a huge effort.

With about 1 and 1/4 laps to go we both blast through the sand pit, run the railroad ties, hit the side walk to remount and this is where the end came for me...as I set my bike down and went to grab the bar I missed and hit the brake lever with the palm of my hand, I recover and remount and had to sprint to get back to his wheel.

The sidewalk section was about 100 feet long which lead to a 90 degree left onto the grass. My holy shit he's riding away from me effort had me going pretty fast so I reach for the brakes and the rear lever is not where it's supposed to be, so I almost blow the turn and when I get squared away on the grass I look at my lever and I had more or less pulled the plunger out of the piston on the lever that drives the caliper...game over...I finish the race in no mans land crossing in 6th place...


I'm thinkin my mojo was just a bit off this past weekend...can't be great every race.

E

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Boss Cross 3 & 4



Photos courtesy of the incomparable Vince DeLaughder


I had a good ride today and landed on the podium in 2nd. At the gun it was 35 degrees...brrrrrrrrr!!! I was toasty while racing so I got that right. No JP or Michael today which made me happy but the other guys I have been doing battle with were there, so I knew it would be a hard race and it was!!

We take off, I hit the pedal on the second try and start winding it up on the forever long start straight, I soon realize that the pace I wanted to go and what the others wanted to do was not the same, so I pick up the pace and settle into 2nd at the first turn behind an SKC rider by the name of Prayuth Sirisudhi. The course was pretty fast and not very technical, especially the first half. Prayuth drills it hard out of every turn and soon we have a gap. I was hitting my lines through the turns and showing him a wheel almost every turn, I finally got around him and started riding my pace, which had me out front solo on the 2nd lap.


Rolling into the 3rd lap I slowed a bit because the gap I had wasn't big enough to keep going solo. At this point the BC series leader Richard Hu, and Josh Taylor join me and we set sail. On the next lap Josh rolls by me and says Richard is suffering so he and I take turns on the front keeping the pace high. About a half lap later, Josh and I rode away from him. For the next 3 laps Josh and I trade off and increase our lead over 3rd.


On the final lap I sat on Josh's wheel for the entire lap with the idea of jumping him with a few turns to go. With about 1/4 lap to go we encounter soon to be lapped traffic, so Josh calls out we are coming by on the left, the lapper moves to the right, Josh starts to move by and as soon as they were shoulder to shoulder the lapper moved to his left and they came together...the lapper goes down in front of me. Fortunately I gave some room because we were on the fastest part of the track and I managed to skirt by. I did have to slow a bit to avoid the carnage, which created a gap of about 50 feet, so I jump out of the saddle and sprint to his wheel, about the time I was almost to his wheel he looked back and saw that the carnage slowed me so he eased up a bit and I got there.

Now on to the last long straight, which was equally as long as the start/finish, that lead to a right and a series of lefts that spit you out on the start/finish straight. Every time we got to this part Josh drilled it at the beginning and I had an answer, except the last time...I think in the melee with the lapped traffic I burned my last match getting back to his wheel. When he jumped, I stood to go with him and the tank was empty...He was definitely the stronger rider today.

I was wondering how I was gonna do today after having 2 weeks off. I felt pretty good overall, but was missing that last little bit of top end that you get from racing...no worries though it will come back. I'm getting closer!




Boss Cross 4


Courtesy of the Great Roger Harrison!!

Finally....THE TOP STEP!!!!! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooooooooooo!!!!

I felt better today and the guys I had to race yesterday weren't there today, but some other racers picked up where Josh and Richard left off. The course was more or less the same but run reverse of Saturday, we had 2 stretches of sand and 2 sets of barriers. I got another good start and settle into 2nd behind Kelly Ricke from 360 racing. I knew he was a strong rider from previous races and he was out for redemption from rolling his tubie off the rim yesterday for a big fat DNF. He decided to drill it for the first 2 laps and try to ride away. It sort of worked but I managed to stay with him and we rode away from the field. I thought I was going to go blind during these 2 laps, but finally punched through the pain and life was good!!

On the 4th lap, Steve Songer, a 50+ teammate of Kelly who, as far as I can tell, wins every race he lines up in, catches up to us and sits on. It was about this time I decided to go to the front and drive for a while. As we cross the line to start the 5th lap Kelly comes around me with good speed and tries to ride away. He got a good gap initially but I was not having it today. I get to his wheel and tell him "all day long"!! At that point Steve comes around and starts driving our train...I'm thinking, great, these 2 are gonna work together to drop me, I decided it would be a good idea to not go around again while the 3 of us were together. About a half a lap later Steve finally rode away. Kelly Tried a few digs here and there but as I said, I wasn't having it today!!

On the last lap we slowed quite a bit, Kelly was setting the pace and was recovering for the finish. I was good with it, my plan was to sprint him for the win. That plan got changed when we hit the sand on the last lap. We were both riding it one way and having to run the other section due to course layout. The established line through the sand had a slower rider trying to ride it and Kelly was lining up to take the same line. About the time Kelly hit the sand, the slower rider stopped about halfway across, I see this and decide to make my own line to the left, Kelly plowed into him and flipped. I go blazin by, ride to the next section, run it, remount and drill it. I go as hard as I can go the rest of the lap and cross the line in 1st!!!

I love riding my bike!!!!!

E

Sunday, October 7, 2012

360 Cup



I finally got on the podium today, 3rd out of 18, JP Brocket and Michael Smith finished ahead of me. Earlier this week I had pondered doing the 3's race but decided against it because it was 40 degrees and I was over being cold after the masters race. Although while I was racing I was fine, got the clothing selection right.

I had a good ride today, I hit the pedal on the first try and was off and running. I settled into 5th at the first turn and moved into 4th as we ran the first set of barriers. I think Josh Taylor was in 3rd ahead of me at this point, he and I tried to stay with the 2 "fast" guys but it wasn't in the cards.

After about 2 laps Josh started to slow, so I went around, pushed the pace and rode him off my wheel. Michael was about 100 feet ahead of me and did a huge powerslide and ground to a halt. I rode by him and tried to ride away...that lasted about a 1/4 mile. He came by and I tried to stay with and managed to for a bit but ultimately he rode away...again. I think there's at least one carbon wheel in my future.

Now riding by myself, Roger Williams bridges to me. It was good timing because there was a long sidewalk section that was headwind so I sat on his wheel until we hit the grass again, at that point he started to slow so around I went, brought the pace up and rode him off my wheel. Now I had a decent gap, just had to keep pushing. A lap or so later Steve Songer and Andy Lucas from 360, 2 strong 50+ riders, catch up to Roger and Josh and of course they latch on to Steve and Andy as they go by...I see this and think great, they are gonna drag them to me....BAH!!!

Steve manages to get away from the 3 of them and comes by me shortly before the finish line. I decided to stay with him as long as I could, which was about a lap and that included me drafting him on the headwind sidewalk section for a little recovery!! This move had me increase the gap a little over Roger and Josh and Andy finally rode away from them as well...disaster averted!!

The rest of the race Andy, once again, kept me honest and chased me relentlessly til it was out of reach again...which at the line was about 150 meters...maybe!!


E

Monday, October 1, 2012

Boss Cross 1 & 2



Boss Cross 1

Let's see...Today was a good day overall, I managed to pull a 5th out of 20 in the masters 40+ under a big blue sky!!

I was pondering the race a day or two ago and found out JP(I'm gettin crazy fast) Brocket was gonna line up in the old guys class...I wasn't too worried about it, I was thinkin I would just sit on his wheel and see what happens.

I get to the venue and talk to JP for a bit and find out another ridiculously fast local speedy guy by the name of Shadd Smith was going to be in the 40+ as well...so much for the wait and see idea...So I get on with the inspection/warm up and find a track that has a little something for all riders...this is a good thing.

The time comes to line up and as I have stated in the past NO DFL!!! I was there with plenty of time to get the spot I wanted, again!! GO!! We're off, I slot into 3rd behind the aforementioned speedsters and was good with it. I kept them pretty close until the course opened up and they dropped the hammer, I tried to hang on until I started to go blind...I waved goodbye.

I think I crossed the line in 4th after one. About a half lap later the EFFING RIB CRAMPS came back...I had to slow a bit and once again lost a spot...I really need to figure this shit out soon!!

Anyway...I decide to push through and ride as fast as I can. A lap or so later, 6th gets by me for about a minute. He washes his front wheel and takes a dirt sample. I rolled by him as he was getting up and decided to go as hard as I can to the stairs to get a gap. I was riding down the steps on the exit of this feature where the guy chasing had to run for fear of trashing his carbon tubies. This move alone got me not quite out of reach of 6th, but far enough he would have to put in a HUGE effort to get to me.

Courtesy of Flyover Photography

The rest of the race was uneventful but painful. 6th kept me honest until about a third of a lap to go when he finally conceded the spot and put it on cruise.

I'm mostly good with how it turned out today...stupid cramps!!

Boss Cross 2 tomorrow!!

E


Boss Cross 2

I get to the venue and get ready to ride the course, which was changed up a bit. The stairs were gone in favor of a standard set of barriers...hmmm...this may make for a long day. With my inspection complete, a good warm up and stretch, I'm ready to race.

About 15 minutes to go, I see several riders circling slowly around the start area...it looked like a shark feeding frenzy! Anyway, this was my cue to roll that way. I ride around until my clock said 10 til the gun and took my spot on the line, it wasn't more than 30 seconds later the rest were rolling in for a front row spot on the grid...NO DFL!!! The start was wide today, it lead to a pretty fast sweeper to the left which lead to the sand pit, which was rideable both directions today.

Go!! The drag race to the first turn and into the pit first has begun. The start was probably 300 feet to the first left and about 200 to the sand. No one really established a lead at the start, that came right before the pit...I was praying to the gods of CX that I not bury my front wheel and take a sand sample on the first lap...I guess they were listening, no sand for me but in my shoes.

Right out of the pit I'm sitting 3rd, With Josh Taylor and Richard Hu driving it. Through the sand again on lap 1 with the order the same. As you exited the sand it turned left and onto a paved path for about 100 feet or so, also on the same left turn was the entrance to the pit...this is where I went...D'OH!!!! No harm no foul, I dabbed a foot as per the rules and got right back in line.

About halfway through the first lap the course starts to straighten out a bit, it was at this point I was thinking, why are we going so slow??? The field is gonna swarm around us any second!! This never happened, the 3 of us had gapped the field, and were riding away.

The first 2 laps were more or less the same, and it was looking like it was just the 3 of us to battle it out for 1st when the time came. Until lap 3...on the first trip through the barriers I noticed that Josh and Richard step through instead of around. I was like huh...that looks faster...I'm totally gonna do that next time through. Which I did, no worries, or so I thought. The very next time through, as I step through and get ready to run my free foot/toes hooked the ground and I go flipping...literally...

I scramble to my feet and grab my bike and take off. In the course of this adventure, 4th, who was not having a stellar day by any means. I heard him hit the ground several times behind us. Goes rollin by...at this point I'm riding again, but the seat post has twisted so I roll along slowly and twist it back with my legs, tons of ground lost. I punch it and try to get back to the wheel of 3rd, but no dice. I was on the limit from hitting the ground and just couldn't get recovered fast enough to get there...game over. 4th out of 18 is where I finished.

I spent the rest of the race in no mans land. I had a little motivation, Andy Lucas was trying to run me down, and I wasn't gonna let that happen today.

If you know me and/or have ridden with me, you've probably heard me say, DON'T THINK JUST PEDAL!! Apparently I need to take my own advice...Oh well...It would've been nice to fight it out for the top step but it wasn't meant to be. The good thing about cross, is there are races every weekend, so I'm sure I will get to do battle with those two again!!


360 cup is up next.

E

Monday, September 24, 2012

Manions Cross

Day one...



I don't know if the bazillions of peeps that read this stellar blog have ever raced at Manions. If you haven't, here's a little slice of this CX nirvana. It's on a hill, 1/3 going up, 1/3 going down, and 1/3rd traversing this hill. It's a good venue with a little bit of everything thrown at you out on course and a well run race to boot!!

Lets start with the obvious. I wanted to start on the front row, which I did. I am going to avoid lining up DFL at all cost this year. The next goal was to hit the pedal on the first try, nailed it. Those two combined had me 3rd for about half a lap. On the "big" descent, I managed to out brake 2nd and take the spot at the bottom going into a right hander. Now, I was content just following the wheel in front of me.

At this point, about halfway through the first lap, 1st looses the front in a turn and gets a dirt sample for his effort so I go around. Not really wanting to be there, I maintain the pace even slowing a bit so I'm not on the front and continue on. I roll across in third after one as planned.

I'm not sure how many laps we did, 7 or 8, but some where on the 3rd lap I started cramping under my ribs and slowed a bit, this got me shuffled back quickly...I think this is from eating a cliff bar to close to the start of the race, or not breathing deep enough, or both...anyway...I push through that and get going again.




I started racing pretty hard with 6th but he eventually got far enough out on the penultimate lap up the climb, which was a pretty steep, long, climb, followed by a 1/4 mile of the bumpiest patch of earth ANYWHERE!!! That kinda took the wind from my sail...8th came by shortly after, this did not make me happy...I get back to his wheel and as we turn for the finish line to start the final lap, he drifts wide, I dive underneath and drill it. A few turns later I look back and he was gone, a small victory.

I didn't have any expectations today because I knew it would be a tough race, mostly from a terrain standpoint and the competition too, it is masters racing after all. So finishing 7th out of 15 is about what I expected. I'm happy with how I rode and I don't think I would have done anything different...well...maybe a little less air pressure in the front but other than that I'm good with it.





Day 2


I finished 5th out of 16 Sunday. I learned from my mistakes yesterday which made for a better race. The course was run reverse of Saturday with a few changes to keep it a little safe. This made the long grinder of a climb into a high speed descent and yesterdays descent was a manageable power climb.

When the time came to line up, I was there a little early and got the spot I wanted. Once we were off and running, I settle into 2nd. The guy in 1st sat up and slowed while we were on the paved portion, I was not having this today. I grab a fist full of gears and proceed to drill it. About halfway through the first lap, four of us had a gap on the field. On the power climb, the eventual winner comes by me to take 1st. I grab some gears over the top of the climb and get to his wheel. He was able to eventually ride away from me, which left me with 2 others to fight it out for 2nd. Damn those carbon tubies!!!!

For the next 5 laps, the pace was good, I sat on the back of our 3 man race. Rolling into 2 to go, we get to the paved section and the pace drops...I should have gone around but didn't...this allowed another racer to latch on, one that we had kept at bay up until this point...we roll along to the power climb and the new guy goes blazing by all of us like we had the brakes on. No worries, we nail him back straight away.


On the last lap I'm thinkin it's time to give it a go. Mostly because if you never try you never win and partly because 6th was lurking about 12 seconds back of our group...I wasn't going to let him in at any cost. So I formulate a plan of railing inside these guys on the descent to the high speed left hand sweeper...that fizzled due to the overall group speed.

After the descent was a right hand turn that dropped into a dried up pond, momentum carried you wide onto a crappy bumpy line to the left, which for some reason everyone, except me, rode that line... I jammed on the brakes, backed into the turn and dove down the right side which was smooth and drilled to the next turn to take over the front of our group.

I led to the climb for the last time and hit it as hard as I could...which wasn't enough. The other racers got by me right at the top and created a little gap. I put it in the big ring and closed the gap to about 15 feet, which was how it stayed to the finish.

I felt much better today, and there are 2 things I would have done different. 1. Go to the front and pick up the pace when I knew it needed it. 2. make my bid for the second step a little closer to the end and NOT before the BIG EFFIN HILL!!! I think two of the guys I was racing with combined might have been as big as one of my legs...I love cheeseburgers...a bit of a rant...;)


It's a long season and Sunday was encouraging. Let the Boss Cross begin!!

E

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Counting the days


The 10's of people that read this know that I'm all about CX racing this year. After all, I have a new bike to race on, my training is more or less geared toward racing CX, I have my race schedule all worked out with the first race on September 22 and I'm super stoked about it!!!

That being said...the time, as of late, has been CREEPING by ever so freakin SLOWLY!!! It has been kinda difficult lately to stay focused, but the end is near and the training will shift from weekly self induced beat downs to racing and maintaining what I've built over the last few months.

As of this post there are 14 days between now and lining up for my first CX melee of the season. I gotta stay focused for one more week...MUST STAY FOCUSED!!!

E

Friday, August 31, 2012

CX Machine


FINALLY!!! It's finished!!! My new toy is done...this is my CX machine from this day forward.

Last year I raced CX on my MTB, and people were like why are you racing on your MTB??? I had a few reasons.

1. It's the only bike I had to race CX on.

2. I don't like being like everybody else!!

3. The fact that I was on an MTB lining up with a bunch of CX bikes added a little pressure to the CX riders to not get beat by the MTB'er and a little more motivation for me to beat those guys...it made it a ton more fun for me!!

Towards the end of my stint racing last year my competitive side had me borrow a CX bike and that's all it took for me to decide to build a CX machine. At that time I didn't know what I was going to build or buy...so after a little thought I came up with the idea that a 29er frame and fork would be the way to go.

There are few reasons for this decision. The first is if I decide to race MTB again next season, there are a couple of races that a hardtail would be better to race than my dually so all I would need is a suspension fork as opposed to a complete bike...hence the riser bar...I don't think a road bar affords an advantage in CX anyway...

The other reason is I wanted disc brakes, more specifically hydraulic disc brakes, and the frames I was looking at had disc tabs but also had canti bosses and looked like ass!!! I'm sure I could have purchased a frame that was disc only, but that would have cost twice as much, definitely more than I wanted to spend...the final reason was cost...I wanted to build this machine for the least amount possible. I could have spent less but I certainly could have spent a ton more.

As it stands, I was pretty close to my target number and I think I spec'd it well. To walk out of a shop with a comparably spec'd bike would mean you spent at least $2500.00 duckets and I managed to complete this build at under half of that!! The complete bike weighs in at a tick over 20 pounds. Not bad compared to the 25.5 pound MTB I raced on last year and a bit heavier than the high dollar CX rigs that are out there, but remember, it's a 29er MTB frame and fork.

There you go now you know.

By the way...DON'T GET BEAT BY THE MTB'ER!!!!

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

E

Friday, August 17, 2012

Cyclocross....HURRY THE F**K UP!!!!


What's up peeps?!?! It's early on a day off and I'm BORED!! I'm sure the 10's of you that read this are like what the hell is this gonna be about!!!

Anyway...I've had my powertap since April and I've been training with it and doing specific workouts since May with a couple of goals in mind, one of which has come to pass, the state MTB race and the other is on the horizon, which I can assure you I will write about when it had passed. Basically all the training I've been doing is geared towards CX season...I'm about to go CRAZY from it!!! C'MON CYCLOCROSS!!!

Hopefully my rickety old ass will hold up to the abuse I'm about to put it through this CX season and I make it to December without too much breakdown...in me. I've decided that my first race will be at Manions. I've not done this one but have been to watch it the last few years and thought I should give it a go. I briefly considered doing the Hermann cross but decided against it, no particular reason other than I'm not feelin it, maybe next year.

As most of you know I contested the majority of the cx events on my MTB, the last 2 races were on a CX bike...which leveled the playing field significantly. That being said, I did have a couple of good results on my MTB, which made me happy, because I beat some pretty good CX riders, which probably didn't make them happy!! With this in mind I decided to build a CX machine for this season, and as of now I'm down to getting the wheels built and putting this carbon fiber rocket together. This will have to wait another week, because I'm headed to Crested Butte this weekend to ride in the back-country for a week!!!!!!

The frame and fork I bought is not a CX frame and fork but a 29er. It's the pic at the top, and it's a Chinese carbon frame and fork...I have to say, for $460.00 to my front door, it looks kick ass, and I couldn't buy ANYTHING that was name brand carbon for under a $1000.00, I also wanted to complete this build as close to a thousand as I could. I haven't totaled it up yet but I'm right at that or maybe a little more. Gotta love eBay!!

The main reason behind this is there are a few MTB races out there that I would race on a hardtail, very few!! So going this route, I basically get 2 bikes in one, all I will have to do is buy a suspension fork and tires and it will be a 29er MTB.

Another reason is I wanted my CX machine to have disc brakes, I know there are CX frames that are disc compatible but the have canti brake bosses on them and they are ugly, the newest disc CX machines cost too much, besides that I will have a flat bar with hydraulic brakes...WOOOOHOOOOooooo!!!! Good stoppers on my CX machine!!

It should be pretty light, 20 pounds or less. This will be a huge improvement over my beloved fully suspended MTB that tips the scales at 25...I'm all giddy just thinkin about it!!! TEEHEE!!!

E

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Colavita XC


This past Saturday was round 7 of the UFD west series and my fitness seems to be going pretty good right now so I thought I would give it a go. A few pluses to this race...1. It started at 9:00am which is huge considering the weather we've been having lately. When the gun went off it was about 78 degrees, had it been a traditional start time, noon, it would've been about 90. 2. It was on a Saturday, which leaves Sunday to get recovered, which makes Monday that much easier!!

I'm a big believer in course inspection and this race was no different. I had the Friday off before the race so away I went. That was pretty uneventful until the last 100 yards of single track...I was riding fairly slow, my left pedal hit a rock which pushed me across the trail where my bar end hooked a tree and down I went...I got a little beat up, not bad though, the worst of it, and continues to get uglier, is where my bar hit my quad. I have a softball sized bruise and keeps gettin gnarlier by the day!! Here's a pic...


The good thing about this ugliness is it doesn't hurt to walk or ride so no worries!!

On to the race...I get to the venue with plenty of time to get squared away so no worries there. My warm up consisted of riding the first mile of single track and then to the start line. The promoter started all classes of experts together, of which there was 23...so much for knowing who to try and beat to the single track...The start was about 150 feet of gravel onto a grass hill which led to the single track.


GO!! As of late I've been pretty good at nailing the pedal on the first try...not this day! I think it took 4 tries on loose gravel to nail it down...so much for a good position in the single track...BAH!! I hit the woods in about 15th...LAME!!

The first lap rolls by uneventful and the train is going fast enough that I'm sort of content. The course included about a half mile section of gravel road with 2 climbs on it this led to a fairly long single track descent, which was nice!! The rider I was following wasn't rolling quite as fast as I would've like so I say to him "c'mon man, this is the easy money part we gotta go"...he kindly obliged and picked up the pace.


Lap 2...I finally got passed the 2 riders in front of me and away I went. I was starting to suffer a bit and that had me all over the trail when it got technical...this lap was by far the toughest from a stay focused and keep moving through the technical standpoint. To say I was having issues is an understatement!!

Eventually I settle into a decent rhythm on laps 3-5. I consistently turned 24:00 minutes on each lap until the last one. It dropped to 25:00...I think that's because of lappers, my left quad trying to lock up on me, and my focus going away quickly!! I managed to pull my head out and get through the last lap unscathed and dab free in the technical which made me happy!!

I finished pretty strong. Again, I had no idea where I finished until Mr. Prosser, who finished 4th, comes up and says to me "did you get your money"? I said no, I hadn't looked at the result yet. To which he replied with a smile "you finished 3rd, you put 5 minutes on me you fucker"!! I was like SWEEEEEEEEEEEEET!!! I had no idea!!

There you go now you know...3rd in class and as far as I can tell 7th outta 23...not a bad day at all!!

E











Thursday, July 5, 2012

Tour of Lawrence


Photos courtesy of Roger Harrison

I decided to give the Tour of Lawrence another go this year, mostly because it's a pretty big race that's close to home and it has a good payout that goes pretty deep for each race. For the past 2 years I've wanted to line up in the masters race but Mother Nature put water on my aspirations...bitch!!!

So this year I made up my mind well in advance and was going regardless of the weather...which this year was dry and HELL HOT!! One of the best thing about racing masters races is it's usually the first race of the day and this one was no different. WOOOOOOHOOOOOooooo!!! Don't have to race in the hell hot heat!!!

My race started at 9:15am and it was about 83 degrees, life is good!! The high in Lawrence that day was at least 100 and the 3's race was at 2:30ish I believe...Gotta love being an old guy!!

On to the race. Just like like the Tour of KC, I was a bit nervous, mostly the usual race day nerves, and a little from lining up in a race that pays well...meaning the quality of racer would be higher and it could get brutally painful quickly...I think that had me a little spooked to ride at the front...

The race finally starts after about a 20 minute delay for cars being towed off the course. This made me laugh, it's a college town and I would be willing to bet the poor jackasses were still passed out and were going to wake up to more than a hangover!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

Moving on. The race starts and it gets rolling pretty good right away. They offer a Challenge Tire prime on the first lap and Mr. Johnson, a former teammate of Steve Tilford, hired as a sprinter, proceeds to take this with relative ease.

For the most part this race rolled on pretty uneventful for me. I stuck my nose in the wind early in the race, after that it was try to stay close to the front. I don't recall ever suffering really bad...hmmm...should have launched an attack or two...hindsight....BAH!!!

Several attacks were launched but none were successful due to the strength of the field. There were 3 cash primes and each time they rang the bell, I was not in a good position to contest any of them...oh well...

The race rolls on and with 4 to go I was sitting about 20th. I decided it was time to move up and get ready for the last lap melee...with 2 to go I'm sitting about 10th as we cross the line to start the last lap. I think to myself it's time to get closer to the front, with that in mind I started picking my way through and made it to 6th with ease...That by itself surprised me because every time I wanted a gap to open it did, I have never moved to the front of a race that easily...it was great!!


Going into turn 2 I'm in 6th and the pace goes to the redline. More or less every lap before this one, the field would surge and come around any group that was driving it...not on the last lap, this made me happy!!

We get to the top of the track and I'm still in 6th, SWEEEEEEEEET!! We make a left and start the fastest section of the course. Somewhere in the last 1/4 mile 8 riders got by me...I don't really recall because we were flat out flying and I didn't think it would be a good idea to be rubber necking at that particular moment. We turn on to the start/finish straight and the sprint is on.

I managed to not get passed and not pass anybody...but I did finish 15th, right at the bottom of the payout and got my entry back, so it was a good day. Any race you finish upright and get a little mean green for you effort is a good race no matter how you look at it!!

E




Sunday, June 24, 2012

Tour of KC

The 2nd day of the Tour of KC was today and I felt the need to do some crit racin...so I did. Here's my story.

This event has been around for a long time, I think this is the 49th edition. In years past the races were held on Cliff drive, a circuit race and in downtown Overland Park, a fast and fairly technical crit. Well for some reason unbeknownst to me, these 2 venues aren't used anymore...LAME!!

Moving on...I decided to not line up on Saturday for a variety of reasons and the main one was the first turn of that particular course is a tight, fast, downhill 90 degree left with not much room to roll through other than single file...making it a prime viewing spot for carnage...and there was some. Oh yeah, I won on that track at the inaugural event so no need to do it anymore!!

On to today. The weather forecast was for HELL HOT HEAT and it did not disappoint. Right now at 5:30pm the temp is hovering around 98...with that in mind and the 3's race at 2:30ish I decided to race the masters race which was at 8:00am. As I recall it was about 77 degrees...good temp to race any day!! The course was a rectangle going counter clockwise with a pretty fast slightly downhill left, this turn was really the only one you had to pay attention on.

I registered the day before so when I got to the venue all I had to do was get dressed and start warming up. I decided to race with my powertap and that by itself made me a little nervous, add to that the fact that several fast guys were in the field also meant I was pretty wound up with the race day nerves!! So I get warmed up, do a few hard efforts and the time comes to line up...and of course...DFL for me...oh well I'm used to it anymore.

Right before the gun sounds Supaman, who wasn't racing today, was telling me at least half the guys in front of me will miss their pedals, and they did. I nailed mine and moved right to where I wanted to be. The race rolls on for a few laps, then the attacks start. I was riding pretty close to the front keeping an eye out for a good move. After a few guys tried and failed I was getting itchy to give it a go. It was about then 3 guys rode off the front and I decided it was time. I gun it and jump across a decent gap with no one in tow...HOORAY!! As soon as I get there they sat up...BOOOOOOOOO!!!! Back to the field we went, I should have gone around to try to motivate them...oh well, it was early still.

A little later there was a guy ringing a cowbell standing on the platform with the freakin officials, so I'm thinkin it's time for a prime...someone attacked on the front straight, another went after the first turn and I'm sitting fairly close to the front watching them go. On the back stretch I make the comment "he's going solo to the prime"...right after that I drilled it and went blazing by the second guy up the road. I took a look back and the field was pissed and chasing hard, but I had a huge gap. I got within about 30 feet of the first guy up the road and passed the start/finish line only to realize the jackass ringing the cowbell was a spectator...I was pissed!! The pace remained high for the next few laps and I suffered horribly!! I managed to get recovered with out getting shot out the back and life was good!!

From then on it was pretty uneventful up until the last lap. I was about mid pack going into the last lap and the eventual winner attacked at the first turn, the pace went straight to the moon and we were flying!! On the back stretch a gap opened 2 riders ahead of me so I jumped across and I'm glad I did because when we made the final turn onto the front straight the gap was huge!!

I'm not sure how I placed, I'm thinking 15th-ish out of 40ish. I'm pretty content with that considering the quality of the field and the fact I was riding my powertap training wheel that weighs a TON!!!

As I tap this out on my computer, I don't think there's anything I would have done different. I chose to race with my powertap just to see what a crit looked like from a numbers standpoint. That was interesting!!

Next up, the Tour of Lawrence crit. I will be riding my 303's for that race!!

E



UPDATE 6-25-2012...I officially crossed the line in 16th out of 38...so I was close with my guesses!! ;^)












Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Down and Dirty



This past Sunday was the Missouri state MTB race. I put a big fat bulls eye on this race as soon as it was posted, which meant I had 6 months-ish to prepare for this and be on top form as I rolled to the line. Well...if you been reading this you know that my off season pretty much SUCKED and I didn't start riding til mid February and didn't start "training" til April...I'm beginning to think it sucks getting old...

Moving on...So the day comes and it's time to line up. As per usual, the experts are lumped together, but they did call us to the line by age group, so I knew there were 8 riders in my class and a good sized field of experts total...probably around 20.



GO!!! After we squeezed through an arch over the start/finish line the drag race began. About a half mile of gravel double track to a hard left over a short bridge and then into the single track. Needless to say, it was a cluster f**k at this point...we get rolling and it's so dusty dry it's getting difficult to see the terrain...this was a new situation to me. I've raced in the woods a ton, but never when it was this dry. The first lap rolls bye fairly uneventfully and into my little feed zone I go. I stashed a bottle of ice water in it this time to pour on my head to cool down a bit, which is exactly what I did. That water was COLD, it felt good and did exactly what I wanted it to.

Rolling into lap 2 I'm feeling pretty good and settle into a rhythm...this last for about 3 miles, then all of the sudden I'm suffering big time and going really SLOOOOOOW!!! My race starts to unravel quickly...so I suffer along getting passed by a few riders thinking to myself, this sucks ass, when I get back to the pit, I'm done!! A few minutes later the little voice in my head says, if you quit you will be more miserable than if you keep riding. Hmmm....stupid voice!! I hate it when you're right!! With about 2 miles to go I formulate a new plan. I'm gonna ditch my camel-bak, grab my bottle of ice water and ride one more lap.



The last 2 miles roll by, it felt like an eternity, but I made it to the pit again. I throw down my camel-bak, grab the ice water, and roll out. whilst I was doing this, another racer passes me and rides away from me. Right before the finish line the course was marked in the style of a CX course, and it doubled back on itself. Just after I entered this section, I start yelling at the guy that just passed me. I was yelling, I'm gonna get you, you better pedal, I'm gonna get you!!!

So he puts in a charge and sort of rides away from me on the double track. On the single track he more or less rides away...I'm thinkin, maybe I won't get him...then I realize I'm feeling better and start riding a bit faster. Off in the distance I see this guy and he has passed another racer, he was a 50+ rider. So I make the 50+ rider my carrot and proceed to reel him fairly easily. I get to him and he lets me by no worries. At this point I can see the guy that passed me in the pit and I'm gaining on him.

I get to his wheel and he says, do you want by? To this I replied, no, I'm good, we have about 6 miles to go. We roll on for about another quarter of a mile and a stick flips up into his front derailleur and forces him to stop. I think to myself, it's now or never, either I'm going to get to the line before him or die trying!! So I go as hard as I can for the rest of the lap, and rode away from him.

I was getting close to the end of the lap when I saw 3rd place a few switchbacks ahead of me, so it was time to dig again, and I do. Before I know it I pop out of the woods and I knew it was over...3rd was 2 minutes 40 ahead of me going into lap 3, when it was all said and done he was a mere 16 seconds ahead of me.

So I finished 4th, narrowly missing the podium...again!! It was weird, I was suffering horribly on lap 2, and on lap 3 I was focused and riding like a man on a mission...I was 2 minutes 10 faster on lap 3 compared to lap 2. Not a lot but the way i was feeling on lap 2 I would've never guessed that was gonna happen...oh well that's racing, you can't be great every time.

E

Thursday, June 7, 2012

DK 200 2012 Highlights....



So for the past few days I've been thinking about the write up on my 2012 Dirty Kanza and came to the conclusion that it was kinda boring...so I thought about it and here are some of the thing I thought were funny or just whatever.



1. Anytime I've ever rolled to a start line, there's always this tension from the other racers and being serious about what is about to take place and there is nothing wrong with that. At 5:45 in the morning I was surprised to feel a little of this as I rode past the front of the group on my way to where the mere mortals ride...also known as the back!! I found that interesting...even at the wee hours of the morning the racers had their game faces on.

2. About an hour into this melee I'm at the front of our little train rolling along at the prescribed 14 mph. At several points along the way the gravel roads are more or less gravel double track so there's no echelon riding to escape the wind and if you want to switch tracks you really have to pick you place to do so. Anyway as we roll along, we pass a group of riders that were from Utah...I think...so about the time I get to a female on my right from this group, she decides to stand up to pedal and maybe change tracks. As soon as she was fully standing and her left leg reached to bottom of the stroke, her pedal came of and she proceeded to wad herself up right next to me, ended up getting gravel in her hyde and have her wheel ran over by a fellow rider...I almost pooped 'em!!!



3. Last year as I rode along in my own personal hell, off in the distance I could see a gravel road going up a pretty sizable climb. I say to a teammate of mine, wow look at that hill!! The pic above this paragraph is from the top looking back at where we had come from. He says yeah, that's Texaco hill, it's a 3 mile climb and that's where we're headed...I wanted to cry...it was about then he rode away from me because I couldn't go more than 10 mph at this point. Fast forward to 2012, low and behold...Texaco hills beckons me...I rode up it without as much as a whimper this year. Ah yes...to ride smart and actually have fun!!

4. As we rode across the top Texaco hill, I spy with my little eye a photographer. As we got closer, the Kodak courage welled up in me and out came the wheelie king...yep...popped a decent wheelie for the lens!! Shortly thereafter we started a nice double track descent. Pretty close to the bottom there was a cattle guard, it was raised a little higher than the gravel. With me carrying some good speed, I blasted some functional air over this steel grate...it was SWEEEEEEEET!! Between that and the wheelie I was pretty much feelin about 12...Luv it!!



I thought this was a good pic showing the rolling nature of the Flint Hills, if you look closely at the hill in the distance, there was a group of motorcycle riders touring the gravel roads taking a break...can you say easy way to ride gravel?!?!

5. If you read the first DK blog, then you know about the parking of the GF's car at the first check point. That story has a bit more to it. So here it is...when we decided to do the first check point thing, we realized that we would have one bag left over to put the stuff we needed to keep and to put our street clothes in once we changed into riding duds. This presented a small problem...what do we do with it?? My girlfriend called and talked to the hotel manager and had it squared away. The hotel would lock it up for us and we could get it on our way home. I wasn't too keen on this idea but whatever.

Race day morning we are getting ready to roll to the hotel manager when I see a rider that i know well enough to ask if his wife could haul our bag to the first check point, they say no worries, WOOOHOOOOoooooo!!! No strangers rifling through our stuff!!

The race kicks off and away we go, about 3 or 4 miles in I see this guy on the side of the road and he says he popped a spoke...bummer...on we roll. At some point during a nature break I see him go riding by, cool, up and riding!! After riding for about 4 hours, it suddenly dawned on me that he is ahead of my little group, which means he will be in and out of the first check point before I get there, which also means his wife will have to wait on us...D'OHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! There's about 3 miles to go at this point of revelation, so I tell the GF I'm gonna hammer out the last 3 miles so the nice lady who helped us doesn't have to wait any longer than she has to...

So I drill it to the end passing a handful of riders on the way, this made me laugh, mostly due to wondering what they were thinking as I went blazing by. I roll into the check point, find her and apologize for making her wait. She said no worries, he had been gone about 15 minutes and it would only take her about 40 minutes to get to the next check point...HOORAY!!!



I saw this on a mail box, thought it was cool.

There ya go now ya know...it's a little more interesting...

E

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Dirty Kanza 2012


It's hard to believe that another year has rolled by...one not measured by holidays, but the Dirty Kanza 200. Yesterday was my second trip to the start line for this race. I say race because officially, it is a race, but I think for the majority of the riders that roll to the line, it's a somewhat organized ride that most want to finish and say I rode 200 miles of gravel.

This was my second trip to the DK. The main reason I went back was to ride it the way you're "supposed" to. Meaning, not go out at the front of the race with the riders that are there for the overall win and blow up into a bazillion bitty pieces in the middle of nowhere, but to ride a sustainable pace and actually enjoy the ride..which I did!!

Last year was the test ride for me. I was supposed to ride to the end of the 2nd leg, assess how I felt and decide if completing the 200 was something I felt I could do. Well, riding to the halfway went out the window last year when against my better judgement, I went out with the lead group and blew up after an hour of riding...Read the 2011 DK post for the rest of that story...

Last year, after a few days of pondering, I decided to go again with the original game plan in hand. At this point my girlfriend had decided she wasn't gonna do it and she would support me in my efforts to at least make it 100 miles of the 200 mile gravel melee.

Somewhere between her decision to not do it and the beginning of 2012, she decided she wanted to go to the end of the second leg again. At this point I wasn't worried about finding a support crew. When the time finally came to find one, my luck ran out...


So now my plan was to ride to the end of the first leg and drive my GF's vehicle, which was parked at the end of the first leg the night before, to the end of the second leg so she could reach her goal and scratch this event from her bucket list once and for all. I was good with this plan based on how the weather was in 2011. It was hell hot and crazy windy, so me riding to the end of leg one sounded pretty good.

The morning of the race we rolled out of the hotel in a brisk 48 degree, clear sky, low wind day. The high was in the low 80's and the wind was 10 mph or less all day. It was a great day to attempt the full 200, and had I not been a jackass last year, I totally would have given the 200 a shot at completion...I was a little bummed, but oh well.

I rode the first leg the way you're supposed to and I felt like a million bucks at the end of the first 61 miles. It's funny, last year was 58 miles to the end of leg one and I went 4:45:00 ride time, with an average of 14.5 mph and wanted to DIE when I got there. Remember the blowing up into a bazillion pieces comment...I rode so painfully slow after I blew up last year that riding slower and consistent this year was actually faster...weird!!! For 2012, I was 4:37:00 for 61 miles into the end of leg one at 13.2 mph and felt almost as good as I did when I started that morning.

As of right now, I WILL be doing the 2013 edition of the Dirty Kanza with only one goal in mind...to have my cycle computer read 200 miles.

E



Monday, May 28, 2012

Robidoux roundup...

Yesterday was not a good day for me...The heat got to me and I had to pull the plug after 2 of 3 laps...I have to admit I was not a happy racer boy for quite a while after the race and even when I got home it was still eating at me for not finishing. I think the main reason is, I was looking at it like I quit the race...and nobody wants to be a quitter. It's a 100% hollow feeling and I DO NOT LIKE IT!!

I was not happy about this, but it's better than going to pieces out on the trail, having real issues with no relief in site. I finally got some perspective from a long time friend I used to race a ton of MTB with and that was, "it could always be worse"...and that's all it took. I wasn't mad anymore, and I put it behind me. After all, I got to race my MTB. It's what I do. Yes it sucked to not finish but in the grand scheme of things, it's not a big deal.

As for the race, I was having an ok day. The first lap was painfully fast, I think I burned a bit too many matches on that one. On lap 2 I finally settle into a manageable rhythm and start a battle with what would eventually be 4th place in my group.

With about 2 miles to go a sport class rider, who was leading his race, comes up and I let him by. He doesn't immediately go by the guy I was racing with and as I watch over his shoulder, my carrot starts to go away...eventually I say to the sport racer, look, you either have to go faster or let me back by because I'm racing with that guy ahead of you. He does the right thing and let me back by. At this point we are back to doing a lot of climbing and I have to put in a huge effort to get back to my racers wheel...this effort is most likely did me in.

During this charge I started to get the chills, so I back it down to try and recover and this didn't do anything...so I spin for a bit and realize that the game is over...SUCK!!!

E

Friday, May 25, 2012

Powertap



It's raining and I'm bored...oh yeah, highly caffeinated to boot!! This will probably be a short post as well.

At the beginning of April the long drawn out process of me getting a powertap wheel finally ended...HOORAY!!! I was a little excited to try this new toy, mostly out of curiosity, but excited nonetheless.

In the past I have trained and raced with heart rate and had gotten pretty good using what I learned from that. Then all of the cool kids started training with power meters...it was about this time I didn't care about what my heart rate was anymore, so to the shelf it went...I started training by saddle time and that worked pretty good!! I rode well and even won a race or two.

Let me back up a bit...Before I totally gave up the heart rate I bought an electronic trainer from cycle-ops. It was their version of a computtrainer. So I combined the heart rate and started training with power in the off season. I'm not sure how much it helped, not having any power numbers from out on the road to reference, but it certainly didn't hurt. This trainer started to die (a bearing started going bad) and all I wanted was to have it repaired or replaced...

Well the fine peeps at cycle-ops say they don't make that model anymore, and won't repair it. GRRRR!!! So they offer me a sweet deal on a wheel...DONE!!!

As of right now, I've been riding it since the beginning of April and training with power for about a month. I will say this, if you want to average a certain number, you have to pedal...all the time!! Kinda obvious, but, it will definitely keep you honest in your workouts.

Have I gotten stronger? I think so, although I still seem to be getting my ass handed to me on the Tuesday ass kickin session...I think a little can be attributed to the time off I took through the winter to let my old ass heal up...anyway...I have notice some improvement.

As for results, I haven't raced since I've had this, but that will change this weekend. Sunday will be the first MTB race in the era of the powertap. Story to follow.

E

Monday, April 30, 2012

Chris Smedley 1961-2012

This pic is how I will remember Chris.


Hmmm...Today was a long day...Mostly because a good friend finally rode off into the setting sun yesterday. I would be lying if I said I didn't shed a tear or two today. It's funny, today made me think of all the time I had spent riding and hanging out with Chris...which was a lot, and I would do it all again!!!

I also thought about the first time I went into the Bicycle Shack. I was 12 and every time me, my brother, and mom would go to my grandmas house, we would, more often than not, drive past the Bicycle Shack and I would beg my mom to please stop. One day she finally did. I will never forget walking in and seeing the coolest BMX bikes ever!! I didn't know it then but I'm pretty sure fate had decided Chris and I were supposed to be friends and I'm truly grateful for him being a part of my life.

He was a great man and a great friend, and the world is a lesser place without him in it.

Rest in peace my friend.

E

Friday, April 20, 2012

Bone Bender 3/6





I'm gonna keep this one short, I think...The morning of the Bone Bender 3/6, Mother Nature made her dislike of MTBers painfully obvious again...just like the God's Country race...yes, it was raining...again. No worries though, the radar was looking good and I was game to rumble in the jungle conditions be damned!!!

Even great race conditions at Clinton lake are tough, so why not make it ridiculous and add about 1 1/2 hours of rain to make the gnarly technical sections even more gnarly and technical...I wasn't too worried, I do have mad ninja skillz on the MTB!!

Anyway...I pack up and race the weather to Leadfoots house. For some reason, I was thinking getting to the race at 9:00 when it started at 10:00 was a good idea...not so much...that got us the greatest gift of all...sign up and line up...SUCK!!!

The race starts and the promoter had decided that a neutral rolling start would be the way to go. A side note...showing up late had us roll to the riders meeting late, which meant we were sitting at the back of 220+ racers. Shortly after that point the neutral roll out began, which was the opposite way everyone was facing for the riders meeting, which put us at the front of the race...a small victory...

The race promoter leads the field on a 90cc motorcycle on the paved section of the course, it had 2 left turns with fairly long straights connecting. After each left, he picked up the speed, by the time we were halfway down the last strait leading to the double track, he pinned it WFO and we were flying 25mph plus...this is where the "sign up and line up" started taking it's toll...it was painful!!!

I didn't get a chance to look at the trail conditions before the race. I pretty much knew it was gonna be greasy, fortunately I had the same tires from the race at the river trail on my steed and they seemed to work really well, good traction everywhere.

I settle into a rhythm behind Doug Long, an O.G. racer from waaaaaaaaay back, and think this is a good wheel to follow. It was for a while, then the little mistakes he was making had me stopping, finally I had had enough, passed him and rode away. After the first lap I was in the top 20.

To the pit I go. Leadfoot had pulled the pin on the race, which I didn't hate him for...I did consider it briefly, but decided to chug some water and go for round 2...

The second lap was mostly uneventful. I did a little back and forth with 2 riders in the technical stuff, where my little mistakes had them pass me and go away...this made me mad...and a hill that I walked up on the first lap came around and I powered right up it to get back on the wheel I was racing with...HOORAY!! That didn't last very long, there are some grinders shortly after the technical stuff and they rode away again...damn my crappy fitness!!!

Not much to write about after that. I managed to not hit the ground in 25 miles with a sizable chunk of that being greasy, rocky, root infested, technical singletrack...a tribute to my mad ninja MTB skillz!!!

I get to the last climb that lead to the scoring area, I get a minor cramp in my left quad. I shake that off, ride to the line and tell them I'm done...

I had about 18 minutes left to go for another lap...If I had I would have ended up at least 11th in class, maybe 10th if I had a good 3rd lap. As it stands I ended up 14th in class out of 28 in the 3 hour open division. I am glad I didn't go for a 3rd lap, it would have been torturous!!!

There you go, now you know.

E

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Gods Country MTB race...


It's been a while since I have lined up in a MTB race, but the time has come, and gone, once again.

I had this race circled on my schedule to kick off this year of racing in the woods, not for any particular reason other than building fitness. I guess I'm lucky that Mother Nature hates MTB'ers because this race was postponed 2 weeks due to rain.

I planned on going on the original date if it was dry, but that wasn't meant to be...which is good, because it gave more more time to build some more fitness.

The weekend before this melee I head to Lawrence to ride the course and get a feel for the tires I wanted to use, which are hard pack tires with lots of densely packed short knobs, really fast tires if the conditions will allow them...

Confident with what i have learned about the track, and my race day set up, I'm now sort of looking forward to lining up in the woods again. On top of that, the week of riding I had following my inspection had me feeling good about where I am fitness wise. I have to admit, there was a little doubt, considering all of the early season set backs I had and the fact I've been training consistently for a little more than a month and a half as of this post.

That being said, I went into this race with ZERO expectations. It's better that way, at least for me, no matter what time of the year it is, because expectations lead to disappointment which leads to not riding. I learned that lesson a few years ago...it's a tough one to learn and one I won't soon forget.

On to race day...as with all MTB racers, I was watching the forecast closely, and as the weekend approached, the forecast was for rain on race day...imagine that, there's a MTB race and it's going to rain...

Anyway, my bike was ready to for a dry race, and I was hoping this was going to be the case. I woke up on race day only to see the radar has rain all over where I'm gonna be racing...BAH!!! Time to change tires, I knew that something with a more open tread pattern would be the way to go, and I was right.

I get to the venue with the thought of, if I can't warm up and be dry, I'm no gonna race. Fortunately, the rain move out about an hour and 20 minutes before the race was to start...game on!!

Sufficiently warmed up, I decide to race with out the camelbak in favor of my girlfriend handing up bottles each lap. I think it was a good move. Now on the start line, the promoter says the first 3 cat 1 classes will start together, and the final cat 1 class will start 1 minute later. So much for knowing who and how many I'm racing against.



GO!!! The drag race begins, at least a quarter of a mile on the levy into a right hand turn onto some grass and then into the woods. I hit my pedal on the first try and get a good start, I ended up in 5th going into the woods.

About a mile in, I can see the 3 guys at the front of the race riding away, I didn't worry about this, one was a pro and the other 2 are really freakin fast!! Content with who I'm following at the time, I sit there and watch for a chink in the armor...and the only thing I can see was that I was smoother through the turns and about the same on output on the fast sections...so there I stayed. We get about halfway through the 1st lap and 1 of the 50+ racers who is ridiculously fast has latched onto our train and was making quite a racket to get by. Eventually we let him by and he was GONE!!!

The rest of the 1st lap was uneventful. We roll through the start finish area and I have to slow a bit to make sure I grab a bottle from my HOT girlfriend, while doing so the gap between me and my fellow racer grows to about 30 yards...no worries I think.

As we head out for another lap I'm slowly but surely closing the gap. Then the marathon riders start to appear...At this point I closed the gap to about half, he gets by the first rider quickly and I get stuck for a moment, the gap goes out again...Finally past the first one, back to work I go. I start closing the gap again and another marathon rider appears. Once again his opportunity to pass is immediate and I get stuck again and you guessed it...back to the original gap....GRRRRRR!!!!

Finally clear, we are heading into one of the faster sections and the gap stays about the same. We get to the only "technical" section on the course and I manage to close it down a little, but not enough to make contact before the next fast section. At this point I put in several hard efforts to reel him in and it was not to be...these efforts took a bit of a toll...I finally had wave goodbye...

A few miles later I roll through the start/finish area and he has about a minute on me. I press on with a new bottle and the mindset of push on to limit the damage. I had no clue what place I was in and honestly thought I was DFL in my class...so I push on and gut it out.

It's funny, on my second lap, I was NOT hitting my lines and flowing the way I wanted to, but on my 3rd lap I was flowing like water through the same sections I struggled with on lap 2...focus goes a long way in a successful effort!!

About halfway through the last lap it's time for one more power-gel. I reach into my jersey pocket and find my girlfriends keys along with my power-gel...OOOOPS!!! This made me laugh and eased my suffering, if only for a minute. The rest of the lap is spent motivating myself and ending this melee as soon as possible

Finally across the line, I was happy that it was over. I had no clue how I did, it was about this time 2 of my O.G. riding buddies who had come to watch, tell me they think I won...being ate up with the dumbass at this point I brush it of go for a cool down spin.

Finally done with that I gather up my stuff and head back to the car to change. Oh yeah, my girlfriend got a kick out of me handing her keys to her and saying I raced with them in my jersey pocket...good thing they stayed in for the whole ride...

Done changing, my 2 hommies again tell me I won. I still don't believe, until I see the posted results...I had indeed pulled a victory. As I sit here and type this, I still can't believe I won.

If you were to ask me if I was going to step on the podium, I would have laughed and said whatever, if you would've asked me if I was going to win...HELL NO would've been my response!!! I've been on the podium of expert races, but never the top step, it was a great feeling!!!

I had no expectations going into this race, only to do what I can do and let the chips fall where they may. I guess it was my day!! 1st in class and 10th overall. It's a good feeling but also sort of weird, mostly because I didn't know I was in the lead, EVER!!

It was a good day!!

E