Saturday, October 31, 2009

2009 Mesa Team Salsa Chili con Crosso

This is my bike. One of three custom Mesa paint jobs found at St. Louis area A races.
53 cm Chili con Crosso. Mavic Ksyrium SL tubular wheelset. Ultegra SL shifters with Dura Ace 7800 derailers.

Challenge Fango 34c front tubular. TRP Alloy Euro-X brakes with pad adjust upgrade and Gore sealed cables.

Shimano R700 110BCD cranks with FSA 46/38 gearing
Challenge Grifo 32c Rear tubular. Dura Ace 12-27 cassette

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Koppenbergcross 2009

Bubba Cross at Jefferson Barracks

The race began with a near track stand start as I struggled off the line and up into the middle of the group. Immediately, I am redlined and riding well below the technical expectations I normally place on myself. By lap two, the suffering is immense as gaps begin to form in our line and I watch as people I rode with last week and last year take of for the lead. I dangle on a chase group for the remainder of the lap as DB pulls the chase along before moving back into the line for some recovery and fresh legs at the front. Into the third lap, he is kind enough to offer some encouragement to "get up here" and I almost do before he finds something extra and leaves us all for dead as he sets off in lone pursuit of the next chase group. I am now on the back of a group of three and we trade pulls and I yo yo on the back before the young Dan seems to crack in front of me letting a gap go to Dennis. I come around for the descent about five seconds off Dennis for the next lap or two. I feel him beginning to fade and I slowly begin to crawl up to the wheel when I catch my rear wheel on one of the stakes I had spent the majority of the race bouncing off of and go down. Bars now at a 45 degree angle to my bike, I decide to quit... then decide to fix it and comically ride with my bars akimbo. I get passed in the pit by several people before remounting and ... deciding to quit... then deciding to keep going.... then deciding to quit... then realizing that I would be quitting in front of my wife which is unacceptable. I bridge up to Drew and Thrasher and ride with them to the run/ride up where I come around Drew and catch Thrasher on the climb just before the descent. I manage a few second gap through the MTB esque downhill coming into two to go. I am truly dying inside at this point and Thrasher keeps getting closer. I rely on the descent to keep the gap in place, nice because I could also recover a bit here and almost resign myself to his catch on the bell lap. He gets to within a few seconds half a lap through and I tell myself at the base of the climb that I can hold him off if only I get to the descent in front. I do. I hold him off for 11th. A thinned out field makes it a less than stellar result but the suffering, both mental and physical, should pay off in the coming weeks. I think. Now is the time to step it up and hopefully move closer to those I rode comfortably with last season. Glad DB's back. Not so sure about the 10:30pm night race next week, but the more racing the better. I think.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Bubba Cross at Faust

I raced and felt pretty ok and finished about where I expected. 12th and 13th on Saturday night and Sunday respectively. Maybe next week I'll be motivated to write more. Hope everyone has fun in Louisville and this rain continues through Saturday. A little slop would be nice. Here are some photos.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Ruddervoorde 2009

Burning IV

This year's Burning was a strange one. I set up the course on Friday in the rain and trudged through epic amounts of standing water, but surprisingly little mud, to complete my annual duties. Needless to say, the ride left me less than enthused for the following day's activities. Running back to St. Louis and attending a wedding that put me to bed around 1am also left me with little rest and even less hope of respectable lap times. I woke three and a half hours later to get picked up by Breslin and have never in my life been so tired.

We arrived around 7 am and my plan was to log back to back laps and then take two off before completing my final lap to get it over with early in the day. The first two laps went well and even though I didn't set the world on fire, I felt reasonalbe good and was having fin as the fog burned off to reveal a crisp, clear fall day. I relaxed while Chritopher and Schweiker burned up the trail and finally headed out for a third lap hoping to improve my time. I felt as if I was riding faster, cleaner and pushing bigger gears so I was excited to see what time I had done. Luckily, my sleep deprived state led me to forget my timing chip and thus lose any possibility of finding out my time. Oh well, they added a lap to our score to compensate for my absent mindedness, but both Christopher and I were denied timing due to my oversight.

In the end, we finished sixth in the wicked fast category. Not a bad result and about what I expected. As always, the burning is one of the most fun races and parties of the year and I tried to make the most of it despite my lack of sleep. I finally went to bed around two and due to chronic insomnia, had plenty of time to think about next year and the upcoming cross season. Not sure I'll race here next year, but I'll always come back for the riding and the good times.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Treviso 2009

There will be no stopping Niels in 09/10

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Ronde Van Evergreen

I returned to Carbondale over the weekend for the fifth edition of the Ronde Van Evergreen, a wonderful cyclocross race held at an old BMX park and the site of my introduction to cyclocross two years ago. After my less than stellar performance at Hermann, I decided that this would be a training race and went in with little to no expectations other than the hope to avoid the dreaded DFL. These expectations were further tempered when my ride arrived twenty minutes late and a deceptive detour sign enroute both conspired to leave me with little to no warmup.

Somehow, we still had a full thirty minutes to prepare upon our arrival and an initial inspection of the course showed it to be soft with a few mud holes, but certainly not the bog that I had hoped for. Additionally, the real estate had been cut inhalf from previous years and the organizers made up for it by mowing some new lines into the old overgrown BMX course. Slow and grinding and painful. Good times were sure to follow.

I lined up on the front row and had a mediocre start, something I need to work on, to slot myself in the top ten. I had decided beforehand that I would be happy with that and hoped to stay steady throughout the race. After the first U turn through the gravel, I heard a loud pop which turned out to be one of Stroots spokes, making for immediately reduced competition, or so I thought. As the lap wound through some unending twisters, I watched the top guys pull away and silently hoped to salvage some dignity from last week.

Coming into lap two, I got onto Martin's wheel and he pulled us around Dennis from Dogfish to get us into 7th and 8th respectively. On the straightaway on the next lap, I came around him with the intention of doing my share of the work and continued to grind away through the soft, but quickly hardening ruts. Throughout the third lap, as the course slowly became more abusive, I worked my way up to the young Williams wheel and sat on him for the rest of the lap. I'm not sure when it happened, but somewhere in the next lap, I managed to get a gap on him and put some space between me and Williams and Marty. I was now riding in sixth and hoping to hold onto it, but was a bit demoralized to discover that I was only 25 minutes in when I passed the finish line.

Given my race the preceding week, I wanted to stay steady and get a hard ride in so I kept it ticking over through subsequent laps. At one point I was a handful of seconds off Jay's wheel but either he was able to up the tempo just a bit or I faded enough that he was gone three quarters of the way through the race. At one stage after the steep climb, I saw Yielding in the pits with a rolled tire meaning I was now in the top five and very close to getting my race paid for. I thought I was safe as long as I could maintain and kept grinding away until I saw Stroot coming for me about fifteen to twenty seconds back with four laps to go. Thankfully, my handling made up for his superior strength and I kept the gap steady until I was told one lap to go.
The official seemed confused when he told me one to go, but I was thankful to end the suffering and didn't question. I told myself at every difficult moment that it was the last time I had to do it so I was chagrinned to say the least when I heard that I had to keep going after my "last lap". Pure rage pushed me through the legitimate final lap and I managed to hold Stroot off by a handful of seconds at the end.

So fifth place in my first A race of 2009. I'm definitely satisfied with the result and although I realize that things will change when there's a full roster and fewer mechanicals, I'm satisfied that a week of intensity has brought such a turnaround in results. Hopefully, I'll keep moving up from here and be competitive when the season gets into full swing. Unfortunately, my 08 nemesis Grrman won the race by quite a bit which means I have a lot of work to do. No worries, it's giving me the requesie motivation to make my goals happen. Up next is my first shot at a six hour mountain bike race (with no plans of being competitive) and then a sweet birthday present in the form of a season opening night race. Here we go!