Sunday, November 28, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Mt. Pleasant

There's not much to say about this last weekend's torture fest on a vertical hillside in Augusta. I felt horrible and knew directly off the line that it was going to be a bad day. Absolutely redlined from start to finish and going backwards the whole time. After three laps, I knew the only thing I could hope for would be a finish and the only reason that happened was a lack of desire to quit in front of the many people screaming at me from the patio. However, I can honestly say that I've never felt worse on a bike or wanted to quit a race more. But I didn't, so I guess that's something. Luckily my buddy Dan made everyone look silly again and now has the overall lead in the points. It couldn't happen to a better guy and I hope he holds it through next week's Bubba finale. As for myself, I'm hoping this was a fluke and that I can refind my fitness for the remaining three races of the season. I hope we don't race at Mt. Pleasant next year...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Concordia Seminary and Suson Park double header

This past weekend provided the opportunity to double up and get a couple of races in to try and regain the rhythm for the remainder of the season. WIth Saturday's race a block from the shop, I managed to convince the powers that be that rolling down the street to pummel myself was a good way to spend the last three hours of my workday. And a pummeling it was.

The race started well, I was where I wanted to be. The sweeping left off the start toward the barriers had me in the top six, but I gracefully kicked my pedal backward while running the barriers to derail my chain, a skill I picked up in the sandpit at Louisville.
Somehow, I recovered relatively quickly from that blunder and dangled from the back of the leaders for a few laps before a couple of major impacts to my tires led me to believe I had both pinch flatted my rear tire and cracked the shop demo wheels. Luckily, I had done neither, but the excessively low pressure coupled with the tall knobs of the Rhinos had me riding with minimal confidence through the corners and all the rough terrain, which was plentiful. While the course layout was spectacular, the absence of rain over the last few months has led to bone dry ground that serves as a jackhammer to those of us that try to ride 32c tires across it. No matter, the course was a great deal of fun and I fought a last half of the race battle with Paul Quindry and Kurt Fletcher until I hit the wall on the last lap and hung on for 8th.
Lessons learned from the race: 1. Airing tubulars up in the morning to your desired pressure doesn't mean they will have the same psi come 3 o'clock start. 2.It is important to preride reasonably fast in order to feel this phenomena 3. No matter how cool one might feel with Zipps and Dugast Rhinos, they aren't necessarily the right tool for every job.

With these factors in mind, I got to Suson Park extra early on Sunday for a proper course inspection to help with equipment selection. After a few laps, I settled on box section wheels to cope with the jarring potholes and prepared to see what I had left after the previous day.
I followed a few bad wheels early on allowing unwanted gaps to form and after some attacking and counter attacking from our chase group, found myself in a group of three with Bob Arnold and Stroot fighting it out for sixth place. We traded pulls well and headed into the second last lap with me leading down the fast hill. Despite telling myself every lap to be conservative through the corner at the bottom of the hill, I threw common sense out the window and hit the corner, and immediately after, the ground, very hard and had to baby my bike around the course to the pits. I lost my group in this moment of foolishness and had a few others pass as well before lap's end. I finished the race on the single speed in 10th. I was a bit frustrated afterwards, but remained calm and satisfied with both how I raced and another top ten finish. Regardless, another rock star course was there for my enjoyment and plenty of good friends provided support throughout the race.

Race result aside, subsequent days have reiterated to me that bike racing is a trivial part of life and there are far more important considerations than how one places in a riding around in grass contest. Positive thoughts to those with legitimate issues and losses, I can't imagine the strength you guys manage to find. You know who you are.

Next weekend is being help at Mt Pleasant winery, home of the most life sucking course I've done. Hopefully, the fine fellows who set these things up can figure out a way to provide marginally less torture, but even if they don't, it promises to be another week of CX good times.


Thanks to Mike Dawson and Dennis Fickinger for photos.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Superprestige Hamme-Zogge 2010





CX 2010- The story so far

For the two or three of you that read this blog, you may have noticed that race updates have been all but absent this season. For one reason or another, the desire is simply not there. Between two jobs, school and a bicycle tech column over at Examiner.com, I have had little energy to relate my weekly exploits in the pain cave on this blog. However, with a month to go in CX season, I figured I might give a brief synopsis of what has happened so far and hopefully get some motivation to recount each successive race from here on out. While I have no doubt that the exploits of a middling midwest A racer are of little interest to anyone other than the middling A racer in question, I might as well lay it out there for anyone who might want to read it.

The season started great with a win in the Hermann night race. I felt amazing and everything together for what I feel was my best race ever. The training I had done beforehand was consistent and targeted and yielded positive results. I was very enthusiastic for the season ahead after a lack of mountain bike racing over the summer. Game on.

After a two week break, I got a bit sidetracked by the Burning at the Bluff where my single speed team with Dave and Christopher fought a yo-yo'ing battle with Team Seagal and GORC to ultimately take home the coveted belt buckle and my first win in the event which has brought me so much pain in years past. It was an incredibly satisfying team effort and I feel lucky to get to wear my trophy each day thereafter.

The following week was spent recovering from the physical destruction of a cumulative 65 mile of rolling Ozark singletrack and no real workouts to speak of, just rolling around trying to get the legs ready for the opening Bubba weekend double header. With the A race night starts at 10pm, I opted for the singlespeed race on Saturday, again with Dave and Christopher. We drilled the pace early on and eventually got a group of three clear with Dave, Anthony Dust and myself. It felt as if we were going extremely fast and everything felt good, even if Dave's pulls were putting the screws to me. Things were going well and I was planning an attack toward the end of the last lap when I rolled my rear tire in a corner and had to settle for third. The following day, I had a rough start but was clawing my way toward the chase group when I rolled another tire when remounting. As it was my birthday and I had rolled a tire the night before, I got a bit upset and walked off. Some good friends put a spare on my bike and after some pouting, I rolled around and finished. Closer inspection of the two rolled tires showed a strange sight of paper thin glue hovering over the rim, but not connected to the tire or rim bed. I don't know the cause, but since it was the first time this had ever happened to me or any of the wheels I glued, I'll put it down to a fluke. Lessons in composure learned, it was time to step up to the big time in Louisville.

Louisville went reasonably well, I rode the hardest course I have ever done and moved up 88 spots on day one and 87 spots on day two. I felt like I had great legs on day two and had a much better start than the first day, but a series of mishaps set me back. No one likes an excuse saturated bike racer, so I will say that I had a blast and it was a weekend to remember racing and helping the CalGiant team in the pits.

The last race I did before our annual shop mountain bike trip was a night race at Creve Couer. I decided to race the A's despite the late start and prepared well with lots of preride and a good, solid warm up. I felt strong and smooth throughout the race and had a nice battle with Scott to eventually take 7th, my first top ten in a local A race. The beach section was great and the course had flow all over the place. I still need to find a little something extra to stay with the leaders the whole race, but I know I'm not far off and feel positive and motivated to get there. This season feels much better than last and with a trip to Bend for Nationals on the way, I am putting my head down to do the best I can, plentiful obligations aside.

So there it is, maybe there will be more blow by blow recaps after this, maybe not. Either way, that is the story so far. Pictures to follow, depending on motivation levels. Thanks for reading.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Jaarmarktcross Niel 2010

This was a mudbath for the ages. Enjoy.