Sunday, October 28, 2007

What a difference a day makes....Orrville 'cross

Wow.....I got a big slice of humble pie today. So much for my conditioning level and HUGE props to the people that can race back to back days.
Congrats to Gary for a great race today (4th, I think). Check out Gary flying through the barriers in the first two shots! Thanks for the pictures, Anna.

OK; Gary, Sadie,the Miranda girls, Anna (wearing a cutter's kit) & I (David S. too) all showed up in orange-n-blue with a heavy representation of Orrville folks. The course was....uh, lots of grass, one set of barriers, no run ups, a couple of rollers, some turns through trees and a 20 meter or so section of single track. Not very technical and did I say LONG stretches of grass? It's windy, cool and for the first time this season feels like cyclocross weather. I'm thinking that this is my workout and to check to see where I am conditioning wise after racing the UCI race yesterday.
Anna is racing Cs and does well in getting 2nd women's. The B race is ready to go; Gary is in the front row along with Tony and I'm in the second next to Julie. The start is sounded and off we go for the hole shot; Tony almost wipes out, I look up and it's just a stark guy, Gary & I going into the first turn....nice! We are heading for the barriers in great shape and I start feeling like suddenly I don't have any go in the legs....what the heck? Gary looks back & I yell at him just to go and close down the gap on the guy and the race for me is basically over. Sure, I give it everything, but there is just nothing really left so I just try to keep fighting and do the best I can. Wow, the best was really bad. I get passed by almost everyone; I tell Julie to kick some a$$ as she goes by me and she says to hang in there....I finally hang onto an orrville and summit guy and just hang on and hope the pain will stop soon. This goes on for like forever it seems and just when I think my legs have finally gotten back to me we cross the line and I swear they say 4 laps to go....there are no lap cards, but the time show 32*t, no way there are 4 laps to go...I almost get off my bike and stop right there. I work through that and right before single track, the Orrville guy almost wipes out huge but saves it...I pass him (and yell way to save it man!)and figure to try to gap the guys. I find out that next lap is the bell lap so I'm going to see if I can't try to do something positive today. I'm leading and hit the barriers hard keep the gap, hit the road section still in front and enter the trees. Instead of going through the pine tree section carefully, I go hard and then suddenly the bike is no longer under me and I'm bouncing off of the ground like a rag doll. I'm on my back and I remember looking up at the sky....gee, what a pretty sky....oh sh*t, I'm supposed to be racing! I start to get back up and the summitt guy has caught and passed me and the orrville guy is much for my nice gap I had built up and now I'm looking at a 100 & 50 meter gap. Damn. My bell has been rung and I adjust my helmet and want to get back on these guys again. Needless to say I can't make up the gap and finally the pain and suffering is over. The Summitt & Orrville guys I was with did a great job and I'm glad I pulled it together enough to ride with them.
Thanks for reading,

UCI 'crossing at Louisville

2.2 miles long, some mud, lots of sand, a cool "fly over", fast pros to watch and for me 58 guys in my grouping to race with. That's what I'm talking about.
I had combined a business trip with wanting to try at least one of the US Gran Prix of Cyclocross UCI races. Louisville is like 5.5 hours away and I had ridden the course a year ago and wanted to see how different it would be. That and after riding at the Nats last year in Providence, I wanted to see what the difference would be between the two.
The classification had changed; I'm a CAT 4 for UCI races which at 30 minutes long (I thought) would be like racing Cs or beginner which I wasn't happy about but it was too late to CAT up.
Jeff Craft, Brent Evans & Ernesto Marenchin were the other folks from Cleveland that made the trip. All of them are doing the double; I'm happy with one day of Louisville and hitting Orrville today. Speaking of...I gotta get going....more words/photos later.
So it's dark as heck when I get to the course at 7:20AM. I'm next to a cool guy from CO (Robby Schweiss) that's going to be racing with me and we chat while both of us start getting ready. Why in the heck I didn't bring my trainer to warm up on is beyond me; I gotta get more systematic in my prep for racing.
I take 2 laps to warm up and check out the course. It's in great shape, which surprises me due to all of the rain they have had.
The race call ups have started and I'm in the 4th row and I'm feeling pretty good; people are still screwing around with their numbers and then finally the whistle and we are seems like thing are going in slow motion and nobody wants the hole shot so I shoot around and find myself sitting in th top 6-8 at the turn and thinking that this is pretty cool. It's pretty hairy up to the sharp "S" turn for the first barriers and then a straight away into some sharp turns through a 20 meter or so loose sand trap that is ridable but tough and then through some more sand. We get into one of the grass straights and that's where I lose a couple of spots trying to jamb through the grass some sharp turns and then back on the long straight of grass through a bumpy section and then into some more turns. Some pavement, more sand, some off camber short climbs and then under the fly over a sharp turn and then up the fly over (steps up, a short spot on top to remount and then a quick drop back down - COOL) drop down and then another straight grass section, hit the road and past the start/stop and lap one is history. I get into the pit area b/f the loose sand trap and the race director is yelling out positions..."11", damn, am I in 11th? NICE, I'm thinking and now let's hold onto and see about moving up. I enter the sand with full intentions of riding through it again and a dab and have to dismount, damn. Back on, through the next sand and I don't even want to see what my HR is doing right now. Back on the grass LONG straight and I'm getting passed by what seems like the entire field. Crap, crap crap! I'm going like crazy and look up and it's not that bad, the lead group has gapped me but there are around 6 or so in my group battling it out. This second lap is hurting me bad and I'm hoping to get through what I know is my "bad lap" and fight like heck for the next lap. By now there are three of us elbow to elbow, gapping one and fighting back the gap and attacking. We get to the start finish and it's the damn bell lap! OK, I am thinking waaaaaay too much about everything....where should I attack? What part of the course am I on and should I mark these guys and wait till when to go? I know my weakness is on the damn grass and and the railroad tie run up so I'll sit in and wait for an opening. The guy from WI has been strong but wipes out on the off camber quick climb and takes us down with him but the guy from WVA & I get moving quicker so I'm sitting 2nd, then we are going through some tight turns and I jump out front lead through some more turns and promptly screw up the approach to the railroad tie run up and the other two pass me. Sh*t. I get back on them the WI guys leaves me an opening and I'm behind the WVA guy going into a sand barrier and he goes down taking me with him. Crap, Crap, Crap! WI guy blows by us, we get back on it and start going into the fly by for the last time, don't screw this up I'm thinking (like tripping) and make it up but I'm chasing now and the two have opened up a gap and I'm having a hard time closing it down and I'm running out of time. I look back, see no one and see if I can't get one of them, but nada. I cross the line behind them hoping I'm still in the top 20 after the terrible second lap. I actually finished 17th and looking at my data, didn't slow down in my second lap, but wasn't able to respond when the six guys got past me. I should have attacked in the technical sections; better to screw up your self than have someone else take you down.
So, I head back to the Hotel, wash up and head back to watch Jeff Craft race (4th in Masters! NICE!) then Ernie & Brent with the elites. Saw Chris Horner ride and come in 10th I believe. It was well worth the drive. There is no way we couldn't put on a race like that in Cleveland. Something to think about.

Thanks for Reading,

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Cross'n at Lakewood Park

I love what a week of low/no activity can do to you. Attended a trade show, ate/drank and got a few miles stupid back was sore going into the race and the training time was just about non-existent. Great.
This course is a technical, tough but big fun race. If you like sand, this would be your nirvana. I am determined to just go out and race a good race.
Anna & I (and Cookie) show up just about on time...we actually beat Gary and Satan, er Sadie there. David & John (masters) were going to ride the As; Gary, Tom K, Ian & I the Bs (Masters for me) with Anna & Sadie riding Cs.
Speaking of sand...the amount of sand-bagging is amazing...a "tip of the hat" to the Spin Bike Shop team for having all but two of their riders riding with the As instead of just trying to place high in the Bs for the "glory". What a concept.
Anyway; John & Ray give great course description so I'll let you read about the track layout from them.
I ride two warm up laps...this is going to be something else....a new definition in pain. At the end of the warm ups, I am late again in lining up...dang, I gotta stop doing this crap. The field is huge - 36 people with 19 Cs lined up behind us. Off we go and I get pretty good position, in the top 10 and then get jambed in the amphitheatre....but I'm feeling pretty good and not stressed about it. I nail the decent after the climb (yes I climbed it) and stay in good contact. One guy misses the sharp turn and cuts off the course a bit....something he would do more than once (NBD). Going through the sand next to the water I don't even try to ride it, remount and ride through the next stretch of sand....the next interesting thing that happens is at the log crossing in the next long sand area....someone (ed?) tries to bunny it and falls down like a sack of potatoes....I almost laughed. There was no way I was going to try that; last year I bunnied it every time clean, but it was moved to a different spot that didn't make sense to try it. I remember Ray coming up and staying on his wheel for awhile....getting encouragement from folks really helped but I was not going to stay with Ray....he has too big of an engine for me, but I knew he was hating the sand. Brian Lennon comes around me and I gave some him encouragement; he was looking really smooth and strong. I think this is just his second year? My race becomes a group of three; Jason (Stark) & Nate...Gary charges hard up & catches up to Then I hear this sound and it sounds like I've broken a spoke...damn....I look down, no the front is fine, no the back is fine....uh, OK? Then silence. Jeese, Gary suffers a wrapped around the front hub flag and he has to stop, pull it out and by the time he gets going again the "train has left the station". What a tough break. The rest of the race is Nate, Jason & I fighting it out; Nate & I run up the hill (ok...crawl up for me), Jason gaps us, I make up the gap and pass him on the two down hills and into the death spiral with David & John rooting me on, then Nate pulls past and he runs through the sand stretch while Jason & I ride it and make up the gap, then off we go. It was great riding with those guys in that dog fight that we had going on. I am staying with them and trying to save something for the bell lap AND trying not to make a stupid mistake. The bell lap comes, I lose a big gap to them on the climb, close it up a bit on the downhills and almost rejoin them in the death spiral...we catch up to Ian...I am tempted to yell at Ian to block for me so I can get back on.
:-) (don't worry I didn't but I did ask John & David why they didn't block as they were warming up and they replied something about I should get them on my own)
Well, I'm still in good position & for some reason I still can't figure out, I decide to "run" the entire sand section next to the water and promptly kill ANY chance of getting back on them. NICE.
We've got a big gap on anyone behind us so I push as hard as I can, but not to the point of wiping out. I finish 5th in the Masters B group, and what would have been 17th overall. With the pace of some of the B racers (7)....half of the A racers would have finished behind them. I was a good 10-25 seconds per lap slower than the winning pace in the B group. So I'm OK with the just to get my back feeling better and get in some hours......
Congrats to Anna for coming in 1st in the woman's C race. She rode well & hasn't even been training, must be nice. :-)
Thanks for reading,

Friday, October 12, 2007

close call

so i'm trying to squeeze in quick rides while i'm here in Atlanta on business for a convention. getting up at 5:30am and riding for 45+ minutes each day in the dark.
well, this morning i'm riding and a lincoln decidesto turn in front of me; i lock up thebrakes skidding and was breakingso hard, i ended up endo'ing over the bars but missing the car. unreal.
at least the guy stopped to see if i was ok....i am, couple of small scraps,sore knee and back but "perfect' otherwise. cut my workout short, came back to the hotel. i'm sitting in my booth at the convection thinking how lucky i am.
hopefully, the ride latertonight will go better.....back to the show and work.

thanks for reading,

Thursday, October 4, 2007

long time no.......

I'll be posting a BA 'cross race, the wonderful world of InterBike '07 (and the 'cross and crit race held there), SnakeBite Racing Team stuff and having a friend visit from the U.A.E.

Yes, I've been a busy boy.