Monday, October 26, 2009

Mohican Wilderness OMBC Championship

I don't have much to say about this race. I didn't do well, in truth I wasn't in last place for the simple fact that my friend and fellow racer took the sport/expert section and added on half a mile of trail. Otherwise I would have been dead last. This placing come down to a lack of training in hills. I felt good and lead the race off the start. Had a good lead on the first place overall in the series, but then as soon as the trail went up my legs turned to mud. The last time I'd climbed a hill was in August and I was ill prepared for the toughest climb in Ohio.

So I resigned myself to enjoying the scenery and enjoying probably my last good weather and good condition mountain bike race/ride for the season. I ended up taking second overall and not disappointed with that. I figure if I have a decent off season my jump up to sport won't be bad. Truthfully, next year I probably won't be fighting for position every race, but I'm ok with that. I still have a lot of races to do and I'm taking my improvements realistically. I know eventually I'll be fighting for the wins again but it may take a season to get my legs up to that.

The big thing I take away from this season is getting out and actually racing and doing well, something only a select few choose to do. I've met a ton of great people and enjoyed it greatly and I'm looking forward to another great year after a little break from Mountain Biking, (still will be on a bike). My teammates have been great, supportive, kind and inspiring. There's something about watching a teammate do well that even on your bad days you come back feeling good because of them. Looking forward to the return of Nancy and Brian from injury and I wish them a speedy recovery this off-season. Mainly, I'm glad it's over but I'm already looking forward to next year.

I gotta say a big thanks to Sara, my wonderful, beautiful supportive girlfriend who drove almost two hours (including a detour for construction) to the race and took pictures and supported me. I'm truly blessed to have found her. Each day I wake up and think how lucky I am to have her in my life.

I would say goodbye till next year but I'm nowhere near done yet. I still have three cyclocross races and Rays Indoor Mountain Bike Time Trial series. So I'm not going anywhere, anytime soon.

Thanks Camba, Bike Authority, Crank Brother, Rudy Project, Ritchey products and Kenda for making it one of the best summers I can remember.

Friday, October 23, 2009

More Pictures from Hope to Die

Thank you Nancy for the pics!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Best Weekend ever

So this week end was insanely crazy for me. Friday I worked 9-4 at the shop and immediately then headed up to Rays Indoor Mountain Bike Park. Each year CAMBA puts on a preview night where you can get into Rays a day before it actually opens and ride the park for free. If you haven't checked out Ray's you must if are a mountain biker. A lot of new features this year. The cross country loop has been given new lines to take, though it hasn't been lengthened. This should make the indoor time trials more interesting. I got to talk to Ray a little bit and he confirmed that there was going to be an indoor tt series.

The rhythm room looked amazing and the pump tracks addition to make it a complete loop was nice. The sport and expert sections stayed about the same, and the beginner rooms flow has been improved so it's a little safer when the XC loop dumps into the room. Overall, I love the changes and it was nice to be back there and see a lot of my riding friends.

Saturday I woke up early and Sara and I headed up to the "Cross your heart and hope to die" cyclocross race. Trust, me each lap as I enter the "Spiral of Death" I was hoping to do. I was worrying about the sled hill climb "Todd Hill" but it was the baseball field spiral that killed your legs and your spirit. Overall, the bike performed perfectly and my Hutchison Bulldog tired shed mud and gripped great. my one regret was the 42t chainring. I took Johnny P's advice on the size. But I forgot that my strengths and tendencies means a smaller chainring that I can spin up works better for me. My road bike uses a compact crank and my mountain uses a 40t big ring instead of the usual 44. It's just the nature of my small size. Most of the course I was wishing for a lower gear. Luckily I had an extra 39t ring laying around. So that's all ready to go.

Sunday I worked open to close at work and decided to "help" our sales for the day I picked up a new Sram Rival drive train. When I got home I cleaned and tuned Sara's cyclocross bike so I could return it to her in time for her commute to class today. Cleaned and tuned my Cyclocross bike then installed the new drivetrain on my road bike. I haven't gotten to do a true test ride yet, but I can say it was an easy install and was easily tuned. The shifting system seems ingenious and something that I could get used to and like better than Shimano shifters. Look for me to have all my bikes converted to Sram next year. Test ride tomorrow morning.

The spiral of death, AKA Willoughby Cyclocross

Saturday I did my first cyclocross race. Tons of fun, and I learned a lot. Didn't do well (24th) but I did move up a class to what I normally raced. So Overall not a bad weekend. I'll give a full report later but I worked 8 hours today, Cleaned and tuned sara's bike, installed a Rival drivetrain on my road bike and put a new chainring on my cross bike. To hold you over here's a couple pics.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

What I've learned

So the year is slowly winding to a close. The leaves are starting to fall, old men are selling apple cider around the Tallmadge circle and I haven't shaved my legs, face or head for over a month. For me it signals the end of the summer and the racing season, October 25th will be my last competitive race. It's sad and I'm glad at the same time. I'm going to miss all the riding and the good weather, but the training has taking it's toll on me. I'm ready to take a vacation from cycling and enjoy some of my other interests. I plan to keep riding, of course, but slower paced and shorter rides mainly to enjoy being on a bike. I'm hoping to get into running and doing some trail running around the metro parks and the valley. Wouldn't mind getting into rock climbing again. Who knows. I still have 3 Cyclocross races so I won't be totally off the bike.

It has got my thinking about how my life has changed over the summer. First off what this year has done to me personally has been great. I'm feeling the best I have ever physically or mentally. I'm generally happy with my life. I've met some great people in the process. My CAMBA bro's Brian Lennon, Brian Jay, Brett Zink, Micheal Farley, Bill Braum, Esther Gates, Micheal Ryba, Tim Rhodes, Glynis, Micheal Bloomhuff, and too many more to list. A ton of people I've met at races: Roger Sommers, Even Krekeler, Steven Mieskoski, Dirk, Ted Rauh, The Spisak brothers, can't pass up my main bro Johnny P. Can't forget the Srokas. Most importantly I can't miss Sara. A random chance meeting in a parking lot after a ride has lead so much more and I'm lucky to have met her.

Then there's the accomplishments, so far I've done 2391 miles this year on 166 different rides, up 1563 miles from last year. I've competed in 13 races. Finished 12, top 10 in 10 of those races, Stood on the podium at 7, and won 5. I finished 2nd overall in the NEO Powerseries, I have podiumed in two different disciplines (Mountain and Road.) Truthfully not a bad year.

These pictures are some of my favorite of the year.