Friday, October 26, 2012

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Ohio State CX State's day 1

State's is always a great time for me. I look forward to go down and "live like a pro" for a couple days. Last year I placed 3rd in my age class on Saturday and 10th in Cat 4 on Sunday. I truthfully had no goals for the weekend, I just wanted to go down and race as hard as I could. Oh, and beat Russell and Marshall.

I drove down through a pretty steady rain that last most of the night on Friday, which ruined any chance of getting a pre-ride of the course. So after hauling in everything from my car, and yes in hindsight I overpacked. I set up my trainer turned on the tv and and did a warm up.

Woke up and had some biscuits and gravy, the breakfast of champions! I showed up and we had a nice NEOCX area along the course with Snakebite nestled in between Stark Velo and Waslab. It was a small community and it was a blast cheering on everyone as they came through and hanging out with some great people.

My race started late in the day and they had put the half the masters field in my race. I got a first row starting position since they put the 30-34 year old up front. I know from last year started where going to be semi important because of some tight turns near the start. So the gun went off and I slotted into the top 5-10 of the field and made it through the tight turns safely. I then got into my rhythm a lot sooner than I have yet this season. My team mate Chris Huck came through and I jumped on his wheel. I figured I'd get a lap at most out of him, especially as this course was a power course. It was flat with large straight and a lot of false flats. To my amazement I stuck with him and the entire time I felt good, I didn't feel like I was just holding on. It ended up being a decent pairing with me being more proficient in the technical sections and Chris had me on the straights.

We rode together for the entire race, and to tell you the truth this was a huge boost to the ego for me. Chris has been winning a lot this year and I haven't so to be able to hang was huge to me. At that point I was thrilled with my race and I would be ecstatic if I could beat him. So I picked my place to attack on a light downhill with a tailwind as it led through a tight twisty section. I was able to make my attack and came in ahead of Chris.

I came back and changed and was happy with my race. I went over to the scoring table to see where I ended up in my age class as I figured I got top 5. Went over and I was third! Just as I was celebrating our winner came over and told the officials that he was scored in the wrong age group. With the correction I ended up second! A place up from last year, and with more racers in my race.

I'll update later with a recap of Sundays race.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Ride On CX

This Sunday's race was in Orrville at the Stark campus of the University of Akron. I must say it was a great course. Luckily the rain held off and we were rewarded with a dry and extremely fast course. Add on to that we had a beautiful day, 70 degrees but with high winds, which made a few headwinds straight but also added a bit of rest area on the backstretch with a nice tailwind. You were able to catch a good bit of speed going into a blind corner at the end of the straight which led to many a rider going to wide on the exit and straight into a corn field. Myself included.

Now on to the race. Each week I'm gaining fitness. After a summer of not being able to race nonetheless ride my bike, I knew coming into the season I wouldn't be in my perfect fitness. So I've been working hard and my fitness has somewhat been getting better each week as you can see from my power chart for the year. Each week I get stronger, but it's not showing at races yet.

So on to the race. I've learned from my mistakes of past and didn't go crazy off the line. I slotted nicely into about third wheel. Got held up a little as two people went down in front of me. The first went down around the pavement turn around. The second went down on a off camber turn shortly after. Didn't get crash but each of these slowed me down a second, which let my competitors get further ahead.

I did slot nicely into a nice chase group of 4-5 people including some people I need to be around for the overall. Coming around to finish the first lap my teammate Zac yells at me that his wheel has burped and he needs a tire. Luckily, I'm slightly ahead of him and I'm able to call out to Mike and hopefully make his wheel change a little quicker. I start to lost the wheel of my group as we climb up the hill. I hate to say this but this is my first year racing cross with a double chainring and I'm slowly learning what gear to be in. So for the first couple laps I'm pushing myself way to hard in my big chain ring up the hill. I guess I'm in the mood for some self flagellation since I'm also going to say I suck at J-hopping anything! I can do it in practice but race day just can't do it.

The one good thing I did do was my tire choice. At the last minute I decided to bring my file treads and with the dry grass and pavement it was a great choice. The one or two corners it may have slowed me down I made up for in the straights. So after I losing touch with my group I was in no man's land with no one in sight behind me and no one with in reach in front of me. I did catch one person but we didn't stay together long as he looked dead.

So I rode the rest of the race completely alone and talking to the spectators as I went by. Well nest week I have states so hopefully things will finally come together.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Blue Sky OR NOT cx

I've had some cold races before, from the snowstorm ruined Hardesty Park race to Boughton farms in 2009. Today's race slots right into 3rd coldest. I arrived at the start and it had already been raining. With temperatures reaching a high of 50 and having the course situated on the lake, I knew it was going to be a cold day. Part of me wanting to turn around and go home, but I knew I had made the hour drive and I'm not a baby so I got ready. Angie was awesome and brought a canopy out to the race, and thank Thor the god of thunder that she did. This became the hangout out place for the team and our sanctuary. I brought the pump sprayer to clean our bikes.

So to the start, after last weeks explosion, I decided to make a more metered start. So off the line I lined up in about fifth wheel and started riding my race from the start. The hope was to ride within my means, pit twice for clean bikes and pick off as many positions as I could. And that's what happened. Truthfully, it was a pretty uneventful race for me. I rode smart stayed rubber side down and picked up the positions I could. I was lucky to have my teammate Angie in the pits after her race came undone to clean my bike and with the help of Micheal Adams do a perfect bike handoff. The one fun thing was reverse heckling with Russell Lee. It was fun to hear him crack up after each of my retorts. Here's a few of them:

Russel- What kind of line is that? (as I took a corner)
Me- It was a decent line!

Russel- Why are you so clean? 
Me- Cause I ride so clean!

The race ended with me in 6th place with no one in sight behind or in front of me, so I was able to semi cruise into the finish. Angie again to help me out and grab my stuff from the pits. She was a huge help and can't thank her enough. The finish puts me at 2nd overall in the series. Overall, I'm really happy and need a nap. So that's what I'm going to do.