Sunday, November 18, 2012

Surprises, Donuts, and something else.

 Or at least you came for the pretty pictures.

This week has been not a good one for me. I'm on a new medication and one of the side effects is drowsiness. So this week I've been feeling sluggish and tired. I only on the bike twice, once for a 90 minute road ride and then half an hour of skills work. So very low work load on my part. It wasn't like I was feeling good and not going out, I would come home from work exhausted and vege out until I went to bed at a grandfatherly hour. Coming into this weekends race I was very unmotivated, at one point almost talking myself into sitting this one out. I know that I would never live with myself if I did that, and I'm happy that I didn't.

First off the course was amazing. Right now it's my favorite course. It had a ton of elevation, as it was set entirely on the side of a hill. You spent the first half of the lap climbing and I mean you really climbed the entire time, including a long slightly uphill. At the top of the climb there was a nice respite on pavement before the fun began as the second half of the course was a ripping fast twisting downhill. Which in turn suited me well, the climb of course was were I gained a lot of time, but then on the downhill my mountain bike training came back in.

So I lined up on the start with no aspirations. I didn't push hard off the start and was well down the field. I was happy to be the "party section of the mullet." What I didn't expect was how many people I would pass on the uphill. I took the outside, rougher  lane that no one was using. While everyone was slowly fading from the start, only 30 seconds before, I was still strong. I had my way up to 8th or 9th position. By the top of the hill I had slotted in behind my old nemesis Chris Nicula. And I knew at that point it was going to be, as no one says, a barn burner! I always love racing with Chris, we are usually about the same fitness and it's just good clean fun racing. I grabbed his rear wheel and followed him the remaining part of the the hill, passing him on the pavement at the top. I start putting on the gas and getting a small lead. To my dismay I missed a turn, said a few curse words and got back onto his wheel.  I stuck on his wheel and repassed him. From here on out Chris would stick on my wheel and push me hard, which in turn meant I was able to pick off two more positions.

On the third lap I missed my donut hand up, something I missed at the Orrville race. Luckily, we had two more laps to go so on the next lap I finally got my donut hand up. Which could be the worst thing to hand up during a race. They dry up your already parched mouth. Coming into the last lap I knew that it would probably come into a sprint. I knew I was stronger coming up the last incline to the start finish line, but as the course twisted and turned before that I knew I need to make sure he didn't get into my before that last hill. I figured he'd attack on the pavement straight right before the last twisty bit. So as soon as I got on that straight I attacked, keeping him behind me. With that I kept that position and took fifth overall, picking up more points towards the overall. Big thanks to everyone that cheered for me this week. Every part of the course someone was yelling at me.

Finally, have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

I'm thinking of a word that begins with F and U and isn't fun!

Today's race was the Solon cx race. I've had to work hard in a race whether it's something stupid I did or if it was just nasty weather, but I've never had to work so hard over making up ground for stupid mistakes. I've had an up and down season, I've had great results and not so great ones. This one I'm most unhappy about, because everything I did was my own fault and mistakes that I should know better than to have done. From the too low tire pressure, to lining up on the left knowing that it tightens on that side. But we'll get into that in a second.

So the Solon cross race is the same as always, on a property that isn't big enough to hold a cross race, so it's a maze of 100 plus turns, the pinnacle is the pinwheel after the finish line. The pinwheel had it's height about 3 years ago, and it was at numerous races. Over the past two seasons it has been taken out of almost every course but this one. I find them entirely pointless as they don't add anything to the course. The course was such a maze to get anywhere you had to cross the course multiple times. To get from the parking lot to registration you crossed the course in 10 different spots, and five of them where right next to each other. Don't get me wrong Chagrin River Cycling put on a great race, there was a food truck (that ran out of food after 40 minutes) a DJ, and there were cool features and everything ran smooth. I can only imagine what they could do with an actual park! To be clear, I'm not blaming CRC or saying they did a bad job, they put on the best cross race that could be staged in the restrictions they had.

SOOO, back to the racing. Like I said earlier I picked the wrong side to start on (even though I was first to line up and had my choice.) I had a bad start, missing my pedal when I went to click in and got pinched right away. Missed a pedal stroke and moved down the order. I did get to fulfill I life long dream of putting Ian Broadhead into the tape. I'm sure Molly Hurford would be proud of me. After a bad start and putting myself in a bad position I was starting to get frustrated and started charging to the front. Taking every chance to pass I could and taking risks to get back up to the front. This is the one thing I'm happy with. I was able to get through the field being able to see where the holes were and taking them. I've also gotten a lot more comfortable being physical in a race. Being of small stature, I've been reluctant to push and shove, but I'm getting more comfortable putting my shoulder in and not backing off.

After all that work, my tire starts to roll over in the corners. I had taken to much pressure out at the start and didn't factor in the extra forces that race speeds will bring. I wasn't far from the pit, luckily, but to my dismay my pit helper hadn't made it over to the pit after watching the start. So, after a clumsy bike change I was on my pit bike. The one nice thing about this course is that since it does snake around I got to past by the pits numerous times and was able to communicate with Zac what the problem was. So after a lap on the pit bike that turned like a wet fish, I was back on my "A" bike with a higher PSI.

This was were I started cramping worse than I have ever in a race. It was completely unbearable with every bump and every time I got out of the saddle. I wasn't going to give up, so I know the best I could do was ride as hard as I could but give myself a chance to recuperate. All I could think was how bad I was suffering, so that's how I came up with the title of my blog. I don't think I lost any positions but I did lose a lot of time to the riders in front of me. It's the best possible situation though in a state like that. I did start to feel better as the race went on but as there was no one around I cruised in in 9th place.

Not overly happy with my finish. I actually lost places in the overall and now I sit 5th overall. I need to figure out why I'm so up and done with my results. Though, historically I've never done well at a race after time off of the bike. I do much better racing each week. So here's hoping to a better race next week.