Sunday, October 28, 2007

2 X 2 Part 2

Another double-shot X 2 weekend - this time in Richmond.
Raced 35+ and C races @ the muddy Chimborazo Saturday and the same races on Sunday at drier Bryan Park for the Ciclismo race.
Race results
10th 35+ (sounds great, huh, but there were only 12 in my category)
7th or 8th in the C race (out of 23-25)
10th 35+ (woo-hoo, another top 10 - who cares if there were only 12 with one DNF)
8th in the C race (~24 starting)

Due to weather, traffic and wrong directions (damn you google), I made it to the first race with 20 minutes before the start. I had enough time to register, get pinned up and roll to the line. No pre-ride or warmup for me. It was muddy and didn't know what to expect of the course. I almost lost it on the first downhill muddy run and again on the cobble transition after the singletrack. I thought I could take the 1st lap as warmup but there was no rest or recovery on this course. After making it thru the muddy bottom section, you were rewarded with a stair climb only to remount to do another steep climb, 180 turn, then another climb to the top, grassy section. 45 minutes of the bottom section alone was grueling. I managed to stay upright (although it was sketchy at times) and was not DFL.
Cyclochris rode strong and is about to go +1 on me.

The C race, I got a decent start and was 6th for the majority of the race. There was a huge gap between the top 8 riders and the rest of the field after a few laps. Amos flatted right at the pit and threw on my spare front (watch the video). Unfortunately, the brake pads were not correctly setup for the spare and he rode the rest of the race with no front brakes. He lost a few positions messing in the pit but soon caught me and regained his position. On the last lap, I dropped a chain on the singletrack section then ran out of gas on the final climb. I got passed by 2 rider on the last section. Ugh, I hate that.

Photos courtesy of JB. See his full Chimbo gallery here.

Video courtesy of Joe Younkin

Made it up to Bryan Park with 1 hour before the race. Had plenty of time to warmup and preride the course. Fast and flat, big ring style. The grassy section was a bit soggy in the morning but hardened up by the afternoon race.
The master's race was fast. On the first lap pavement section, I had nobody to work with and saw the field rocket away never to be seen again. I was OTB. I hate that.
In the C race, I had a horrible start as I missed my pedal on the clip-in and fell to 15th wheel. I passed a few people on the grassy section then I got on Braden's wheel as we worked together on the fast pavement section to gobble up more spots. I came around the first lap in 9th and held that until I passed one of the NVCV riders on the next lap to finish 8th. I made a feeble attempt to bridge up to Braden but he had about 15 seconds on me the last lap and my legs said NO.

Overall it was another fun weekend of racing and hangin out with teammates and the 757 CX crew. With the family coming back to town in a few days, my weekend long travel adventures will come to an abrupt halt. Next race on the calendar is a few exits away at Trashmore then back to C-ville in December. I may try to sneak in the Reston race inbetween them.

Friday, October 26, 2007

58 Minutes

Since it had been pouring buckets all day, I decided to bring the trainer inside and watch the Hokies.

Got the trainer setup and got the blood pumping with the intro. TURN IT UP!

You all know what happened - 58 minutes of great Hokie football - no need to rehash it on a blog.

I did manage to get a good spin on the trainer to hopefully loosen the legs up for the mudfest this weekend.
Both races in rain-soaked Richmond.

Weekend wrap-up on Monday. Damn you Matt Ryan.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

(Man's)Ass and a Pole

Since the family is out of town, I did not require the mandatory hall pass to travel to this weekend's cross races in Catharpin (Manassas, aka Man's Ass) and Pole Green.
Having grown up just down the road from this area and not having been back to Man's Ass since my childhood days, it was great to see that Catharpin did not end up like the rest of N. VA - overcrowded with suburban houses. It was still horse country protected by the historic battlefields.

Saturday's Recap:
Superior Paving Cross Race in Catharpin was held on a private farm with beautiful rolling hills and surrounded by large oak trees.

The morning dew was still on the grass for the warmup and first race at 10am.

2 of my nephews who came to watch me race. The taller one is 6'4 and only 14 with mean low-post and ball-handling skills.

The course was layed out for a fast race. On the grassy downhill, it was easy to hit in the hi 20s.

The backside after the downhill had some tough climbs.

The top section had some turns, barriers and a "mulch" pit.

The Master's 35+/45+ had a field of a combined almost 30 racers with the majority in the my race (35+). The race started off on pavement and turned onto a grassy section with 2 180 degree turns around large oak trees. 30 bikes trying to manuever around those turns at once was ugly. Then it went to a downhill section to the backside where there were several climbs.
The race quickly spread out with a lead group 5-8. Being my first race over 30 minutes, I started off slowly and tried to pace myself. I was afraid if I redlined too early, it would make for a long suffering race.
I marked several riders infront of me for the majority of the race just keeping their pace but not sitting in. I knew there were several guys on my wheel but until I saw the pics at the end of the race I didn't realize that I pulled 1-2 riders the entire time. One guy even thanked me (lazy bastard).
After 7 laps (6-7 min laps), I get lapped by the lead rider within the last 100 yards of the course. Fortunately, this was his final lap and I got out of riding around the course the extra lap. Meanwhile, one of the guys I was pulling tried to make a move and I held him off on the final stretch to pick up a 12th in the 35+. I think I was 18 or 19th overal (combined 35/45 start).

The C race had about 26 in the field. There were a mixture of bikes ranging from 29'rs, mountain bikes, one full carbon Specialized S-Work with Zipp 303 to the boys from Bike Rack DC on their single speed.

I started off on the back and I think was last going thru the turns to the downhill. I didn't know how my legs would hold up after my first race and figured I could pick off riders as they tired.
The race was uneventful except for my 2 hishaps around the oak trees. The same turn caught me twice, one lap after another. I lost my front wheel to some soft mulch.
From my last place start I ended up passing most of the field during the race to get a 15th. I had plenty of energy left and the race seemed so much shorter than the first that I wished I had gone from the gun to get a better placing. Once again, I pulled around another guy for the final last laps.

It was a great layout and location. It gave me time to spend some time with family and get a home cooked meal (after 8 years of marriage, I forgot how to cook for myself).

Sunday's Recap:
Cobblestone Race at Pole Green Elementary.
Once again I registerd for 2 races today - 35+ and C. Good to see the 757 crew make the drive up. I counted 14 from Tripower, VA Beach Wheelmen, All About Bikes and Coastal Racing.
One again, this was my kind of course. Fast, flat and nothing technical. It had some short and steep climbs that were managed easily with the right line (and a 27 tooth cog for me). Some loose gravely section, long fast, big ring, tailwind aided straight away and the mandatory barriers. The barriers seemed low and widely spaced (that's my excuse for wasting too much energy going too high on the jumps).

Photo courtesy of the Stick Man.

Master's 35+/45+ had about 25 in the field. The race started off fast as expected and I searched for a wheel to pace. I never found one the entire race but managed to keep Marc and Chris in sight.

The race was nothing too eventful except for being lapped by the lead group from both age grades including the dynamic duo of Bill and Tim of Tripower. Luckily Shawn and Amos showed up during the race to hand me a bottle. It was dry and dusty and cottonmouth set in within the first 15 minutes of the 45 minute race.

I ended up with an 11th in the race. I'll take the points.

The C race had 21 in the field and had a teammate Amos to work with. I finally got a good start and managed to keep it throughout the race. I knew this was my last race of the weekend so I was going to try to leave it all out today. Amos and I took turns pulling through the race. With the long fast straight-away, that really helped.

Photo courtesy of Shawn.

With about 3 laps left, I managed to bridge the 2 riders ahead of me - Creed and a PVC rider who I raced with the day before. I sat in for one lap then decided to attack on the straight. My attack just resulted in a fast pull for the other two riders. On the bell lap, the PCV rider attacked on the climbs and pulled away. I sat on Creed's wheel then fell off by 20 meters. At the barriers I decided I would gas it and catch him on the turns but couldn't find my left cleat and lost some time. I ended up finishing by 1/2 bike length at the end for a 7th - my best finish in a cross race so far. Amos was 2 spots behind - great job for his first ever cross race.

Hit the mandatory Lightfoot stop on the way back for some Pierce's Q with Shawn and Amos.

Pic courtesy of Shawn.

Find more pics of the races:
Catharpin Cross
My Picasa Web Album
Gerald Nino (coming soon)
L2R (coming soon)

Same M.O. for this upcoming weekend. 4 races in Richmond for the Chimborazo on Saturday and Ciclismo on Sunday with a Halloween party inbetween. A few weeks off then Tripower's Trashmore Race.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

4 Race Weekend

Saturday @ Paramount Cross in Catharpin:
12th 35+
15th C

Sunday @ Pole Green:
11th 35+
7th C

Too tired to post anything more except a pic.

Yes, I ended up crashing 3 times this weekend.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Urban Cross Report: Mandy and a Broken Candy

Teammate Shawn and I traveled up to beautiful Charlottesville to race the Urban Cross at IX. As we drove 3 hours to race :30 minutes, I mentioned how spoiled we were this past road season with so many races in our backyard. Our longest road trip to race was to Richmond. Now we know how those other racers felt having to travel down congested 64 East practically every other weekend to race.
We got there in time to register and get a good warm up. I chose to set up my trainer and watch the women's race and Shawn took an unplanned tour of Charlottesville.
Prior to warming up and the Women's race, I finally got a chance to get a picture taken with an actual Pro Cyclist (ok, well she's "retired" but still kicked butt in the Women's race).

The women's race ended and we had about 15 minutes before our C race. I took 2 moderate runs around the course to get a feel for the course (which was deceptively long and twisty) and tried to figure out how to handle the off-camber right turn towards the back of the course. It also gave the chance to decide whether to run or ride thru the sand box.

Our race started and got clipped in fast but was blocked by several riders so I didn't bother trying to take a shot at the hole shot going into the first turn. I was about 15 riders back when a guy in about 5th or 6th dumps his bike into the very first turn. I watched as the pack slowed to a crawl while the lead guys took off. I was probably sitting in 10 or 12th spot going thru the first lap.
On the second lap I dropped my chain on a downhill after a run-up.
Ditto for the 3rd lap - same spot.
4th lap was dropped-chain-free but I do remember clipping one of the rocks or cinder blocks with my pedal and found it hard to stay clipped in after that. I look down to see this:

5th lap is where it gets fun. I'm riding solo since the other guys I was pacing with were long gone after my chain issues. I get thru the sand pit and get my best remount of the race as I managed keep my speed up. As I'm heading for a grassy uphill section after a fast pavement section, I hit a "hole" or something at the beginning of the grass and did an endo over my bars. I thought for sure my race was done because I figured with the speed I crashed and hit that hole that my front tire would be tacoed or fork broken. I get up and check for broken bones then spin my front wheel. Still as true as day 1 (props to Ksyrium Elites for holding up). Everything else on the bike was fine so I ran up the rest of the uphill section. I remounted and completed the lap but no before dropping my chain again at the very same downhill spot as before.
At this point I have blood dripping from somewhere on my arm, grass stains and blood stains on my skinsuit which gave the announcer at the sand pit plenty of material to talk about as I rode by him on the next and final lap.
I did manage to pass one guy on the last lap but he had a mechanical and was running the course with his bike. My effort was good enough for 16th. Shawn picked up a 10th while Team Traveler Elliot O'Brien (aka Zebra skinsuit guy from the Casey Crit) won his first cross race he entered using a regular road bike.
It was fun to get out there and race but I need to work on my technical bike handling skills. That (and eating dirt and dropping my chain 3x) is where I lost the most time. Give me fast laps around the mulch trail with some run ups and barriers, I'll do fine but throw in some off-camber turns and tight turns and I slow to a crawl.
A pic of the aftermath.

As far as my injuries, it looked worse that it was. Just a few spots of road/grass rash on the arm and hip.
Today, I dropped my 42t single up front in favor of a 50/36 compact so I can spin more thru turns and make climbing a bit easier. I'm looking for a 46 to replace the 50 but if more races are laid out like Urban Cross, I'll never need to get out of my 36.
Next week is Catharpin (I grew up in Prince William county and never heard of Catharpin - we just called the Manassas area Man's Ass) and then Pole Green on Sunday.
Since this race was located next to a news station, it got
some race coverage.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Urban CX at IX

Bashed Candy and blood on the bike.
Need I say more?

Race report to follow soon.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

No Seagulls Here

Since I won't be doing the Seagull Century with the rest of the Mid-Atlantic cyclists this weekend, I've mapped out my own little metric century in my neck o' woods that I plan to do at some point this holiday weekend.

The Hickory/Pungo Metric