Monday, December 15, 2008

Cyclocross Nationals Kansas City, MO

Going into this race I had 2 goals, one was to finish and second was to not be last. Good news I achieved both of those goals.

We got into Kansas City on Friday afternoon around 2, just in time to catch the Masters Womens 30-34 race which Robin Williams of the Mercy Specialized Team was in. Watched he do good in a field of very tough competition, some very fast girls out there. Then stopped by and picked up my registration packet and headed off to the hotel to get settled in before to late so we could get some dinner.

Saturday morning rolled around and we got up early to get some breakfast and get over to the race course so I could do a couple laps before the course was closed. I had changed my cassette due to the fact that I usually spin too much and was thinking that would only hurt me here rather than help me, wish I would have not gone as far as I did with the gearing change, but being 3 hours before my race I didn't want to be working on the bike and risk something go wrong, so I rode with what I had. The course was pretty dry from all the wind we had, the ground was soft though as it had snowed earlier in the week, and all the moisture was still in the ground, plus with temps in the 50's it wasn't quite hard. Did some warm-up on the road, and then some on the trainers they had setup for us to use, then it was time for staging.

Since I was able to register early I got a good spot on the line, second row, of about 6-7 rows deep, but I knew I wasn't going to be up that far for long. The official gave us the 30 second warning, then she was going to blow the whistle when she was ready with no other warning, whistle blows and we are off. Man those guys are fast, I did the best I could to try and stay towards the front going into the first corner after the long road straight, which was a good thing because there was a crash at the back of the field which I was in front of, by this time I was in about 30th place or so, and we started climbing, I was doing my best to try and keep up with anyone who got past me, and did ok with that. The hill just seemed to go on forever, we were doing switchbacks up the hill so it wasn't straight up the hill, but it was very energy robbing with the soft ground. Unfortunately I was second to last by the time we reached the top of the hill, not good, got to the run-up which was and up, then back down, then quickly back up, and most guys chose to run it, but I was able to ride it on all the laps which is good because I suck at running. Got to the bottom of the hill after some good descending on my part and was able to catch back up to a few guys, good not in last anymore.

Next lap I was going as hard as I could, and once again able to reel in a few guys, and we would swap positions back and forth. At the start she said if we were getting lapped she would be pulling guys out of the race, but as long as you did 1/2 the race you would be placed, so that was motivation to go as fast as I could go. By this time I was regretting not changing my cassette back, and really suffering up the hills, I then realized I am a spinner not a masher, and will have to make sure I keep my gearing so it allows me to spin. I have kind of always known that, but that was the true signs of it. Got another good descent and was able to stay with the same group of guys.

3rd lap, and as I was climbing the hill I could hear the announcer say the Andy Jacques-Maynes had just come through the paved section, so I knew it was only a matter of time before getting caught. I just kept plugging away at my pace that I was at, and by the time I got to the top of the hill, Andy wasn't far behind. He would catch me on the downhill, and I let him go by, as he went by he just said keep going and good job, kinda cool if you as me. So I knew I would be getting pulled out, so I tried to stick his wheel and follow him down the hill, but he got ahead on the straight section, and was gone. I had a guy about 15 seconds on front of me, and I was able to close in on him before the lap was over, but I could see them pulling guys off, so I just made sure to keep my position till that point, and got pulled at the bottom of the hill right where the pavement starts.

Finished in 51st place in the Masters 30-34 out of 55 finishers, and 64 starters.

So I competed at the National level, which I was able to take alot of stuff from. One was next year I am going to focus on cross more, and less on the road races. I will do a handful of crits, and do the IMBCS MTB series again, but my season will be planned on doing really well in the fall. This year I had peaked in June and it was all downhill from there, and I don't want that to happen again. My season is now over, I will get on the rollers a couple more times this week, then I will be taking 2 weeks off the bike, then start the 09 season with a roller race in January. Pics will be up sometime.

Video Link

Cross Nationals Master 30-34

Women & Men Elite Nationals

Monday, December 8, 2008

Cyclocross Upgrade

I sent in my request for an upgrade to a Cat 3, and it came back to approved. I know this year is over except for Nationals, but I will be ready for next season. I am hoping to have a better structured training plan so I can peak in the fall for Cross season, and still be competetive in the MTB Series.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Various Jingle Cross pictures

Here are some other people at Jingle Cross, some named, some unknown. Little bit of the 2/3's and Elite races from both days.

JCR day 1 and 2 various other people

Jingle Cross Day 2

Woke up to about 2" of the white stuff one the ground, woohoo cross in the snow. Trying to get everything ready realizing that the roads might be crappy we were thinking we might miss the start of the Juniors Race for Salem, but nope the roads were clear, and we made it with about 40 minutes to spare.

Called up to the line with just a few minutes to go so we could all stay warm, was back on the front row, only issue was the snow was so wet that it would fill your shoes when you got off the bike, not good. Got started pretty good, was in the top 5 or so at the barriers, and then came the run-up, pretty good sized one, not as long as yesterdays, but steeper, and with the conditions it was a task to try and get up it. Once you hit the top you come across the hill for about 100 yards, all off camber, and very slippery, we had guys going down all over the place, I was able to get back on the bike after a little bit and ride some of the hill, but wasn't clipped in. Finally got back in after a stretch of flat ground, but lost a few spots. Into the WhoVille Whirl to get dizzy, then the sand pit which was a traffic jam, then out into the field for a few log crossings, which I found later to be rideable. After the first lap I was sitting in 15th or so.

Second lap I was trying to make up some time on the finishing staright from lap one, and came into the corner way to fast, and down I went, thankfully since it was snow I slid, but still ended up with a little bit of road rash on my knee and hip. Loosing about 5 places there sucked, so now to play catch up. Made it back onto their wheels by the time we hit the hill run up, and once again made my way up that and rode back down the other side, this time not picking up many spots. I knew it would be fastest if I could try and stay clipped in the whole rest of the lap so I didn't loose time trying to get the snow out of my cleats, so rode the logs and was able to stay in the same position as I was the whole lap.

3rd and final lap there was still a group of 3 right in front of me, made it to the hill with them, and a couple of them ran it faster than me, so I went to a realy high line once I got up there and was able to ride basically the whole hill, and able to put some time into them which was very valuable. I finally got clipped back in and could see 2 guys ahead of me. Going into the sand pit there was nobody in front of me so I could fly right through it, and made up some time on the back field. Going into the switchback building I could see the 2 guys right in front of me by one switchback, one guy pushed it too hard coming out of it and went down, but quickly got back up, so I was right on his wheel at this point. Tried to shift into my big ring for the sprint to the finish, but shifting wasn't much of an option, so I ran it through all my gears in the little ring and spun it out for all I had, but just wasn't enough as he got me by 1/2 a bike lenght.

Finished 14th out of 42 today, another good finish. Now 2 weeks off and its off to the National Championships in Kansas City, MO.

Here is the video from Day 2

JCR - day 2 Keith, Jason and Chris

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Jingle Cross Day 1

The last official weekend of Cross in Iowa has been Jingle Cross for the past 5 years, and this is my 3rd year racing it. Now the one thing about it is that it is getting to be a very large event drawing people from all over the Mid-West, so you don't know most of the poeple you are racing, which always keeps it exciting. I was back in as a Cat 4 this year, last year for that, and I registered early to get a good staring position.

I got to staging right on time, and they called up the first 8 guys, well out of that only one showed up, so when I was called I asked if we could fill in the gaps, and she said go right ahead, so I was on the front line, great place to be in a field this large. 56 of us this year that they had on the results.

The started us right on time, and we were off, I was second wheel going down the front stretch, but the guy in front was just riding away from me, so I let him go. I got to the barriers which was quite a ways in this year in 3rd place, and lost a couple more spots on the first climb as it was getting slick from the frost starting to thaw a little bit. Up Mt. Krumpit for the first of 5 times, and running isn't my strong point so I knew I would loose a few spots there. Down the backside and into the field which has a set of corners where you go up the side of a hill a few feet and back down, but there is a ditch there, well it is usually muddy, and this year it was actually solid ice, so you had to make sure to hit it straight on so you didn't go down.

After the first lap I was sitting comfortably in the top 15 or so guys and knew as long as I could keep these guys around I would have a pretty decent finish. Next couple laps were uneventful, until I got to the sand pit on lap 3 I think it was, where I was carring a good amount of speed through it, and ended up having my front wheel wash out on the concrete exit, and down I went. Didn't break anythng on the bike, shifter was bent in slightly, but nothing I had to try and fix right away, so I kept on going, and only lost one spot there.

Final lap I was sitting in a spot where I don't like to be, a couple guys in front of me that I can try and catch, and one guy behind me that I don't want to let catch me. So I was pushing t as much as I could in every spot I could. I got through the sand ok ths time, but after that we went into another building with 6 switchbacks that are very tight, and I entered right behind a guy that flatted, and he wasn't able to go to fast, and with t being so tight I couldn't get around him, so once we got out to where it opened up I was able to pass him, but the 2 guys in front of me were gone, so just had to hold off the guy behind me.

I was able to do that, and ended up taking 13th place for the day. I am hoping that tomorrow brings a similar result as last year where I did better on day 2, but they are calling for 2-4" of snow tonight and tomorrow, so we will see how that plays a factor in all this.

Here is a video from it with both me and Chris Reed from the HBA Team

Jingle Cross Rock day 1 - HBA members Keith and Chris

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Old Towne Vande-Cross

Back down to the Quad Cities for my last race before Jingle Cross. The weather was on the chilly side, high of about 34 with winds out of the North at 15-25mph, not sure what the wind chills were, but it wasn't warm like the last few races. We got there early enough that they were still setting up the course, but since Salem was the first race to go off we wanted to get there with enough time to get him ready and warmed up. Well his race went pretty good other than the fact he had some frozen fingers, time for new gloves, but since there was only 2 Juniors, he took 1st in the 10-14 age group.

Now onto my race, another 3/4 race, and most of the fast guys were there. We started off at a pretty decent pace, not too hard, but hard enough. I tried to hang onto some wheels as long as I could, but by the end of the first lap there was a decent gap and I was in a group of 5 guys. Not knowing how far back we were place wise, I just had a goal of trying to stick with these guys since I have raced against a couple of them before. The next few laps we took turns leading until about 5 laps to go when we dropped 2 of them, so now there was 3 of us left to battle it out. We worked pretty well together for the next couple laps taking turns into the headwind sections, never thought drafting was used in cross that much. This continued for the next 3 laps, and I was feeling pretty good. 2 laps to go and I was out in front, made it cleanly through the barriers and was on my way, got through the next few turns just fine, but came up to a 90 degree right hander and my inside pedal was down and caught the ground, sending my back wheel out sideways and the guy right behind me smashed into it, damn that not good. Didn't even stop for a damage inspection, don't even think either of us put a foot down, just kept going. Good thing I didn't stop because when I checked at the end of the race my wheel was pretty well out of true, damn now need to get that fixed. Final lap and they have about a 10 yard gap on me, and they were able to hold that and slightly increase it before the lap was over, oh well I did what I could.

Ended up taking 13th place in a field of 20+ riders, not sure the exact # but still a decent finish. Looking forward to a couple weeks off from racing and focus on some skills before Jingle Cross.

Old Towne Vande-Cross

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Iowa State Cross Championships

Yesterday found us heading to Altoona to a new venue for cross this year. There has been maps online for the course with changes just this past week, but looking at them and seeing the actual course were slightly different, there was supposed to be a long grinding uphill, which I was somewhat excited about since I have my bike geared down a little lower than most, so I was looking forward to just spinning up it and catching people, but the hill wasn't that long.

To start of off they decided to head to the bottom of the final paved climb since after the parking lot at the top we shoot left onto a gravel section, and they didn't want 34 of us going full speed in a pack at that point. I was in the front row at the start, and when we got the go signal I just took off, first up the hill, and first through the barriers, now I knew I couldn't keep up that kinda pace, so a few guys got past me, and I just let them go and sat in for whatever place I would end up in. I was able to keep with a group of 3 guys for a couple laps, but for the most part I rode the race alone, not knowing what place I was in, and not really caring. Every lap just seemed to fly by as they were long laps, but it was a fast course. I come around with 3 to go, and was just thinking to myself that I hope I don't get lapped. I had no idea where the leaders were, or who they were, I just knew I had to keep going. Now with 2 laps to go, I kinda knew I wasn't getting lapped, but also knew I couldn't give up any as there were a couple guys behind me. One lap to go and I just gave it all I had to try and catch the 2 guys in front of me, I could feel myself closing in on them, but just could never make it up to their wheels. Came across the line without getting lapped which is a good feeling.

I ended up in 15th out of 34 starters, 31 finishers, so again in the top half, now just need a couple more top 10's and I will think about upgrading. All in due time though, I know I can't hang with some of those Cat 3 guys, they are way fast.

Here is a video I threw together

Iowa State Cross Championship

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Spooky Cross Day 2

In the past few years I have had mixed results doing 2 day races back to back. Today started out with checking the weather to see there was a high wind warning, sustained winds of 25-35mph and gusts up to 50 at times. That would play a huge roll in today's race as the section just off the bean field from yesterday was in it again, and right into the headwind.

Got to the starting line earlier today and was able to get a spot on the front row, the ref said go and I was off, actually I holeshotted to the first set of barriers, and was still in the lead going through the first hard left before heading up to the field. I started to loose some spots there, but I knew that would happen, then I could find a place where I was content and ride my own race. The course layout was very different from yesterday, and I would say laps were just over 2 miles long, and instead of dropping down and climbing we had to cross a bridge, which you had to run as the barriers were there, then you did a short climb, then a longer road section, and then drop back into the valley and climb back out of it. They had the 2x4's across the course again, but the hill was rideable. Lap one I had to get off and run as the guy infront of me decided he wasn't going to ride it and I actually ran his foot over, oops. Got back up to the starting area, and could see a couple guys in front of me and behind me, so I couldn't let up, and wasn't sure if I would reel in the others. next couple of laps were about the same, I guess it was lap 3 Ang told me I was in 20th place, and I could now see there was a group of 5 guys in front, so I had to step it up some. I did just that and by the middle of the 4th lap I was right in a group with them, and passed one of them on the climb. I would catch the others right before going into the 5th and final lap. I did manage to catch 3 more of them, but the one guy was able to catch back up and gave it a final big effort to the finish line.

I ended up in 17th place out of 34 guys in the 3/4 race, and I reached one of my goals of not being lapped. Next weekend is the State Championships over in Altoona.

Spooky Cross day 2

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Spooky Cross Day 1

Another weekend of racing, this time back to Des Moines for the first of 2 races at Living History Farms in Urbandale. Another Cat 3/4 race, and usually the Des Moines area races have more people attend than the Quad Cities ones.

This weekend would be no different as there was 37 of us at the line. I was off pre-riding a short section a few minutes before they lined everyone up, so I go a horrible starting position, 2nd to last row, so some work would have to be done to make up ground. The ref says go and the front line moves, but we are still standing there, not good, so I get clipped in as soon as there is movement in front of me. Chris Reed (HBA Racing) was in the row right next to me, so he jumped on my wheel and we were weaving in and out trying to get closer to the front in the first section leading up to the barriers, I think we got into the top 15 or so guys, which would prove to be good going into the next section which was really sloppy mud. At the end of that section was a drop-off to the road, and one guy about 3 spots in front of me must have been leaning forward because his front wheel dug in and he was over the bars. Then it winds down a double track trail and comes to the base of a climb, now there is no real barrier here to make it a run up, there are a few 2x4's they put across the width of it, but it was still rideable, and since I suck at running and this was a pretty long hill I decided to try and climb it. That proved to be very successful for me, and even though I didn't make up much time, I didn't really lose any time either. A couple laps go by, and I am sitting in a good spot with 2 other guys right around me, so I could try and pick them off, or just keep going at the same pace I had been, and see how it pans out. I come around with 2 laps to go and get through the first section, when I hear a cowbell, not knowing if that if from a spectator, or the ref, I glance back when I go by the start/finish line to see that it was down to 1 lap now, which meant I would probably be getting lapped. I just kept pushing it as hard as I could, keeping those same 2 guys in a reasonable distance, and at the top of the climb I got lapped. Now knowing that I was done after that lap I decided to go for it on the last road section leading up to the barriers towards the end, so I get it up in the big ring, fly past one of the guys, and get over the barriers, catch the other guy and never look back.

Came across the line, and waited around to see Chris finish since he didn't get lapped. Go back to the car and get all cleaned up and wonder over to registration to check the results, Chris ended up in 14th, and me in 15th out of 37 riders. Another good showing from the HBA Team this cross season. Tomorrow will bring some cooler temps, and some strong winds, should make for an interesting race.

Spooky Cross day 1

Thursday, October 23, 2008

New Bike Day

Tuesday brought about another new bike day for me. This time it was a cross bike, and man I am excited to race on it this weekend, I rode it Tuesday night on our training ride, and what a difference from the Cross Check.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Devils Cross 10-19-08

This past weekend found us traveling to the Quad Cities for the first in the DICE cross series. This is a new venue for them, and was a great place to have a race, everything you could have wanted, some pavement sections, some uphills, some fast flat sections, and some good off camber stuff. Going into the race I wasn't feeling great, but I decided to try and see how it went, just couldn't get my legs going, and they felt heavy, so I knew I was in trouble there.

We showed up at 9:30 because this was to be our son's first cross race as a Junior. We get him all signed in and head back to get him warmed up and ride the course so he knew where to go. A little on his race, he was racing at the same time as the beginner men, and as a Junior it is 10-18, not realizing there was any other Juniors all he had to do was finish. Turns out there was another Junior, who must be 18, but that's ok. He did 3 laps before getting lapped by the leaders, and ended up doing 4 laps total in just over 30 minutes, did a great job of staying in it the whole time and not letting up, he does need to make sure he drinks more, but that will come with time and learning, and we need to figure out a way to get him to lift his bike easier too, the barriers about killed him. It was great though because all the way around the course people were cheering him on and ringing cow bells, and just being supportive of the little guy out there hanging in with the older guys.

On to my race. Like I said before I knew going into it that today would not be my best performance, but I tried anyways, got to the line, and it was nice to see a team mate there as well, Chris made it out to the race, and although cross is not a team sport, it is nice to see others from the team doing it. We get all lined up, and the ref lets us go, and the race is on, starts off on a long sweeping left on the pavement before shooting off into the grass and the first set of barriers. I get a good start as no one else is really pushing hard, and go into the first section in around 3rd or 4th place, but already I am feeling it in the legs, and was just trying to hold on to a respectable pace. We hit the first run-up and by this time I know I am done for, so I watch about 1/2 the field pass me, and just come to the realization that today is not my day. I was able to finally get into a rhythm about lap 3 and had 2 guys from the DICE team around me, so we were constantly changing positions with each other. Somewhere around this time I get to one section and see that Chris was off his bike and messing with the front brake, I as if he is ok and he says yes so I keep going, come to find out later that he hit a hole and went over the bars, but when his bike hit the ground the front shifter moved down his bars and pulled the brake cable, so he had to get some slack out of it so he could ride. I continue on my way and keep my pace the best I could. Lap 5 Chris catches back up to me, and I get a little boost and try and stick with him, but that was on the run up, and he was gone, at this point I looked down for a second, and somehow went off course, so that cost me about 10 seconds trying to figure out what I had done. I finally got the one DICE guy to break down to the point of I was feeling better on the run up and actually ran it and never saw him again, but the other guy had a decent lead on me and I never was able to regain it. Lap 6 and I can see the 2 leaders closing in on me, so I knew before the end of the lap I would be caught, just when, they got me right after the run up, so it was just time to keep my pace and go to the finish.

Crossed the line in 11th place in the Cat 3/4 race, so with not feeling well I still had a good placing. Next weekend we will be heading to Spooky Cross in Urbandale for 2 days of racing action, and I will have my new bike by then, so hoping for feeling better and a better result.

Devil's Cross

Friday, October 10, 2008

Cyclocross practice

Keith, Chris, John and Jason cyclocross practicing at Thomas park October 2nd.

Cyclocross practice at Thomas Park

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Cross out Crohns

This weeks Cross race found is traveling to Newton, IA. I raced here last year, and was sick the week before, so that result wasn't all that great, so hoping to improve on it.

Got there with plenty of time to walk around and check out the course, the layout was similar to last year as we started on the road, and shot in to a 90 degree left hander that the opening was only about 6 feet wide, so needed to be there up in front, a couple more spots that were tight before the first barriers, and then it opened up some after that.

I get to the line and was talking to the USCF official for a few while others were finishing warming up and rolling to the line, looked back and there was a good turnout, another 20+ in the field, we get the whistle to go, and I was able to get clipped in right away and was in the lead. I was able to continue my lead all the way through the first set of barriers, so that meant no piling up for me. We hit the first climb and I get a few guys going past me, I expected that, so I just got into a rhythm and tried to keep it for the whole race. A couple laps go by, and I was sitting in 9th place and the 2 behind me kept creeping up a little at a time. Now we are almost 25 minutes into the 45 minute race, and they get by me, but I can still see them and they are catchable if I get a good run, or if they begin to slow down. Next lap I was in my big ring on a road section, and when I went to get out of it I dropped my chain, not good, and they were gone. I did all I could to try and catch them quickly, but decided to wait and see if they slowed any, and since there was noone right behind me now, I could take it a little easier, but still try and go pretty hard. With about 40 minutes into it I am gaining on 2 of the guys now, and the leader is gaining on lapping me, so I just keep going along, get lapped, and try and catch up to the guy in front of me, about 1/2 way through that lap I catch and pass him, and never look back. Final lap now and I can see the guy right infornt of me, but I am not able to close the gap before the end, I think if we had one more lap I could have caught him.

We wait around for a little, talk to some people and watch the 1-2-3 race take off, and then realize results were up, go and check them and I got 10th place in the Cat 4 race. So now I have broken into the top 10 in a race, now to try for a top 5 spot. I have a weekend off, and then down to the Quad Cities on the 19th.

Cross out Crohns

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Capitol City Cross 9-28-08

First cross race of the season, and many more to come. I learned that maybe doing a MTB race the day before might not have been the best idea, but we would see how that played out.

The park is in downtown Des Moines, and there is a decent size hill that would be a factor in the course, as a run up. Got there about 2 hours before my start, got to check out the course, watch some other guys race, and then got dressed. It was a chilly morning as the fog hadn't lifted yet, but was very humid, I did a pre ride of 2 laps with my base layer on, and dropped that before starting. I got in the front row of the start, and looked back to see what seemed like a sea of people, 28 of us to start. The start wasn't the most ideal as we just went about 50 yards, took a hard left and started climbing towards the barriers for the run up, so it really didn't seperate the field to much. I was still in the front 3 or so at the top of the climb, and lost a couple more spots before the end of teh lap, but I finally settld into a groove that I could go at one pace, and I wasn't loosing any more spots, but wasn't gaining any eiethr.

Me and another guy rode for quite a few laps together switch spots back and forth, until he finally pulled away slowly as I started feeling fatigued from the race the day before. So now I could see him one corner or so ahead of me, but could never make it back onto his wheel. With 5 laps to go I got lapped by the 1st place guy, and then the next lap I got lapped by a few more guys, and by the end of the race I think the top 6 guys had all lapped me, and most of the rest of the field.

Came across the line in 11th place out of 26 finishers, so not a bad showing for my first cross race of the year, now next week will be just a single race weekend, so hoping for a better result there, pictures for this race will be up soon as well....

Capital City Cross

Manawa Mayhem 9-27-08

Yesterday brought the conclusion of the 2008 IMBCS Series in Council Bluffs, and what a way to end the series.

We headed down Friday night and stayed at a hotel since it is almost a 5 hour drive and that wouldn't have been fun race day morning. Got to the park with plenty of time to spare, so we walked a couple of the trails just to get an idea of what the terrain was like, we got about 1/2 mile into the woods, and it was some nice singletrack, well packed, smooth and flat. Perfect recipe for some fast racing. I go and start getting warmed up and find a neat place for some picture taking, so I tell Ang and the kids where to head to, and I went and headed for the starting line. The start was a bit sketchy as they had us about 1/4 mile up a paved road and shoot right into the singletrack, but going from the pavement to the grass was a few 4x4 pieces of wood sticking out of the ground, basically so you can't drive on the grass, and we had to go in between 3 of them to get on the trail, thankfully no one hit one. Get into the woods in second place, and I have a guy come around me at one section where it opened up a bit, ok I am sitting in 3rd, no biggie. We hit the short little hill and the guy in 1st place breaks his chain, ouch 1/2 mile in and you are done, so that puts me into second now and I am with one of the local guys. I am a better technical rider than he is, so I was able to keep on his wheel in all the log crossing sections and tight stuff, but when it opened up he was gone, so basically a game out cat and mouse so to speak. We come around at the end of lap one, and I am n second a few seconds behind him.

2nd lap, I am still right behind him, and catching him where I am doing better than hm, and for a little bit I was in front of him, but he would get me on the fast open stuff, we get about 3/4 of the way through that lap, and there is a course marshal saying there is a guy hurt, and they are stopping the race, and will restart, so find a way back to the start, so we get a group of us and head back up to the levee and make our way to the parking lot. By this time the guy is out of the woods and into the ambulance, and they are trying to figure out how to restart the race. They decided to take your placing from the first lap, and set us off in that order, giving the appropriate time gaps to make it fair, so after sitting around for 20 minutes or so, and having to go again, my legs weren't to happy about that, and I couldn't quite make it back up to the guy in front of me.

3rd and final lap, I can see him in a few spots, but can never bridge the gap to him, and now I can see guys behind me, so no looking back, just need to go for it. I was clearing all the log crossings well, and trying to push to hard in some spots that might have cost me some seconds due to having to slow down into the corners more since I was going faster into them. I get to the end of the lap, maybe a mile to go, and can hear people coming maybe one section behind me, and now adrenaline has taken over completely at that point, and I just hammer to the line.

Came across in 2nd Place for the Sport Open which got me a medal, and also secured my position as winner of the IMBCS Points Series for the Sport Open. Not sure when they do the awards for that, but I will update when they do. We got some decent pictures, and they will be up soon...


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sugar Bottom Scramble 9-21-08

Another one of those races that I have wanted to do, but the calendar never allowed for it, but not this year. I have been looking forward to this one since it is the most local race we have, and I can ride the trails beforehand. I was able to get on them twice this week, and had a good feel for them.

Got there nice and early for both a decent parking spot, and look for some places to take some good pictures. Ran into a couple of the other HBA guys, one of which is doing the Expert race, and start to do some warming up as we take off just after noon. Got all warmed up and head to staging. The released us in waves, starting with the Expert men, the women, singlespeed, collegiate, and finally us. I am in the second row, and look back to see a very large field, I guess there were 53 of us altogether including the 3 women, biggest turnout this year, so I know getting into the woods first is important. He gives us the count and we are off, I am right behind the 2 other HBA guys that I wanted to be with as they are both strong on the road, I believe a Cat 3 and a Cat 2. We get into the woods in the top 10, and there are a couple of gaps starting to form early on both in front and behind, so I keep pushing trying to keep it close. By the time we get through the lower side of the course, Karl is gone, and me and Chris are riding together. We keep it that we for quite sometime and swap positions back and forth, coming into "Cyclocross Hill" I know there is no need to try and ride it, so I plan to get off and run it, which worked out well for me because it proved to be faster than the few guys I saw trying to ride it. Get through lap one with Chris about 15 second behind me, and he is with a couple of guys.

Lap 2 starts with me making it into the woods with that same gap, only I am catching up to some of the collegiate guys that are doing 3 laps, so they aren't going quite as hard to conserve energy. I am at a spot where I am not able to get around them, so I have to wait, well at that time the gap behind me closes, and I have Chris and another guy on my wheel. The trail opens up and I get around them, as do the others behind me, which is good, but now there are 3 of us in the Sport race all together again. The one guy gets behind me and I am just maintaining a pace that is comfortable to go at, and not loose anymore time, Chris is right behind me now, and he is my motivation to keep going hard. We got to a spot where my wife was taking pictures, and Chris needed some water, well she had some for him so he stopped to fill up real quick, didn't loose much time there, and 2 sections later he was back on my wheel. We get back to the gravel road, and head to the upper section of the course, after passing one of the Expert women and a singlespeed rider. The two of us keep on working until we hit one section and I look back and see Robin, the Expert woman, and no Chris, I get to the top of that trail and it is basically 100 feet from where you go in, and Chris is running towards me needing a tube, so he grabs that out of my camelback, and I am able to get back going without loosing any spots. I get to the bottom of the downhill, and it is back to "Cyclocross Hill" again, this time there is a bigger crowd, and once again I get off and run it, apparently the crowd isn't a huge fan of that one, but oh well, no need to kill myself or break my bike over a couple seconds. I get to the last field section and put it back into the big ring and never look back, cross the line in 11th place overall, and 7th in the Sport Open. So we will have to see what that does for the Series Standing, and if I head to Council Bluffs or not next weekend.

From the HBA Team, Karl placed 4th overall and 1st in the Masters 35+ and Chris was in 23rd after his mechanical.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

24 Hours of Seven Oaks

This is one of those things I have always wanted to do since I first heard about such a race. I will have to say that even though being very tired from lack of sleep, and going as hard as I could when I had to ride, it was definitely the most fun I have even had on my bike.

First our team, there was Tom who is a Cat 5 road racer, but a very strong MTBer, Carson a Cat 3 road racer, and this was his first MTB race, and first time he would be riding at night, Chris another Cat 3 road racer and a top 5 sport racer in the MTB world, and then me, been racing MTB for the past 17 years.

The course is an 8 mile lap with probably close to 1200 feet of climbing per lap, not sure the actual numbers, but that is what I have heard. Mostly all singletrack with alot of off camber switch backs both up hill and down.

This race starts off with having to run to your bike, the past few years they had you run through the camping area, and to your bikes at the start of the singletrack, well they found out that caused bottlenecking in that first section, so this year it was a shorter run, and a long ride up almost a mile long gravel road. I was chosen to lead off for us since I have the most mountain biking experience of the 4 of us, and since running isn't my high point i was happy to see a short run, maybe 75 yards. I got to my bike, did some cyclocrossing and jumped on and went, once on the gravel climb, I was able to pick off a couple guys, and entered the woods section at the top in the top 10, and was able to hold that position for the 1st lap. I turned in a 50 minute lap time for the 1st lap not including the extra starting area, and that would set the tone for the rest of the race as we knew what kind of lap times were possible, and something to shoot for. The other guys set out on their laps, and we were all in about the same range of lap times, which meant if we could keep that up we would reach our goal of 24 laps.

Second time out was just my best lap, I was able to clear the entire course without having to put a foot down anywhere, and I turned another lap right around the 50 minute mark. There was a mandatory rule that if you start a lap after 7 pm you have to have your lights installed, not on, but you have to be ready incase it gets dark, and since my turn was coming up right around that time I installed them and was ready. Thankfully I didn't need them as I was able to get back to the bottom of the hill before dark. I tried laying down at that point to rest before heading out on my first dark lap sometime around 11. My turn came up right about that time, maybe a little before 11, and I have ridden in the dark before, but it has been a long time. My new light was nice, but since it was mounted on my handlebar, and my older light was on my helmet and wasn't quite as bright I had a hard time seeing somethings. I got back to camp with a lap time a bit slower than my day times, but still under an hour. We talked about how to ride the night laps, and decided to do 2 at night, but switch it with another guy so you ride one, take a 45 minute or so break and then back out so the other guys can get 3 hours or so of sleep, so I get back and have to try and stay awake for my next ride. Tom was who I would be doing laps with, and he was like myself a little slower at night. I head out for what I was hoping to be my last night lap as I knew my old light would only last about 1 and 1/2 hours, and even though there was a place to recharge the lights, 45 minutes on a charger wouldn't get me much. I lost my helmet light about 1/2 way through my second night lap, so that would slow things down quite a bit, and it proved to be as that lap time was just over an hour, and I was having a hard time turning the pedals over on some of the climbs. I was happy when I came out of the last section of woods, and knew I had about 5 minutes till I could get off the bike and get some sleep. And sleep is what I did, set my alarm for about 3 hours from the time I laid down figuring that would give me enough time to get back up and ride again. I rolled out of bed around 6 when Chris started his lap, and got dressed and ready for my next lap. I didn't really eat anything before going out again, and I was regretting that decision about 1/2 way through that lap, but I knew back at camp there was to be some pancakes and bacon, so that kept me rolling. I got back just before 8, and knew that I would probably have to ride again if everyone kept the same lap times. Around 9:30 the team that was winning came around to see if the top 5 team just wanted to call a truce and stop riding after the lap we were on, we thought about it, and knew that we were a lap behind 3rd place, but only about 40 minutes infront of 5th place, so we told them we were going to keep pushing on. Chris started his lap just before 10, so I knew at that point I would have to go again, but I was able to have 4 pancakes, 6 pieces of bacon, and a cup of coffee, so I was ready to go. Chris came out of the woods at just before 10:45, so I knew I had just over an hour to do this lap incase I wasn't feeling it I could try and soft pedal some sections if need be and still have a good lap time as we had to finish the lap before noon. I was feeling pretty good, and just taking it one corner at a time, and one hill at a time. I came across the line with about 20 miutes or so to spare, and was pleased with the fact that I was able to start the race strong, and finish the race strong as well.

Overall I figure I rode just under 60 miles in a 24 hour time frame as I did 7 laps, and everyone else was able to get 6 in, so that put us at 25 laps, one lap more than our goal. I think we put together a very good team that was able to ride about the same pace for the entire time, and hopefully next year we can do it again and maybe break into the top 3. Now it is off to get some sleep, pictures from the race will be up probably tomorrow sometime.

24 Hours of Seven Oaks

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Iowa State Criterium Championships

Yesterday found us in Pella for the final road race of the season, the State Crit. The HBA Team had a total of 9 guys in 5 different races with 3 of the guys doing multiple races. Noteables, Chris Eastburn, 2nd Place Masters 50+ and 3rd Place Masters 40+, Carl Rosenberg, 3rd Place Cat 3 and Mac 2nd Place Juniors 15-18, so a good showing for the team.

Now onto the race, this was to be my first actual Cat 4 race with a good size field and some pretty big teams. Got on the line and was in the front row, looking back I could see 30+ racers in the group, and had only one other teammate in the bunch which was Mac. We talked that we would try and stick together in the top ten or so if we could to try and stay in the front and hope for a good placing. Well this was not a typical lenght crit, it was 35 laps for a total of 21 miles, mainly they do that so it will qualify for upgrade point since the USCF has guildlines for that. We get rolling and I am sitting about 7th or 8th wheel, right where I need to be, now I expected it to be fast, but not as fast as we were going. I was planning on just sitting in and going, but for some stupid reason, maybe inexperience, we slowed down on the climb on about lap 6 or so, and I took off to the front, hoping to take a few guys and maybe get a break, but that wasn't going to happen because we never got away, and by the time we hit the next lap coming up the hill I was shot, yeah and 29 more times around. I got shot off the back quickly and could never recover, so I just got it to a comfortable pace that I could handle and basically rode a time trial for as long as I could. Some laps later I got lapped, and noticed Mac was on the back of the pack, so I jumped on in front of him trying to help him get back with the group, well little did I know he was lapped as well. We worked for the next couple laps and a few more after that, lapped again, tried to get back on, but had nothing left. This time I picked up another rider and we worked for quite a bit as well. 5 laps to go and I would get lapped for a 3rd time. The nice thing about this course is there was no need to pull guys, so I was able to finish the race, one lap to go and I can see Mac going in the first turn, so I got on it and bridged up to him just to help him finish, and so the HBA guys could come across together. We both finished, not sure what place, but like I said we were so far behind it didn't matter. I was able to learn alot about racing in the 4's, and that my training for next year will be focused on doing shorter harder efforts, and how to recover quickly.

Results now posted, and I came in 19th Place out of 30 riders.

Up next is the 24 Hour MTB Race down in Boone next weekend, 4 man team, hoping that will be a great time, then 3 more MTB races and Cross season .

Thursday, August 21, 2008

8-19 Last Night at the Oval

Tuesday brought the last race at Hawkeye Downs for the year, which had a great turnout, and a pizza party afterwards. Once again I was up in the A Race, just trying to keep on some wheels and learn as we went about racing at high speeds in a pack setting.

First Race was a 10 lap scratch race, lots of attacks from the start, and I did a pretty good job of grabbing the right wheel when they went. With 2 laps to go Mac (HBA Junior) took off and the pack just let him go, I thought of going with him which it turns out I should have because he held a decent gap for over a lap, and having a second person would have been helpful to pull through the headwind on the front stretch. Well about 1/2 a lap to go and we were closing in on him fast, and he was caught right before the final turn, and it was a pack sprint from there, I came across the line in 9th.

Second Race was a 15 lap points race, every 3 laps you sprint for points, well again the attacks started right away, but nothing really stuck so the first few were just beating up the others with no real gains. One the 3rd sprint I was sitting 5th wheel, and decided to just go for it, well I got up out of the saddle and went only taking one other guy with me, and we almost held it all the way to the line, I came on 4th on that sprint which gave me one point, which all I wanted in an A Race. After that my legs were dead so I just settled in for my own pace trying to keep a high enough speed as to not get lapped, and that worked, but I was so shot after that one. Again a 9th place finish.

3rd Race was a 6 lap scratch race, so basically a 3 mile effort with multiple attacks and fighting for position. By the time we came around on the final lap I was feeling decent, and had a go for the sprint, ended up in 8th place this time.

Final race as it was getting dark was a win and out, so whoever crosses the line first pulls out. One guy takes a flier right off the start and tries to hold off the field, but that wasn't going to happen, and he was caught on the last corner and shot off the back. I knew I had no chance of winning any of the laps, so I just sat in and held onto the pack as to not get dropped and figured I would wait for the final sprint on lap 6. There was 6 of us left and I was the 3rd of them to come across the line, so once again an 8th place finish.

Overall it was a good year at the Oval, I have learned alot that can be applied in crits, and my pack riding skills have greatly improved. Looking forward to doing it all again in the spring, for now though there is teh State Crit this weekend, then 4 more MTB races, and the start of a couple month Cross season.

Monday, August 11, 2008


Lake Ahquabi just south of Indianola, out by Des Moines. We got there with plenty of time to do a lap to get a feel for the course. Rick showed up right after we did, so after getting registered, we headed out for a lap. The whole course was double track, with 4 decent climbs, including one that had railrod ties to help with water run off. Felt pretty good on teh pre-ride, most of the course could be done in the big ring, so that was how I was going to race it.

First lap, I hole-shotted again and was first into the woods, most of the other courses that was important so you don't get stuck in a pile-up in the single track, but today was different, so I really didn't need to, but still did. Within the first mile a few guys got past me as I sat in to a pace that I could hold for the duration of the ride. Got through lap one with no problems, except a missed feed zone again, which they met me at another spot where I could grab the bottle.

Second lap, I was able to catch up to a couple guys, and ride pretty much with them, and even caught our first expert rider who went out 5 minutes before us. I did something wrong at some point because the other guys took off and I could never regain any ground on them. I got my feed zone that time too, so all was good.

Third lap I was totally in a zone just turning the pedals over at a constant pace trying to not lose any ground, but wasn't gaining any either. I could see a couple guys behind me at one point but just kept going. I caught another expert about 1/2 way through this lap. I somehow though made a wrong turn, and realized it about 20 second late, which allowed the other 2 guys to catch up to me, so now it was all out to try and reel them back in. I got back on the one guys wheel, and he asked if I was taking a shortcut, and I told him no I missed the corner. Passed him right before the railroad tie climb, and got on the other guys wheel going up the climb, well he was spinning away in the granny gear, and I only have 2 front chainrings, so no real granny gear to speak of, so I had to try and pace intil I could pass, got almost to the top and could go around him, and never looked back. A couple more ups and downs, then a big down to the finish, which had a nice drop off from the parking lot to the line, and I decided to jump it since it was over anyways. There will be pics of that I am sure sometime soon.

I did finish in 5th Place for the Sport Open, which keeps me in the lead for now, but 2nd place in the series is closing in on me, so time will tell how that plays out.

Here are pictures, they include a bunch of other people.

IMBCS #7 Indianola

Night at the Oval 8-5-08

This was to be my 1st Oval that I raced in the A Race, I knew going int oit that there was no chance of winning since we have quite a few strong Cat 3's and such that were there. I set a goal of not getting lapped in any of the races, so that was obtainable.

First race a a 10 lap scratch race, and right from the go there were some atacks, and I was just trying to cover them so I didn't get shot off the back, but the speed and power that these guys have is incredible, so I was in the 2nd group. At one point I thought I could bridge across, and came up about 10 seconds short, and knew it wasn't going to happen, so I sat up and waited for the next group to catch me again. Sat in and tried to recover, and decided to just wait for the final sprint. Well that is still not a strong point for me, but I did come across the line in 11th place out of 13, so not last.

Second race was a 15 lap points race, and I knew that with only points going to the top 4 every three laps I would have to hope for a good finish. Even though I wasn't sprinting for anything I had to go all out just to be able to stay with the group while they sprinted. That went on like that intil the final lap which I was toast by then and came across in 12th place.

Third was an 8 lap scratch race, and I did better here. Made sure to keep an eye on the right guys, and even threw in an attack myself, but that didn't get me anywhere, but I did come across in 19th place that time.

Then there was 2 spiral of death races, basically one lap on the 1/2 mile track, one on the 1/4 mile track and then one on the 1/8 mile track, well I was so out of it by then that I would just settle for finishing, got 12th in the 1st one, then we went the opposite direction, and I got 11th in that one.

Overall a good learning experience of covering the right attacks, and when to go and when not to, so hopefully that will pay off when we go back on the 19th for the final Oval of the year.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Ang takes the blame!

(This is Angy writing...I'm posting this over here because it's more related to Keith's biking than my blog and our family life.)

Alright, so I feel really really bad about what happened to Keith on Sunday at the MTB race. I know I had nothing to do with his double flatting, but I had a big to do with his dehydration and serious cramping afterwards! The plan was to meet him at the top of the ski hill for the feed zone, but I got totally distracted when I first saw him in the woods with a flat tire. I ran to the finish line to see if he wanted to keep going or what. After he decided to keep going, there wasn't enough time to run over to the ski hill to give him the new bottle. I did run down the road to see him again, but he was so far away and couldn't hear me, and even then I was only cheering him on, didn't realize I still had his bottle in my hands. After he disappeared into the woods there was no way to find him again. The poor guy filled up his bottle from the creek to get some water! And then he did find a spectator out in the woods somewhere who had a little bit of water on him. Thank you to him for sharing!! By the time I saw Keith again it was only a very short distance to the finish. I gave him his bottle, but it was too late the damage was done, and he had it downed by the finish line. It took him forever to finish the race, and I know the double flats caused the most problems, but if he had more energy (aka bottle) he would have been able to go a bit more. Sitting at the finish line he got cold sweats and drank probably 3 more bottle of water. We walked back to the car and then the cramp set in. His calf muscle cramped up so bad! Luckily it didn't happen in the woods. Glad I was able to help ease it by a massage, but still wasn't pretty! So from now on, water is the first priority!!! Pictures and everything else comes afterwards! Also I'm going to remember to carry extra water with me in case I run into a biker out there who needs it. Let's hope we never have another race like this one!! Well, he did finish, so that's pretty hardcore of him!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Seven Oaks MTB Race (my HTFU moment)

Another weekend of many coming up of mountain bike racing, this one will hopefully be the one to get all my problems out and I can get back to some good racing. For those of you not in the loop, last year before cross season Ang got me a wristband that Team CSC used in the tour, that read Harden The F@*k Up (HTFU). All last season and this season I have been wearing it at races and it gives my that little motivation I need to make sure I always finish no matter what, (well unless I get pulled).

So this weeks story is my example of that. Got there early as a friend of mine was doing the beginner race and we went to watch him and cheer him on. He finished 2nd place! When they got done I had just over an hour till my start, so I went out to do some of the course. Once again I went farther than I wanted to and had to try and find a way back to the start so I didn't miss that. Got there with plenty of time to spare this week! Start was about a 1/2 mile gravel road to try and break up the group since there was about 30 or so of us. Got into the woods in about 5th place siting really good, and just start going at my own pace once I get into the single track, well about 2 miles in I notice my rear tire is feeling a little soft, crap a flat, and of course I don't have any way to repair it (don't carry any), so I decided to just continue on and see how it goes. Well the course is basically just a set of switchbacks up and then down the side of a few different larger hills, so a lot of elevation change on the course, I had heard something like 1800 feet per lap, but that seems a little high, but might be close for the 8 mile loop. So now it is decision time, do I try and continue on one good tire, and one that I can still go up and down just fine, but any side hill stuff just isn't going to happen to easily. I decide to see how long it takes to complete that lap and how many places I loose before the finish line. I lost maybe 5 places in the next 6 miles, and knew there were more out there, so I then decided to keep going. I make it up to Ang and the boys, and she sees the flat and asks if I was done, and said no, I will try and keep going, she says I am nuts, and I go on my way. As I cross the start finish line there were some people around and Ang made it over there, and they all comment about the tire, and she says that I am leading the points series, so I was going to at least try and continue.

Lap 2, I somehow missed the kids and my feed zone, so I was still only on my 1st bottle, and it was getting low quickly. I get almost to the same spot as last lap, and realize that I now have a flat in the front as well. So this is my HTFU moment! I decide I am no where that I can get out since I don't know the trails, and I was going to continue on 2 flat tires now. I had another guy pass me, and he commented on it as well, but I just kept going. I get about a mile, and have no control over the front end of my bike, and now I see the tire has actually began to come off the rim, so I stop, take the tire off, and throw it on my back, and ride with just the rim. I know it will probably damage the rim, but that is a chance I am willing to take. Another guy that also passed me said I made him feel really bad since he had a fully functional bike and I was almost beating him with 2 flats, was hurting pretty bad, and I could always see him in front of me, but could never catch him. I did finally pass him about 2 miles from the end, and never saw him again. Since I had missed the feed zone I came up to a guy taking pictures, and asked if he had some water, he had just a little bit, but that was enough to keep me from cramping, and make it to the finish. I see Ang in the woods about 5 minutes away from the end, (well with a good working bike, longer with my flats) and she had my other bottle, so I grabbed that and she made some comment to me, I just kept going. She runs over to the finish, grabs Rick (our friend) and says he needs to see how I am coming across the line, he thinks two flats, and she says, well yeah, but he is just riding the rim on the front. I came across the line almost 2 and 1/2 hours after starting my 16 mile death march, completely exhausted, but I finished, and that was all I wanted. I got some props from just about everyone there at the end, and I am sure they all thought I was nuts, but like I said, I was never going to quit. Believe it or not, the front rims is perfectly true, and I didn't see any major dents in it, the rear I haven't closely inspected, but will do that soon and see the damages. I think what kept the front from any major damage is the fact that it is full of mud and sand, so it made it pretty solid.

So all in all it was a good day, I got some good cyclocross training in with having to run up most of the hills, and I finished. Ended up taking 6th place in the Sport Open category and got some more points to increase my lead in the IMBCS Series. There were so many people that dropped out due to flats it was insane, most I have ever seen at a race.

IMBCS #6 Boone

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Thanks Jason Road Race

I was asked Thursday night on the group ride if I was going to make it to the road race this weekend, not knowing anything about it I told them I would see what we had going on and I would try and be there. After thinking about it for a day I decided I would go for it and see if I could help the team out, as I knew I had no chance of winning. It is a smaller race, so you usually get less than 20 people show up, and all categories go at the same time. While we were warming up a plan was made to try and cover all the attacks with the lower Cat guys so when we got closer to the finish the higher Cat guys could have a chance at the win. We start off at a pretty mellow pace, about 2 miles in a few attacks go off the front, but nothing sticks, I get off the front and cover as much as I can. We all regroup and an attck goes off with about 6 or so guy, 3 of them being HBA guys, I was going to go with them, but Carson said not to worry about it, and just sit in with this other group. So now we are the second group on the road, all is going well until Carson launchs an attack that I just couldn't hold onto and I was shot off the back. I did all I could to get back on the group, but never was able to get with them, we hit the turn around point and I knew there was no way to get back on, I tried, but after a mile or so I decided it was pointless. I did have 2 people behind me, so after being alone for 5 miles I knew it would be easier with another person to share the work, so I slowed a little to let the next guy catch me. The next 7 or so miles we took turns working together to make it to the end, and we were getting towards the finish line, and he takes off for I, so I tuck in behind him and just sit there waiting for him to burn out before the line, or be able to jump when need be. Turns out he went too early and I could see the line, so I get out of the saddle and go for it, and by then he had wasted all he had, so it was a pretty easy finish for me. Not sure what place I ended up in, but HBA took 1,2,3, and 5 so it was a very good showing for the team.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

7-13-08 FORC Side Thrill Ride

The 3rd Race in the IMBCS Series was being held at Sunderbrunch Park in Davenport, only problem is I was supposed to be leaving for NY on Sunday, hmm I will do the race and then just drive from there, yeah that works. Get there after the beginner race started, so no pre-riding the course now, no biggie, got registered and walked up the first hill t take a peek at the course. Didn't get to see much, so I would wait and try to get a lap in before the start. Get into my preride at about 11:20, and the course is just over 5 miles long, so I am off at just about race pace just to see as much as I could of the course and after a few miles I realize it doesn't ever come back out to the paved section that you can just cruise back to the start, so I finally see course marshalls coming out and ask one of them where to get out. Find my way out and get to the start line with 10 minutes to go.

The 1st lap they have you go up the paved trail so we get a little more spread out before shooting into the singletrack, which about 99% of the course was, I am on the second row of about 30 plus guys including the single speeders, which start with us but are scored separately. She blows the whistle and we are off, I get clipped in and am about 5th wheel going up the hill with 2 guys behind me, and by the time we hit the top of the paved section we have maybe a 5 second gap, first 3/4 mile is all big ring-able and I am sitting in a good position. We drop down into the creek crossing and then shoot uphill, one guy spins out and I have to jump off to get around him, do a little cyclocrossing run by 3 guys and jump back on and keep going. When we get around to the point where you can see the creek crossing again I look over and the last 10 or so guys are basically stopped waiting, good thing I was up front. The rest of the lap was me and 4 other guys riding pretty closely together and I cam across onto the next lap in 2nd or 3rd place.

2nd lap I am into a groove now and am just turning the pedals over at a constant pace to keep my position. About mile 2 I hit a tree with my shoulder, and could feel that it was pretty messed up, but never stopped to look at it just kept going. Got passed by a couple guys, and at the 1/2 way point I had hit the wall, and lost my rhythm, damn need to focus, a few more trees bounced off with my shoulder, elbow, hips and head I got back into it, but I have no one in sight either in front of or behind me, so just kept it going. I did get up to another guy, got by him, but on one section I wasn't pay attention, and went off course, grabbed a tree and let him go by me, but when I tried going again I fell farther into the woods and off my bike, so that sucked. Got back out of the woods and realized I needed to drink more as that wasn't really an option on this course so I was forcing my self to drink.

3rd and final lap I grabbed a bottle from the feed zone and was gonna make an effort to drink as much as I could on that lap, got to the top of the first climb where we cross the paved trail, grab a drink, and drop my bottle, crap, I grab both brakes and damn near endo, get my bottle picked up and a guy catches me, and I am thinking crap, but he is on a SS so I am all good, I get going again and get back up to him before the creek crossing and actually am in front of him for a little while. The rest of the lap we went back an forth being at the front, and that worked well giving me just enough motivation to keep pushing. Get to the back section of the course, maybe a mile to go, and we start to catch a few guys, sweet, so in the next 1/2 mile I am able to pick up 2 more spots. Get to the last section and just let it go to the finish, downhill for the most part, and it is a section you can flow pretty well. Come out of the woods and take a right turn back a across the bridge to the finish line, coast across the line in 1hour 35 minutes for the 16 mile race.

Waiting around for results because I knew I was top 10, but not sure just where, results get posted and I took 5th place in the Sport Open, and 2nd place Sport Men 30-39. So now wait around to see if I win anything, they do awards and I got a medal for my 2nd place Men 30-39. Leave from there at about 3:30 and now have a 16 hour drive to NY, wasn't gonna make it for that day, but all is good, we are in NY now, and will try and get some good climbing in while we are here. Will be back in a a week, pics will be up maybe tonight or tomorrow.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

State Team Time Trial

I was approached by one of the guys from the HBA (Hawkeye Bike Association) Race Team about joining them on their B team for this years Time Trial, after giving it some thought I figured it would be fun to try. The course is 3 laps at 19.33 miles each lap for a total of just under 58 miles, and not really much for climbing. Winds were out of the south making the 2nd to last leg of the course very slow going. Since the team was just thrown together a week before, we didn't have any time to get together and practice, so we did a little warm-up to get things sorted out as far as pulling off and keeping a pretty solid paceline. We were the 14th team to go so we get to the line and get our countdown and we were off, all was going well until we headed down to the first corner and Jason ended up hitting the rumble strips which knocked his fork mount part of his computer off and into his front wheel, not the way to start off the race, so we slowed down so he could stop and fix it, and we were off again. We had a really good rhythm going through the first lap and came around with an average speed of about 23 mph, a little slower than I think we were shooting for, but we could make it work. Got a couple bottles from the feed zone and we were back in action, on the tailwind section we were going good, until Mack, our junior rider was hurting and couldn't get his heartrate back down, so he decided to let us go on without him, and come to find out he turned around and finally got everything sorted out with his heartrate, which kinda hurt us some because you only need 3 to finish and your time is based of the 3rd person to finish. At about mile 35 I cracked hard and slowed alot, which meant the other guys had to wait for me because we needed to finish all together, I went and sat on for the next couple miles to recover. We all decided we weren't drinking enough so we would go into the feed zone again, so before we got there I threw my 2 bottles where the boys were sitting, and see my wife holding up 2 bottles for me, not wanting to stop I had to do a 2 handed grab at about 15 mph, which I was able to get both bottles, and stay upright, according to my wife I got some props from the people standing around for being able to grab 2 bottles at the same time. So onto the 3rd lap, now with 2 new bottles, I was ready to go, or so I thought, man I was getting slower out there everytime I turned the pedals over, but kept going. We got to about mile 42 and Jason had a cramp hit him, and he actually had to stop for a minute to get it all worked out, I knew I couldn't stop or I would have done the same thing, so I kept pedalling at about 7 mph waiting for him and John, who went back to get him, about a mile later we were back together again, and John did pretty much all the work from there on out, John is a long distance rider, he didn't get warmed up till about mile 30, so it was great having someone that strong at that time in the race. He pulled us all the way back into the headwind, I did jump up a few times to the front, but Jason was still fighting cramps, so we had to keep a lower pace. At one point I stood up to stretch and my upper leg about locked up on me, so I sat back down really quick so I could keep going. We made the last corner and out of the headwind, and it was about 2 miles back to the finish line, John was pulling again, and we just sat in until we could see the line, then we increased our speed the best we could and cross the line in 2:43:59 with an average speed of just under 21. We got back to the parking lot, and I couldn't even touch my toes I was in some extreme pain, after about 20 minutes I was able to kinda move. Lesson learned, do more long rides before attempting something like that again, as my longest ride other than this one was 72 miles, and that was early April. Pics will be up sometime, I think we are off to bed. Here are pics of just the HBA team. More pics of other teams will be up later.

Team Time Trial (Hawkeye Bicycling Association guys)


Friday, July 4, 2008

Cat 4 Upgrade

So after some debating I went ahead and upgraded to a Cat 4!!! I know the season is mostly over, but I can finish out the season hopefully strong, and then next year start the year off right. Now to get a serious training program going.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

July 1 Night at the Oval

What a great night for racing, temps were in the upper 70's, lower 80's, wind was out of the SW at 15mph, and there was a decent turnout too. A few new faces, and some very familiar ones. Have I mentioned how I stand out very much so at these events, it seems like every week it is myself and maybe one other person not in Yellow and Blue, I guess there was also some red and white last night. First race was a 10 lap scratch race, so for about the first 2 laps we were all just going pretty steady, and of course I was up front doing most of the work, so I decided to attack and see where it got me, needless to say it didn't get me too far as we regrouped shortly, but noone would step up and pull, so I went again, and this time we spilt the group up a little bit, but not too bad. By the time we came around to the final lap I didn't have much left in me, so a few attacks from others and I had to settle for an 5th place finish. Next was the 9 lap points race, which every 3 laps you would be sprinting for points, and they are doubled on the last sprint. This one I let one of the other guys do all the work the first couple laps until the sprint, which the first sprint I think I came across in 3rd, so back to sitting on and setting up for the next one, which I had a great lead out and ended up winning the 2nd sprint, and then we slowed down and regrouped again so I had someone else to work with, and appears we almost slowed down too much as going into the last lap I look over and notice the 2 masters in our race coming by at a high rate of speed, and I was the only one to jump on their wheel, and let the one pull me around for half a lap, then I had to go for it, by now I had a pretty good lead on the rest of the pack, and came across in first and ended up winning the points race. Then he decided to switch things up and have us do a 3 lap scratch race the opposite direction, and at the start the one guy turned it into a 3 lap sprint basically, I tried to hold his wheel as long as I could, but that didn't happen and I ended up in 5th place. Next race was a big gear race, which this was the first time I had my 52x11 so trying to get started in that gear is a pain, but once you get going all is ok, well unless you drop your chain over the top of your chainring like I did and have to shift it back on, which cost me a few valuable seconds, but I was back into it and gaining on a few guys, and by the time we got around the last corner I was in 5th place and gaining on people, I shot right in between 2 guys that had obviously given up, and took 2nd place. Final race for the night was the granny gear race which was both the A&B groups together, the whistle blows and we are off, man do I love my new pedals, I was in so quickly I had a gap in the first 50 feet, and I can hear from behind me Carson screaming out "Go you mountain biker" I don't know how I did it but I was able to spin it up to 24 mph at one point, one guy did get around me and I could not get back on him at all, so I settled in for a 2nd place. Overall for the night I took 3rd in the B group and 3rd in the Cat 5's. Pics will be up sometime...