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.