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