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