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.