Friday, December 25, 2009

2009 Year in Review/2010 plans

2009 was by far the longest season I have had so far, not in the number of races I entered, but it all started back in January with roller races and continued on with at least one race a month till November. I feel that by dong that I had peaked really early in the season and in turn had a bad cross season.

One thing I was focused on was winning the Cat 2 overall for the IMBCS mountain bike series, and after the first couple of races it was looking pretty good with myself and Nick Sobocinski going back and forth for the top spot. I did get a gap in the points by going to the race in Ida Grove that only few people traveled out to, great race course, but 4+ hour drives aren't friendly. Then about 1/2 way through the season Rick Blackford came from out of nowhere, started winning races and made for a really tight battle in points, but a few wins from him, and me not traveling to Council Bluffs and the cancellation of Sugar Bottom left me 13 points shy of winning. Such a disappointment on my end, but the stronger rider came out on top.

I did a few road events, and really realized that I am not cut out to be a road racer, I don't understand tactics that are needed to do well, I hear them say start and I tear myself inside out in the first few minutes like I would in a MTB race, and then when I settle into a rhythm that works for me, I get dropped, and it is game over. I did manage a decent result at Snake Alley, thanks to me ability to climb pretty well, but the next day at Melon City I was OTB after 2 laps and pulled not to long after that. The State Crit I tried to help a teammate that went off the front in the beginning of the race, fell off again and never recovered.

Then there was cross season, the one thing that I look forward to the most in the year, and I had a decent first race, but then got sick with some sinus stuff that wouldn't go away, I was sick for well over a month, and once I would start feeling good, I would go ride and right back to feeling like crap. So I took it easy and tried to make sure I was good for Jingle Cross, so instead of the 15 or so races that I could have done, I was down to just 6 for the fall season. I did pretty well at Jingle Cross considering I am a back of the pack Cat 3, and it was a really strong Cat 2/3 race.

Ok now moving on to 2010. I am at a point where I need to start thinking about the other members of my family and what they want to do with their cycling. Both of our kids will be old enough to race in the Junior races, and my wife has showed interest in doing both more cross races, and also trying a crit or 2.

I think it will be best for me then to put any personal major goals on hold for this year and help focus on them and their training, so I will not be competing for the overall win in the IMBCS series but will hit some of the more fun races and try for good results at those events. Road events will be limited to Snake Alley and the race that HBA will be putting on here in the Cedar Rapids/Marion area, oh and if Kent Park happens I will do that. Cross Season will be my major focus so hoping for a late peak in my training so I can be a little more competitive.

Training for 2010 starts next week, I have been on the rollers/riding outside at least once or twice a week in December just to keep the legs moving, but the real stuff starts soon. I hope to see you all out there again, and I will keep this updated as often as I race, maybe some status updates on how training is going and how the family is doing in their racing.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Jingle Cross Rock

Last weekend brought Thanksgiving, and the return of the Jingle Cross Rock, only this year would be the first year as a 3 day event with night racing Friday night on a course powered by lighting from Musco, and some Christmas lights.

Lets start with Friday night, this was a toss up if I would even be racing in this one as I had to work Friday, and not sure if I was getting off early. I did get off and loaded up the car and headed down the highway towards Iowa City. I had heard from Kyle that the descent off Mt. Krumpit was sketchy with all the rain we have had that would turn it into a muddy mess, and it was on off camber switchback coming down, and as soon as we pull into the parking lot you can look up the hill and see it. I did get up there to check it out, didn't get to ride it before racing as other races were going on and it was rideable. Show up to the line for staging and see that there was about 65-70 of us in the Cat 2/3 race, I was sitting 4th row and it was a fast start with the first lap having us do basically a half lap including the descent of Mt Krumpit before heading out for a full lap. The first time down I knew it would be really bad with that many people trying to go down at once, by the time we hit that section I was towards the back of the pack, but still had enough people around me to make it even more sketchy. I get into the first right hander of the switchback, and the guy infront of me didn't go around the corner, he decided to stop and head straight down towards the fence, and that caused me to crash over the fence I tumbled, and it took me a few seconds to recover and get back to my bike losing time, but I was able to get back on and catch most of the people that chose to walk the hill. Next time around I had fewer people around me so I was able to make up any time I lost on the run-up by just letting it go down the hill and fly by those walking. The course conditions were pretty bad with mud that was really thick and it was causing alot of problems with people breaking rear derailleurs or hangers, the unofficial total was 30 for the night. I was able to ride it the next few laps only having problems on the 2nd to last lap where I got stuck in a rut and went down, but this time I was right back up and going again. The barns we went through were all lit up, and Grinch's lair was nicely groomed and there was a nice path through the sand. I had my best finish of the weekend taking 35th out of 45 starters.

Day 2 would bring us back to conditions that were a little better, a little less mud and temperatures in the mid 50's with lots of sun. Todays race would take us up the big run-up on Mt. Krumpit, 80 meters long and deep mud from the bottom to the top. I got about the same starting position, but would not get that great of a start and ended up towards the back fairly quickly but still had people behind me. The descent down Mt. Krumpit was a long not so steep hill, but it was very muddy, and people had lots of issues getting down and lots of crashes. I was able to find a great line, and figured out if you just point the bike in the direction you wanted to go and kept pedaling you could make good time down the hill. I did hear from alot of people that I made it down just as good if not better then most of the others including some of the Pro's that raced later in the day. I did make plans today to have my dads bike in the pit so after 2 laps I did grab his bike and let him clean off my bike a little bit. One thing I noticed is his bike has less clearance on the fork and clogged up with mud at the top of the hill, so I lost some time there, but switched back when I could. I did end up staying with the same group for most of the race, I would pass them on the downhill and they would pull away in the field sections. I didn't do quite as good as Friday night, but still 44th place for the day.

Sunday would find us up really early as both Angy and Salem were racing at 8:30am and the both did great. We showed up early enough to get a lap in before their race started, and with this being my wifes second race ever she was nervous and excited, and had a goal to not let Salem beat her again. They did start the juniors about 1 minute after, and she was able to hold him off, and even make up some more time then the one minute gap at the start. The did rerake the sand, so it was harder to ride today. My legs were really feeling the effects of racing 2 days and also running around taking pictures and cheering on others, coming up to the line was an effort in itself but I had every intention of finishing. Typically on Sunday we would be descending Mt. Krumpit on that same section that was the run-up from the previous day, but they decided to change it due to the conditions and we would use the switchback downhill, but this time it would be a left, right, left, right and then a short drop off and another right turn. I knew that section would be hectic, but it was so late in the lap that we would be very spread out. Today we would also see lots of long field sections with about a 20 mph headwind, I was off the back after one lap, and I had one or two guys in front of me but just could never catch them, I would make up some time on the downhill, but they would drop me again in the fields. I was going into the second to last lap and could hear them announcing that the leaders were coming down the hill just after I had crossed the line, so for the first time this weekend I would be getting lapped, but I would try my best to hold them off. I made it all the way to the run-up before getting caught, so I let the first 2 guys go by before descending for the final time. In a way I was relieved to get lapped because I would have been the last one out on course and was not looking forward to another lap in that wind. I finished in 45th place on the day, so my worst finish of the weekend, but still a decent showing.

Looking back I now know what 3 days of racing feels like, and I know what I will have to do before next year to get ready for it, also I realized that I am a very good technical rider, and I need to work on the fast flat sections so I can be an all around better rider, and maybe next year I will have more consistant finishes. So that brings an end to the 2009 race season, pictures will be up at Angy's Photo's shortly.