Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Saturday, December 17, 2011
Tuesday, December 06, 2011
The T-gvg weekend CO Cross Cup race was a really cool, but hard (when was your last easy cross course?!) Westminster course. I goon'd the start with a missed pedal. Rode pretty well after that but the starts are usually a big advantage for me. Now I know the Grand Staircase is not just in Escalante in Utah! So the following week I did 8-10 starts and nailed each one. Thinking the missed pedal from the Westminster race was just a case of nerves and bad luck.
This past weekend was the infamous Louisville Rec Center Bowl of Death course. I've raced there off and on for years. I remember back prob 7yrs ago, a day the Louisville course greeted us with a good amount of melting snow & mud. A young Danny Summerhill was racing with us, and he crashed out or had a tough race or something...afterward he was crying to his mom in the parking lot. I distinctly remember my mother-in-law Mary wondering why this young kid was crying so much just about a bike race! Anyway...the weather has been pretty volatile as usual in Colorado. Some nominal mid-week snows made things muddy prior to the Boulder UCI wknd and then for Schoolyard Cross, but the weather was pretty dry in mid & late November. I was lucky enough to rail the new-this-season Benjamin Tr down at Betasso on Thanksgiving morning. Sunshine and shorts, man that felt great! And what a roller coaster of a singletrack! Hope it melts out there sometime again this winter. But late last week, mother nature cranked out a good ole upslope and most all of the Front Range received a good 6-10" of snow. And it wasn't the kind of storm that is followed by sunshine and mild temps. Louisiville received prob 8" or so, and temps stayed in the low 20s for race day. The harsh irony was that the highcountry didn't get any snow really, dry roads all the way down I-70 til about Genessee or so. So I suit up and hop on course. Very technical, hardpacked snow singletrack in spots, veering off on either side was risky with chance of augering in or sliding out. And some sidewalk sections were super slick and would cause many a crash. A couple of tough run-ups that are usually integral to the courses at the bowl, and one long switchback climb that turned into a decent run.
All in all I felt really good during warm-up, legs were good and the Cubus at 26/27 were hooking up very nicely. I've again hung on to my #2 call-up, and line up next to Robson in the 5" or so of loose new snow. In hindsight, lining up behind him on the hardpacked trail would've been the wise move. The whistle blows and we're off, or more so, most of the field is off. I clip in right away, but kind of auger down into the snow, then get on it again only to pile into the guy in front of me as I am desperately burning energy (and yelling) to get my ass in gear. Well in a matter of seconds I am near the back of the pack once again. Ah well, time to race smart and pick off a few guys. I hit the deck a few times, but no worse for the wear, and stay focused while trying to go smoother and faster each lap. I really like the chip timing this year, bc even if my race is toast early on, I can focus on busting out fast laps and then check the lap times after to see if I kept my cool and was able to ride smart til the end. Looking at the lap times from Louisville, my 3rd-to-last and 2nd-to-last laps were pretty good, but the wheels fell off on the last lap and I hit the deck again, trying to claw back on to masters road machine Eddy Gragus.
The usually bumpy and brutal Bowl of Death was this year pretty smooth and slippery and white! I felt like my skills were up to the task, just need to nail my start next weekend at Lyons and I think everything else will be fine! Forecast looks like cold but no new snow, so my guess is it will be muddy. One more chance before States to get in the top 5 and improve my overall Cross Cup standing! So an early Christmas present would be to nail my start at Lyons and get my head back in the game of racing near the front of the group again.
Saturday, December 03, 2011
Friday, November 25, 2011
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Last Saturday was my 9th straight weekend of cyclocross racing here in Colorado. After a really fun weekend-before-Halloween down in Boulder for the big CO Cross Classic and Boulder Cup, the Schoolyard Cross (Nov 5) was challenging from a motivation perspective. I had not raced before out at the Prairie Center in Brighton, just east of Denver off of I-76. It was a welcome change though from the constant commutes to Boulder, even if it was about the same distance (just under 2hrs). Compared to the big Boulder weekend of racing, it was difficult to find any beta about the Schoolyard Cross course and potential conditions during the week prior to the race. There was nary a tweet out there, and it was apparent that some of my competitors were taking off that weekend for their mid-season break.
Driving through Denver and hopping on 76, there was not much snow on the ground and I was hoping it would not be too muddy. Pulling in to the venue I realized it was going to be super muddy, combined with some hay. Not a great mixture. I rode one lap with my PDX clinchers, then decided it best to perform the rest of my warm-up on the roads and not to trash my bike yet. I actually had a pretty solid warm-up riding the roads around the big shopping mall out there. It kind of reminded me of my days as a hack cat 4/cat 3 roadie when I used to do office park crits. Our customary mid-morning start time rolled around, and we lined up in the start chute, listening to the heckles of the great Larry Grossman. This guy means a ton to local cyclocross, and I am always stoked to see him at our races. As I mentioned earlier, many big guns were absent...Robson (he was shooting photos, racing Open later that day), Faia, Keller, Overton, Ariel, Stefko, Phenicie, Farrell. So I thought this could be a great opportunity to hop on the podium. Steamboat resident, Moots employee, and all-around good guy Jon Cariveau was there, and I rightfully picked him to tear us all apart. Since I was currently 2nd overall in the CO Cross Cup points, and with Robson not racing, I was the first call-up. Enjoy that one now for sure! The whistle sounds and we're quickly off. Cariveau tears off the line quickly, and I find my pedal and slot in right behind him in 2nd place. Perfect. But after maybe 60 secs, I would not see him again til the end of the race, as he rode away from the entire field to win by well over 2 minutes. McFarling, Wardell, Glen Light all came by me on the first lap and those guys would duke it out for the remaining podium spots. My legs didn't show up and I was not feeling it, but settled for 5th place with a pretty hard workout. The course was nothing stellar, but there were several sections of thick soupy mud that tested my skills. The Cubus were hooking up well. A Frites En Mayo rider was dangling close behind me the whole race, which worked out well to constantly push me. Afterwards, I hung out for a bit to see some other races. Mike Hogan set off a bomb and blew apart the 45+ field. I watched the first half of the Open race, and it was great to see Krughoff and Summerhill duking it out off the front.
Now that winter looks to be arriving for good this time, I seem to have arrived at the crux of my training season. I say this because there will be few opportunities to get in solid, "comfortable" training rides outside. My weekly prep will primarily consist of 2-3 sessions a week on the trainer or rollers, 2 xc ski tours a week, and 1 race per weekend. I am hoping to do some short, ride-until-my-hands-and-feet-are-numb rides on snow-packed roads on the mtb. Will this set-up allow me to continue with some solid results? Time will tell. As I said earlier, my wife and her amazing dedication to her training will probably be some of my best motivation. I've raced 'cross now for several years, and most every year I race well the first half of the season. But the second half of the season has always been a big challenge when i can no longer ride easily outside. The beauty of cx is that, due to racing into shape on the mtb all summer, I can usually maintain decent fitness with just 5-6hrs of training a week. I would love to have a good (top 7?) result at states this year. We'll see.