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.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Saturday, November 05, 2011
Thursday, November 03, 2011
it was 9F when I left the house, and 3 when I came back around 10:30. But I was nothing but toasty warm on my ski. I love xc skiing, and part of that is how it provides such a nice warm-up-your-core activity on even the coldest of days. Ruby wasn't super motivated at the trailhead, but once we got going she was having a ball, jumping through the powder off the side. Looking fwd to some longer tours this winter!
Wednesday, November 02, 2011
Saturday's race was held out at Boulder Reservoir. Can't even tell you how many years I've been racing out there. I remember racing there as a 4, trying to race my GT road bike with 27mm Vittoria cx tires that maybe offered 5mm of clearance under the fork. I think I flatted twice that day. I also remember in 2005 or so, I was racing the 3s, and we had Katie Compton joining us in most every race. She would start in the back, and maybe i'd hold her off for 2-3 laps, but I would almost always get chic'd. funny stuff.
Back to this year's action...Boulder had received around 8" of snow the Wednesday prior to the race. As of late I had been pretty gunshy of super muddy races, only because I only have 1 bike and seldom do I have anyone in the pits. I was hoping at least that I could race with just my 1 machine and not feel handicapped as other racers were maybe getting fresh bikes. Turns out that wasn't an issue. While there were some super muddy corners on the western part of the course, all in all my bike was working just fine that day. I rode a couple laps and decided to run the Tufo Cubus at 26/27psi. Then went back to the car, cleaned off the bike some, and then continued my warm-up on the paved and hardpacked dirt roads surrounding the reservoir. Having some consistent results this year, I was the 5th call-up in the 35 Open race, meaning I'd be on the front for the start.
Yes, that's Frank Overton, next to me in a cheetah suit at the start!
Sunday's Boulder Cup was out at Valmont Bike Park. A truly amazing venue, I had last raced there in the fall of 2009, but missed the race there earlier this season. While many of us had hoped the course would dry out mostly overnight, we were still treated to an amazing mud bog on the south end of the course, and a few slick corners for our 1:30 start time. I had to run my Specialized Tracer tubulars, as I had picked up a goathead in my front Cubus the day prior out on the Boulder Res course. I rode a couple laps on my pit wheels, saw the accumulating mud, and decided I'd put my race wheels on and head back to the car to clean my bike one last time before our start. I rode the long sweeping street just above and adjacent to the Valmont Bike Park, so was able to get in a pretty good warm-up without thrashing my bike in the mud. Again, I was 5th position call-up in our race. We hear the whistle and put power to the petals. unlike the day prior, I find my pedals instantly and we're off. I was in about 4th or so during the first lap. No problem, considering how stacked our field was. I was in a great group near the top 5, and was super motivated hearing my name a few different times throughout the race. As we descend down towards the approach to the 5280 stairs, a red/white/black blur of Chris Case comes absolutely charging by on the bumpy, off-camber approach. At that point we all knew the pecking order was being developed.