Tuesday, December 27, 2011

exposure on a mtb

this vid has spread across the social media world. i like the beats too.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

hanging in Vail

cross racing week 15 - states & the end

The last few weeks of the CO cross season provided plenty of snowy and muddy courses. After the Louisville Snow Bowl on Dec 3, we ventured north to Lyons on Dec 11 for the last race in the Boulder series. I held on for 7th that day, which somehow put me 2nd overall for the 35+ Boulder Racing series. And then it's the last race, state champs on Dec 17.

The state championship course was originally scheduled to be in Aurora. I wasn't exactly sure where, but was happy to be racing somewhere new to me. Just a few days prior to the state champ weekend, ACA announced that the venue had changed back to Castle Rock. This was good news, as I really liked the Castle Cross course we raced in the fast & dry back in mid November. The course was at Rhyolite Park, located adjacent to Quarry Mesa in Douglas County open space. I like the fast and dry courses, but can hold my own in the mud & snow. With the recent cold temps and decent snowcover along the Front Range, despite the warming temps, we all knew we'd be in for a mudfest. One big difference was that our race was 3:15p, and we normally go off at the old man hour of 10:15a. The late afternoon start guaranteed a super sloppy course, previously beat down by several other categories. As always, I just hoped the mud would shed enough to allow me to be competitive without taking a bike change. Perhaps next year a 29er HT will suffice in the pit.

I had a good week of riding, and an even better executed taper. One upside to the poor start to our snow season is that good weather has allowed me to get outside at least once a week, which is the minimum needed to get some leg speed and to keep indoor-riding insanity at bay. I took Josh down for the 3s race prior to mine, so it was great to be down at the venue early. Felt pretty good in warm-up, tailing Keller on a lap to see his line selection, and we both knew the course would change some during our race. The Cubus were once again providing plenty of bite at 25/26psi. One of the reasons I like the CastleCross venue so much is they have a proper start straight...nice, long, wide and uphill. I slotted in with the 4th call-up and soon enough the whistle set us off. I found my pedal and was able to get in the top 5 before the turn onto dirt pretty comfortably. After about 100m of pedaling through the first uphill mud bog, I knew we'd be up for some tough power sections. I rode a great first couple laps and was hovering behind Tim Faia in 4th, a good place for me to be. Tim went down briefly and I found myself riding in 3rd place for a 1/2 lap or so. I have to admit there were about 10 seconds during which I dreamt about finishing on the podium. But reality set in when Tim came by me to reclaim his spot in 3rd. By then, Robson and Cariveau were gone. I was set to do a lot of work in 4th-6th places for the duration of the race. Damn it was a fun course! Had some dry grass, snowpack, lots of mud, and a cool flyover with an abrupt transition. During the 2nd to last lap Taylor and Travis Brown passed me to sneak into the top 5. Hludzinski was eyeing me but I rode pretty cleanly on the last lap and had a good gap across the line for 6th. 

Big thanks to Shawn Lortie (45+ strongman) and Mountain Flyer for the great image above and cool articles about CO CX State Championships.

I really wanted a top 5 at states, but considering the conditions and the quality of our field, I am happy with 6th. My goal back in September was top 5 overall for the CO Cross Cup, and I finished 4th, so it has been a very good season. And my blue collar equipment continues to serve me well. Giant TCX 0, Force drivetrain (now in it's 3rd year), TRP Euro X brakes, Easton EA70x wheelsets, and both the Specialized Tracer and Tufo Cubus tubulars. Was seriously considering a new cx bike for the 2012 season, but am thinking of waiting for technology to progress...hydraulic discs integrated into STI levers. Interbike 2012, hopefully? 

I'm not normally fit so late into December, so a part of me wishes I could keep pushing the training and go out to Nats in Madison. But I just can't see any January cross races working out for me, work and family have been more than generous, and it's time I return more energy to them. Big thanks to Helen and Alina for putting up with my racing, the time requirements definitely border on selfish at times. And thanks also to all of my great competitors in the 35+ field. Proud to race with you guys, and looking fwd to doing it again in 2012. Now it's time to ski some powder! Just need it to snow first. 

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

cross racing week 13 - grin & bear it

Well the rubber hit the road up here in Summit Co a week or so back with the weather. Riding outside on my schedule has become super hard. I prefer to just get up at 5:30 to get in an hour of something structured, not knowing if my afternoon will unravel or not. Getting the work done early, then being able to focus more at work has been better. But, I feel like the top end needs to be stoked outdoors at least once a week.

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

Le Petit Paris

Alina and I had date night. We celebrated a fun evening, incl my top 10 placing in the inaugural town Running of the Santas. about 1K, but I was working hard!

and lighting the tree!

carriage ride with Santa!

and a parade down Main Street to light the town tree at Blue River Plaza