You're going to bingo me this week as I have no race photos to share. Some weeks it's just hard to get it all together....including handing a camera to someone, teach them how to use it and beg them to shoot pics and vid. So, you get text from me!
This weekend was part of the ACA's BCR or Best All-round Cyclocross Racer Series. Both days were points days at the same location...at the Nordic Center at Frisco CO. All 9,100 feet of it. And yes, Even living at 5,600, feet....9K hurts. Sickeningly.
Driving up...oh God...it's Fall. Foliage in New England is absolutely impressive, but Fall at elevation when the Aspens are exploding crates a phenomenon that can literally blind you...like snow blindness it seems, in the right light. It is incredible and this was the condition we raced in.
Howyousay: ouch. I rant enough but I'll just sample here now. I had a max of 1:25 training this week. yee haw! Then the good-man's travel. The stress peaked on Friday evening and allowed very little sleep. But come Saturday, Pete Webber and I rolled up to Frisco and got our cross game on. Sleep? Who needs it? (apparently I do). The course at the Nordic Center was 'good'...if not a bit jungle-y. I love technical but this one included some fairly prolific road climbs and a difficult transition into a decimated hillside run up. Rhythm was hard to find on the day. Pete and I got there at the nick of time and while he had the warm up, I had to dick around with changing out carbon pads...and got exactly 3/4ths of a lap in before having to line up. I somehow got the call up again and waited for the count down. I am sitting there, thinking, "...this isn't going to be good....". And so, it would play itself out that way. SUPER long story short: I played wheel sucking loser and had no gas. I intentionally let the hole shot go...literally pushing Jeff Wardell with my hand to go and grab it as I just knew the day was not meant for me to be aggressive. Mark Legg had a great day motoring up front and while I tried some lame attacks, I mentally and physically settled for 12th. Each lap, the barriers and run up, while awkward, felt fine....but the body felt absolutely horrible. Like a flu even though I was absolutely healthy. I was in a group of guys from the gun including some Spike boys, Matty Opp, Pat Gallegos, and others. Lap after lap we traded attacks but we'd immediately re group. The moment I'd stand up to get on it, I'd have to sit down. At one point, after a last lap attack to try and shake this group of 5, I got dizzy and almost yardsaled in a moment of pass-out dizziness...sickening feelings waving through my body. Altitude? I've raced here PLENTY of times and in fact have excelled at elevation. But who knows. Maybe it was the wussyfluenza. A nasty case of the whimps. 12th. I am alive and healthy, right? Webber crushed it by the way...taking 2nd...all the while looking back for his anemic team mate who could never have bridged even if I grabbed a dose of EPO in the pits. Badness.
After a night of talking and laughing over dinner and some beers at our house with Webber and his family, I made the decision that I'd go for Day 2. So, I burned more fossil fuels to get back up there to Frisco. I was solo today in the elite masters as Webber had plans today. I made SURE I got there to pre ride!
Before I left, I did my AM ritual: coffee, b-fast, poop. the last part of that process was interesting to say the least as my whole body did not feel right. The drive up was clearly crescendo-ing with another round of what I'd been horrified with earlier. I tear into the parking lot and about crash my station wagon into the port-o. I debated leaving the engine running as the timing of turning the key off would be too much. Needless to say, I thanked GOD that the plastic haven was free of humans and I barged in, locked'er up and proceeded to get sick again. Not good.
I decide that I am definitively empty in the nether regions and in the safe zone even though things are sort of turned in on themselves. I must race. And so I don the kit, and FINALLY get a good warm up in. The bowels are staying dormant but more importantly, the legs feel light and springy. Whoa. Good times. The warm up also proved how AWESOME the course was today! Like a literal page out of Belgium plus 9000 feet. Tim and the gang who created the course made the perfect balance of flow, technical, efforts and recovery. Perfect. There was one set of triple barriers, one 180/off camber barrier, flowy trails, high speed fire road and a great set of 180 in and out sections to slow you down and ensure your smoothness and power out of the corners. SICK course.
I again do not want to be out front with a hole shot BUT I know that i need to be in the top 5 or so to get into the woods first. Timmy F, Mark Legg and a few others were present and were on their game as was made evident yesterday. The plan was to feel complete and make it 100% smooth. I think I succeeded. I let Mark Legg and Tim with a Spike guy take the hole shot and I sat in. For 3 laps I monitored and just decided to stay in proximity which again was the goal. I would gauge my efforts by my distance to these guys but the micro efforts they put out (frequently) start to shatter me...which shows me exactly what I have to work on. Or, get more than an hour of training in per week. HA!. Fast forward, I was over taken by my bud and National MTB Marathon Champ Mike Hogan and another Co Motion Sports guy in the 2nd to last lap. So be it. I ended up 6th but had plenty in the legs....and probably should have been a bit smarter about so easily giving up a spot in the 2nd to last lap thinking I will get around it. It's game on at that time and I knew that! Everyone is so equally balanced, it's hard to get a single place back that late in the race and I let them take it. No more gifts next time!
So one crap day followed by a day where I felt like a bike racer again. I'll take it. I'm alive and breathing.
More work travel this week so no Wednesday Worlds again. Will try to get in some of the hup hup where I can. It's my passion that carries me through these races. Nothing else. The sheer joy for being in the golden aspens ensuring I am fluid lap after lap after lap. Oh, to again raise my hands some day. Wishing. Need to work.
Photo of the sexy Dan Farrell of Blue Sky Velo on day 1 of Frisco 2008 can be found here.