Entries in 2007 Cross Racing (21)
Yeah, yeah, I've said it before a ton of times on this here blog, but it's true, rest works. I touched a bike once this week as my body was yelling at my violently to slow the F down. Bottom line, today was a good day in the vet pro class for Rocky Mounts. More on that in a minute.
Today's race was held in Highland's Ranch CO. A bedroom community with lots of sub divisions....and even more churches. So with that theme known, today's race was called "On the Cross" and was put on by Bike Source. Honestly, I think this was the best organized race I have been to this year and the nicest folks. Yeah, the veritable cathedral we were racing around was semi-intimidating (Timmy, you would have probably sizzled a bit upon entering the compound....HA!) but the atmosphere was great and the free food, awesome schwag bag and organization with marshals in orange vests EVERYwhere really mad a big difference.
Me, Ward and Dave W from RM made the trek down to race the 35 Opens. As we see every weekend when we pull in, the Squires bros were out there in their masters race throwing down....putting all their ooomph into their identical Moots CX bikes.
We arrived, reg'd and suited up in the warm up kits and began the pre-ride. The course was classic Colorado CX. Lots of dirt fields, bumpy grass with some pavement for good measure. Today saw a set of triple barriers and a double barrier set on a run up which made the course well suited to me as it was twisty and technical with no sections where anyone would have a clear advantage, unless of course you are Dennis Farrell (more on that in a minute). Rolling on my warm up Dennis comes up to me and says: "You're running Dugasts on this today??" Well, yeah! They hooked up SO beautifully. The Rhino's bit into the crappy earth like buttah. Rolling back to the car to get changed, I saw why Dennis asked me that question: Another 'feature' of Colorado 'cross courses...a goat head. I pulled that thing out, applied a bit of spit to the hole and low and behold: No bubbles! A set of Dugasts saved. Thus, I lined up on my white Rock Lobster with a shitty old set of Rhinos that are hazed and I wouldn't be so heart broken if I nuked one.
The field was a decent sized one today (I'd say roughly 40-50?) with most of the usual suspects there today save my boy Timmy and Karl K. We got the call up and the group was ready to go. I whispered to Ward that I was going to win the hole shot today because the first section was tight and dodgy and I did not want to be caught in any meles.
"One minute gentlemen..." said the ACA official. "....30 seconds....10 seconds....TWEEEEEET!" We are off. I win the shot as planned without burning too many matches and get through the dodginess with Ward right behind me and I think Dennis behind him. Through the barriers and we are motoring. We get a split with all the usual suspects: Dennis, Ward, me, Jeff Wardell, Rod, Mitch, Chris Phenecie, etc. Dennis pulls up with me as does Ward and puts in an attack which gets 20 feet. Ward covers and it and whispers back that the situation is perfect.
We continue on and by lap 2 I witness what makes Dennis the caliber he is. He just applies another attack and that 20 seconds turns to 40 and Ward is put in difficulty. I'm close enough to see but so loaded up I can't react to even try to work with za WB. I continue to roll with a group of like 5 or 6 including Hartman, Wardell and three Green Mountain Sports boys: Phenecie, Rod and Mitch. Onl lap 3 or 4, Phenecie sees me suffering a bit on the front of this group and he attacks. His Green Mountian Sports guy just settle in and wait patiently like the good team mates they are. Adios Chris, nice work as usual! I settle in and literally for the WHOLE race it is our group of like 5 or 6 within a foot of each other training around the course. I decide that I NEED to do something smart so I settle in, do NOT work and sit on the back fairly comfortably of this 5 person group. Lap after lap the Squires bros and Doug in particular are feeding, cheering and waiting in the pits. Unbelievable team mates. We owe you something HUGE you guys.
Towards about 35 minutes, Rod puts in an attack after working his way up through the 5 of us which essentially leaves me, Hartman, Jeff W and the rest of the Green Mountain squad. They play very shrewdly and let Rod go forcing Jeff Hartman to use that Diesel of his to bridge and pull us. He doesn't pull us back as Rod is on song today. Nice work man!
Throughout the race, Mark Woollcott is cheering me on SO SUPPORTIVELY it is crazy. From under trees, laying n the ground by the barriers...he was popping out of everywhere! Thanks brother. He's saying "Just roll! You're playing it smart!!". Apparently he's yelling at Ward with the same type of support which is rad. Quote of the day:
Mark: "Ward, you got Farrell! Just a few seconds back! You're catching him! Oh, and I'm telling Dennis that too next lap!"
HA! Thanks man. We need that against hard men like Dennis!
So, bell lap and I am suffering a bit and the group concedes a bit. I hear the announcer call Ward's name rolling in, in 2nd as I am pulling up the pavement in the final stretch. He's behind the day's winner, Dennis Farrell by a 1/2 minute to maybe 40 seconds which is so incredible. Our group comes in like 30-50 seconds after that and by the last 1/2 of the last lap the concessions were going on and finally gaps of 5 seconds between riders formed. Jeff gaps be by 10 seconds and I can not bridge back to make it a sprint but settle in satisfied with an 8th or maybe 9th. Dave Weber my team mate I see about 20 seconds behind me and he is on a break through day! Nice boy!! So for the RM'ers today, it was solid: All of us in the top 10 with a lot of great racing going on. The cool part is that I am again crawling back./ I did not have the punch bt I raced smart, I hung in teh whole race with a truly hard group of guys and recognize that when I train and 'take', I need remember to 'give back'. Especially at this time of year.
So I get home and my beautiful lady has a cold Samuel Smith's Nut Brown waiting. Kind. I open up the schwag bag and it is awesome. Hammer gels, powder, e-Caps, a water bottle and the new CX Magazine as has been advertised here on their blog. I crack that beetach open as I've always wanted to start a print edition of my rants and evangelisms of 'cross to the masses....in a very glossy, color sort of way that only a fresh new magazine can deliver. The mag looks pretty interesting and I'll tear it apart tonight when I crawl into bed. But on a quick pass through it was the last page....the back cover....which caught my eye.
In the blink of an eye I had a semi-sexual reaction (Sidebar: Mom, I know you read this blog so I am officially coming out of the closet, er ah garage: I am a cylosexual. There I said it). I got a wet spot when I saw the picture of this Zancanato custom made Hup United edition ridiclo-steed. Yum fricken yum.
My God, the paint, the FMB's mounted to rare Mavic Classics tubular rims and the pimp white saddle and bar tape. You GO boy. I want to sort of hump it a little. Just a little.
So here in all its glory is the picture that was used in the mag shot.
Ta-fricken-da! Like butta:
I was able to rip these from Furious (thanks man!!). It will give you a great sense of teh racing, field sizes....and on Saturday the WIND!
Men's 35 + Opens
Somewhere back in Frisco, I left my form...and my fun unfortunately. There it was at that Nordic Center: a peak and a signal that I needed to rest and build on it. What did I do? I built a house of cards and kept going. Hard. This weekend symbolized how the human body can decompose into a shallow carcass with absolutely nothing inside. Spectacular implosion. It was awesome to witness I'd guess! Ha!
Race 1: Redline Cup at the Boulder Reservoir.
Saturday's race was held at the 'Rez' in windy conditions. Tents were blowing everywhere as was the steel orange fencing which apparently took some racer out! So, rest assured it was going to be a suffer fest. I make my way to the registration center, see some familiar faces, get signed up and then they hand me the number.
Queue in the horror music. I'd bet that the Swobo guys would have loved it. I rolled my eyes, pinned it up and just got on with it.
I got the call up once more as I still miraculously had some ACA clout. Today I opted for my white Rock Lobster with Challenge Griffo clinchers given the goat heads that were bound to get someone today. I got one within 15 feet of the first dirt section Friday after helping set up the course so I was preparing for the worst. In fact, I even went to Boulder Cycle Sport and Dwayne hooked me up with some of those slime rim strips that sit in between the tube and the tire casing. Paranoia...
ACA Al counted down "15 seconds gentlemen....GO!" and we were off. I settled in with the WB per plan in 8 to 10th. No hole shots today but would have been easy to do. I wanted to ramp into my race. After the gun, the WB said 'nice work' to me when we merged into our places in the top 10 or so on the 1st lap and was pumped as we'd let folks work and we'd sit in and protected from the West to East blowing wind. Jeff Wardell won the hole shot. Lap 2-3 and things are still OK. I am floating in about 11th to 13th and feeling OK. I do not feel a punch so to speak in the body but absolutely enough to finish within a top 10 to 15 in our huge field (I believe 55 or 60 starters).
The race continues on and the suffering begins. I get caught out after a bobble while grooving with Ward and like 'that' I was trapped in no mans land....out in the wind. I dropped my head and just got on with it. I come through mid race towards the wooded section by the beach and Rod Y and Jeff W are off their bikes, on the course, both unraveling course tape from their wheels and sprockets. The wind is blowing so hard it is throwing the course tape into the racers....reaching out and grabbing unsuspecting handlebars or wheels at will. Meanwhile, Dave Towle lap after lap is ROARING out names including mine and it is motivating. Thanks Dave!
By the 2nd to last lap, I am making up ground. I am in 17th or possibly 18th spot. No brainer finish in top 20. Not great but I'll take it. Then...."what the?". Soft rear tire. Yup. Goat head. I am on the back side of the course probably as far away from the pits as you can be. I ride ever so gingerly and like that: "whoosh....whoosh...whoosh...whoosh...whoosh...whoosh..." Jeff Wardell's group of 5 or 6 bridge to me and just roll on past me at their full gallop while I am rolling along like a snail.
I slip and slide on over to towards the pits and raise my hand. As always, the unbelievable Squires Brothers....Rick and Doug...see me. I raise my hand and they're ready. I come in to the pits and Rick grabs my white bike while Doug hands me my freshie. Total pro bike change and I thank those great team mates immensely.
I finish out the bell lap and roll in a fairly pedestrian 24th place. The placing belies the effort and threw me outside the points. It was what it was.
Thank you EVERYONE for cheering. Again, it was so intense to hear "Go Greg!" or Rock it Mud and Cowbells!" from complete strangers. So unbelievably rad. I failed you guys!
Race 2: Boulder Cup - Harlow Platts Park .
I woke up at what I thought was like 7 AM. A miracle if there was one but little did I know it was 6 AM....Daylight Savings time. Yes, I am one of those people I guess who forgets the DST thing. I pack up and roll the grocery getter over to Harlow Platts and register. Thankfully today, no 666 but I think that the bad mojo was settled in my muscle tissue already.
Warming up was another case of "Uh oh. You've got nothing Greg." In fact, I woke up in the AM and already knew (seeing a pattern in me faithful M & C readers???). The wind is howling yet again today albeit not as bad today. Tim and I talk pre-race and I tell him that it ain't in there today. He looks at me and says he hears me.
Some how, I get the call up again! Ha! No, I am not paying anyone off. We line up and I have a prime 2nd row position. I am stoked on it as it means I can 'settle in'. and just race the race. My head is just settling the need to finish in the top 20. Just grab me some points and then rest.
"15 seconds gentlemen (deja vous)....TWEEEET!!! (whistle today). We're off. MASSIVE crowds. Cheering and noise and Dave Towle is again blaring out the goodness. It is truly exciting. I'm in the top 15 on lap one. So all is good.
And then....it begins. That it being my demise. My decomposition. My spectacular implosion.
The house of cards starts to decompose. One card at a time, lap after lap.
I can not describe for you the suffering. I have been racing bikes a long time and you need only believe me when I say that I should have just crawled off my bike....but I will never do that. I paid my money, I'm just going for it be damned of placing.
There is nothing to say. The race was inexplicably hard for me and I had a body that had absolutely nothing. In fact, when I came through the finish....in my abysmal 34th place....I can not tell you how badly my jaw hurt. Apparently I had been grinding my teeth and clinching them the whole time and as I type, my jaw is STILL sore.
Here is all I am going to say....and this is more for me when I go back and read this diary and less for you who by now are sick of me crying like a beeatch:
Greg: You can't keep this pace up of family, training, racing and work while traveling all over this planet. You can not do it all. Listen to the signs. Take a break. Relax.
10-4 Greg. Will comply.
So after my race, I take off my skin suit, throw on my civies and go to say some quick hellos to some friends, take some quick photos of the pro men lining up and then I am going to head out. I grab a Boulder Cyclocross Ale in the beer garden and as I am doing that the pro mens field is in like lap two.
I keep hearing Dave Towle: "And there's Brandon Dwight!"
Up oh. I am hooked now. Dubba is on fire and I am NOT leaving until I see this out. Lap after lap, Brandon is hanging. Taking back places and settling in to what (at least I feel) is his breakthrough race. This was SPECTACULAR to watch. A great friend and true worker-racer in the absolute and utter mix with the best in our country.
Dubba: Kudos, brother.
So, all in all folks, it was a spectacular weekend. I am SUCH a cyclocross fan that my shitty placings and the depth of suffering I went through just faded away. I am 36 and stoked I can be doing this. I realize who I am. More importantly I am enamored with this sport of ours. In fact, I spent most of the Pro race yesterday standing next to this older woman who came to spectate and I walked her through what was going on. She had SO many questions and was like a girl in a toy store. She was hooked!
My digital celluloid of Boulder Cup yesterday. I noticed after positing that they are really big and Here is the direct link to in my PhotoBucket album.
Katie giving the VN interview after her shellacking.
Johannes and Stu Thorne from Cyclocrossworld.com.
Dubba called up.
Tyler and Tonkin.
Tyler and Tonkin 2.
Freakish Scotland Braveheart dudes 2
Freakish Scotland Braveheart dudes 2
Pro men front row.
Parbo and Trebon.
Pro mens start.
The beer garden.
Lane and his lady.
Vermark clothings US guy. Funny mo fo!
Jared and bud.
Tonkin the tank.
Corey discovering something is amiss.
Corey bunny hopped then blew his chain off. C was one of only two (he and Wells) who bunny hopped!
Wicks getting it done.
Kabush. A true hero of mine.
Todd bunny hopped teh barriers every time. He made it look more efficient. Insane.
Travis Brown riding his 1 x 1 (44 x 16). He is bar none my absolute hands down hero. I STILL have a Mountain Bike magazine from like 94 with him on it. Loved him then. Love him now.
Troy rocking it.
Chris G....who RUNS the race....literally patrolling picking up garbage. It's ALL in the details.
Tim and Powers.
The race was RIGHT here. Tim and Powers. Lap after lap marking each other.
Wicks just did not have the snap this year like Trebon did but was really impressive to watch.
Horner throwing down. The guys can't even remount but loves the 'cross. I got a chance to speak with him and he's a neat guy.
Ross Schnell apparently per AC2 in his 2nd cross race...ever. And nailed a top 10 or so.
Colby re mounting.
Matt P! Holy GOD. riding a Primus Mootry single speed (44 x 16), he was truly in the race and when he yelled at Brandon to motivate him near the sand section, it was EPIC. true Boulderites helping out each other.
Todd Wells post race. Unbelievable come back from a broken chain.
Dubba post race. A wink 'cause he knew the form was there?
Some Vid. More coming later.
First, let me just state this for the record: I categorically sucked ass today. I pulled in a top 20 in a huge field in the 35 Opens (I heard there were a 100 in an earlier cat's race) which saw us lapping guys by 3 to go, but seriously, I had nothing today. More suck ass drama in a minute.
Todays race was at Interlocken, just East of Za Reepoobleek of Boulder. Brian H, Todd Carver and the Boulder Racing crew put together a Euro-style course that saw us race on mostly grass course with plenty of twists and turns.....and included a 'feature' of a muddy river run through/up as well as a volleyball course's sand you had to run through. It was by all definitions a very hard course. The grass was super thick and moist and draining of energy every lap you ticked off (excuse no. 1...the course did me in. More excuses coming up!)
OK, the race: I got the call up today as I was sitting in 8th in the series overall. Standing there, the badness was already in my head. The voices saying, "...shit man, you feel like ass." Fair enough, evil voices. I still toed the line but I new it was not going to be a good one from the get go (excuse no. 2: No fair! I had demons in my head!) and my plan was to just cherry pick and sit in for the day. Ha! Right....
I won the hole shot with the intention of getting through this nasty corner at the start and then wanted to to group with some dudes who'd eventually bridge so I could sit in and just pace myself for the day. I kept looking back and had this huge gap after the first 1/2 lap. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Whatever. It was what it was. Then, the fire lungs set in early. I'd been hacking and sort of feverish since I came back from May-hee-co (yup, excuse no. 3....Gweggie has a cold virus) and never could feel like I could cycle a full chest full of air the last couple of days. So by lap two, the burning was utterly intense from the depths of those pink air bags.
With each lap, it was like being in quick sand. The captain's bridge was commanding the engine room to throw on more coal but the engine room was on strike. Legs like lead which I got the sensations of while warming up (of course, excuse no. 4...Boo hoo, my legs hurt, mommy).
OK, silver linings:
a) Beautiful day! The weather was epic. 70 degrees, sunny and a HUGE crowd!
b) OK, another thing for the record: THANK YOU FAITHFUL MUD AN COWBELLS READERS! Holy crap, you rule. EVERY lap there were faces I've never seen before yelling my name and I S-W-E-A-R to you that with each yell, a few more watts came out of the legs when nothing was technically there. Thank you thank you thank you!
c) The WB pulled in a top 10! Not sure where in the top 10 but he was rolling while suffering like everyone was and that is RAD! Sweet work, Ward.
d) The bikes were dialed! Given my comical track record of tire implosions, I can not use the bike as excuse no. 5 today. The Rock Lobsters ruled and the Griffos at 45 p.s.i were spot on. It was the body's turn to shit the bed....and it was messy!
So, I am now drinking a beer as I type this. I am turning into the 'people's racer'. The hack who has that phlegm and snot cascading into about a 16" string below the chin while he races. I do it all for you my peeps.
OK, I do it for me too and a wee bit of pride.
Training week coming up with no racing this coming weekend. Yee-haw! It's my beautiful parents 50th (yes, 50th!!) wedding anniversary and the kids are all flying to the East coast to celebrate that unbelievable milestone.
'Cross on (just not like me these days).
Thanks for reading (and cheering!!!!)
Digital celluloid of the suffering from my main man George! Thanks man!!
Cyclocross. In a word the sport is: epic. I'm still in love after all these years. Week 5 ladies and gentlemen of cyclocross racing here in lovely Colorado. This stop Gunnison CO. Affectionately known as Gunni or the G-Spot. The net of the weekend: Pain, suffering, victories, great placings, hard work, snow, freezing rain....joy. More on that in a moment.
The weekend started out at 5:30 in the AM. The RM crew woudl be the, WB, CV and yours truly. WB has the ultimate battle wagon, a very large Suburban, which we jammed 10 sets of wheels (mostly all mine and as you'll read, will be useless as tits on a bull....i should just ride solid rubber tires) 5 bikes, tools, chairs, gear. A battle wagon indeed.
The WB created his (in)famous McWard sandwich. A powerful concoction of toast, Canadian bacon, egg and a secret solution only known to him that resembled mustard and some mayo.) Dee-lish, man. Thanks much for the kindness.
So with coffee, McWard's, bikes packed, we're set. We fire up the Iraqi-conscious V-8 and we're rolling. 3.5 hours later of good road tripping times (and CV's buzz saw from the back) and we're at the campus of Western State College in Gunni.
Ken Bloomer has the course dialed. A nearly 100% grass affair assembled in a twisted maze. Ward and I are salivating as it's a technical course with lots of corners to rail sans brakes and jumps out of the corners to make people hurt. And the weather is PERFECT. Fall weather with a mix of sun and clouds. Like 55 degrees.
We watch CV race his 35Cat4, railing it like a champ and fire the questions at him when he's through. Within a few minutes of his finish, CV is changed, prep'd and ready to be the most unbelievable cameraman and pit crew member of all time.
Day 1: Race 1 35 Opens.
We line up, get the call ups done and the field is small-ish given the distance to the course which many feel is just too damn far to race. The way I look at it: Fun course, great road trip....and boat loads of family planning months ago are not going to derail me. I'm gonna go race me some cyclo-cross! There are maybe 20-22 dudes in the group. We've got dual national champs in here today and Russel Kapius whom I'll talk more about later.
The institution of ACA race officiating, Dean is out there again. "15 seconds gentlemen (I'm intimate with this by now). Go! We're off..
Lap 1 and 2 and it's a dream scenario. Ward, Phenecie, Kiester and this other national champ dude (e.g. he's got the collar and arm bands all present....and toes the line at the start with a nose full of menthol sniffs...so he must be PRO) and we've got a gap. During lap 1, i get squirly on this steep off camber grass section and slide out. Nothing big....and I'm back on my bike in about a second. We're rolling again. By lap 2 I am feeling nice and cozy. Until I hear: thap thap thap thap thap thap thap thap thap thap thap . What the? I roll RIGHT past the pits thinking the thapping is just a bit of mud and then.
A la Research Center. Back wheel blows up. So...I fall off the lead group....again! (ha!)....and hoof it. Brady Kapius and the CV are at the pits and I do a perfect exchange with those guys. Brady catches and CV hands me my freshie. So, like ALL my races this season, the chase is ON. I'm off the back in a big way. One guy caught. Recover, attack....next guy caught. And so it goes until the finish and I pull in 10th. Some dudes DNF'd so I only had like 4 or 5 guys to bridge--attack-->bridge. I'm making a sport out of this these days! Oy!
On to BETTER news, the WB PODIUMS! Sick ride to 3rd place. He and I in the car ride up strategized over how we would play it out with two team mates up there. He held up his end of the bargain! I'm going to ask for a rain check on our next rendezvous at the front WB. NICE WORK Za WB!
Day 1 Race 2: Opens
So after the 35's and even while cooked, WB turns to me and say, 'C'mon man. Let's jump in the Opens. Damn straight. I want a little more. (read: little more abuse). 3 hours later and with a near staff infection brewing in our chamois, we line up with the Open men and get it on. We've got 3 RM'ers in here: Corey, the WB and me.
3,2,1...Go! I win the whole shot and surprisingly feel pretty good. So I want to play a bit for a deeper work out. Ward is with me and I back off to let Brady and Joey Thomson take the lead. It's their race for sure. Lap 1 about 1/2 way through and we go through this super twisty section that literally sends you under a tree. I have already raced the course so I should have it dialed, right? Nope. I hit my back on this mo fo so hard, I think I dislodged a kidney. I have to stop because I am like laugh/moaning concerned that I am going to pee blood. I pull up my panties and get back in it. As the race roll son, I sincerely feel better and better. I got to roll with the legend Dave Weins and I can see Ward in front of him. I look at my watch and it's 55 minutes. It flew by. I roll in at 59:25, 4 minutes behind Joey Thompson. I can not complain. I kind of surprised myself. Ward rolled nicely to an 8th and Corey rocked it for a 5th. Nice man!
Day 2 Race: 35 Opens.
Early this AM, and after 1000's of CC's of WB's insane gas pumped into the room's atmosphere, we wake up and open up the curtain to our awesome Super 8 motel palace to see gray clouds. Hmm, OK, not bad. This looks like good cross weather. Loading up the truck, it starts coming down. Rain and snow....and 37 degrees. Epic.
We get to the College, unpack, suit up in waterproof pants jackets, gloves hats and roll the course to warm up., It's essentially the same as yesterday but the opposite direction with some improvements made...and some good decisions on Ken's part to make certain areas of the course safer.
CV rolls his 34 Cat 4 race and pulls in an awesome 9th. Nice work boy. We again ask him tons of questions and he dials us in on all of the sketchiness. Our warm ups proved that all that grass was turning into a skating rink.
I dial in the Rock Lobster and set the Dugasts to about 40 PSI. Even with that, I....and the REST of the field...will be hitting the deck.
3,2,1....Go! We're off and heading for a sharp right corner off a dodgey wet sidewalk. I just want all of us to get into the race without a pileup so I yell I want the corner!. Menthol Natn'l champ wants none of that and takes this mad inside line and I ye;; out "What the F!" he's like "Hey, it's bike racing!"....and this begins the first tumble...more like a slippy slide down the grass. I'm up and don't lose virtually any places. I'm behind Menthol Champ and as we start flying into this hard at speed grassy apex, Menthol wipes out.
Of course I'm thinking Nelson: Ha ha! (It'll come bike to bite me).
So we roll and I am with the lead group. Ward's marking Phenecie....who incidentally is racing again today AFTER he crashed severely yesterday and probably needed a CAT scan. He's still looking good though.
Slip 2 happens on the back stretch. Whoosh! I am down again. So are like 3 other guys. I have to sort out my shit and I'm now in like 10th place. We roll on. SHWAP! I'm now caught in a tree! Ha! Gotta untangle from that! Continue ON. I start picking off dudes and by now it's 2nd to last lap. I bridge to this guy and I think by now we are in about 6th and 7th place. In front of us is the Red Rocks Velo "blue train". Thee guys in a team time trial: Russ Kapius, Clay Harris and Jared Shuttleworth. They have like 30 seconds on us and another 20 to Phenecie and Ward. I'm like: "We've gotta work together to brid...".Swoooosh!...D'oh! I am on the ground AGAIN! Ha! So now, generally pissed, I begin what I am coming to know as "My Race." Play catch up.
I bridge to the first guy. Catch and pass him in the run up. Later.
I bridge to the first RRV guy, Jared. See he is suffering so say Adios man. Later. Clay is riding well so I put in an effort and hear HIM go down. As much as I think Clay is an awesome guy, I smile and punch it to get to him. I know he's OK 'cause he's up and I bridge and sit. Sorry Clay. I see Clay put his head down and I punch it again. One guy to go. Russ "The Killer" Kapius. I bury it and launch an attack from Clay to get to Russ. I want to be on the podium SO badly with Ward I can taste it. I am in the 42 x 12 and start to make ground. We are in the grass straight away and we need to come around a tree down a grassy embankment to come back in the opposite direction on pavement to the start/finish. Russ slows down around the tree to ensure he doesn't crash. He's through nicely. I come at the tree like 5 seconds later and I am through nicely. Russ punches it and even in a Cipolini-esque sprint, I can not catch this guy and settle for 4th. Now I know where Brady gets his genetics.
Russ, INSANE job man. Nice work. THAT is bike racing.
Better news: WARD GRABS THE "W". SICK Our man WB, Ward Baker, nails the 35 Open W putting in a last lap attack on Phenecie that wasn't able to be countered. Great job man. I am so proud of the effort!
All in all, it was a great and epic weekend of racing. # races in 2 days and very tired legs.
Couple of Blog-related side notes:
~Colm, great to meet you man! Thanks for reading my trashy 'cross site! I heard you say to watch out for our favorite Saint today man. man. You are a good Irishman. Keep 'crossing HARD!
~My wife calls me from home to say they were out with the kids and some cyclist asked if they were "mud and cowbell's kids?". HA! Awesome. Indeed they are.
Cyclocross rules. People who like cyclocross rule. Therefore, you folks rule.
Credit MOST of these photos and ALL vids to CV!! Thanks man!!
Chugga chugga. The freight train is a comin' around! Good news to report. That in a moment.
Today was Race 2 of the Frisco back to back weekend of cross. The weather on BOTH days was gorgeous. Yes, a bit windy but insanely beautiful up in Summit county. The weather was tracking to be epic, but as I am learning, Colorado weather....especially mountain weather....is absolutely schizophrenic.
After the race yesterday, Brandon Taro, Bobby, Harris, Bliss and a few others rallied for a "recovery" dinner of a couple-a beers and eats. We celebrated B's win, ate up, then went back to T's casa for some feet up style recovery. We woke up this AM to sun and 16 degree weather but we knew it would be excellent. The sleep came fitful. 6 visits to the bathroom last night to pee. At that altitude (9+K), the heart rate climbs and the pee just gets squeeeeezed out of you. We woke up to an unbelievable view with not a cloud to be seen.
To prep for the race day, T made Brandon and I INSANE pancakes and one of the sickest Cafe Americanos I've ever had. It would be this that fueled the day.
Dean from the ACA was back again today to announce call ups (I was in 14th after Saturday's 9th and got 2nd row today). We had about 30-35 in the field to start. He got us squared away and shouted out...
15 seconds gentlemen...then silence...then: GO! We're off again up the same exact pave climb to fire road. We are grouped tightly and watching each other closely. I got into 10th on lap 1 and sat in feeling great. This crew of 10 rolled the first lap together in a train. Timmy was on it again after his W yesterday. If he's in the race, any race, it's essentially his to lose. Timmy gradually applied the pressure and splits formed on lap 2. Lap 3, Phenecie amazingly bridged from my group to the chase behind Timmy and then to Timmy's wheel. Impressive Chris. Even with that crap in your lungs man. Kudos.
The race then became a throw down of much smaller groups of like 2 or 3. I dropped some guys and some would drop me. Now, repeat that like 5 times. Again, like a knife fight. It was truly exciting racing and I felt it even as I was in it. You'd could have either end up 4th....or 15th. It all depended on how you played it. very tight.
By the last 2 laps, two strong Green Mountain Sports boys bridged up and double teamed me. One would go, the other sit in on my wheel....and repeat. Truly, it was awesome. They did their tactics with class and I respect that. We were THROWING down! It was fun to be railing with these guys.
By the bell lap Dave Towle was going INSANE on the hi fi for us. I am battling with these Green Mountain guys and Jared and Josh are SCREAMING to bridge to us. I could hear Jared's Ritchey Carbon freewheel through the corners and that motivated me to get up and sprint out of the corners to keep the gap. It was a tight race for top 5. I got the shit stick and the Green Mountain boys worked me nicely and I settled for 6th. I tried to shake them but it was so evenly matched between us, they simply had more matches left than me and took me within 100m of the line.
No complaints! I feel like I am back to where I should have been to begin with and just need to apply the consistency model and keep the training going. My diesel engine hopefully will ramp up and on in the coming months. I am having so much frickin fun it's mad. The group is really nicely balanced this year....save for Timmy who again is beginning his campaign to toy with us!
Lastly, Jared, YOU WILL BE MISSED man. Best of luck on your journey. You are a kindred spirit, man.
Upright. Flow. The feeling of rubber carving and sticking to dirt and grass. Technically as perfect as I could run a race. Maybe sections here and there cleaner, but tight nonetheless. That is what I felt today! Completeness! I'll get to the good stuff in a moment.
Today was Race 1 of 2 f the Frisco BCR race series. I have the full access hall pass for the weekend while Amy mans the kids and home front. I love you Aim! Held at the Nordic Center, the course at was 9000+ feet so the Front Rangers would certainly be at a disadvantage. The course was short and fairly well balanced between pavement, dirt and pure grass sections. It was in my opinion also fairly well balanced between full gas and recovery sections. The quad log barriers were a bit too short in distance IMHO though.
The Men's 35 A's was stacked today. the Call ups of the Top 10 were done and my shitty first 3 races did not allow me to get the tap to the line. I lined up 2nd row.
Dean counted out ....15 seconds!....GO! We're off. Up the pavement we screamed to a climb and into a continued dirt climb to a single barrier at about 20"! Dudes were floundering over that which bummed me out and I overtook a boat load there but the group was super tight still. This would be the theme for the day. Tight pack racing. Hurdling the single barrier you ran up another 10' to remount down hill for 20' before jamming hard right at the bottom to get back on to a paved climb. The attacks would happen here. Often.
First lap and we have 2 groups of about 5-8....then gaps to groups off the back. About 5-10 seconds in between. This race by lap 2 is turning into a knife fight. Altitude or not, the balance of racers is so level it's fantastic and people want a piece of it. This will turn out to be one of the funnest/strategic races I've done in a long time.
Each lap is attack attack attack. I would fly through the barriers, get nice gaps on dudes who were not as fluid but these same dudes would bridge back and repeat lap after lap. I changed my strategy while I was sitting in top 15 at about the mid way point. Oh, and the top 15 were separated by 20-25 seconds. It was that tight. We could see each other on sections where they'd send you past each other after switch backs. My strategy change was to sit in on the 2nd to last lap and let the power roadies do their thing with me in their slipstream. On the paved hill after the run up, I threw a hail of bullets and attacked on the hill. The only guy who could go was former national champ Karl Kiester...who has inexplicable class. He would throw, then I would throw. I would be recovering behind him stare at his stripes on his sleeves. He is an institution of racing. He and I end up splitting away on the bell lap and closed out our business with an 8th and 9th respectively. Shortly behind the 1-7 racers including Timmy who pulled out another W. Nice work boy!!
9th. I will take that amongst these men any day! It was just such a satisfactory feeling to know
(a): I could focus on a clean race where equipment and rider flowed.
(b): That the engine was responsive for me when I needed it late in the race and I could commit to strategy and execute on it. Za Plan is working.
Today was a rare day as I could actually stay and support my team mates and the Boulder Cycle Sport folks. I became a SUPER FAN. Man, my race day usually consist of getting to the race, heavily focus on my race, then race and pack up and go to get back to the fam. Today, I could see the Cat 3, Women and Pro drama. SICK! In the 3's Matt Opperman had a heroic ride after some moron took him out so dramatically....I literally saw his feet in the air and him land on his shoulder/back. Insane. he dug deep to crawl back to a near top 10 in a HUGE field.
The ride of the day though was my boy Brandon in the Pro race. SICK. B finished 1:20 ahead of 2nd place. It was a display of technical execution. Surgical. Attack, grow gap and maintain technical smoothness to never yield an inch. Lap after lap this grew. Pitting was super fun for Brandon.
A GREAT day and looking forward to tomorrow. Race 2. Recovering with Brandon and Taro as we speak with the feet up after a killer dinner and celebratory beer.
Complete. My season began today.
It comes in threes right? I'm sitting here, after coming home, showering and playing Legos for 2 hours with the boys....and I'm laughing. Boulder CX No. 1 and for the third week in a row...drama! Ha! More on that in a minute.
CLASSIC fall day here. 68, partly sunny, leaves changing. Awesome. My family came out for the day today too! My beautiful wife and boys were out with bikes and loud voices (cowbells were forgotten....doh!). I pre-road the course at the Boulder Research Center which I know intimately. Same course as last year and utilizes all the same stuff that the Short Tracks use albeit with pavement. Technical, twitchy, dirt and rock strewn but frigging fun. I drilled it on this course last year to like 6th place and loved it.
So with Amy and the boys there by the staging, call ups begin. Even with my first two crap-ass race performances, I got the call up. Teton called up the Top 20 and I had enough points to get in there. Wardell called me up next to him for the front row.
3,2,1...Go! we're off and I easily take the hole shot. Leading up to this race, I had the most peaceful week of rest and light training. All by design and I had smiles on my face at the line today. The warm up gave me great sensations. I felt deep. Very very deep. 100% different than last week. So back to the hole shot, I bury it intentionally at the gun. Yes my classic self but I feel it today. Again smiles. I had a plan and I stuck to it and what I envisioned came true. I wanted the split to occur in lap one....and I even envisioned the people I wanted in the split....and got them to. The legs are floating in a "no chain" sort of way. Lap one I lead all the way and start backing down the watts and get that split to connect. Lap 2 and I let Phenecie Wardell and another guy take over and I am spinning my legs like a school boy behind them. Coming into a drop in....it occurs again:
A boom like a .44 Magnum and I am down on my face...literally. The front Challenge Griffo explodes at max speed on the decent. 100% shoulder and face plant. So quick. Breckenridge style. Cheeckbone and shoulder abraised and the lenses of my Oakley Radars scratched and dirty that I can't see.
I can't buy a break! Ha!
So, I grab my shit, wobble through to the other side of the course to the pits to grab my back up Rock Lobster. The EVER FAITHFUL Squires brothers are there waiting for me (THANK YOU GUYS!!!) Walking over in my stupor, I yell out "Fuuuuuuu_ _ _ _ _ _kkkk!" in frustration. Nat Ross is doing the announcing today right by the pits and decides that I am his target of ridicule after that F bomb. I deserve it. Too many kids around and temper tantrums are gay and I fell victim to it. Doug Squires hands me a bottle, my spare bike and a smile and laugh and tells me to get on it. He's been witness to all three debacles and there for me.
Angry man mode in effect. I capital B bury myself. I am conservatively by this point 60-70 seconds in back of the last place guy. Yes I'm angry...but laughing. I use all that 'feeling good' I had at the start to the best of my ability and start reeling in people....1, 2, 3, 4...8,9. I made a game and counted exactly 10 people I took back. Aiden and Seamus are yelling their little voices off for me. GO DADDY! GO GO DAD!! There is absolutely no friggin way I am pulling out today. I don't care what place I'm in. Dave Weber's wife cheering. Von B yelling at me. I am just going ballistic. I honest enough to say that I'd never say "I'll never quit!!!" but today it was pride in front of the fam. Bottom line. Also, this was probably the single best work out I've had since the heavy training in the Summer. Yes, I'm looking at the bright side. But I had this juice flowing through me and I had o at least feel depth. I did.
Speaking of bright side, Ward The WB Baker cranked a Top 10 today with equipment that wasn't even working for him today. God I wanted to have him with me if I'd still been in the race. He was bridging already by lap 2 or 3 and it would have been a DREAM scenario like he and I talked about before the season began. Also, Dave Weber did well too! His family cheering us all on! All that after he cracked some vertebrae recently! A hard man. Nice work, boys.
So, in the end, I'm sitting here...smiling. I can't take all this stuff seriously....as much as I'd normally have a tenancy to. God, I love it. God I am so lucky I can get out there and do this. God I just want some luck!!! HA!!
Does it come in threes? Breck...Colorado Springs....Boulder. I sure as shit hope so!
I JUST want to look up in the sky on January 19th 2008 in Mol Belgium and whisper silently "You did it man. One year of focus. Ups and downs. You are here." I will. I promise you.
The weather is high-desert fall epic-ness. Gorgeous. Today's race was in Colorado Springs. Home of the OTC, huge SUV's and lots of God and gun stuff going on. Driving 220 miles round trip will have to be re-considered for racing for 45 minutes.
Let's talk about the race shall we? First, my approach this year at large is totally different than year's past. It's all about this steady progression. A song that crescendos rather than fizzles. Imagine that, when my Type A personality says that I need to be go-go-going all the time, biking, work....whatever. Today my plan was to be tranquil (isn't that a term over used these days by dopers? "I'm tranquil about the fact that my A sample was non-negative..." Sorry, but that was the only word I could think of. ) So the whole line of thinking is of a ramp-up through January instead of blowing shit up early...and then have a lovely and fairly quick ramp down come December.
So, at the core of it all today was supposed to be 'cleanliness'. In other words trying to have a technically perfect race and regardless of placing, get that under my belt. Be smooth. Flow. Last week sucked so I just wanted to ease into things and really focus on form.
Oh, the race. Sorry.
5,4,3,2,1 Go! We're off and literally I sit up after the first 50 feet and wave my boy J-rad through. I do NOT want the hole shot today. F'd up, huh? I just want to race and place and be clean. No desire to try and rule the roost. Steady burn, nothing crazy. That is how convinced I am of the need to just roll clean and feeling complete.
I settle into the first 3 in lap 1....in fact rolling slow intentionally. Save it. I'm not feeling punchy today at all but continue to try and settle in. Lap 3 or 4 of like 7 and...wham! Hit the deck running down this dodgy run 'down' which does a 180 then back up and over a barrier over fairly well pot holed ground. Hidden boulder underneath grass. Roll the ankle and all. Awesome! Totally F up my leg (again....over the same week old cuts) and bend a lever. Swish...swish...swish. 3 maybe 4 guys over take me. OK, sort out the lever, get rolling. I'm ready to punch it and bridge back...
Nothing. No go. Nada.
You know what it feels like when there is a hollowness? When spinning is about all that can be done but the circles you're spinning are not pulling on pedals and creating power? That was about it. Nothingness.
Another guy passes. Then another...and another. D'oh! Again, nothingness. Bloody, again, I put the tail between the legs, roll in and finish 12th.
Complete? Yes? Clean? F_ _ _ no.
OK, switch subjects to a more abstract level. Why do I write this? Frankly why do I write any of this dribble. It ain't ego as I try to live life like the proverbial chocolate brown lab with his tail wagging constantly. I've won races before so I 'get' that and my intent here is not a boo f-ing hoo, woe is me thing. F_ _ _ it, it's bike racing and I love it. It's more like a textual shout into a digital abyss. I am compelled to tell it like it is at this period in my life and I am equally compelled to put my leg back over my bike...every ride...every race...until I line up in Mol in January and look up and say "I f-ing did this, man." It's crazy focus like I've never had before and my wife can see this....and it is intense....and weird...and present in our lives....and will not come back again as sand is pouring through that hourglass.
So I've got to grab it. Talk about it. Live it. Suffer immensely for it.
The counter balance of my mind is firing synapses at a zillion times a second these days. Those synapses are of guilt and odd feelings of remorse. It's weird. I can't explain it. I'm so lucky. I could spit...or cry...or whatever. But I see the scarifies my wife and children make (without the latter even knowing how they sacrifice for me).
Power taps. Weight loss. Think at really intense speeds. Dream about it.
Ha! Week two! You morter forkers will unsubscribe your RSS feeds by November listening to this! Sorry for the temporary mind loss. It's clearly the Chimay I just downed thinking about today. It has an effect on my fingers when near a key board.
OK, the digital scream is capital D done.
Thank you. I hope you come back!
On to RAD stuff.
STEVE! You did it man!!! Great work and I am immensely proud of you. Great effort out there today, homie. I got no pics of you! Sorry! I chalk it all up to my clinics. HA! I should have used some of those lessons today.
BOUPS!! You ALSO did it man! Here comes your ACA Pro 1-2 upgrade beeatch! You would have won on your old Yeti. You would have won on your New Belgium Klunker.
SQUIRES BROS! Huge. Thanks so much for the feeds today and laughs when I was suffering. You're helping me keep it real.
Some pics from today.
Cat 3 stuff before I had to jet back to Boulder: