Entries in 2011 cross racing (16)
Everything went into slow motion when the bodies began to literally fly into the air…disintegrating the course tape, smashing into spectators and generally being thrown into completely orthogonal directions from the direction the racers needed to go…as if they triggered landmines and were thrown violently into the mud.
That was the first 25 seconds of our National Championship race in the Men 40-44 group.
I’ll get to the racing in a moment but the synopsis is this: what a phenomenal day on Saturday January 7th, 2012. The Boulder Cycle Sport crew…no, strike that…the Boulder crew itself from various teams all worked so well to get our racers onto podiums and meet their personal goals for this race. It was crazy passion. Crazy dedication. Crazy cross fanaticism at its best.
The lead up -
The days leading up to Madison were very introspective for me. It’s been the same old broken record: “Too much going on in my life/am I fit enough/the teeter totter is broken/I’m not good enough/etc etc.” My State Championship was a personal disaster and really, deeply, disappointed me. I’m still learning how to train/eat/rest/peak/reduce stress in order to be at my best for various targeted goals. And States sort of burned this hole in my brain on how to completely fail. Utterly fall apart…and it really all just emanates from poisons in the head.
I had some great talks with two guys I deeply respect and consider mentors. My teammate Pete Webber and my coach Frank Overton. They both intimately get me…they get my passion for the sport and know that I have a brain that constantly thrashes, is rarely calm, very often impulsive and jumps to bad places too quickly thus beginning my mental poison cycles throughout various times in the season. They both were clear and syncopated when they said: it’s in you, just relax, trust the training and know that you’ll be good.
As for goals, Madison was as some call an ‘A’ goal. Obviously in front of our Nation’s best masters, I wanted to do the best that I personally could. My call-up would be mediocre (27th in row 4) and my goal was to be top 25. I wanted to ride clean enough to maintain and push on from there versus getting nervous, get off my game and start getting caught and dropped. No fun. It was a very conservative goal but after last year’s debacle-season and Nats, I wanted to ‘walk down the hill’ and be conservative in my brain as I had a clean 2011 season of decent results, no crashes and just flowy riding which led me to a top 10 overall in our region. I wanted this Nats to go the same and just ride clean to a respectable result. Literally that was it.
The whole build up to Madison in the weeks following States was ideal. SUPER calm. Way less stress after speaking with Frank and Pete and generally just enjoying ripping on my cross bike. From the packing and bike transport to the logistics to the flights and getting to Madison, it was all fun and games. The family was in a good place, I never got sick and I was stoked to be with my buds. Traveling with two consummate pros in Pete and Brandon isn’t all seriousness, by the way. In fact. quite the opposite which relaxed me even more. These two stars-n-bars winners and former pros are probably two of the funniest mopes you’ll ever meet and I am so happy to have them in my life and pushing me to go harder…be better…one idiotic moment at a time…
Learning from Pete and Brandon over the last 5 years or so has been continually eye opening. Every little detail
The Colorado racing season…she is DONE! I can not believe that this past Sunday was the last time this season I’ll here my name across loudspeakers by voices like Larry LG Grossman. It was the last shot I had to use some late season form here in our state and racing series. A final chance to trade paint with some of my best bros. A last attempt to make them feel vomitus as they do me weekend in and out.
The last few weeks I could feel my fitness rising. Growing. Piston’s finally going: ‘braaaaaaaaap!’ instead of blick-um blick-um blick-um. Decent results and more importantly ‘feelings’ on the bike that gave me such confidence that the work was in and my drought was over. It was pure bliss in bad conditions. Our Ridley bikes, PDX tires and my love for crazy-hard technical driving courses sort of getting a chance to do what they do best with me on top of them. Colorado States in Castle Rock would most certainly be challenging. Tons of elevation gain and mud on a course laid out to provide zero (quite literally zero) recovery. I had my work cut out for me.
When we arrived and surveyed, we all knew that this would be a leg burner. Mud everywhere given the snow earlier in the week and escalating temps come race weekend. Even on the climbs would guarantee you’d feel a little slow death every lap…
The Alpha Bicycle and Frites en Mayo crew got super busy doing their best to make this a hard and memorable event. They applied tons of time and passion to creating and promoting no less than an extremely challenging course
I waited and it came. Like the Christmas present you dreamed of Santa bringing you and it actually happens. Maybe I am easy to please but I only asked for the perfect weather conditions, technical challenges and good legs and Santa brought me a gift. Boulder Racing’s season finale in Lyons CO was simply awesome with all the ingredients I lust in a proper ‘cross…
This was the last race before our State Championships so everyone wants to be firing well. The pre-ride proved to me that it was going to be a highly technical affair. The complete opposite
Yes, it finally came but my patience was admittedly tested these last few weeks as the moisture just refused to come and make a proper cross for us. Mud and rain are one thing but ice, snow PLUS mud and deep freezing temperatures are an entirely different affair. And it came with a vengeance for this past Saturday’s Cyclo-X race at Louisville’s “Bowl of Death” (a.k.a. the Louisville Rec Center)
To start the day, I performed my duties as chief ‘marshal’ for the juniors.
Ah the mid-season doldrums. We…or at least I…am in the middle of them. Some dudes can just keep drilling it weekend in and out (ahem…my boy Michael). Amazing stuff. Me? No way. This is a 5 month racing season, intensely packed with racing on every single weekend from September to January. It’s incredibly different than, say, a road or MTB season where athletes have specific targeted events spaced weeks if not months apart. The cross season demands you stay sharp every single weekend and given my whacked mental state, that is decidedly problematic. It takes its toll on the body, mind and family. And right now is that exact point in the calendar where it’s either throw up my arms and cascade downhill or be smart and focus ahead, restore what the body needs and re-pack the powder. I could feel the floor start to drop out the last month while racing and so, put my tail between my legs and pedaled through…trained through as it were…so I can feel fresh later in the season, do my best to rip it and have smile with my buds.
I toed the line at Westminster stoked for many reason. The course was radically fun, there was tons of grass to drive on, the weather was insanely beautiful and our dear friends, the Ball family, were in tow for the Holidays from CA and they came to watch. Joe was my old teammate back in the day and he and I used to have a boat load of fun ripping the Surf City and CCCC series back when we had fewer gray hairs.
Joe (front) and me taking a feed from our bud Bob.
My focus on the day was to gain some confidence back. Put in good efforts and ride clean.
What do you get when you combine a gaggle of aging bike racers, copious amounts of beer, darkness and cruiser bikes? Chaos. The Tour de Dewey was brought back in style for a certain Dubba’s 40th birthday. It was of course a full moon and the date was special to say the least…
There were costumes…
Everybody needs a little time away. It’s not just for Peter Cetera…
Week 8 was spent off the bike. Resting. And trying to let the body repair to be able to hang on through January. Getting’ old yo! Yeah, I said that.
Next up, an epic fall weekend here on the Front Range. Looking forward to Sunday’s course in particular. Designed by Mr. Webber himself.
“It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man.”
~ Jack Handy
Nah, this isn’t what you were expecting. Some emotive diatribe to get you all misty-eyed and weepy for a graying master’s racer who had a shit series of races. Oh, no. It’s more a tale of lunacy…of chasing windmills to some extent but the realization that after all these years of racing this sport I love…you never stop learning. And of all this self-inflicted ‘education’, the thing which continually boils up to the top of the soup is the sweet froth – the stuff which shows what you are made of to keep coming back. Quixotic, maybe. Passion for the sport, for certain. So sit back, relax and be the bigger man to laugh at this big man.
Day 1 – Colorado Cross Classic
One word: BOUPS! Aaron Bouplon is an institution of Colorado cyclocross.
Tough tough day out at the Boulder Reservoir today but incredibly crossy...and incrediby fun. Here Joel White captures my boy giving me some TLC after my race. He'd finished his race as the Master A's started. Boulder Cup at Valmont tomorrow. Giddy up.
And I am not talking about the Cheech and Chong kind. I’m talking about the kind that lights on fire given how fast the racers were tearing it up at Interlocken this past Saturday. Unbelievable speeds on an unbelievable course assembled by our friends at Boulder Racing. And much to the dismay of our really good Mass-hole friend and eternally-Colorado-‘loving’ Mr. Chandler Delinks (who incidentally will be here for the Boulder Cup weekend so cheer him on Coloradans!), the course was super sweet. Nearly 100% grass, technical off cambers and all kinds of fun shit to get yourself into trouble at high speeds with. Interlocken proves year in and year out to be a fave in the Front Range.
Even though not a Colorado Cup race, the weather was too epic and the course so well known so all the usual suspects in the Master’s A group (save a resting Mr. Robson) were there to light it up and have some fun at Interlocken.