Entries in Photos (134)
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.
God, I love this town. Wednesday AM 'cross throw down was in effect today. Big big big big group. Conservatively 55-60. Elks and North Boulder Park (although pics below are not in that order).
Today only saw session 1 of 2 on my docket. I love these training sessions cause I can have fun, work super hard but try out lots of things. Today I played with some racing strategy changes and tried out various things which my body seemed to like. Power ramped up consistently, evenly and more powerfully at the end which is what I wanted to feel. I didn't have to bury myself today so I flowed and stayed clean and thought clearly about what I was trying out. I placed well in Session 1 with the top 10 including Brandon, Pete, Will, The WB, Troy, Danny, some others with Pacocha and Sager flowing in with me. I was super satisfied with the experiment.
People are stoked for 'cross this season. Happy faces and lots of fitness going on. It is way different than years past where you'd have hard men like Gully and Travis gone off the front, and a couple of hacks (like me!) trailing along with their tongues wagging. 07 seems like its the year of cross. These sessions are now one looooooong line of crossers fairly evenly trained together or 20 minutes or more. Conversations I've had with lots of these folks prove that 'cross is literally 'it' for them. No more road racing, maybe an MTB race now and again but cross is their core and it's anticipated all year round. Not unlike the rest of the country's growing hot spots. Bike manufacturers have taken notice....next step is parks and rec advocacy! We need the dedicated places for this MASS of people who are so passionate.
Anyhoo, good day today.
....and forty million miles from the sun. Or so the song goes. Perfect and ironic that it came on this AM on my shuffle as I continue putting in the work in the early morning air. Yesterday was still felt in my legs but the air was crisp and the determination was there. Beautiful. I threw the leg over the bike, hit play and rolled. The ride tore upon the healing muscles that helped me at least take back 11 places as I watched the race roll away. It was needed.
At the top of Lee Hill the song came on and the lyrics spoke to me. Again smiles. Did it fall apart before it all began? Easy to let the mind pour gasoline on itself and commit suicide. Rolling in the garage, my son heard the door rumble open. He comes flying out with a pair of ridiculously old Oakleys....no lenses.
"Did you not crash and win daddy?! Can we ride now!?"
What can I do? I'm the luckiest man on earth. Just stuck between the green grass and forty million miles from the sun.
My boy John B got an AWESOME pic of Cipo at the "World Crit Championships" in Vegas. Check out Steve Bauer drilling it in front of him. And yes, that is 'crosser Mark McCormack coming through on the inside! RAD pic John!!
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.
Oh dear. I don't think I can sleep until I'm able to source these. TRP has launched White Sex of the braking kind. TRP just launched the Empella-like carbon brake and now this magnesium beauty. Mmm. In white. Oh , God.Oh. You're not supposed to use your brakes in 'cross. Forgot that. But they're so pretty.