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Entries from November 1, 2009 - November 7, 2009

Finding my place | A mid season check in...

I hear myself tell my legs on any given weekend "I hope you perform". But as we know, hope is not a strategy. It's a layer somewhere beneath luck, fitness, passion and ultimately skill that can help contribute to a great performance. But on its own, it's useless.

These day's I am finding my place in the crew. Finding my legs...and my head...as I continue 'the balance'. Everyone...and I mean virtually everyone!...is at this new level. Cross is a passion for all those who line up and their strategies are less 'hope', more 'drill it'. It's inspiring.

The place I see myself now and the place I need and want to be are not very far from one another. It's like looking across a small stream....one that you know you can leap across if you nail the jump just right. But you need to trust your legs and your spring to get across. This is precisely the situation I am in. That extra .0001% of effort to take a risk, bridge to where I need to be in the race and settle in.

Everyone is suffering. That needs to be remembered. It's about your ability to block out all doubt for the nanosecond it takes to put in an effort...one that with hanging doubt will never allow you to cross the chasm for fear of too many matches burned.

I can do it.

Training these days is less training and mostly tuning. Each race is its own stepping stone. The big blocks of the summer...early morning pre-work sufferfests to condition the body from long single speed rides to hour-long wattage-fests...was prescribed well. But now, the intensity of work and the need for my family to have a daddy and a husband far outweigh the selfish requirements that many are still putting themselves through to be at the razor sharp edge of the race.

Racing-->rest-->a Wednesday eye-bleed session-->rest-->racing. Eat well. Don't be afraid to have a beer. Sleep even harder. Secret sauces that help me carry on in the fall while my mind still carries me to victories, instigating my passion for the sport and the place I'd like to find myself. Never hoping I am there, always planning to be there.

Bloggin' from my iPhone

 

Be prepared for lots of misspells and other anomolies as I am now armed and ready to blog from anywhere with SquareSpace's new iPhone app.

Middle Cross Is On! | Junior Cyclocross on veterans

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Promoting cycling recreation and fitness for youth

FALL BIKE FEST

RIDE + FOOD + PRIZES + FUN

Wed, Nov 11th

11 am – 2 pm

Manhattan Middle School 290 Manhattan Dr., Boulder, CO

  --Middle School Cycling Program Concludes With Festival --

The Middle Cross FALL BIKE FEST is scheduled Wednesday November 11 at Manhattan Middle School in Boulder.  The mid-day festival takes advantage of the Veteran’s Day Holiday when Boulder Valley schools are not in session and is the final event of the fall Middle Cross program.

Activities scheduled for the 3 hour event include rides, clinics, food, prizes and a Middle Cross race that caps a season of training and prep races. All activities are free and open to the public.

Several high level competitive cyclists are slated to conduct clinics and activities for the students including Rebecca Much of the Subaru-HUDZ Cyclocross Team, Mike Friedberg of Mafia Racing and members of the Clif Bar Development team.  

Middle Cross (MCX) is a program for middle school aged youth and is currently open to all BVSD middle school students, boys and girls of all riding levels who want to ride a bike with friends in a fun and supportive setting.  Students join a Bike Club at their BVSD school to practice cycling skills as well as participate in various cycling clinics and race events.  There is no charge to participate and most events offer bikes and helmets for students to use if they don't have one. The program’s goal is to promote cycling for recreation and fitness. 

Middle Cross organizers have been offering clinics and scrimmages throughout September and October leading to this final event.  The FALL BIKE FEST is open to all BVSD middle school students interested in all levels of recreational cycling, from beginner to advanced. Middle Cross riders must attend with their bike club or have a signed waiver to ride the course.

Information for participants, participant waivers and anyone interested in volunteering can contact:   mikeeubank@me.com  or  landon.hilliard@bvsd.org

A cyclocross race decomposed | Brian Patrick's video of the Blue Sky Halloween Cup

Brian has outdone himself. What a fantastic keepsake for our tribe of 35 Open racers out here in Colorado. He filmed this and spliced together all the sound to punctuate the action with the racer's commentary. Listen close and you'll see what I mean.

I can't wait for my boys to see this when they're older.

 

More Boulder Cup Weekend Photos | Shawn Lortie's Lens

Shawn is a local hard man and has shaken up the 35 Opens after a pretty long hiatus from the scene. The man's got that prototypical Colorado mitochondria that mystifies. Moreover, the man is an inspiration to me on the photography front, having lusted his images in Mountain Flyer Magazine for quite some time now. He wanted me to share some of his imagery from this past weekend and so, I am! Click here to see he essay on the Boulder Cup weekend.

BicycleRadio.com Tonight! | Mud and Cowbells takes the mic...

This could be dangerious for Sean and Brook of Bicycle Radio.com to let me have air time. I promised them I will not digress into potty humor or booger jokes. OK, maybe one or two. Ha! But serioulsy, check it out tonight!

You can find all the information you need about tonights show here! The need-to-know on air time and how to participate is below!

Join the conversation by calling 877.919.LIVE or send us your emails to LIVE@bicycleradio.com. See you Tuesday, “LIVE” at 7:00pm (MST)

Cross Racing Week 7 | Trench warefare

Week in and week out we slay each other....like the gentlemen we are. It's very close and always tight like warfare in trenches in the First World War.

And yet we love it. Purely, sadistically and with as much affinity for our own families, our family of elite masters this 2009 season is tight. Yet we're a familiy who attempt to murder each other on the course, pounding each other into submission looking for any signs of weakness to jump all over. But as soon as that finish line is crossed we share war stories, beers and encourage each other on with true sincerity as we're all in disbelief at the efforts we've just gone through to put a place in the guy who put a place on you last weekend.

I live for this every weekend as a salvation. To try and slay my physical and mental dragons and completely drain myself to purge the toxins alongside a bunch of fast guys who are doing likewise and generally 'get it.' We need not even say much about it either as we're all pretty much going through the same thing in this life, balancing the three part teeter totter. And that is comfortaing to know about this band of brothers...as I contemplate my assault on their trenches once more next weekend! Ha!

And so it was this weekend. Full on trench warfare with muddy battlefields to boot. The Boulder Cyclocross Racing weekend was EPIC! Here's the score from the trenches of the 35 elite races.

Blue Sky Halloween Cross

(All still photos below from David Kutcipal of 303cycling.com. See album here.)

Passion. This band of blue and maroon from Blue Sky Velo eat sleep and live cross. They built an absolutey special course and got out there in the snow and filth to lay tape and dial every meter in of the long Belgian-style parcours. The Front Range got dumped on earlier in the week to the tune of 14 inches. And in classic Colorado fashion, we went from 20 degrees to 70 in the span of 4 days. Mud was the forecast as would be pain.

I had a feeling on Wednesday that this was going to shape up as it did so I rallied the team to think power washer. Team mate Mr. Sharkey went out and rented a beast of one and as you'll see made all the difference. I brought my Ridley's and my RoShamBo singlespeed to warm up on and immediately I knew we were in for some fun. By a 1/2 lap my singlespeed has ammassed so much mud it was crazy.

The course featured pretty much everything from pavement climbs to mud fields, to packed firm grass (that had dried as it baked in the sun) to off camber muddy whoops to sand. It was a crossers course in my opinion due to the weather. Else, it could have suited lesser technically focused riders. The fields were decent size with a gaggle of folks who came in from Utah, California and elsewhere to get a taste of racing in Colorado. I got a front row call up and was stoked to get 'er done. I had pretty good feelings going on as my warm ups told me that nothing was really aching or making it difficult to come around, I felt rather good.

The UCI official took charge of the callups and whistle blowing, pacing in front of the line even as close as 15 seconds. Kinda threw everybody off but I watched his mouth for the telegraph of a tweeeet!

TWEEEET! We're off and I step on it but only so much to stay out of trouble and to let some other dudes go out front for a change. Robson (blue) and Cospolich (orange Kona) led me out and into the first muddy section...

(Video courtesy of The WK)

On to the course, it took a few laps for the group to get its legs and bearings straight. We haven't had this level of mud yet this year and so it took a lap or two for folks to determine what the match burning would be like. I felt super comfortable running a Typhoons at 34psi r and 32psi f. Rhynos would have been perfect but I am Rhyno-less at the moment yet I barely missed a line with typhoons at that pressure. 

The BCS crew was in FORCE in the pits. As mentioned, the secret weapon was that power washer and the skills of the crew, Mike D, Philip B, Sharkey, Bobby Diesel, Rob and Dubba covering the BCS crew in the race. Each lap...no each HALF lap!....we had fresh bikes. Not only that Dubba had these guys dialed into pit procedure with a guy to catch my dirty bike and the thrower had the clean bike up in the air for me to simply throw my arm through and run out of the pit. Incredible.

JJ was on fire off the front with Mark Legg-Compton who are both stratospherically fast. I crawled up on Mark after a long effort and was able to sit in. Mark then blew a Dugast and had to DNF (and I'd experience some of that too...).

By the closing laps it's clear that the bike changes are making a huge difference. I was riding comfortably in 6th-7th with a gap to chasers Robson and Shawn. I am with Mike Hogan who had shredded a derailleur earlier and he still managed to bridge back and work with me. By the bell lap we are hauling and making time. He and I come off the pavement and into the muddy pit area. And then it happened! Like a truck fishtailing on black ice, Mike's rear end washes and I t-bone him and go ass over tea kettle. Mike goes down too and we quickly get up grab bikes and start running simultaneously into the pits to change bikes. Robson and Shawn benefit and the nab us sacrificing bike changes and they punch it...and it worked for them!

I grab my bike and run past Mike and remount. I am determined to go and catch Robson and Shawn who are dangling in front. I go through the off camber 'pit of death' just outside the pits and I feel my front tire case something. It bottomed out the Dugast but not unlike normal bottoming sensations. By the pavement section I can feel things start to wash and then I realize I'm going flat. Arrgh! I keep up a tempo and try to keep it level. I need to ride another 1/2 lap until I can get a bike.

I can feel Mike gaining and I just drill it not caring about the tire or the carbon rim I am now riding on. (Awesome.) Coming into the pit area I put a hand up and the boys are ready. I fly in drop off the flatted bike and grab the other, remount and take a look over my shoulder. I see Hogan railing and I punch it harder. I was able to keep the gap over the finish line for 9th. All that effort... A true knife fight. Teamies Brian H (3rd) and Timmy the Truth (6th). Three guys in the top 10 and a large majority of it due to the team support in the pits.

Boulder Cup-Boulder Reservoir

(All still photos below from David Kutcipal of 303cycling.com. See album here.)

Back again for another round at the Rez! 2 times in as many weeks. The Boulder Cup was supposed to be on the grass at Harlow Platts, but if we ever want to use the course again, we had to take one for the team and avoid using it for fear of chewing the place to bits. It was the right call.

Pre-riding I could feel the effort from the day before. It was taking a loooong time for the engine to turn over but by the time I lined up, I felt like a B-. And so it would be that kind of day. Sort of a 'meh' feeling. My poorly feeling legs aside, the weather was spectacular and you could not tell that it had snowed days earlier. The course was dry and we were in shorts and t's!

On the mic today doing race commentary was Rob Coppolillo...old friend and one of the good guys. As we're getting called up, Rob over the race course's PA system calls me out by name, telling everyone he's unabashedly going to be rooting for me. I'm indebted Rob!! That made my day.

Our UCI guy is back pacing once again in frot of us right down to 10 seconds. Tweeeet! On to the course and again I do not want to lead and allow a train of 3-4 guys go and I sit in. I am surprisingly turning my legs over and just playing conservative as I'd need to save it up for the later minutes of the race.

The Boulder Cup Rez course was different than the Boulder Racing course used last week. We had tons of sand as normal for a Rez course but they used a lot of other parts of the surrounding area that included sweeping grass and off camber turns. It was quite flowy and fun!

Video by The El-Gee.

By lap 2 my teamie Brian H is taking a flyer. I am not going to chase so I have Jon C come and pull if he wants to make the bridge. I sit in with Timmy close behind as I know Jon is going to throw it down as soon as he bridges.

We snake our way through the sand section which has us weave around a boat house. Very technical but offers a 'cheater' line to run up on the cement of the boat house and wheelie drop in. Brian is still motoring and takes this line yet cases it on the drop in. Arrgh! Timmy and I jet past and Jon as expected is off. I yell at Tim to go as this is truly it and he's off in chase...

By 3rd or 4th lap I am in that same section by the boat house. I get bumped off my line and wrapped into tape and throw a chain. I am trying to run and sort my chain issues out at the same time as a block of dudes pass me. I go from 5th to 10th in an instant. You can not make mistakes. This one wasn't all mine but you simply can not make mistakes as everyone is as fit as the next guy. 

By the closing laps I am making attempts to bridge to Hogan who is in a group that would be the tail end of the top 10. I put in a massive effort and can't grab on. I can see Clay, Pat and another guy making time to me so I save matches and let them bridge. Clay and I proceed to drill it trading work lap after lap. If we can get to Hogan, we can definitely close to the top 10 and we can sprint it out.

By bell lap it's not going to happen. We can't cross that chasm to thenext group. The group in front stayed the same distance. Out of the sand, our group of 5 is still tight. I can see that Clay and I are the strongest so I am thinking we need to sprint this out. We blast on to the pavement in the finishing straight and I let Clay come to the front. I want to have a second of rest before we drag race it. Clay buries it and we start the sprint earlier than expected and he holds me off for 14th...14th! Ha! Yup...knife fighting in the trenches.

It was great to see all the out-o-towners once again, Timmy J, JPows, JesseD and others. It was an exceptional weekend of racing and the BCS crew should be proud.

Double hup...

Boulder Cup | Photos from my own lens

After my race I was able to mess around before going to work for Dubba and Webber in the pits. I snapped the faces of my friends and some of the ladies in the Elite Women's race....where Katie proceeded to thrash the field. Enjoy. My weekend race report comin' up.

 


Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Blue Sky Halloween Cross Mud Fest | From the lens of Rob O'Dea

I am trying to fabricate something eloquent to say here about the photos Rob ttook yesterday of teh elite men's and womens race...but I all can say is: holy crap. Mr. Rob O'Dea has done it again. He's allowed me to share these spectacular pics with you so we can all enjoy them and remember the most excelelnt day yesterday...

 


Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.