Friday, September 29, 2006

A bad week

Well I have been sick all week. I have not been on my bike since sunday at the UCI race. I am finally feeling better today, but not back to normal. I was hoping to use this week to work on some stuff before the stony creek race on sunday. That is not going to happen, I will be happy to just get out on the bike and go for a ride.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Springfield Oaks Race 2

Well sunday started out a little better than saturday for me. I actually showed up early to the race, and was able to get some warm up laps in. The course was in better, by that I mean muddier, shape than it was on saturday. The combination of some heavy rains and lots of racers made the course quite slippery in many of the off camber spots.
I am not sure if the course was harder on sunday or saturday. The one big run up on sunday was tough with the slippery conditions, but there was a little pavement to ride also.
I tried to hammer it out of the gate for a change instead of hanging back. I guess it really didnt buy me anything this time, because my fitness level just isnt there yet. Pretty much the first 3 laps no one passed me and I passed a few other riders. One guy did get around me but I caught and dropped him on the third lap. On the last lap I crashed pretty good in a downhill mud pit. But there was no one around me. I got up and cranked kind of hard to get my gap back that I built up. I crossed the line in 12th place.
I was really hoping for a top 10 finish in the race. But I found some weak spots that I need to work on that cost me some time every lap. Now all I have to do is shake this stupid cold and get ready for Stony creek next sunday.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Springfield Oaks CX race 1

The first of the tailwind CX races kicked off on saturday. The weather was warm, but it rained the night before and was gray all day. The morning started out good, I woke up on time and got going a little later than I wanted to, but not too bad. Not knowing how long it would take to get there and not really knowing where I was going got me up early in the morning. Well one problem. For some reason I was thinking that the race started at 10:30. I pulled up about 9:20 and thinking that I had an hour before the race I was just taking my time. Well it actually started at 10:00! I was on my first warmup lap and I heard the call for all the C racers to line up. So I cut the course and hurried back to the start line. A swallow of HEED and the bottle back in the cage and the whistle went.
The first lap I was looking for the best line through the course. There was a lot off camber sections and the grass wet with a few big mud pits. The off camber sections were tough after a few laps of getting chewed up by all the racers. The barrier section was a flat part of the course, but the grass was really wet and slippery so I took it easy the first few times. The next one was an up hill just after getting out of the horse barn. It wasnt too bad to run up it.
Every lap the course conditions got worse. A section you could ride the first couple laps turned into run ups. All the flat sections were flooded and all the uphills were muddy and slippery.
The race worked out to be 5 laps. On the last lap near the end someone caught up with me. I figured I had to drop him quick. I wasnt sure where he came from all I knew is that he was there and the last time I looked there was no one. Coming down from the second barrier section it was a short downhill and sweeping left turn and then a slight up hill to the finish. I just cranked as hard as I could and wound up in 11th place.

What a great way to start off the season with some real cross weather. Last year there was nothing like that. The weather was really nice. Of course the hour and half of cleaning up my bike made me wish for some of those nicer days. I was hoping it would dry out for sundays race, but I didnt get so lucky...

Friday, September 22, 2006

Springfield Oaks CX race

Tomorrow kicks off the Tailwind series here in Michigan. It is currently raining and there is 40% chance of rain on saturday as well. Sunday looks like it might be a little bit better weather for race #2.
It sounds like a mud fest is in the works. It can`t be any worse the than the 12 hours of mud at addison oaks. Which was the worst conditions I have ever seen.

I will post a full update on the race tomorrow.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Highland Park CX Race

Click for Pictures
My first CX race of the season was this last weekend at Highland Park in Grand Rapids. This was the first race of the kisscross race series as well. I have never done a kisscross race before so I figured that I would give it a try. The rest of the races conflict with the tailwind series.
The course was a 1.3 mile loop that had two sections of barriers. The first set was a triple set up and the next was a single at the bottom of a huge hill run up. There was a small amount of pavement and a couple of loose climbs. The course was really soft in spots from all the rain that we have had in the last few weeks. This series only has a A and a B race both of which are longer than any CX race I have ever done before.

We got to the race pretty earlier this time and I was able to get a few warm up laps in. On my second warm up lap I was watching my hrm and I saw my highest reading of the year. And this was an easy lap just to get the legs going!
We were told that the race was going to be 7 laps as we were getting ready to start. With that we started out in the parking lot and hit the grass. The first lap I took it kind of easy and just sat on with a few guys. We hit the run up and I tried to push it pretty hard up the hill. This is were I broke my record for my highest heart rate also.
The next 6 laps I just concentrated on getting up that run up and pushing it on the flats as much as I could.
At about the 30 minute mark I was wishing that this was a C race and being able to finish instead of having to do 2 more laps. They went by pretty quickly and the next thing I knew the race was over.
My lap times were pretty consistent. I was doing about 7:30 laps. I felt pretty good for the first race of the year, but am amazed I could push my hr so high. I saw it really high on two different laps so it would leave me to believe that it was not a glitch.

Next up is the season opener for tailwind at springfield oaks. Two days of racing, and a ride through a horse barn. How cool is that going to be!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Stony Creek XC

The last of mountain bike series races took place at stony creek. My home course, the course I ride all the time. If there was going to be a race that I did good on this season this would be it.
The day didn’t start out to good. As I was loading up my bike onto my roof rack I heard an all to familiar ping sound. A spoke broke again on the rear wheel. Well the nipple sheared in half actually. This was a different nipple than the one that broke at fort custer, but the same wheel, FSA XC-300. What would cause that to happen when the bike is just sitting there is beyond me. So I loaded up the single speed and my old set of wheels, mavic crossrides. I figured this way if the old wheels dont want to work at least I have the SS to fall back on. I threw the old wheel on and pumped it and all seemed well.

My first lap I got stuck behind some slow traffic on the first section of the roller coaster that I couldn’t get around. By the time I did the lead pack was already gone. The guy that I was stuck behind was keeping a faster pace than me on two track, but I knew I had to get around him before the pines otherwise I would be out of the race for sure. So I got around the last of the guys just before the entrance to the pines. Somewhere on this lap I started to notice a bike problem. My rear wheel was not free wheeling, and something was rattling around. But I ignored it and I just pushed and turned in a :33 minute lap.
Lap 2 I was hurting a little and decided to take a bit of a break in a couple of parts. I was tearing through the rollercoaster and I hit a patch off mud in a turn. Luckily I was able to stay somewhat upright by hopping along on my left foot while my right was still clipped in. Apparently my backup tires aren’t so good in the mud. My save hurt my back but I tried to put it out of my mind. My almost crash made me back off the speed and I turned a :36 minute lap.
The third lap my plan was turn it up a little about ½ way through. I didn’t recover as much on my second lap as I would of hoped. I tried to pick up the pace a little, but to no avail. I did manage to bounce off a couple of trees, luckily I was able to keep from crashing. I was getting close to the end of the race, and I caught one guy that passed me earlier in the race, but I could not keep contact with him. The slow guy that held me up on the first lap caught me as well on the last big hill and I had nothing left to chase him down. Turns out he wasn’t in my class anyways. So this was my slowest lap, 37 minutes.
I got 9th place. Not really what I set out to do, but oh well.
I figured out what the rattling noise was when I got home, any guesses? Another broken spoke on my back up rear wheel. At least this one was at the hub, not the rim. Something different this time I guess.

Next weekend is my first cyclocross race, I am really looking forward it.