Sunday, October 29, 2006

Veterans Park CX Race #5

The 5th Tailwind Cyclcross race was held at Veterans Park in Ann Arbor today. This course is known for all the elevation change and typically a large field of racers. Today was no exception! With the sun shining and a strong wind to welcome us, it was a nice break from all the rain. Of course it was cold in the morning, but the sunshine felt really nice on the black spandex. We had four of us from Team Sandbag starting the C race. A record turnout!!
The course was really muddy in sections from all the rain we got yesterday. Only one barrier section was set up on the course out in flats between the baseball diamonds. But there were enough run ups on the steep hills to make up for it.

The race started and once again, even though, I had a better start position I still got boxed in by slower riders. By the time I got through the first little climb I knew I had to get around these guys. I put hammer down on the second hill and got around some of the traffic. Into the barriers into the hilly part of the course.

On the first short little hill I got stuck behind a couple of guys pushing the bike. I stayed with them until the steep little pavement climb and sprinted up that hill and around them both. This part of the course was tricky with a sharp turn and a long run up. I found in my warm up rides it was better to run this hill all the way to top and not try to get back on to soon. We then hit a flat part of the course that came down along maple road. From there there was another big hill climb which I choose to run and rode the flats back to the finish line. 10:00 roughly was my first lap.
The second lap I rode with two flying rhino riders the entire time. I apparently backed off my pace a little and had a 10:18.
The final lap I got around those two riders just after the finish line on the paved hill. I kept up the pressure and by the time we hit the barriers I had a nice little lead on them. I rode this lap all alone, so there was no getting off the bike in spots due to traffic. I hammered the last hill and got across the line in 9:45.
I ended up in 8th place. Not the 5th place that I was hoping for, but I am seeing a lot of improvements. On 2 of my 3 laps my re-mounts didnt have any little studder steps which I think is a first. Also the hill running that I have been doing seems to be helping.
Next week is the Iceman! Hopefully the gains that I have seen so far this CX season carry over to it as well..

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Lower Huron CX Race #4

Well another CX race and another rainy day. At least it was mostly just light sprinkles during the race. It was enough to make the course slick in spots however.
It has been a few weeks since the last race, so I wasnt really sure what to expect. I have been doing a lot of riding, but that is to get ready for Iceman in a couple of weeks. The race started out on the pavement, and I got boxed in and couldnt get as close to the front as would of liked before we hit the grass. There was a really sharp turn around a tree in pretty soon after the we got off the pavement and as expected it caused some chaos. Luckily I was able to get away from a few people there and into the first set of barriers which were also set on tight corner and at the bottom of a short run up. The big run up by the river was in the course also.
I held a pretty consistent pace throughout the race. I tried to draft off people when I could on the pavement and hammer it on the grass.
I ended up in 7th place which is my best finish yet. I was just 6 seconds out of 6th place, but just couldnt catch back up with the guy on the last lap.
I am looking forward to Veterans Park this weekend. It will be a tough, but fun race I am sure.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Stony Creek CX Race

The third Tailwind CX race was sunday at stony creek. The weather turned out to be quite nice compared to last weekends mud fest at Springfield Oaks. With temps in the low to mid 60`s and sunshine it was a nice break from all the rain. Of course on saturday it rained most of the day so the course was wet in spots.
The course layout was 1.4 miles and featured 1 set of barriers and couple runs through the sand. The longest run was on the beach but it was quite a bit shorter than last year.
The race started out good for me. I got up to front at the start and stayed with the top 5 or so guys until about 1/2 through the first lap. The first sand pit was on a 180 degree turn, I saw a few guys crash there in warm up when they tried to ride it. So I figured the smart thing do was to get off and run. As I dismounted my chain fell off the chain ring. So I had to stop, at the base of the hill of course and put the chain back on. By then the rest of the people in the pack got around me. The next lap the same thing happend in the same spot. Finally on the third lap I made sure to leave my chain in the middle of the cassette as I came into the dismount. This worked and the rest of the laps I did not have a problem.
The last lap the I just couldnt catch the guy that was ahead of me. He passed me earlier in the lap when I was taking a drink on the pavement. I figured that I could catch him once we hit the grass just like I did on the previous lap, but to no avail even with a hard sprint to the finish. I finished up in 10th place 7 second out of ninth place.
This was my best result to date. I felt that my running was really my weakness in this race. Hopefully I can shake this cold and get out and do some training. The next race is not for a couple of weeks so I should have some time to improve this aspect of my racing.