Monday, October 27, 2008

Orrville CX #2.

I got the pass to race yesterday. So I hit up the Orrville CX race.

This week, I finally have the tubular setup together.... but the grifo challenge have short 32mm valve stems, and I have some deep rims. We had talked about valve extenders, but decided I could use the extender for filling without actually installing them. It worked alright, but I need to figure out a better way to do this.

Stacked field with about everyone there. I think there were about 20 including all the usual A race suspect. Didn't anyone go to Kentucky?

I lined up second row, picked a gear, and waited for the start. We're racing on time. Shooting to end at 60 minutes. I thought we'd get an idea of the lap count... not to be though. Here's a short lap by lap account:

Lap 1: Poor start in at least 1 gear to big. The field is lined out like a crit. Gaps are opening in front of me, but I'm working to keep my own gap manageble. AND I may not have enough pressure in my rear tire... it's bottoming out more than I want. Tubulars or not, I hope this pinch flat thing I hear about is true.

Lap 2: Trying to keep the gap to Bill and Derrick (Team Lake Effect) constant, when John Lorson (Orrville) catches me on his single speed. I will NOT loose his wheel. I soon leave him behind because I have gears that can wind up on the pavement... and because he stopped right before the pavement to fix something.

Lap 3: Trying to hold off Lorson who is slowly coming back. I'm starting to get the flow of the course down and having a bit of fun.

Lap 4: I Think I caught Bill here. Lorson is still back. I go hard to stay away and hopefully open the gap to Lorson. Bill came back to me more than I caught him. The guys ahead of us are continuing to open their gaps on me.

It's drizzling. Is that good for me? 54 and wet? Maybe... the grass is getting slippery.

Lap 5: Derick has at least a half K on me, if not more. And it's opening. I'm taking some corners a little gingerly since the tires are slipping a bit more than I'm used to. Very careful on the pavement corners. I have to get that corner drift feel again. It's been a while.

Lap 6: Lorson catches me. I'm faster up the little climbs where he's over geared.... and I can get more gear when he's spinning like crazy. I again sit on, then attack on the grass flats. The gap opens a lot on the downhill pavement section.

Lap 7: Continue to open the gap to Lorson slowly. It's not huge but it's a few hundred meters.

Lap 8: I don't know for sure, but I cross the line at 51minutes. So I'm guessing I've got two to go. I tried to push it to hold off Lorson, Derick is gone, so there's no one to chase. Then I see Paul Martin is about 500m back. So I figure I have to get to the line before him to finish on the lead lap.

So.... sweeping left downhill 180, I've been slick here for at least three of the previous laps... I take it tight and aggressive, and The bike comes out from under me. I land hard, and stop rolling with the bike above me. I get back on, and pedal the chain back into place... but it must not be seated well. I get moving up the hill and I've got nothing.. I get off the bike, and wait for my head to catch up with me, as Lorson goes by. Then Bill goes by, and then I notice my chain is under the third eye... so I fix it and get moving again.

Then Paul catches me in the twisty trees. Then Shawn catches me on the pavement climb to the finish... I see Paul finish up right behind Bill. So he gets the last lap, and I don't. Race over.

Still lots to work on for next week now. The good news is I raced my bike this weekend, and I've got two races coming up next weekend. Though rattled a bit, I felt fine last night with the exception of a slightly sore shoulder.

I figure without the crash, I would have finished in the same spot and on the lead lap. I lost quite a bit of ground getting my head and bike back together. So the drop cost me two places and a finish on the lead lap... but it could have been a lot worse... and the bike is mechanically alright.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Posted results.

Well, They gave me a DNF for Harbin park. Don't quite understand that, especially since I KNOW I was in front of Andys Burns who they posted at 1 lap down. And we had timing chips... so I don't know how they screwed that one up.

Very disappointed.
Harbin Park Results

Other results are also up:
For Friday:
Darkhorse Results

And Saturday:
Java Johnny's Results

Harbin Park UCI - 10/12

Last day of UCI racing, and this one will be bigger. UCI C1, so the course is wide all the way around. This is a power course also... lots of climbing and descending, with a really fast drop and short rise into a right hand turn before the wooded section, a short descent into a 180 switchback that climbs to the top of the park. The course also had a two way sand pit. Uphill between the finish and the barriers, that ended with a left (in the sand). And Downhill just past the second pit passing. Uphill was questionable on riding, downhill was fast and pretty straight forward.
Course Description just scroll down a bit.

Gary did pretty well again, as did Rick. Rick shot off the line, and got the hole shot with about 20m to the group. Very nice. I was hoping he could hold that for the whole race, but he faded and ended in 6th. Still a very nice result.

Same folks in my race. Again I had a fifth row start position. I got off the line well, and felt really good heading into the off-camber section. Then the wheels started to come off as we climbed toward the finish line. I felt like I was going well, but I go passed by a TON of guys.

I again tried to focus on Derick just ahead, target acquired, now bring him back. First time down the hill to the woods, and through the tight switch back. And I'm passed by an older Barbasol rider. It turns out I think I've been chasing this guy all weekend. He's the guy I targeted after my mechanical on Friday, and I was somehow chasing him on Saturday also... As we're climbing the hill on the first lap, I'm just digging in trying not to let a gap open up and the guy slows, and ducks under the tape.

Up until today, I said the worst feeling in the world is clawing your way back to someone, catching and dropping the guy, then having him quit shortly after you go by. I now have to update that. The worst feeling is being in the process of getting dropped when the guy dropping you climbs off.

I guess I should have known I was in trouble then. Next lap through a guy in white jersey is about 300m behind me. I keep him there on the paved climb and figure I can make ground on him through the rest of the lap. As I hit the woods, he comes around me. He made up 300m on me on a descent! Wow!!! The rest of the climb, I decided I will not quit until I am lapped... so DON'T get lapped!

Next lap.... another guy does the same thing! Makes up 200-300m on the descent. What the HECK!

As I go through the 180 switchback I see the two leaders heading into the woods.... I'm dead. I don't think I can hold them off for three more laps cause they are FLYING. Sure enough, they catch me at the same spot one lap later.

Let me update that "worst feeling" again... getting caught by the leaders with two and a half laps left in the race.

The good news is I rode the sand both directions all but the first lap. I had to run the uphill side then because there was so much traffic. Considering how far back I was, that was alright with me.

Two laps sucked. Bill and Derick got pulled with 1 to go, because (the official said) they impeded the finish sprint. The sprint finish was seconds behind them... it was a tough call since they wanted to finish on the lead lap... I wouldn't have been happy with that either.

Looking at my HR data, I guess I was pretty spent. Even with my mechanical on Friday, I averaged about 167. I usually average between 168 and 170 in a cx race. On Saturday, I averaged 162, on Sunday.... 152. It wasn't like I wanted to just take it easy either. I guess I was just beating a dead horse. It was hot all weekend, but I don't think that had as much of an effect as the repeat race days.

We didn't hang around for the Elite races on Sunday. 4 hours of driving, and we were both pretty beat. Dave didn't finish much better than I, though he wasn't lapped. He flatted on his last sand crossing and lost 5 places running it in. No matter, he was pretty far back by that point anyway. I guess three days of racing will do that to you.


Java Johnny's UCI - 10/11

What a cool course. We arrived again early enough to get a lap in before the start of the 10:30 race, and probably could have gotten in two.

Here we were at a marquee event for our sport. One of the biggest races in the country, including many of the big name stars, and it's held at this rinky-dink little park in the middle of an old town in Ohio. How cool it that! Talk about a "cult" type sport.

The park was REALLY small, but they used the space extremely well. It had about everything... Course Description There was a grass start this time, with barriers and a double sand pit. First crossing was no problem, but then you did a switchback and did the second crossing... I ran that part.

Through out the entire race, this course confused me. I like to think ahead to prep for what I'm doing next, and I repeatedly got it wrong. It's partly because there was almost no time between races to pre-ride the course, and partly because the course was folded into itself so that you thought you were in one place, but you were in the next lane over.

Gary did the 3/4 men's race at 10:30 and got 4th (I think). Sadie did the beginner ladies race, and Rick did the 3/4 master's race. Dave ROCKED his start this time getting from his 3rd or 4th row start position into the top 10 through the first barrier/hill climb. He rode very strong, and finished 16th out of about 60! Very nicely done.

I was hoping for a similar result. I started with Rudy, Jeff, Bill and Derick from Lake Effect... well they were all in front of me. Registering on the Tuesday before the weekend gave me some fifth row start places... not optimal. I got off the line alright, but got held up on the first turn somehow, then even further through the barrier hill climb. I swear I think I was almost last by that point, though I know I had at least 10 guys behind me. I just focused on keeping Derick close, and trying to pick him off.

I have a feeling I did a poor recovery job because I was not getting my heart rate up where I thought it should be. I was working hard enough, I just wasn't responding. I ended up keeping Derick in site for the entire race, I just never got back to his wheel. Ended in 40th out of 60+, with Derrick in 39th, Jeff in 37th, and Bill taking 35th. Rudy didn't have great legs (he says) but he still pulled into 25th.

The elite races were again fun to watch and very tactical. Katie Compton again went to win the women's race with Georgia Gould having a poor start, clawing her way back to Katie, then flatting. She didn't have a spare wheel so Katie Compton's husband gave her one of Katies to finish the race. Georgia finished 6th behind some of the other big named ladies that attended.

Jeremy Powers repeated pulling Jeremiah Bishop away from Barry Wicks and Jon Baker. Barry wanted Baker to pull through, but Baker sat on Barry hoping to pull out a third place. Jeremy dropped Bishop for the win, and Baker flatted in the last lap. Baker rode the flat for nearly a half lap, including a spin out where he ended up heading backwards on a paved section for a second... but he had enough of a gap on Troy Wells to hold onto fourth.

More recovery, and I'm hoping Sunday will be better. At least my tires held up for the day. We're going to try to get there earlier to get more practice laps in, since the start times are the same for both days. These times are super tight with no time between races... so it's nearly guaranteed the starts will go late. Especially if the 10:30 race starts 10 minutes late. By the 1:00 race, we were 30minutes behind.

Darkhorse UCI - 10/10

Dave Steiner and I made the trip down to the Cinci area for the triple UCI weekend. First stop was Burlington KY for the Darkhorse CX race. The course was very technical and super dry. Course Description is here.

We got there in time to do a couple of laps before the first race went off. Way better than Gary did... he arrived with Rick and Sadie for his race with 5 minutes to spare for signup... just enough to to register and jump into the start corrall. I tried to give him a heads up on the course... but it was an adventure for him. He did well finishing 8th.

Dave did the Cat 3 race next, had a pretty poor start, but raced well to get 19th out of about 35(I think)

I lined up for the Master's 1/2/3 race with 35 or so. I start on the fourth row... looked at my front wheel when I got the call up and realized I had rolled the Tufo tubie-clincher. Nice way to start my race. I got a nice start even so... and took the corners gingerly to get to the pits. A ladie was there who grabbed my spare wheel and helped me get the bike back together, and I went off in pursuit of some places. Of course, I totally screwed up the first technical turn after the pits and dropped myself on the ground... but then forced my self to relax or I wasn't going to get anywhere.

I probably should have just called it a race, and saved myself for the next two days. I felt good, and raced hard... but it seemed everytime I picked somone off, they would sit up and call it a race.

With 2 to go I had one guy in my sites. I decided I better treat this as the last lap... or it very well would be if I got caught by the leaders. I worked it trying to catch the guy, but he must have thought the same thing. Turns out he caught two more guys ahead of him, and I couldn't catch any of them. I did avoid getting lapped, I don't think I was even the last guy on the lead lap.

As I started the last lap, I looked at my rear tire, and noticed I had rolled that one too. So I pretty much just took it relatively easy around the corners to the finish. I still didn't understand why I couldn't close the gaps though until I also found my rear wheel was out of true enough to rub the brakes hard every lap....

It was very frustrating to mechanical on this race, but I didn't get lapped... I raced hard, and finished 28th our of 34 finishers... with 4 more DNFs.

We hung out to watch the elite races... Georgia Gould gave Kati Compton some competition in the women's race until 1 to go, when Katie took off. Then J-Pow, Barry Wicks, Jeramiah Bishop and Jonathon Baker animated the men's race. Powers eventually dropped everyone for the V. We though Shawn Adams was going to be the last guy caught, but Jeremy sat up to let Shawn cross the line to be last guy on the lead lap. Ernesto rocked the course from a back of the pack start to finish 20th on the day. No UCI points, but he did make some money since they paid to 25 deep. Rock on!

Plenty more racing this weekend though, so no time for dissapointment. I just went to eating and drinking to try to recover well for the Java Johnny race on Saturday.

Leroy Township - 10/5

I'm way behind in posting, so I'll make these short.

I did the Leroy Township Cross race on Oct 5 put on by Chagrin River Cycling. They did a really nice job for the first year at this park. They didn't have a lot of elevation to work with, but put on a very technical course including a BMX style rock garden and some incessant drainage ditch crossings... 7 times across this nasty little thing.

I lined up with the other 23+ A racers. Got a decent start, and settled in pretty quickly. The technical nature caused the first split as the front 6 or 7 guys got away. I was probably sitting in 12th at the end of the first lap. Then went to work trying to pick off places as people blew up.

It came down to Jason Halleran from Spin and I fighting it out for 9th place. We were pretty well matched trading places for about 2 laps. As we came through the line, Lynn told us we had three to go, and I took a breath. Jason some how got a gap on me right then. I worked hard to close it, but slid out on one of the twisty bits... and that was it. I tried to pull him back for the next lap, but my head had different ideas. I ended up a minute behind him at the finish in 10th.

The best part of this race was I had no mechanicals, and I felt like I raced well with the exception of lap3 to go, and maybe the last lap when I decided I didn't need to race quite as hard since I wasn't going to catch Jason or get caught.