Archive for December, 2012

menko

CX Districts @ Fort Ord

Getting a little practice lap in

Getting a little practice lap in

Event: CCCX District Championships

Location: Fort Ord
Date: 12-30.2012
Category: Masters 35A
Teammates: Murray (45A)
Place: 9th
Weather: Small mud patches, 45 degrees, sunny
Tires: Challenge Fango 33/Zipp 303, 23 psi F/R

Fort Ord is always a challenging course and this particular route was demanding because of the constant gas required with no real place to hide.  I hadn’t ridden this exact route since my first race a few years ago, and was nervous to make it to the first turn without incident.  Fortunately that was no problem

and I found myself in the top 5 guys after the second turn.  That didn’t last long, as we hit the first hill I was immediately passed by Chris McGovern and Brock Dickie on the 30 second hill.  I knew I was going to have a hard day in the saddle, but I just hunkered down and focused on keeping contact and not making mistakes.  I had no trouble holding wheels through the middle parts of the course, but the moment we hit the run up and longer climb, I once again was getting gapped.  My lack of 1 minute power and fitness were making themselves well known, so I focused on limiting the damage on the rest of the course and trying to lead the more technical sections where I was little faster.

Chasing Brock Dickie and Craig Chaney the entire race

Chasing Brock Dickie and Craig Chaney the entire race

Eventually I was passed by Craig Cheney and Brock Dickie, both of whom I finished ahead of at Santa Cruz, so I knew I was pretty much where I was going to end up.  The leaders continued to put 45 seconds per lap or so into me, and I soon was no longer able to see them.  Brock and I traded off several laps where he’d gap me on the climb and I’d pass him through a series of turns, until we got to the last lap.  I knew he was getting tired so I decided to wait until

the top of the last climb to make a move to come around him and lead into the tricky section right up to the finish line.  It was a perfect plan until I lost traction on my front wheel and went down, which gave him the edge.  I was right back up again and ready to try and pass him, but my chain had come off and it took a few seconds to put that back on.  I wasn’t able to close the gap at that point so I just rode home and took solace in the fact that I had made

Returning the favor to a super-supportive crowd

Returning the favor to a super-supportive crowd

the right tactical decision, but goofed on the technical.

I ended up 3:15” behind the winner, so I still have some hard work to do these next few weeks before Worlds.  I hope to try and close some of that gap in the coming weeks.  Immediately following the race Matty and I did the kid’s race

which is always fabulously done by Keith DeFiebre and I have to say I was really proud of the way Matty navigated the course.  He’s not confident on the downhill sections yet, but he was able to the climb the pretty steep first hill which made me super-proud of course!  Thanks also to John Kammeyer’s entourage for looking after Matty during the warmups and race so I knew that he wasn’t wandering around by himself.

A good time was had and looking forward to next weekend!

 

Matty and I do a few laps of the kids race together

Matty and I do a few laps of the kids race together

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is what I hopefully will be doing a lot more of–introducing my boy to the sport of cycling!

 

 

 

menko

Surf’s Up!

A long overdue visit back to Surf City

Event: Surf City #3
Location
: Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds
Date: 12-16.2012
Category: Masters 35A
Teammates: Ross (45A)
Place: 4th
Weather: Drying Mud, 58 degrees, Cloudy
Tires: Challenge Fango 33/Zipp 303, 21 psi F/R

To say I was eager to race this weekend might be an understatement.  I’ve beenlonging for some mud all season long, and today Surf City delivered the best

trying to close the gap

trying to close the gap

of all worlds—a recently rained on course full of mud, but racing under a warm sky with occasional sun.  Ross and I loaded up at a leisurely 9am and arrived with just under an hour before race time.  Having never been to the venue before we did a few preview laps that revealed a devilishly interesting course with a healthy helping of off camber mud sections, deep ruts waiting to grab your wheel and throw it, and some dastardly downhill mud sections.  Did I mention mud?  It was perfect, thick gloopy mud with steep, deeply chiseled run ups that made me wish I had run some stairs this season.

With a smaller field of all the heavy hitters showing up I was on the 2nd row and ready to go.  Of course luck was not with me and I missed my clip and watched as 4 bike lengths instantly opened up on me.  That never happens to me, except today ;)  First lap entertainment included off camber mud wrestling with bikes and bodies going every which way.  I then proceeded to throw my front wheel into a wheel sucking rut that tossed me off the course and down a hill, but I didn’t take any tape with me.  That put me about 15 places back after 1:35 of racing, which just served

navigating a tricky muddy downhill

navigating a tricky muddy downhill

to piss me off.  One more bobble a few turns later and I realized I just needed to calm my jets and ride my race.  I watched the leaders power away while I fought to pass slower riders without hitting the deck in the slippery, wet mud.

The rest of the course consisted of a bunch of twisty mud sections that wound their way through some stables at the fairgrounds, and then up and down a few wicked hills that made you pray to your higher power that your brakes would work and you’d not end up on your butt.  In short, I loved it!  Fast forward a few laps and I was desperately trying to accelerate on every section I could without blowing my HR above 185.  I’ve been really struggling holding these hard efforts past 25 minutes, and today was no exception.  Despite that, I was getting great updates from Chris and Jason as I picked off one rider at a time, finally passing Brock Dickie (IBIS) and Craig Cheney (Bell Real Estate) to put me into 4th.  Gannon Myall stayed about 20-30 seconds ahead of me for the last 3 laps and I couldn’t close the gap.  I crossed the line a distant 1:30 behind the winner Don Myrah, but felt like I had won.  Its so good to be back in action on the cross bike, a good finish is just reward enough!  I need to keep hammering the short duration high intensity intervals to get me ready for Louisville.  Nevertheless, I’m happy to be racing regardless of whether I am where I had hoped to be this year.

 

 

Surf City Podium 35A

Surf City Podium 35A

 

menko

Hello Bend!

Race Report: USGP Deschutes Cup

First race back after long hiatus

Event: USGP Deschutes Cup Day #1
Location: Deschutes Brewery, Bend, OR
Date: 12-8-2012
Category: Elite Men 2/3
Teammates: Alden Kroll (Blue Rooster-Seattle, WA)
Place: 3rd
Weather: Frozen mud/grass, 32 degrees, Cloudy
Tires: Challenge Fango 33/Zipp 303, 22 psi F/R

The family and I drove up to Bend to do the 2-day Deschutes Cup/USGP and met college friends who share a love of mud, cold and cowbells.  My primary motivations for racing this was to get a dry run at cold, muddy conditions that aren’t common to the Bay Area, but are the likely conditions of January in Louisville.  Having sat out the last 2-3 months of the cross season, I awoke at 5:30am with the familiar pre-race adrenaline even though this race “was just for fun.”  Yeah right.  My goals were to work on my pacing to ensure my lack of fitness didn’t lead to pre-finish thermonuclear meltdown, and to ride consistently and technically while being patient enough when racing in traffic.  These were two things I failed at Candlestick this year, so I hoped to do better this time.

Pre-riding yesterday left me with a really muddy bike and I knew I was in for a challenge.  The course is a fantastic blend of power and technique located at the Deschutes Brewery.  Its similar to the nationals course from a few years back complete with a flyover, several technical ascents which were tantalizingly rideable, as well as tons of twistys, roots, rocks and mud and grass.  At arrival time, it was about 30 degrees but the possible precipitation and snow were nowhere to be seen, which was a bonus in my book.  My major challenge was keeping my hands and feet warm pre-race, so that over the 40 minutes I would freeze slowly, instead of starting the race pre-popsicled.

Many guys missed their callups so I found myself in the middle of the second row starting next to my buddy Alden from Seattle.  The gun fired and they were off, the first row instantly opened a few bike lengths on as we completed the 100m straight heading into the first turn and transition to dirt.  Being out of racing this entire year, I dismissed my initial feeling of dread as nerves while I watched the riders in front of me swerve and bang each other around.  Still I couldn’t help myself so I moved far to the outside of the first turn just as I heard the first sounds of metal, carbon and pavement colliding with each other.  A cascade of riders started with the very inside rider who over cooked the turn and proceeded to take out everyone in the vicinity.  I barely avoided a trio of guys fumbling around, lost a little momentum, but in the end I recovered and was in the top 12-15 guys.  I proceeded to practice my patience and didn’t take any risky passes, but was pleased to see that I was able to take many of the turns just a little faster than most of the guys in front of me.

The first lap cleared most of the chaos and I found myself trailing about 10 guys who were spread out single file.  I simply put my head down, tried to stay inside my zone, and make no mistakes.  Fast forward 4 laps and with 2 to go I have picked off everyone but the first and second place rider.  I started running out of gas and had to back off a little, so I was never able to close the gaps on the guys ahead of me, but I was able to continue to open it on the ones behind me.  My last two laps were solo with a comfortable 10 second lead on 4th place.  Crossing the line I felt the same elation as if I had won, because in addition to the unexpected result, I had ridden a technically and tactically perfect race with no mechanicals or mishaps.  To do so in front of my family who cheered wildly the whole race was just icing on the cake.  I was given a nice pint for my efforts and get to do it all over again tomorrow.

[edit] sadly my elbows hurt once again and I had to sit out the Sunday race, even though my legs felt great.  Total bummer but that’s the way it goes.

I was good for 3rd place

I was good for 3rd place