Archive for September, 2013

Event: BASP #1
Location: Candlestick Park
Date: 9.29.2013
Category: 35A
Teammates: Murray Swanson, David Collet
Place: 6th
Weather: dry, 65+ degrees
Tires: Tufo Flexus Primus, 23 psi F/R

it gets lonely when they leave you behind

it gets lonely when they leave you behind

Have you ever noticed how much crap you seem to bring to cyclocross races?  Even with a well-versed packing system, I’m still spending nearly an hour getting all my gear together, selecting the variety of gear and clothing I’ll need, and making sure I don’t forget anything important.  One of those items happened to be my son Mattheus, who was out for his first cross ride this season.  I’m probably the only racer who was up at 8am making mac and cheese, packing soccer balls, extra clothing and Diary of a Wimpy Kid.  Not your usual cross race gear, and forgotten was a cowbell, beer or anything you would imagine bringing to the BASP races!  Such is life, and its great to be sharing the day with my boy and having fun in the process!

I spent much of the week on forced rest because I struggled to find time to ride so I came in well-rested but also a bit de-tuned.  I was lucky enough to get a single preview lap of the course and saw multiple people with slashed tires from the sharp rock sections.  Out came the sound “waaaaah” sound of the air compressor to bump the tires up to 23 psi to give me a little added protection.  About 20 minutes on the trainer an hour before the race constituted “warm-up” as I went over and watched Matty participate in the first BASP kid’s cross race.  He wasn’t impressed with the course or its length, which worked out great as he said “I want to race juniors and have some real barriers!”  So we have some of those adventures to look forward to later this season!

 

Basp#1 2013 rear

Moving up with David Collet hot on my heels on his way to 3rd place

Anyway, the actual race was pretty uneventful.  My goal for the race was to simply avoid any self-inflicted mistakes and try and ride smoothly.  I got a 3rd row callup which put me about 20th into the first turn.  This saved me from a lot of the mass chaos that ensues behind you in 30th-60th, so I quickly picked off guys on the alternative lines I had ridden during practice and moved into the top 10.  I found myself on Alan Coates’ wheel which was a great place to be as we wove our way up, right until we hit the barriers on lap 2 and he bunny-hopped and opened a gap.  I never closed it.  Just before the wheel pit a rider in front of my stabbed his wheel into some loose sand and did an acrobatic maneuver over the bars that was a slow-motion cartwheel.  Steering for all I was worth to try and avoid getting entangled or being slowed down I was super fortunate to just barely skate around him. David Collet came around me somewhere around the 10 minute mark and powered his way up to a 3rd place position.

Eventually I made my way into 7th position on Brock Dickie’s wheel and we raced together for some time.  I felt good technically but by 25 minutes in I was starting to lag a bit as my heart rate would spike on the run-up or other long sections and I’d have to back off to avoid making any handling mistakes in my hypoxic state.  Eventually I lost Brock with 2 to go and ended up 6th after Murray had to drop back due to a flat.  The unusually short race didn’t give me much time to try and catch anyone that was fading, but it also didn’t give me much time to fade and be caught.

much of the course was dry, hardpacked dirt with a little sand in corners.

much of the course was dry, hardpacked dirt with a little sand in corners.

Overall I am consistently staying in the top 10, but have a lot of improvements to be made in the next 6-8 weeks if I hope to move up onto the podium at the bigger events.  But that’s a big improvement over the last 18 months that have been nothing but injuries and setbacks that haven’t seen me able to return to form or even race, so I’m happy to be out there!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

menko

Race Report CCCX#3 CSU MB

Event: CCCX #3
Location: Seaside/CSUMB, CA
Date: 9.21.2013
Category: 35A
Teammates: Murray Swanson
Place: 7th
Weather: Slight drizzle, 65+ degrees
Tires: Tufo Flexus Primus, 19 psi F/R

trying to manage my efforts

trying to manage my efforts

This was the first time I have raced this flat, sandy course and found that my deep sand skills are quite atrocious, especially as I have placed more weight on the front wheel forcing myself to ride in the drops to relieve tension on my elbow.  Most of the week was spent trying to recover from a bout of intervals that had me feeling pretty wasted and I was really on the fence about whether it was wise to race at all or spend the weekend doing some longer aerobic work on the road.  Murray offered to drive, and that was all the convincing it took.

The course itself was pancake flat with some longer sand sections, gravel pit, and many corners with hard-packed sandstone with little tiny “ball bearings” of sand and rock on top of it.  Most notably missing was any section where you went downhill, and where I could recover.  So be it.

Small field of my favorite friends headed out and immediately the afterburners were kicking in as I scrambled to stay up with a pace that I couldn’t sustain.  After about 10 minutes of effort, I started to get gapped and knew I was done for.  I lost track of the 6 guys in front of me and rode the rest of the race by myself until Todd Hoefer from the 45s came around me and I got a merciful tow in for the last 2 laps.  I struggled throughout on the technical sections just being unable to find a line and desperately trying to avoid any bushes on the sides…as I had been plenty itchy all week and did not want to add to my blistering poison oak collection.  This felt a bit like Worlds—flat course where I just didn’t have the horsepower to stay in contention.

chasing after the leaders

chasing after the leaders

menko

Race Report: CCCX #1 & CCCX #2

Event: CCCX #1 CCCX #2
Location: Fort Ord, CA
Date: 9.14 & 9.15.2013
Category: 35B (Sat), 35A (Sun)
Teammates: Jason Bradeen, Chris Cowart, Murray Swanson
Place: 1st/5th
Weather: Dry, 75+ degrees
Tires: Tufo Flexus Primus, 21 psi F/R

opening a gap on the singletrack

opening a gap on the singletrack

After a long road season filled with little racing and very little luck going my way, I finally arrived at my first two cyclocross races of this season.  I spent the entire off-season hoping to heal the wounds of last year and have a injury-free season, but my lack of road racing has brought me into the cross season a bit lower than previous years, but the goal for this weekend was simple: shake the

bike down, start regaining confidence in my skills, and practice flaying myself without falling off my bike in a lactate-filled haze.  The fields were small and the courses technical, so I simply rode as hard as I could, blew up, and then hung on.  The skills still felt a bit rusty, the fitness a bit lacking, but on track given

some hard work planned over the next two months.  Negotiating the hardpack and sand on Saturday left me with a brown racing stripe from a few close calls, but I started to feel a little better on Sunday.

My biggest takeaway was a pile of poison oak on both legs, despite using Tech nu.  New item added to equipment list—portable shower.

 

alone and suffering

alone and suffering

trying to hang on

just eeked my way onto the podium
just eeked my way onto the podium