Archive for December, 2013

Event: Deschutes Brewery Cup, Day 1
Location
: Deschutes Brewery, Bend, OR
Date: 12.07.2013
Category: Elite 2/3
Teammates: None
Place: 4th
Weather: 5F, sunny
Tires: Challenge Limus/Fango, 22 psi F/R
Data: None
Partial Race Video: http://youtu.be/JFn4c1abQqU
Friday Preride Video: http://youtu.be/ihr-dXqur2I

Please specify a Flickr ID for this slideshow

Friday in Bend saw temperatures plummet to below 0F and drop about 8” of snow throughout the day.  Pre-riding the course yesterday (http://youtu.be/ihr-dXqur2I) left us all wondering how we would survive today’s racing conditions.  Thankfully, the snow fell throughout the night and prevented anything from becoming too crusty and icy.  All of the wood, metal and road surfaces were treacherously slippery, and the deep snow around the course made riding it very similar to a deep mud race where you put out lots of watts, and move very slowly.

This race course was significantly modified from last year as a very large construction project removed the forest and technical sections along the river and near the road.  Instead, they ran us through the Deschutes Brewery parking lots and around the backside.  Nearly every traverse was off camber and that created a great deal of challenge for all riders.  If you didn’t survive the ride up, the ice on the hill made for lots of slipping and sliding and unexpected spills.  In particular, there were two run ups and downhillls that made for spectacular crashing as rider after rider was caught off line and off the course.  The officials wisely decided to remove the flyover for the earlier races, as the deep snow on the approach made it tough for the juniors and women to get enough speed to get over, and if you were forced to dismount you would find yourself sliding down and leaving with them no way to get over it!

The races started late, and so all of our events were shortened.  At the start line they told us we’d only get 2 laps in, but with the temperature and wind leaving us racing barely above 0F, nobody was complaining.  I personally would have appreciated atleast another lap, but they wanted to be sure the UCI pro races go off on schedule.  Such is life.

The start is about 200m until it funnels you into a left hand turn that promised to be a mess.  I missed my clip the first time, so I got a little gap, but was able to slot into about 4th place by the time I hit the corner.  People were slipping and sliding all over the place and I tried to ride conservatively and yet pick off riders whenever I could.  I hit the technical sections hard even though they were very slippery, and was able to move up quite a bit (see: http://youtu.be/JFn4c1abQqU?t=5m43s .  I kept getting frustrated at the slower speed of the rider in front of me, but tried to be cautious and pass only when it was safe.

This worked out great for me and after a rather spectacular pile up (see: http://youtu.be/JFn4c1abQqU?t=8m10s) I rode my way into 2 place.  I knew I could go faster and try and catch the leader, but unfortunately for me that hope ended when I hit a corner at what I thought was a safe speed, only to have my front wheel suddenly disappear out from under me and I was covered in a poof of snow (see: http://youtu.be/JFn4c1abQqU?t=9m46s ).  My chain jammed in the process and I wasn’t able to get it going again, so I had to swap bikes in the pit and I gave up several spots in the ensuing mayhem.  That was game over for the podium, and I was super frustrated to have given away the race. I buried myself and tried to focus on riding hard, and not on the fact I gave away my podium spot.

The last lap I was able to pass a few guys, including one right into the last turn and finished off lap 2.  I thought I was in 6th place, but ended up 4th, which I wasn’t too happy with, but such is life.  My son Mattheus was there cheering like crazy the whole time and it reminded me to look on the bright side and be glad I was able to to race. While more laps would have given me a chance to try and reel them in, I also may have turned into a human popsicle stick.  As it was my hands and feet were completely frozen despite having hand warmers, 2 layers of gloves, and wool socks, windsocks and booties.  Just a cold day.

Photos: http://flic.kr/s/aHsjNDHcLr

Lessons learned: Balance taking every opportunity to pass with more conservative handling. Work hard to move up, and don’t give it away!  Deep dish carbon works well in the snow!

Event: Cross Crusade #9: Day 2
Location
: Deschutes Brewery, Bend, OR
Date: 12.08.2013
Category: Masters 35A
Teammates: None
Place: 5th
Weather: 25F, sunny
Tires: Challenge Limus, 19 psi F/R
Data: Strava: http://www.strava.com/activities/99474490

Overnight the weather in Bend turned from cold to ludicrously chilly, with a low of -25F outside our condo.  Mattheus had been looking forward to racing the kid’s race and after all of his confidence boosting from kind-hearted pros on Saturday, he was amped.  At 7:30am he had his clothes laid out, and was ready to put them on–but his race wasn’t scheduled to start until 10:30!  We arrived at the course at about 9:45am with the temperature still hovering around 5F, and I saw no setup or anyone wanting to set it up.  The morning races had been delayed by 2 hours to allow for it to “warm up,” so Matty and I went out on the course together.  Sadly I failed in charging my GoPro and left it in USB mode, so I only captured 7 seconds of video of his ride and my race, but he did about half a lap before his hands turned to ice and he had to stop.  I didn’t blame him as my hands were so frozen I couldn’t buckle my helmet strap so we retreated to a warmer locale.  A few minutes later we heard the kids cross was cancelled, so we headed back to the house to warm back up, eat some lunch, and get back for my 1:15pm race.  He got a little action and simply said “Dad, its really hard to ride in snow.”  Every brave soul out there this weekend would agree with that sentiment!

Lacking a tent and heat to warm up in, I opted to spend 30 minutes on the trainer at the condo, throw on my extra clothing, and land on the start line a few minutes pre-race.  Even riding slowly around in the cold had frozen my hands on Saturday, so I  hoped this would work better.  After freezing my ass off in the morning, I put 2 sets of socks, 2 leg warmers, and 3 base layers on under my skinsuit.  Topped that off with a balaclava and latex gloves,  Glacier cyclocross gloves, and my Pearl Softshell gloves to finish it off.  While I knew my handlebars were under there someplace, it was a bit challenging to grip them with all that crap on my hands.  But if they freeze, I can’t feel the bars either…so I decided to try this.

The course had been packed down and worn through to a single track compared to Saturday morning, with exposed grass making some of the turns were far more predictable and easier to negotiate.  Other ones had a layer of snow sitting on top of ice, and were treacherous.  Most of the downhill segments had an “ice rut” which dictated the line to you and if you fell out of it odds were good you’d end up on your butt sliding all over.  I vowed to be patient today and dial back the turns 10% to keep me upright and in the game if at all possible.

Cross Crusade ran 3 races at once: Elite A Men, Elite A Women, and the 35A on 1 minute intervals.  When combined with the fact that passing was challenging on any line but the tracked one, the amount of traffic from the 35As running into the back of the women’s field made for several protracted laps of frustration!  However, once we all made it around the frenzy of the first lap, the women were super cool about making room when I was there, and I just felt bad for them to be constantly being swarmed by the guys coming up behind them.

From a 3rd row start I hit the first corner in about 15th position, and immediately set about putting myself in positions to take advantage of every bobble and spot where I could pass, without risking too much.  Within moments, we had caught the back end of the women’s field, which created huge separations in the field as the chaos of the icy and technical sections left people falling all over and we swarmed the unfortunate ladies at the rear of their field.  It was really quite chaotic and made me laugh at the complaints of N. Cal folks when they say “there’s no place to pass” as this was a whole new definition of traffic.  Everything was chaos and I honestly just dodged as many riders as possible as they dropped like flies all around.

Lap 2 I had lost sight of the leaders of our field as we mixed deeper and deeper into the women’s field.  The same pattern repeated itself–a train of riders would form behind the slowest person in the front, and I passed aggressively and picked off stronger riders one by one.  I found that I wasn’t as strong on the power sections, but was always faster on the rest and had to tamp down my impatience as I knew the leaders were getting away.  On the 2nd run up, I was lucky enough to come up on Meredith Miller (who was in 5th place in the women’s race) and had the chance to thank her for signing Mattheus’ jersey.  That was emblematic of the whole race–go out there and have fun, because there were no other options!

The sun came out and the temperatures went up, and I did lap after lap with Mattheus and Cami cheering for me at all the right places.  I figured out I could power slide down the ice hill and negotiate the off camber and cleaned it every time.  Eventually my hands even got too hot and the outer gloves came off.  I saw 3 laps to go, then came around to Bell lap the next time as Geoff Kabush (dressed as Miguel Indurain) was coming up behind me so they shorted me a lap.  At the finish I had no idea where I was in the field, and was surprised to see that I had somehow made it up to 5th.  It was a great race and a fun weekend, and Cross Crusade put on a spectacular event.

Hopefully I’ll never have to race in anything colder than this, ever again.  But hey, atleast it was dry!  My tendonopathy in my elbows flared up enough to remind me why I have been off the bike for 2 months, but not enough to rule out giving a go at Nationals if I can bring the fitness back up.  Overall, a great weekend!

 

Elite A Men’s Womens and 35+ (1 of 3)

Elite A Men’s Womens and 35+ (2 of 3)

Elite A Men’s Womens and 35+ (3 of 3)