Monday, September 20

Double Cross Weekend

Two days of racing to kick off the cyclocross season at Waterford Hills Raceway.  For my first full season I am racing in the 'B's' (Cat 2,3,4) and aiming for top 5 or higher finishes.  The competition is broader, because of the open format and guys come from all ages and cycling disciplines. 

Day 1- Saturday morning I awoke to rain and checked the radar to see how long it may last.  It looked like a rainy 11:00 start.  I wasn't fully prepared for the rain, so warm-up was going to be wet. (skip ahead)

I heard the warning whistle and headed over to the start line.  When I arrived there was already about 20+ guys lined up.  I saw a opening in the second row and snuck in.  The 'GO' whistle blew and we are off on 6 laps of slick very wet conditions.  I get a good start and going into the first turn I'm with the leaders.  The remaining of lap 1 we stay together and I come across 5th going into lap 2.

Lap 2 I am feeling good (not great) and feel I can hang with the lead group, but heading over the barriers I catch my front wheel and loose momentum.  I spin around, clear the second barrier, remount, and clip in.  I look up and the group has gaped me off.  It's only about 5-6 seconds so I try and bridge back.  By the time I start lap 3 the gap has opened up to 15 seconds.  Mentally I'm loosing the will to fight, I start looking at the race behind and not getting caught for the next 3 laps.  I stay in the middle and finish 6th of 30 for the day.

Day 2- I have a top 3 goal for the day and hope I don't have any mistakes. The weather is dry and sunny. The coarse is in great shape and I get in a good warm up. I hear the warning whistle, so I head to the car to loose the vest and warmers and arrive at the start line.  It's even worse than yesterday. I'm in the third row behind 35 other guys.  I line up on the far right side and know I have to fight for the first lap or 2. The 'GO' whistle sounds and I need to wait about ten yards before we clear the start banner before I can swing right and move down the line.  Once we do I keep the power on quickly pass half the field.  We hit the grass and I know I still need to quickly move up.  I get by a couple more guys, but then we hit a tight 'S' section and things jam up to a stand still.  I stay calm and wait for the coarse to open up again.  I pass a couple more guys and set my sights on groups ahead.  At the end of lap 1 I'm 13th-15th and 15 seconds off the leaders.

Laps 2-5 are spent chasing and never looking behind.  I didn't want to settle for where I was.  I wanted to put it all on the table and see what happens.  I stood and attacked out of corners and on hills.  Going down the Start / Finish straight I tucked low and bury myself.  It was working! I could see the lead group of 3 coming back.  They where playing tactics and by the middle of lap 5 I was back on the train. 

Lap 6 & 7- On lap 6 I just sat on to recover and watch the other riders.  I was seeing who looked strong when and where.  I liked my chances and was planning my attack for the final lap.  I moved up to second wheel for the beginning of the bell lap and decided to attack early. When the coarse turned uphill I went. It would be 5 minutes all out!  Could I make it stick?  I got the jump and was now leading.  Even though there where u-turn sections I wasn't sure what the gap was or how many where behind.  I had tunnel vision and only new someone was there because of noise and cheering.  Coming into the last barriers Ryan made the pass.  He got about a bike length on me and put the hammer down.  I didn't loose ground, but wasn't gaining. Through the last set of curves before we hit the asphalt straight.  Ryan stands and launches his sprint and I follow.  After 10-15 revolutions I knew I was beat. He held his lead to win by less than 2 seconds.  Congratulations Ryan, what a great race.

I learned a lot this weekend about cyclocross and myself.  I am happy overall with the results and am going to plan and train smarter. 

Sunday, September 12

Addison Fall Classic

Even though it's not officially Fall, the weather these last couple of days has sure felt like it.  Cloudy, Highs in the mid 60's and breezy. September is here and some of my favorite races too.  Today was Addison Oaks.  The coarse was super fast and in great shape.  The weather was perfect and I was ready.  I won't go into great detail about the days events, but the race went well.  I finished in 1st place for the men's expert 30-39 and 2nd overall expert on the day.

Post race is were I had some fun.  I talked with a lot of people, enjoyed some pulled pork sandwiches and road around the various parts of the coarse for the sport race.  I had a few friends racing and wanted to cheer them on.  It was a blast.  Congratulations to Jamie and Carey for there podium spots.

Next stop is the Double Cross this weekend at Waterford.  I haven't been on the cross bike this year, so starting Wednesday that's what I'll be doing.  I hope I can keep the strong results, but cyclocross is a different kind of racing.

Wednesday, September 8

Wednesday Night Short Track

This evening I made my way to Lake Orion High School for the Short Track Race and some cyclocross training. I didn't know what to expect from the coarse or my body.  I put in a good amount of riding over the Labor Day weekend and was still recovering.  The 'A' race was 14 deep w/ some notable CX Elite and Masters guys, so I knew it would be a tough 35 minutes.  The coarse was a nice blend of leg zapping grass, off cambers and short attacking hills.

The race starts and quickly I realize that today is not the day to dance with these guys.  I settle in and try to hold on.  I get gaped off and spend the remaining 30+ minutes chasing.  Laps 2 and 3 are spent battling with myself. Lap 4 I see John Osgood 75-100 yards ahead when I come out of the woods and decide I need to try and real him in.  I dig and dig but I don't think I'm gaining.  Through the woods I can't see or hear him.  I hit the final climb and attack the whole way up.  I come out with John just making the turn around the football field.  I hit the grass and attack again.  I gain some ground, but once he hits the down hill I am too far to close.  He takes me.  I think I wound up mid-pack in 6th.  No regrets and I walked away learning something new. 

The next LOHS Short Track is in 2 weeks.  I'll be more prepared then and hope for a better finish.  Congratulations to Jeff Weinert and Clint Verran for a good battle. Dan from RBS, Don Cameron and John Osgood it was fun.