Sunday, October 31

Vets Park - Day 2

Today was day 2 (day 1 for me) of Vets Park in Ann Arbor and I had some questions going into the race.  Would missing yesterday have a negative affect on me?  Would I be flat or rested?  Would coming home at 2 am from my neighbor's Halloween party and getting up with the kids at 7 am hurt?  The short answer to all these questions is NO.  I wasn't 100%, but the 85 or so was.

I arrived in plenty of time and was able to have about 20 minutes of warm up.  It mainly consisted of riding the coarse and putting in a few attacks.  To the start line and get positioned in the second row.  Going into the first left hander I'm in 4th or 5th and feeling a bit nervous.  I don't feel great and my thighs feel like their loading up.  I settle in and choose a lighter gear to try and spin them out.  I hold 5th position for half a lab before I make my first pass.  The next pass comes shortly after through the first set of barriers and now I'm sitting 3rd, marking Brian and Mark.  We ride together for half of lap 2 until we reach the short uphill, past the first set of barriers.  On the climb Brian slows and Mark starts pulling away, so I pass Brian and close up to Mark.  Mark leads into the second set of barriers, but has trouble remounting and clipping in.  I hesitate for a second then realize now is the time to attack.  I stand and put in an effort for almost the whole third lap and it paid off.  By the end of lap 3 I have a  15 second lead. 

My plan for laps 4 and 5 was to keep the pressure on and build the gap.  My lap times were 5:58.7 and 5:58.8.  I gained another 17 seconds.

On laps 6 and 7 I could see that I was holding my lead so I was able to back it off a bit.  I crossed the line with my 2nd CX win and 1st of the series.  I was very happy with today's result and thank everyone who cheered me on and congratulated me.

Congratulations to my teammates Keith and Clint for their strong races and too J Osgood for his strong weekend.  I'm looking forward to racing with you soon.

Saturday, October 30

It was over before it started

It was over before it even started today. I blew an oil line on M14 while heading to day 1 of the Ann Arbor Cx races. So while I'm sitting in the auto repair shop instead of racing, I thought I would update the blog. I will be back tomorrow for day 2 and continue the charge towards moving up in the series.

Friday, October 29

Stop Bitching About Races and Coarses

One day the soft folks in Michigan will understand that it can always be 'different'.  You might encounter rain, wind, mud, more than 15-20 guys on the line.  If you're fortunate enough to race in other states be thankful and learn from the experience.  If you're getting lapped, maybe you should stay home next time or fight harder to pass someone.  I don't know what the answer is. Whether you race, ride or both remember that you are in a very small pond.  So enjoy the ride no matter what the conditions.  You can't please all the people all the time.  With that said, here is a video from the Oregon scene. 

Cross Crusade Race #4 PIR from Burk Webb on Vimeo.

Monday, October 25


I'd like to start by saying "Thank You" to The Michigan Scene for listing me.  It's nice to know that people notice.  I love what you do, even if you hurt some feelings along the way.  Actually, I like when you hurt someone's feelings.  There's nothing wrong with being honest or irreverent.  Keep it going and give my best to T and Gary.  Henry, I'll see you this weekend and thanks again.

After this Saturday we'll have reached the midpoint for this years Tailwind Series.  I have some work to put in having missed the Linden CX, but after the win at Mad Anthony this weekend I feel confident.  My lap times were strong and I tried not to soft pedal the last couple laps because I knew the training would help.  I will be at the 'Ice Ice Baby' again this Wednesday, Thursday and Friday will be dirt roads, the Saturday and Sunday are Vet's Park CX.  My goals for Vet's are no secret- I'm going for back-to-back wins.  Lofty goals given the competition from the young guns (Ryan and Ben) and Brian of Recycled.  There's also the unknowns who show to test there form for the day.  Anyway you need to have goals and things to work for. 

When this weekend is over it's the final week for 'Ice Ice Baby' then on to Traverse City for the 21st running of THE ICEMAN COMETH.  More to come next week on this, but here's a teaser-I might be starting with the 2:05:00-2:10:00 group?  Whenever that is?

Received my rewards today from last weekend- Pretty sweet, chicks in New York are paying top dollar for this.

Saturday, October 23

Mad Anthony CX - Interesting

Racing in Detroit was INTERESTING in so many ways.  First it was the scenery you encounter when exiting the highway.  Burnt houses, graffiti and person on the corner with a sign saying they need money.  Images many think about when you here 'Detroit'. 

Second was the coarse. It was my first race here, so I'm not sure how different it was from last year.  The coarse was a blend of cyclocross and a road crit.  In my opinion it favored a power rider who could take advantage of the long, straight flats.   It also transitioned between several different surfaces, which made for some cautious corners.

Third was the prizes for winning.  You would receive a handmade pottery mug, a pint glass from 'Made in Detroit' and a six pack of beer. (All Lovely Prizes)

On to racing- I lined up on the front row and was ready for the whistle.  Going into the first turn I was 4th-5th wheel and feeling good.  Everyone settled in until the asphalt straight.  Some attacks came and guys moved around, but I held my ground and made it safely onto the grass and over the first climb.  I was able to ride it clean and gained a spot.  I would hold 3rd through lap 1. 

Quickly into lap 2 things changed. Once we past the curb and were back on the grass by the parking area, guys started letting up a bit.  A guy from Racing Greyhounds took over the lead and I was now second.  I sat on down the asphalt stretch and though the grass and fell back a bike or two before the first steep climb on the coarse.  He bobbled on the climb and I made it up clean again.  I decided to attack and get rid of him if I could.  It worked.  I was leading, but someone was still on my wheel.  It was Ben from Maple Leaf Cycling!  He is a strong rider and I wasn't sure if could pop him.  We enter the Fort and I stand and hammer ALL the hills.  I get a gap on the second steep hill and am ahead by 10-15 bikes by the barriers.  I'm over clean and need to hit him now.  Through the start /finish I'm in 1st with 3 to go.

Shortly into lap 3 things change again.  While making the 180 turn behind the Fort I see Ben on the ground.  He went down!  I complete the turn and attack again.  I go as hard as I can for the next quarter lap.  Once I round the field I can see that Ben is gone, he must have had a bad crash or mechanical (I found out later it was a mechanical).  The next guy I see is the Racing Greyhound and he's about 45 sec-1 minute back.  I still feel strong and keep pushing to the start / finish.  Laps 4 and 5 go without incident.  I check my gap on occasion and ride my race.  I finish the race with my first cyclocross win.

Next weekend is the two days at Vets Park in Ann Arbor.  The coarse is a nice blend of power sections, long run ups and off cambers.  I'm feeling good and need to have a strong weekend so I can move up in the points series.

Monday, October 18

Peak 2 Peak - handicap racing

This past weekend I drove up North to Crystal Mountain for my 4th Peak 2 Peak race.  I look forward to this race every year because everything is at one resort and that makes for some stress free racing, if there is such a thing. The weather was excellent with temps in the 60's, but I was disappointed that the Fall colors were past their peak. 

Friday's pre-ride went well, but I was a little tight and a bit concerned about my fitness going into Saturday. 

Saturday morning ran smooth with most of my attention on my buddy J running in the sport race.  He had big expectations and fought hard all race.  It was a blast watching the race unfold and he finished 5th having had his best race of the year.  A quick change and it was time to warm up before my 12:32 start.  I felt 'off'.  The leg speed was good, but I could feel my thighs on the climbs?  I started doubtting my chance of a podium and the nerves began to creep in.  After 20 minutes I relaxed a bit and headed over to the start.  When I got there I saw Adam (the eventual winner) and he let me slide in next to him.  We talked for a couple minutes then it was time to get serious.  We got 30 sec., 15, 10, GO!  The new uphill start was a nice change and it was a dogfight to the left hand turn.  After the turn I was 5th or 6th and thought we would settle in, but on the descent before the cart path guys were attacking up the sides and I couldn't loose position so I needed to get back in place quick.  On the cart path I attacked back up to 4th or 5th and then 'Lady Luck' gave me the finger.  On the grass transition from the cart path to the asphalt road my cassette gathered a whole cluster of debris.  My bike started skipping gears and I couldn't find one to stick.  I tried cleaning it on the fly but it was too thick.  My only option was to get off and clean it.  The whole process took about 20-30 sec., but by the time I remounted and started going the whole 46 man field was already off the road and out of sight.

  The chase is on!  I have very little choice but go balls out and see what happens.  Shortly after getting into the single track I encounter my first riders.  Left! Left! I keep passing and catching and by the end of lap 1 work my way up to 9th and passing some 30 riders.  Lap 2 I'm in the zone, feeling great and by the end have caught 5th place.  When lap 3 starts he is 5-10 seconds ahead and seems reachable.  For the next half lap I try to catch him but I can't.  I slowly loose sight of him and by the time we reach the Betsie River Valley he's gone.  My legs start loading up and aren't turning over as quick.  I begin to fear the worst.  I've hit the wall!  Riders start catching me from behind and passing.  I fight to stay with them for as long as I can.  Telling myself I only have 15 minutes left.  One group rides away and another catches.  The cycle repeats over and over.  Once through the 'Pines' I decide to stay with the next group to the finish.  I succeed only to the base of the first steep climb.  When I stand to push harder my inner thighs seize! I have to get off and walk! I remount and pedal to the top of the final climb.  Just before the final descent I'm caught by Jay and another rider in my group.  We make it together to the final turn and have to sprint it out.  We hold positions and I am finally done.  A tough 8th place finish.

This was one of the toughest races I've done in a long time.  I wanted to quite, cry, laugh and sing all in one race.  That's racing.  Afterward it was a nice hot shower and hanging out with friends.  I look forward to sitting on top of the mountain, listening to live music and looking at the landscape below.

The next couple weeks will be filled with cyclocross until the final CX at Iceman.  See you there.

Sunday, October 3

Munson Park- Night CX

This was my first trip to Munson Park and I'm glad I made the trip.  Earlier in the day I was debating if I should make the drive. I over did training this week and my legs were blown until Friday.  The boys cub scout popcorn sales started and we were in charge, plus soccer, the rainy weather and my new untested wheel upgrades. In the end I decided I needed the distraction.

After a hour drive I'm at the venue and quickly get my number and try to beat the start of the 'C' race so I can figure out the new wheels and tubular tires. I didn't make it, so I waited for the race to end before I could get on coarse and started warming up on the park roads. Half hour later and the coarse is open to pre-ride.  The new carbon wheels and tubular tires felt fast and more forgiving, but the air pressure was off and the carbon breaking was different.  I made some adjustments and then headed to the line.

I lined up second row behind Ben, from Maple Leaf Racing, and waited for the whistle. (Off we go) I have trouble clipping in and get shuffled back to about 12th.  It's time to start chasing and taking some chances. Mistake one happens on the descent down the sled hill. I'm going to fast and lock the breaks into the turn and start a two wheel slide into the tape. No crash, but I loose a few spots.  I attack like crazy on the first long straight and pass several guys.  Mistake two happens half way through lap one, on a 180 turn.  I go in hot and the front wheel slides out.  I don't lose any positions, but 3rd place gets a gap and 1st and 2nd have a healthy lead. GO-GO I scream in my head.  I hit the run up and see 3rd just ahead.  I get to the top and notice he has dropped a chain and is try to remount it.  I get past him and am now in 3rd with my sights on the leaders.  I attack for the next 4 laps with no success of closing in.  I realized I need to conserve 3rd and wait for another day.

My next cross race isn't until Halloween Weekend, so between now and then I will spend more time on the cross bike trying to figure things out.  I know I can win a CX race this year. Just when is unknown.