Sunday, November 20

Bloomer XC - More Than Results

Rolling up to the start I knew it was going to be a good, if not great, race. The morning went well and my nutrition was spot on. During the preride the legs had that effortless feeling and handling was comfortable. The only fly in the ointment was my cold. It's not bad but with the drainage and chapped lips I was worried about hydration, so I drank and drank right until the staging. 2 minutes to the whistle and I have too piss. I hold it and we get :30, GO!

Once again I have a bad start (I will be working on this over the next two weeks) and I'm mid pack heading toward the 'mulch pile'. Up and over I start picking off riders and get on the back of Selle right before the 's' curves toward the West end. Suddenly Ron Stack goes down from a rolled front tire? Not sure what he hit because it seemed like a odd spot. Selle 'T' bones him and I luckily miss it and now have clear track to the lead group of Johnson, Osgood, Bailey and Hilditch. I make contact on the downhill and we hit the climb together. The pace is fast, but seems manageable. Johnson is on the front and has a few bikes on the group but no one panics. Eventually we regroup then Osgood decides it's his turn to attack. He manages a gap of about 5-7 bikes then is slowly brought back. We end lap 2 still together. I'm still feeling good and want to move up from my 5th place in line but Jim is having none of it. Every time I come along side he digs that little harder and stays ahead, so I continue to follow. Up the velodrome hill and we make the right hand turn, Bailey attacks and I can see him gaping off the front. I react and bury myself to bridge the gap. It takes until the asphalt before the start/finish before I catch.

Going into lap 4 I'm with the move to win the race. I'm riding hard and feel I have a chance to hold on. I'm stuck to Simon and won't let him get a bike length, every once in a while I looks back to see if I'm still there. I am! 'GO Simon, hit him again' someone says. Still I hold on. I'm riding very hard and am doing all I can to stay with the accelerations that come out of every corner. Lap 4 ends and we get 2 to go. We make the 180 deg turn, hit the barriers and Simon is first to hit the gas. He quickly gets 3-4 bike lengths. I stand and bury myself again because I can't lose his wheel or I'm in trouble. By the time I hit the 'mulch pile' Simon is almost through and POP! I blowup, hit the fall, crab the bed. The power just left and I was in a panic. I quickly get caught by Johnson, Osgood and Hilditch. Osgood gives me a pep talk of 'Get on' and I try but I still haven't recovered enough. They pull away and all hope is lost until I notice Jeff Haney closing. I know it's now or never and as he passes I 'Get on'. He paces me through the rest of lap 5 and we get the bell lap. I lose 23 seconds to Simon and 19 to the others on that one lap. Ouch!

I get back on the podium train and try to catch my breath. That doesn't last because these guys are fighting for wood. There are 4 of us and only 2 steps left. Up the velodrome climb and back onto the grass when another surge comes and I can't react. They start to gap me off and I keep fighting and looking for anything I have left. There's not enough. By the time I reach the pavilion it's over. I sit up and pedal in for my 5th place.

Even though I wound up with a participation medal, instead of wood, I'm very happy with my race. I learned a lot and know I gave my all. I fought until the end and can be proud of that. I wasn't racing for anything but 1st place today, so I had to fire every bullet and see what happened. I'm looking forward to the State Championships and seeing how it all shakes out. No matter what happens next, it's been a great season already. Thanks.

Sunday, November 13

Stony Creek CX - FECAL

Leading into this week I had high hopes for this race. That didn't happen. Once again my race day excitement wasn't there when I woke up. I felt tired and lethargic. I was preregistered so off to the race I go. Maybe the warm up will wake me up and get the fire going.  I began feeling better but not great and thought if my strategy would hold. The whistle blew and......

I'm mid pack down the front straight, but just behind Simon, so I feel good. I move past guys with Simon and feel confident. We hit the sand and are still together but Jim Hilditch is now between me and Simon. Towards the end of the sand Rich Stark rides past us and is now in the lead, Simon gets on his wheel but Jim and I can't make the jump. We get through the soft grass and are heading for the first set of barriers. I want to attack and try to close the gap but I don't feel good. I sit and wait to feel better. By the end of lap 1 I can see the race getting away so I attempt to pull Simon and Rich back. The effort lasts about a half lap, once past the first set of barriers I can tell the gap is going the wrong way. I keep going with hope that this feeling will go away and my body will wake the fuck up! I cross the line on lap 2 and I'm mentally and physically spent. My plans of a great race are all but gone.

Lap 3- I'm having some serious inner dialogue and considering throwing bin the towel. This lasts until I get past the sand. Once through I decide to keep going. Tactically I decide to slow up and wait for Jim to ride on. He catches at the start / finish  and he leads me into lap 4.

Lap 4 and 5- Not only does he lead me into lap 4, pulls me the whole way. He looks back on occasion but I'm not going anywhere. Leading into lap 5 he wants me to pull through but it's not going to happen. Rob Selle isn't gaining any ground and the leaders are long gone. Jim decides to keep pulling. I can tell that I'm stronger through the sand having followed for last 2 laps, so on the last lap I need to be first into the sand and attack there. Jim reluctantly leads into the final lap. He puts in a charge and tries to drop me. We head towards the water and I'm stuck to his wheel. We make the horseshoe turn uphill and I put in the first attack. I come around him and hope for a gap, but I'm not looking back. I hit the sand and run all out. I remount and listen for the sound of Jim clipping in. I don't hear it but I keep going hard. Through the soft grass, up the hill and over the barriers. I make the out and back by the parking lot and can see my gap. I have him beat, now I just need to ride smart to the finish. Over the second set of barriers and onto the pavement for a disappointing 3rd.

Rite now I can't put together 2 strong weekends in a row. I had a great Mad Anthony / Bad Ann Arbor CX / great Iceman / Bad Stony CX. I'm not talking steps on a podium, I'm talking about how I felt. At Mad Anthony and Iceman I felt unbeatable. I could ride and nothing hurt, it wasn't easy but my legs and mind were relaxed. It seemed effortless. It was fun! Ann Arbor and Stony sucked. I was counting down the laps and I never felt comfortable on the bike. I was working for everything, it was the complete opposite. Now I need to figure out why because I still have Bloomer and Springfield and I'm not done winning races.

Monday, November 7

ICEMAN 2011 - Best One Yet

Another Niceman! So what if there wasn't snow and frozen ground. If you crave that do cross, you'll get your fill. I thought the weather and trail conditions were perfect. I couldn't wait to ride. Like last year, I did a pre ride from Williamsburg to the finish on Friday afternoon. The trail was FAST! It had great roll and the climbs were in great shape. The new sections of single track were way better than I could expect. I was feeling great and ready for Saturday mornings Wave 1 start.

Saturday- The 9:00 A.M. start meant it would still be cold. What to wear was a bit of a mystery, but after the warm up I was sure I made the correct choice of gear. I made it over to staging and found myself in row 4 or 5. This wasn't what I wanted. Looking around I saw some big time talent and was a bit intimidated. I also noticed a few familiar faces so I moved up a row and got behind Brad Lako and John Osgood. I've ridden and raced with them enough and felt this would be a good place to start. The National Anthem is done, the helmet is back on and it's GO TIME!

Away we go for the last XC race of the season. The pavement went well with no crashes and guys being smart. Once you make the left the speed ramps up as guys position for the dirt. We hit the two track and I'm about 30th. I notice Tom Clark and John Meyers off to my right, I need to get behind them and ride this train. The right line is moving faster and I can't get over. I'm getting restless but know I need to be patient, then it happens. On a small sand climb the group comes together and slows. I'm not sure what happened but it splits the group. The heard starts to thin and I'm moving forward, I'm riding smart and holding wheels. I think it's 4-5 miles in and Joberon comes around, Sweet! This guy will help get me to the front. I stay with Joe for the next 23 miles and we both do our share of work. We are catching guys and gaining positions. Somewhere around mile 12 we catch Rob Selle and when we do the pace suddenly slows way down. I was surprised but sat in and waited for the attack, because it had to come from someone. As I'm waiting Osgood joins us and asks what's going on. I say we're taking a break. (Selle, Joberon, Dan Krajcovic, Osgood) The group doesn't react so Osgood decides to push ahead. I follow and we are now coming along side the group leader Selle. Osgood pulls next to Selle but doesn't go by, he's feeling him out. I pull up, look over and decide to have some fun. "This is for bragging rights Bitches!" and I put in a pull. We catch another small group of 2-3 guys along the power lines and I remember that single track is at the end. I pull out of the pace line and put in a hard effort so I can be the first into the single track. I come out first and manage to drop Dan, Selle and Osgood. Joberon and 2 other guys are still with me. Our group works together past Williamsburg and doesn't fall apart until Joe sees his Bell's Bros Lummis and Meyers just before Annita's Hill. He ups the tempo and bridges the gap. I manage to tag along and we catch them. The pace settles and Joe sees how they are feeling. Lummis is spent but Meyers seems OK. We hit the IceBreaker and I move into the lead and try to get the pace up again. Up and over we see Tom Clark and Joe gets another burst of energy and wants to catch. It doesn't happen. I get stuck behind a guy with poor single track skills and Joe gaps me and crosses 10 seconds ahead. I roll in at 1:48:12, my best Iceman ever!

I was so excited. I broke 1:50:00 and  had a great race. I didn't get the win I wanted and I could have done more, but I was nervous to blow up like I did last year. Also, I was riding with some smart guys and thought they knew something I didn't. I learned a lot and will be better prepared for next year. My 2nd / 2nd in a row so next year we need to move up to 1st. Congratulations to Tom Clark on his Win. John Osgood and Joe B for their 2nd places and everyone else for a great race. It was a great weekend. I still have to finish Cross season and hope for a couple more wins there, so stay tuned. This weekend is Stony Creek and some more sand.

ICEman 2011- Just my numbers..







2nd Place Men 40
$125.00 award
119th Overall

Full Report Later...............