Friday, November 29

Bloomer 1 & 2 - What a difference a day makes.

Day 1- Not having raced very far in Ann Arbor, not touching a bike all week and the last day venue change from LOHS, I was pretty unmotivated for racing day 1 on Saturday.  It was a cold, windy morning and folks that had been out on the course said it was hilly and technical.  That's a mixed bag for me. So I went through the normal routine of warm up, etc. and then to the line for the whistle. 

Off we go and I'm swallowed up by the 45+'ers and headed for the right turn.  I'm near, if not at the back of the group, sitting behind Mike Seaman and Todd Frerich and feeling comfortable but not great.  We go around for 2-3 laps with no major changes. Sometime around mid race Todd takes the bait and decides to ride the velodrome  hill.  He runs out of steam and falls over like a shot deer.  He takes out the stake, ribbon and is now stuck in his bike.  It was the highlight of my race.  Mike and I continue to ride on.  I try and pull away towards the end but the asphalt section after the sled hill prove to be too much for me.  I  roll in a lap down to Sven and last place on the day.

That afternoon I decide to have a few Two Hearted and some Thai food to easy the disappointment.

Day 2- Slept well and was feeling very relaxed.  Got to the venue earlier to check out the changes and it was even colder than yesterday.  Decided not to hit the trainer at all during warm up, instead ride the course between races and spend the other time staying warm.  Legs felt great and not soar from yesterday.  The wife and boys were coming to watch. So today was the day to go all in and see what happens.

Whistle blows and I find the peddle fast, stand and sprint most of the way down the straight.  Making the right hander I'm where I need to be, behind Osgood, Alex and Pete T.  Through the technical section I have now problems and the race feels very comfortable. I'm already thinking about the two climbs on course.  We hit the woods climb and I have no problem holding wheels. Next is the sled hill.  Turn the horseshoe and up the climb.  It hurts but I'm there, we hit the asphalt and guys are shifting down.  I react but it's slow, I don't lose much ground but I sense a little panic.  I settle down and battle my way back through the barriers and start finish.  I'm back on the group and the selection is made and we have a gap.

We hold each other for most of lap 2 and catch Adam Mac.  He's holding us up after the woods climb and Alex pleads for him to move over.  Not sure if he did or not but passing the pits Pete and Osgood decide it's time to go and get around.  Alex and I choose the left, rocky decent down towards the sled hill.  Just before the chicane Alex pulls over with a flat. I get around and now it's down to 3. Up the hill and Osgood goes around Pete and goes again.  Pete and I are losing ground but are still in touch.

Going into lap 3 things are a bit fuzzy.  I do remember that this is when Osgood drops his chain on the downhill before the sled climb.  I attack hard and need to gain as much ground as possible. Across the start / finish and I'm leading!  No one behind me and I'm freaking out.  I decide to go all out for another lap and see what happens.  The gap is growing and about 20-30 seconds over 2nd.  I'm not sure I can continue this pace and back off a bit because that hill is killing me. 

Over the next several laps I can see that Osgood has found Adam Mac and they are gaining ground. Every lap I can see Osgood getting closer and closer.  I fight to stay ahead and Alex Monte-Sano even overs me a few bucks if I can hold Osgood off.  The hill is too much for me and with 3 to go Osgood has bridged up.  Over the start finish he attacks and I react slowly but am able to got back on his wheel. I hold until the sled hill, where he gaps me off once we hit the asphalt. 

This is how it goes for the remainder of the race.  I can see him, just can't get all the way back.  I come across second and raced hard.  It was great being back in the mix.

Even though we are competitors we still cheered each other on during the race.  I think that is awesome.  Great respect to everyone in the Masters 35+. It's been fun watching.  One more to go and Addison is a good place for me. I'm feeling confident and look forward to putting up a fight.

Thanks to all for the cheers, pics and conversation.

Monday, November 11

CX - Vets Park - ANN ARBOR

I was really looking forward to this race.  My fitness is starting to come around and I was ready to put up a fight.  Warm up laps felt great and the wind didn't seem to bother me much. So what happened?

The whistle blows and I settle in the group up the asphalt climb.  Coming to the horseshoe I knew we would be running, not riding.  Bike is down and ready to remount when, crack! Someone steps on my wheel and the carbon is done, my race is done! I wrap my spoke and continue riding for another lap but the wheel is getting way outa whack.

I can only assume the dent is from his foot.
I did see some racing though and want to give props to Brain Wachlarz and John Osgood.  Brian went off the gun strong and kept it going but John had different plans.  He was going to chase him done a little at a time. with 3 to go he caught Brian and didn't hesitate to push the pace.  John started riding away and Brian couldn't hold on.  John Osgood for a great win! Congratulations to you both for a great race.  I'll be ready for the 2 days of Lake Orion and look forward to battling at the front.