Saturday, December 20, 2008

Man, I really admire this guy.


Here's a little tasteful smack talking Sven did on his blog. This guy loves to race his bike and I admire his sportsmanship, as does the rest of Belgium.

"I have read on ceefax today: "Let those Belgians plough through all the mud." Lars Boom's words, and also: "I want to be world champion". Well, dear Lars, I want so too.

In Hoogerheide, he is the main race favourite to succeed himself as world champion. He will also be the least tired racer of all. I can respect his way of racing. Everybody has to make up for their own what they favour most and it is indeed easier to take the title like that. BUT I WILL NOT GIVE IN, NOT YET. If he wants that title, he will have to fight for it until the last meter, also because I feel so well in a position of the underdog.

Should I not win the world title, it is perfectly understandable, everybody will agree to that. However, should I win the worlds, every cyclocross lover should feel comfortable about it, I will be battling it out everywhere for the entire year, from the first to the last race, ploughing through all the mud, as he puts it. Simply because I like doing so. Cyclocross is my life, whether I'm racing in Neerpelt or in Hoogerheide.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Missouri State CX Championship- The little big show.

Wow. I can't believe it's over. What an amazing season. My emotions today are mixed; I'm really happy with the closure of my 2008 dream season and very excited to get a month of rest and start planning for 2009, but on the same token my fitness is at an all time high and with good legs so it's tough to pull the plug. The thought of buying a $150 license for one race, lining up in the back of my first PRO CX field and inevitably getting lapped is enough to say "enough's, enough. Let your mullet down and party!"

A couple months ago I realized that my segue from MTB racing into CX season was far less then ideal. Between abbreviated training for the Burnin' 6 hour race, broken seat posts, broken saddles, the flu and the mega stress of finding a new place to live and moving in, I was having a hard time finding some confidence. Initially, my goals were to finish high in the overall points and win a "b squad" race. Although I didn't accomplish either of these I really can't complain. Once I focused my training solely on a good showing at Hermann, things started to happen. Slowly the speed and snap started to come back and the lap cards started turning over a little faster.

I had my shot at the my goal of a BIG W at Queeny but Dr. Mark was riding really well and I was taking chances early instead of riding smart, which ended up in massive muddy failures. Even though I finished second, I know I was riding strong and dropping guys I had been struggling to stay with a couple weeks before. I was as ready as I could be for the Little Big Show.

The Little Big Show.

First off, I want to congratulate my good friend and teammate, Matt James, on his season. Matt was hit by a car in September and lost some serious motivation but impressed me to no end with the way he focused and finished up his season strong. Not to mention winning his first State Championship and coming in second in the overall. Nice job buddy!


My goal was for a third place finish behind Nate and Josh. I didn't expect to see some heavy hitters from KC's names in the results from the day before but was confident and feeling pretty sexy, so I didn't sweat it too much. There were less than 20 of us on the line since the Cat III's were racing separately, so it was sure to be a fast, close race. I got a good jump and scored another hole shot but didn't keep pushing it as much as I usually do and settled onto the third wheel going through the field after the pavement behind Josh and Schmelz.

I crashed on the nasty off camber hill turn, went down locked in the pedals, banged my knee up pretty good, but still ma gaged to maintain my position. I was third up the stairs and feeling pretty good. I don't remember what lap Josh passed me on but when he slid by I was still feeling pretty good sitting in 4th place. Aside from some cramping issues on the stairs, which was causing me to have to run them one at a time, I was going pretty good and had a 20-30 second gap on the two KCCX chasers. I was using every inch of the course to my advantage and while railing the turns was ending up hitting the stakes quite a bit.

With 3 laps to go I blew it. I hit the top of the stairs, jumped on and pedaled on air. Instead of getting off to put my chain back on I tried to shift it back on and it jammed. I jumped off, struggled with it and watched as Mills and Winkler rode by. I got my new Michael Jackson limited edition white gloves all greasy too, which really sucked. I can't say I remember much about the next couple laps but Mills and I started going at each other which was pretty good racing. Somewhere along the way we dropped Winkler and then Mills opened up a little gap on me on the last lap.

Coming into the sandpits on the last lap I just buried it and was able to close it down. I came up behind him going into the sand pits and passed him on foot while he was struggling to ride it out. I had a nice clean remount and put my wheel into the wind with him chasing. For some reason I started cat and mousing instead of going balls kitty. Looking back, I should have just floored it balls kitty.

It wasn't long before he was back on my wheel and I started to think too much. I opted to open the door a little bit for him around the second to last 180 degree turn thinking that I could catch a tow to the last corner and juice him... In hindsight I don't know what I was thinking. I had been gaping him on most of the technical turns and gave up my strength to go head to head with him. I went wide, opened the door, looked over my shoulder, heard a couple down clicks and watched him gas it. I got my ass served up like a Dunkin' Donuts drive through after church on a Sunday morning at my own game. I throttled it to get back onto his wheel for the finishing straight, but wasn't able to come around him. Some sick racing. More pedaling and less thinking next time.

A fifth place finish isn't so bad. I had a good race and can't get too upset about things outside of my control. It was some sick racing. The bells on the stairs was plain sickness. I can't say that I ever raised my eyes to look, but it sounded like the stairs were lined on both sides with people ringing bells and yelling. Truly awesome.

I can look back after my second season of CX racing and feel really satisfied with how much I learned from this season and how well I am getting at getting my body into peak form. I am pleased. On another note, I can't say enough about how awesome I feel about the whole STL CX scene in general and am so happy to have shared it with so many great folks. I love this shit. Thanks to all my friends, teammates and competitors that made it such a memorable season.

Time to go to KC and party! Next year I'll be ready to race.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Bubba #8 @ Queeny Park

Here's me getting way to sideways near the tree. Close call.

This was it. Good conditions, Josh and Nate being out of town, some new found confidence and good legs. I was pretty excited about this race and was feeling ready. I went from the gun and took the hole shot to open up a big lead on the field after 1 lap. I settled into a pace and had avoided the first lap mayhem when Dr Mark and CO started to catch me. I wasn't trying to kill it and was going to see if some tactical racing would work. I crashed once, recovered well and managed to maintain the lead but when I hit a downhill 180* turn a little to hot I crashed much harder and watched about 7 guys roll by as I got my shit back together. My plan went from being offensive to defensive.


I impressed myself by closing in on splinter groups in the next couple laps and managed to ride a little smarter and put in some small attacks to keep them from sticking to my wheel. It didn't take long before I was up into the #2 spot chasing Dr Mark.

He was maintaining a 30 second gap or so and at one point I had it down to about 15 seconds, but he was able to power away from me on the backside power climb and that is the way it stayed. While I never was able to reel him in much closer then 30 seconds or so, I was able to put some major time into the chase groups for most of the race until my boy Chris Ploch started to come from behind in the last couple laps. Luckily I was able to maintain the gap on him and rolled in with a solid second place finish.



Overall I'm pretty happy with my result and especially happy that I didn't panic after hitting the deck a couple times and losing my good starting position. My form is pretty good right now and I have to admit that with the amount of setbacks I have had since I started training for this CX season in late September I am pleased with my progress. If I could score a top 3 at States next weekend I'd be able to rest easy this winter.

The St Louis CX scene is so awesome right now and I can only imagine it is going to get better. The course design, party like atmosphere, great competition and unbelievable support at every race is so freakin' awesome! I am so stoked to share every weekend with everyone who participates in the races, in one form or another. I also can't begin to express how great I feel about hanging out with all my teammates and friends at the pub after the races reliving the days events. Simply Awesome.

Thank you to everyone who has been a part of this with me.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Bubba #7 @ Creve Coeur

Aside from not sleeping after the race the night before, I did about every PRO thing I could think of to recover. Post race ride, mega recovery drinks and pasta dinner, nice hot bath, good spin in the morning, some stretching and more fueling. I got a good warm up in and was looking shiny and enjoying the balmy 50 degree weather.

Ankney went hard at the start and we got a little wiggle room but I wasn't able to hold on for long. Nate came by at the end of the first lap and never looked back. I was got caught by Dr Mark, Richard Richard and Scotty O and was a little worried that I was going to keep going backwards but the legs came around. A little ways in Dr mark was up in front and I was chasing Richard and Scott. I caught them and put a pretty good gap on them when I rolled right through. Then I managed to get up to Dr Mark, attacked him got away slowly.

I don't really remember specifics but somehow I found myself riding 3/4 with Josh. He was feeling it from the day before and nice enough to ride with me. I know we weren't going slow because we were putting a mega gap on the chase groups and closing in on Ankney a little bit. With about 3 laps to go Josh dropped it down a couple gears coming around the second 180 as you entered the field and put the screws to me a little bit. I was able to hang on and for some reason he decided to play nice from then on. Towards the end of that lap I lost my front wheel coming around one of the bumpy turns and was pretty pissed at myself for blowing it. Josh must have been enjoying the company because he waited for me to hustle back up to his wheel but I knew that it was a gesture that I couldn't repay by seeing what I had on the last lap which was a little dissapointing for me.

THE GIFT.

On the last lap he kept telling me to attack him and go for it but i just couldn't do it since he waited when I crashed. As we were nearing the finishing straight he said something about taking it again "because the people everyone will go crazy." He tricked me when we hit the pavement and kicked it for a couple pedal strokes and then just sat up and let me ride though. Thanks man. Whether it was for 3 rd or 4 th place it was nice to have a good race.

I got in a couple of full rest days and then went out for a SOLID ride yesterday. I'm thinking that the timing might be right. The form is good and I'm as light as I've been all year. I feel like I have a little snap again. Hopefully I'm right.

Bubba # 6- Bubba in the Dark

It's been a tough week transitioning into my new place. Here's basicaly what happened.

It was really cold. Some really fast guys showed up. I wasn't having the best day. I got shelled from the front group right away, to the next group, then the next and then dangling off the back sitting in the 10th place spot. It was one of those races that felt really long. I looked at the lap cards at what felt like the 55 minute point only to see 6 laps to go. It sucked and I was suffering. With about 4 to go I noticed Nageltronic and his teammate closing in on me. The got pretty close with two to go and I was happy to open it up a little bit on the last lap.

10th place but they scored someone who was lapped wrong and I missed my goal of finishing in the money.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Bubba CX # 5 at Suson Park



Part One:

Total suckfest. My foot slipped off the pedal at the start and I found myself pulling a Josh Johnson from the back row. That shit sucks when you don't have power like AmerenUE. Somehow I worked my way up to the front group and lucky enough to witness RP working up the crowd. It was all downhill for awhile and I was finding myself slipping backwards for the first 3/4 of the race. Things weren't good. I imagine I was probably as far back as 15th or so at some point. For some reason I kept going, even though the stress and lack of sleep from last week had me in the gutter and all I wanted to do was quit.

Part Two:

I was tired of being ridiculed on the line for having a cage and bottle so I went without one for this race and all I was thinking about was a nice cool sip of water. I actually rode up next to Chris Ploch and begged him for a sip and he was nice enough to give me one which didn't help for long. Good thing I hadn't asked a roadie, thanks Chris. With about 4 laps to go I found myself passing a few people and closing down some gaps. This song started going through my head and I was finding a little bit of a groove. I just started listening to these guys and can't say I know any of the words but the tune was ringing in my head.



Part Three:

I couldn't take the uncomfortable feeling of my mouth being totally dry anymore. With 3 to go I came by The Team Seagal Crew who was bringing the party as usual and grabbed a beer. The beer and the response was a straight frickin' nitrous boost and I decided it was time to start racing. Josh, Nate and Flying RP were the front group, Nageltronic 5000 was dangling behind them in solo land and the race within the race was a group containing Richard Richard, Fletcher, Jay, CP and another guy I didn't know. I closed in on Richard and rode with him for a half a lap and then moved on up, aided by another beer. I came up on Mike Weiss and asked him how many laps were left and he replied "two to go, go catch those guys!" I laughed and told him there was no way.

On the last lap they were about 30 seconds up on me. At this point it was Jay, Chris and Fletcher. I started to ride on the rivet and took some chances. It was coming on from somewhere, I think it was from PBR land. Going into the back straight of the course they were about 1/2 way through the field when I entered it. I sprinted.

I caught them about 40 meters before the drop in to the technical section, and fueled by adrenaline and crunk as fuck off two swigs of PBR's I thought I should just keep going and pulled a sketchy move by diving in front of them, pretty much through the trees. I guess I was going ok because I totally expected them to start attacking the shit out of me once we hit the exit straight leading up to the run-up. But no one did. Jay got in front of me right before the run up (THE MOVE) and Fletcher started rubbing bumpers as we were going over it. I jumped onto the pavement and started to kick up onto Jays wheel. I was coming around his rear wheel when we hit the top which was just a little too close to make it and hit the brakes... A 6th place finish that felt like a hard earned second place.



Team Seagal, thanks again for the support. It turned my week around.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Whatever

Another DNF at the Bubba Race at Creve Coeur Park; trying to keep it positive. Super cool course and some real CX weather, minus a little bit of rain. I was feeling pretty good after being sick and getting some miles in my legs after 5 days off the bike completely and really excited about racing. A guy I really look up to send me a email in the middle of the week that boosted my confidence and made me feel good all over, like a sex machine.

Me and some teammates had an embrocation and Vicks vapor rub rub down session in the car before the race, nothing like some team building excercise. Feeling pro as hell I lined up on the front row and came around Dr. Mark to score the coveted hole shot. My legs were there but I backed off a little this week and settled into the back of the lead group... Things were looking great for the first 16 minutes of the race until I literally did a flyover the flyover and only had one foot square on the pedals and had to sit down... Tore the saddle off the rails and upon further inspection when I got home came to find out I tore the bolts right out of the seatpost clamp as well...

Aside from getting the hole shot, the other really good thing that happened was Eddie having a ice cold PBR in my hand seconds after my race ended. I don't know how I am fortunate enough to have such good friends that come through with frosties so fast in times of need. Both Eddie and Metz have been there for me when CX has snapped more than my wrists.

The post race atmosphere was great even though I felt like I was having flashbacks every time someone would crack open a icy cold PBR around the fire; the clean, crisp sound reminding me of seatpost and saddle destruction. At least i can say there is always next week still, though I am running out of weeks at this point so hopefully I can start finishing some races.

One extra day to train this week isn't so bad either... Today is going to be a cold one in the rain.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

It was damn windy today.

Had some time to think when churning it over on the RFT. Rode some of the gravel roads up on Chateau Island, up to the Colombia Bottoms Conservation area and around some of the farming roads up there. Good stuff. The wind was brutal though.

I realized that almost half of CX season has already passed and it's bumming me out now that I have lost so much ground. Next season I'm not going to start flat footed and plan on ending the mountain bike season a bit earlier. I knew what I should have been doing this year but convinced myself to half ass it so I could have my cake and eat it too. I can't. Some people might be able to do 20 two hour mountain bike races and go right into CX season, but I can't.

One of my goals for this season was to see how competitive I could be in the points if I was consistent and did all the races. I changed my goals up a bit today. A DNF, missing a weekend due to the flu and the potential of another DNF again this weekend pretty much ruined any chance of accomplishing that goal so I set another one today. Basically, I just to see how well I can get dialed in for the little big show; the State Championships. I know it would take a miracle to win, but I want to see how far up there I can get. We'll see. I like having something to work towards and the timing is right to heat that steel up, pound it into shape, sharpen it up, polish it and bring the blade down on some fools heads.

I didn't feel bad on the bike today. My HR still won't go up at all, but I'm surprised I was able to push like I did for 3.5 hours. I was really excited to start doing some hard training this week, but it's going to have to be put off a bit longer. Start turning some screws. The first couple workouts are never fun but once I start doing them I start feeling fast, which is good. Watching Rocky this week is making me want to train hard and get fast again. While I and II are the most motivational, Rocky IV is on tomorrow night and has some great training scenes in it. We watched most of III tonight, which has some pretty funny parts, but doesn't exactly help you "acquire the fire" as my buddy Dan G would say...

Maybe a Chariots of Fire movie night is in order?

Friday, October 31, 2008

Not Awesome.

I've got the flu. I doubt I'll be racing. At least I have some good photos...




Monday, October 27, 2008

Bubba CX # 2 @ Spanish Lake


I'm pretty excited about this CX season. After a long pretty hard week of training I felt like I had a decent race and was in the mix a little bit which I really needed to boost my confidence. Getting the first decent result at the beginning of each season is always a little bit stressful until it happens. Dust and CO set up a pretty rad, really fun course which, like last week, was geared towards big power.

I lined up on the narrow patch of grass on the right and Jay asked me if I was going for the hole shot. I said hell yes and he lined up on my wheel. Even though my fitness and some super strong dudes are keeping me from being able to maintain it this early, I like to get out in front and fall back. The race isn't long enough for me to come on late like the rest of the 2 hr races I train for. Jay and I got a little wiggle room right off the back until we were greeted by quick fire tag team and block tactics of Dust and Nageltronic 5000 the power machine. We were (or at least I felt like we were) putting the screws to each other for awhile which made me feel like I was racing, which was good.

Slowly I found myself unable to keep the power up and started to waterfall. Josh came up behind me and offered me some words of encouragement. I think he said "get the F out of my way beootch before I run yo' ass over," and I watched him smoke show me Fletcher, Nageltronic, and everyone else in sight and solo it with ease.Dust and I gave each other a few goes and then I managed to get away from him before Dr Mark came up on us and I figured it was time to fly... I got away from Dust but Dr Marks patience paid off and he caught me and dropped my ass. I wasn't looking back too much and wasn't looking at lap cards, I was just pushing.

With two to go I saw Nagy behind me??? and had no idea what happened and then I recalled the R-Sys wheel that came rolling at me out of the wheel pit and it all started to make sense. I put my head down and made my goal not to get caught. I didn't and ended up in 4th which was a nice surprise.

Some of the boys headed over to McGurks for some post race pub action and Drewby seemed to be quite a hit with the college girls that were working. Our waitress brought the hostess, her roommate, to our table to introduce her to us. It made me feel old when they mentioned they were roommates and I asked them if they lived in Soulard (because Jen and I do) and they replied that they lived on SLU campus. Old and a little creepy.

"You really like that water, like a dolphin!"

Friday, October 24, 2008

The White Heat


Pretty happy with how it came out. It looks pretty good with the training wheels on there and I think I might murder out my Cosmic Carbone SL's which should look pretty cool too. Just in time for the weekend. Too bad I'm not going to have any legs.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Top End Theory

Doing some intervals this morning and listening to A Tribe Called Quests "Low End Theory" made me realize some things about the current state of my fitness. It was straight up hard. My top end is gone, which is probably a good thing becuase I can reach for a second peak, but the bad thing is I will have to train through a couple more races which is tough on me mentally; I really like to win or podium at least and after a spectacular dirt bike season have gotten a little too used to it. Time to take some licks. One of my goals for this CX season is to win a "B" squad race... Basically, a race when Josh and Nate are out of town. Last year I finished 3rd behind them twice so I think my goal is an attainable one.

So back to the high end theory... For me it's 6 weeks. If I have a decent base and start to add a little intensity sparingly I reap the benefits of what I was doing 6 weeks ago... 6 weeks ago I was drinking G&T's and not riding, so it's no wonder the usually really satisfying 8 minute high LT intervals sucked this morning. It's also a bummer not to have a CX bike when I 'm doing my CX training. I've really got my fingers crossed that it shows up tomorrow and I can get a couple rides in on it before this weekend. I was pretty played in September, so I don't regret not being more prepared. I want to stick with the program which this season has been to go with the flow and ride on how the legs are feeling. They are telling me to put it down for another week and then take it easy for a week before I start really dialing back on the long rides and hitting the high intensity markers hard... real hard.

If the bike comes in tommorrow I'll be spending the better part of the day getting it dialed in and skipping the LSD ride I had planned. If not I'll be in the cold rain on the mountain bike which doesn't sound too good right now but I have to get the foundation down and rain isn't really a good excuse not to, unless the zipper on your skirt is just too tough to find.

If I planned this right my CX season should be like my MTB season; slow start, steady build and then good legs for the last half of it. If I'm wrong it might just be the first half of it.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Bubba CX #1- Jefferson Barracks


Not a whole lot to say. Really excited about racing but far from ready. I was just going on how I felt for most of September; I was feeling tired after a long dirt bike racing season and not super motivated, so it just came and went. I decided not to skip steps and started back with a little base training and ease into CX season in the first couple races and then ramp up the intensity. Lining up today I was still a little fatigued from the 6 hr race and a long ride in the rain on Wednesday but overall was feeling ok, maybe 80%.

I had a good start and was going well until the young Williams lad passed me where there really was no need and then lost his front wheel around the next turn. I ran over his back, crashed myself and watched as 10 riders slipped by. Sucktown. I can't say I ever really recovered from that as I burned a bunch of matches riding in anger.

I worked my way up a couple spots and found myself in no mans land riding by myself and looking over my shoulder too much. The intensity was taking it's toll and I was suffering. I was riding well on the super fun course and making up time on the technical fast sections but losing it quickly on the power sections. Unfortunately it was all downhill from there...
I came through the start finish with 7 to go and hit a bump before the first turn and felt my seat sink back. I was confused and jumped off thinking I could pound the seat back into place and gave it a good karate chop, not noticing the crack concealed by the electrical tape that marked my seat height. I jumped back on and it reclined on me again, this time it cracked loud enough for me to see the damage. Not a clean break, but pretty close. Game over. Sven Nys doesn't ride carbon seatposts for CX for a reason, only Russ does.

It was great to be out there and see people all fired up about CX again. My friend Jason Warner showed up and took all these sweet pics, thanks Jason! The post race pub action was a pretty good time as well, maybe need to cut back on the "recovery drinks" though. I had a good time giving our waiter a hard time about not bringing me a liter of gin and tonic, "I said I wanted a big one, dammit!"

Hopefully the white heat will be ready in time for next weekend...

NO BUBBA POINTS

Sunday, October 19, 2008

SVEN!



Bad crash on Saturday...





World Cup win on Sunday. Bad ass mo'fo!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Good at what we set our minds to...





Whether it's trophy fish, bucks or taking on the fastest dudes around and winning in style it's good to have some variety... and even better when you experience the success that drives you to reach new limits.

I have decided to put down the $1000 fly fishing outfits, get some chicken livers and check out the fishing opportunities right in my back yard, the mighty Miss. There are some big ol' catfish in there, up to 75 lbs, and hopefully the learning curve isn't too steep. I'll be using the same rods and reels I use to fish saltwater; 10 ft 1 piece carbon rods, 50 lb braided line, and heavy duty conventional reels with 300 yards of line. I hope to have some good stories... Think Riverfront Trail late at night. More later.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

2008 Burnin at the Bluff- 6 HR Solo WIN!

Whoa. I am seldom at a loss of words but this weekend has me reeling. I guess the super PRO thing to do is give some mad props to the people at Mesa Cycles (not me) who do all the hard work to make this the top notch event that it is. I was looking back at photos from 2005 yesterday and there were about 25 bikes lined up for the Le Mans start. This year there were close to 100. There were names like Ploch, Kakouris, Chambers, Schmatz, Goscinski, and Froese that anyone who has ever pinned on a number in the Mid West knows and names like Brace and Aldredge that people know now. Pabst Blue Ribbon came on board this year as a major sponsor with the help of Dave Aholt and made things feel that much more legit. Not to mention the most coveted prize I have ever raced for; the 2008 Burnin 12 Hour Belt Buckle courtesy of Mesa Cycles and Jim(mer) Butler.



Before I start talking about myself, I want to tell you about the most amazing race I have witnessed between two very good friends of mine; D-Wanye Goscinski and my teammate Zach "The Deer Hunter" Brace. D-Wayne was the clear favorite and going into the race with goals of getting in a record setting 10 laps. Zach told me that while he had plans for winning this race someday, his goal for 2008 was just to get in 9 laps. So far only myself, Chris Ploch and D-Wayne had done so.

By the time I finished racing and started supporting Zach the race was a little more than 1/2 over and he was trailing by about 30 minutes. I have to admit that I wasn't too optimistic, but we knew what D-Waynes weaknesses were and kept Zach moving through the pits and as comfortable as possible. I eyed the king size Carmello bar in his cooler and for the first time ever didn't poach someones candy as it could be such a sweet reward. Who knows what was going on in Zachs head but somehow his lap times started to get faster as I watched. Another transition of Red Bull, Coke, Bananas and getting his lights on and things started to get interesting.

After the first night lap Zach was 11 minutes behind and we had confirmation that D-Wayne was sitting down for a little while, but not sure if he got out on the trail before Zach. We bit our nails for the next hour and a half and cheers erupted through the crowd when Zach came out of the woods in the lead. He said he came up behind D-Wayne who was unable to respond to his turn of speed. He didn't know it, but he had a 5 minute lead going into the last lap. I advised him to ride steady for the first half of the lap and turn it on when the trail let up a little at the halfway point... He seemed to be pretty stoked as we strapped on a fresh battery and chased him down the road. All we could do was wait.

When Grahm Aldredge finished his lap and told me he passed Zach, with D-Wayne still behind him, fixing a flat my heart sank. A 5 minute lead could easily be blown by something like a flat and it was going to come down to seconds. I rallied everyone to line up around the finish line and personally couldn't handle the suspense...

...Then Zach popped out of the single track and the crowd erupted! Nice job buddy! What an amazing way to finish a race. I can't tell you how impressed I am. Watch out folks.


My 6 Hour Solo experience.

I was not confident. I wasn't feeling well. I was stressed about the event as I am too competitive to "just show up and race." By the time I went to bed on Thursday I had decided I wasn't going to race. When I woke up on Friday I gave myself a pep talk about "taking my licks and seeing what could happen." I really have to thank everyone who had more confidence in me than myself for telling me I could do it and C-money for getting me fired up to race on Friday at work.

My plan was to go out pretty hard for a couple laps and see if I could open up enough of a lead to waterfall a little bit. Keeven has dominated events of this length this season, like Syllamos Revenge, Ouachita Challenge SS and the Rapture 6 hour so I wanted to go on the offensive and see what I was made of.


That's me on the left, Keeven in the middle and Richard Richard on the right... We look pretty good.


Apparently, my running in preparation for CX is working. I actually felt fast during the run and am pleased that they caught me in full stride in this photo. Where is everyone?

I looked over my shoulder just before the single track and saw quite a bit of daylight except for one lone rider who jumped me just before the woods, which was fine by me. It was about 3 miles in before Wes and Cameron came around me and I rode with them for a bit and then settled into my own sub-LT pace...

I was feeling great until Keeven came up on me just before the final climb and took the lead halfway up. I had been going pretty good and wasn't expecting to see him so soon and this was a huge mental blow to me, especially since my legs were feeling rubbery and like they were on the way out. We crossed the line together and set out on #2.

We rode together until the first big climb and then he put mega time into me mashing those gears on his SS. Two seconds to one at least. By the time I crested the next climb with the long straight downhill to the footbridge, he was out of sight, maybe a minutes distance. I was really suffering, started to get down and was having a hard time convincing myself to keep going until I caught a glimpse of him crossing the dam. I managed to bridge up to him not to long after that at the beach and we rode out the rest of the lap together and he was in the lead after 2. I convinced myself that as long as he was in sight I would continue to chase and just waiting to crack.

On the 3rd lap he let me take the lead through the first section and I knew that I needed to limit my losses and get the the first big climb before him. I wasn't putting the hammer down, but I was amazing myself at how smooth I was riding after not having ridden the MTB in quite some time. I didn't really have too much of a game plan but I was just trying to keep my heart rate around 165 and keep it down below my upper LT (175'ish) on the hills. Occasionally I had to remind myself that it was a long race and shift from the big meat down to the middle ring even though I was turning it over pretty easily... But not for long.

The fourth lap was pure pain. I don't know if it was the food poisoning, a stomach bug or my body just not being used to my endurance race mix but things started to go pretty poorly on the fourth lap. I watched my heart rate plummet 10 beats as I began to power down and started to do some more self motivating. I knew I had a decent gap on Mr. Keeven at this point but was expecting him to pass me at any moment. I told myself that if he did I would throw in the towel, but if I was in the lead I was going to suffer my ass off for one of those buckles. I was having a hard time staying focused because my stomach was hurting so badly when I came up on D-Waynes buddy and passed him. He caught up, we talked for a little while and then I told him to go ahead because I was hurting. A little water and a couple miles later I was back on track and passed him again and came through on my slowest lap of the day 1:17:50 something...


When I came through for lap 5 I was told that I had close to an hour lead and just needed to ride it out. I was ecstatic. I dumped a bucket of ice over my head, grabbed my IPod and started to sing. I'm sure some people were hearing me on the trail as I rode it in... I was pretty happy to say the least. Considering that I was able to convince myself to keep racing all day, setting some mini goals along the way and achieve something I had no confidence I could do, I feel like I learned something about myself and reached some new limits well beyond those of my fitness. That's especially sweet after some serious regrets after last years Burnin.

It's also safe to say that this is going to be a 6 lap race from now on. Had I been a little more prepared shaving the 9 minutes off two pretty slow 1:17 laps would be pretty easy to slide in under 6 hours for another one. Here is my Garmin thingamajig for the race...



Now it's really time to start thinking about some CX!!!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Truth Hurts

But trying to race for 6 hours is going to hurt more, especially when my buddy, Matt Keeven, is going to be punching tickets aboard the pain train. I have never walked into a race less prepared then this one and am kinda intrigued to see how it goes. I have a feeling it's only going to "go" for about 2.5 laps, but we'll see I guess... I have been unintentionally tapering for it a little as you can see...

9/1-9/7 = 6.5 hrs (week of Greensfelder)
9/8-9/14 = 3.05 hrs
9/15-9/21 = 6.7 hrs (week of Hermann)
9/22-9/28 = 3.83 hrs
9/29-10/5 = 3.68 hrs

From Jan- Sept I averaged around 12 hours a week so this was clearly plenty of rest to get me ready for CX racing. I have actually started to feel a little sluggish and started sleeping way more. Time to ramp it up a little bit and what better way then a 6 hour mountain bike race. Keep in mind that my front tire is still flat from the Greensfelder race. I should probably get my bikes ready today and go shred the 1/2 mile of single track in the FoPo a couple times to get the feel of riding off road again.

Being back in Beantown was great. I ate some form of seafood everyday and was putting back a 1/2 dozen oysters before most meals. I miss fresh seafood and Jen and I don't buy it here because it sucks. I managed to get a little riding in, but it ended up being a lot more running. East Coast single track is not so conducive to riding CX bikes on. I had to run the 3 miles home from the trail twice due to multiple flats. I did get some decent dismount and re-mount practice though and am feeling a little more efficient.

The fishing pretty much sucked. A big storm moved in right when I got home and shut things down. I was fishing from 9 pm to 9 am and it just wasn't happening. I was catching fish sporadically but wasn't finding any pods of bigger feeding fish so it was by no means consistent. I caught a pretty nice fish which was just shy of 40" and a little less than 20 lbs and had my buddy Jon there to snap a pic... The rest of the week was more of the same as I managed to have some fun catching 20-30" fish and a couple bigger fish in between. The last morning I went down with my dad and hooked up with a nice 35" fish on a top water plug on the first cast which I filleted up (about 10 lbs of fillets) and froze to bring back to Jen. We had some the other night and it was pretty tasty.

It was awesome to hang out with my family so much. My mom had a big fandamily get together for me and it was pretty intense with all my nieces and nephews running around like crazy. My brother and I went out to eat at some nice restaurants and I got to hang out with my godson Charley quite a bit. He is turning into a little person instead of just a smiling baby. He's quite a character. I saw a couple of my buddies but kept things pretty much on the DL and managed to get some much needed rest.

I picked up some more nasty food poisoning from a yogurt parfait at Starbucks just outside of Indianapolis on the ride back. It's ironic that the same thing happened before my vacation in July and this time at the end of my vacation. Weird.

I hate to admit it, but of all the music I put on my Ipod for the trip I ended up listening to some Phish shows I haven't heard in a long time. I probably listened to Phish 34/38 hours I spent in the car. I love the sound of a soundboard recording of a good show on a decent car system with the windows down... It just works.

Time to go find my mountain bikes and ride for a couple hours... I hope I still have some maltodextrin powder somewhere?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Back at the real Villa on the Hilla...




Left St Louis at 7pm on Tues and made the 19.5 hour drive in almost exactly 24 hours... I always forget freakin huge upstate NY is... You get through Ohio and then PA pretty quick, hit NY and think you're home free... but you still have almost 500 miles before you hit western MA!!! It's pretty up there though. Mom and Pops had some food ready for me and then it was business time. 12 hours of uniterrupted sleep. I feel good now.

Tonight there is 90% chance of rain, which is good for fishing. Low pressure and darker than normal conditions usually get the fish eating. I'm going to cook my folks some dinner and then head down to the cape for the night. It's been too long, and in 2006 the fishing was sub-par when I made the trip so I am going to make up for it.

There is a CX race nearby on Sunday but my mom is having a cook out for me, so that's not going to happen. There is a CX practice next Wed which I am going to do though. I'm also going to heed the Master of Disaster, Josh J's advice and do some real CX workouts. Hopefully him and Nate will be chasing UCI points instead of the first Bubba race, but the rest of you + One Lappers better watch the funk out!

This is my bro and the Boss Hog.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Hermann CX- Plus One Lap

I can't explain how awesome this event was. Jeff Yielding went over the top to make this a super rad atmosphere for the racers and spectators alike. I am so glad I did this race as it has stoked the fire of CX desire in my belly.

It was pretty awesome to line up with the fastest CX racers in the Midwest. By far the fastest CX race I have ever done and probably the most painful, I'm lucky it wasn't light out or there would have been some quality photos like the ones from my personal sufferfest at Faust Park last year. The call up was great and I was looking good in the new black Mesa CX team long sleeve skinsuit. Had it been a fashion show I would have been one step ahead, which is ironic, because the steps are just what killed me.

I didn't think I would have as hard a time as I did with the running sections but this course is over the top on the running tip and I wasn't prepared. Not that the outcome would have been too much different, but the suffering could have been quite a bit less had I added this race to my calendar back in July. Every time I would get off my bike my lower back would seize and my legs would give out for a step... It was hard not to quit but there were so many people out there on all sections of the course encouraging me and it made me to proud to quit. Unofficially I think I finished 20th out of about 50, but they only scored the top 12 riders as everyone else got lapped. I held Josh off until either 3 or 4 laps to go but he was charging through the lapped riders and crushing dreams and I was on the list. I can learn a lot from that guy and he's been nice enough to help me out. When he passed me I let up a little bit, green and not really knowing if I was supposed to stop or if they would tell me to stop... Nageltronic 5000 came up and we chatted and decided to ride it out for a couple more laps which was a blast. He got me on the stairs in the end and I found myself looking for that cold PBR which my boy Robert Metz delivered.

I was so motivated by people calling my name and cheering me on it was unreal. I was truly in pain and it wasn't the kind from going hard in a blazing fast race, but there was no way I was going to stop because I felt better every time someone yelled "go Breslin" or blasted me in the face with PBR. I don't know if everybody was getting the support I was, but if you were I'm sure you can relate to me saying that it made me feel like a total rock star, even as I was having my ass handed to me. The ass kicking has given me some serious motivation to take CX a little more seriously, maybe even run a little and jump on and off the bike a couple times.

Congratulations to my teammate and good friend Matt James for a solid 3rd place finish in the B race behind a total sand bagger and a very strong Mike Best. Obviously a huge pat on the back to my friends Josh and Nate for another stellar finish and keeping the STL on top over KC... I think were going to add another notch to the tally at the Burnin too... but I am sure that Elwell and Chambers aren't coming for the free PBR so it might not be too easy for my buddies on DRJ.


If anyone is interested I will be posting some salt water striped bass fishing reports and photos from back in Boston for the next couple weeks. I've decided to bring the CX bike instead of my mountain bike if that tells you anything. What would Sven do?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Why I support the DQ

BASKIN ROBBINS

Baskin Robbins is really unhealthy!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

where's my CX bike?

Damn, where is it?

I decided to go to Hermann today after trading a couple e-mails with Jeff Yielding... I am implementing a new racing rule for myself; if someone invites you to a invitation only race, you go. Jeff asked me in July but I thought I was already going to be back in Boston and politely declined. Luckily, he knows I ride the short bus and is still giving me a call up and preferred start. Thanks again Jeff! Call ups are about as PRO as you can get and being called up as the third highest ranked expert at Nationals still makes the hair on my arms stand up.

So today I hustled to get more fishing gear dialed in, get the new MESA skinsuits out to the A team and then I settled into gluing tires and getting the bike ready. I'm planning on jumping off and on once or twice tomorrow and Friday. My shoulder is going to be all jacked up come Sunday morning.

Lucky for me, the course flooded last week and is pretty wet. Nice thing about CX is I get to play in the mud and the GORC guys with the pillow covers over there heads will stop burning crosses and shit on my lawn. CX is a hard mans sport and the show must go on. What would Sven do?

The CX bike is looking good now.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Rhythm of Life


7 beats per second. Can you feel it?

I got on my bike yesterday for the first time in 4 days. Taking periodic breaks during the season has kept me fresh. My master plan only lead up to a little after Nationals and then I decided to take a mental break and just ride. Looking back, instead of taking a break I was riding strings of long mid-high paced mountain bike rides and the legs were starting to feel it. On top of that, the Hendricks Gin has really been flowing and the anxiety of my trip has made sleep rare. Bad combo.

Yesterday I got on my bike and cranked up some tunes on the RFT... Man it was good. The desire is back, fueled by dismounts, high intensity and thoughts of Sven Nys. With new found motivation comes the need to listen to some new good music to make my brain work a little bit harder, get those goosebumps every now and then.

Anyone that has a band that you don't think I might know about that brings some heat (happy-feel good heat, Wes!) leave me a message here. I'm on a mission. If you like Jazz funk you should check out this 70's band called Passport. The album is "Looking Thru." Rad.

Help a brother out!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Hindsight is 20/20


My confidence was pretty low as I am getting tired and my fitness is crying for a pre CX siesta, but I push it on, trying to achieve another goal and win the Midwest Fat Tire Series overall. Going into the Greensfelder race I figured that between Eric, Ryan, Rhines, Worstershire (the weaksauce variety), Ploch, Matthews, TK, Wes and my boy Drew catting up from sport, I was going to get totally waxed and a lack of sleep had left the eye of the tiger half closed.

Race day came and you never know who's out there warming up on the course. I figure if I flat it's a short walk and knowing that it was going to be a sport length expert race, at about 1.5 hours, there is no way I would rebound from a flat. I brought a CO2 and could only hope the Stans Race Day sealant would work.

As it turns out, the field isn't as tough as I thought it was going to be while tossing in turning in bed the night before. After lap one I see EP on the side of the trail and was sitting in second. Not to steal anyones thunder here, but looking at the results and considering how the Crankfest race went, I'm pretty sure that the 3-4 minutes it would have taken me to stick a tube in there would have been short enough to keep me in 3rd... Damn.

I was more pissed then I let on after the race but at this point I can look back with fond memories and be happy that:

1) It didn't happen when I attacked Cameron Chambers, Shadd Smith, Aaron Elwell, Mark Studnicki and Chris Ploch to take my first really big XC win at the Heartland Trumans Big Love race.

2) My confidence wasn't crushed by such a defeat when I passed my boy Andy Messer at the DINO AMBC race on the second to last lap. after battling with Brad Nelson for most of the race, to go on to win my first AMBC race and take the expert overall in a huge 70 person field.

3) If I had flatted on the last lap at Nationals, after fighting my way back up to a podium spot from 10 place I would have been truly devastated. With all my eggs in one basket for that race and then to get food poisoning 5 days before it, only to will myself up to a podium spot, was a very personally gratifying moment for me. The result wasn't my best, but to overcome what I did to get that result and to have Jen and my whole family there to see it is something I will never forget.

There, that makes me feel better already. 7 wins! And as I was telling my boy Drew, "i would have (had a decent finish), but i quit. the gin and tonics still tasted swell though, so i knew i quit while i was ahead." March is a long way away, don't stop till you get enough!!!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Missouri NORBA @ Greensfelder

If you think that only racing 1/2 of the race would mean a short report, you're wrong as usual. Maybe 1/2 as long.

I was worried about this race. I've been feeling the legs going stale after a long season and didn't want to get smoked by Team Armshaver. My next goal is to beat EP straight up. The more times I race him, the better my chances, but showing up at teh end of a long season when he is nice and rested isn't my idea of fun. I kept having to convince myself to race and almost pulled the plug after all that rain on Thursday, but when I heard Bobs report I figured I'd suck it up, take my licks and see where the form was at.

The race started as races do when EP is in attendance. Really f'ing fast. So fast that sometimes it actually takes some serious recovery just to get the legs to turn over because they are so loaded up...


That's how things started as EP and RP set off with me in tow and a group of 20 other riders chasing us down. RP pulled some kung fu over the bars shit and I was forced to ride off into the woods and watch EP open it up. For some reason it through me way off my game and RP took off without me and bridged up to his bro with gazelle like quickness. I was hitting trees with the back of my shoulders and de-railing it into the woods around the turns. Bob wasn't too far behind me before the climbing section, but when I looked over my shoulder at the top of the gravel road he was a good distance back.

The Thompson Twins opened up a 30 second or so gap on me halfway through the second lap and I was starting to think negative thoughts. I wanted to quit. But I convinced myself that finishing 3rd to two of the fastest dudes in the Midwest was worth fighting it out for and put my head down.



Chris came started to close on me but I was able to maintain a gap on the downhill and then open it up more on the climb. When I came through the start finish to see EP on the side yelling at me, I hate to admit that it was some serious motivation and the shit started to click. I was in 2cd behind RP and the legs were coming around. I focused and started to talk to myself as I sliced and diced the descent like a late night night Japanese knife infomercial. I was coming around and wasn't looking over my shoulder. Somehow I tricked myself into believing that I could catch RP and focused on plating the meal with hot sauce instead of letting the shit simmer on the back burner and get soft. Put the hot shit in my mouth and feel the fire! Chris was out of sight on the 180* sections where I did I have a chance to look.

I was feeling it and riding well. Right before the climb I jumped the log and remember two wheel sliding through the turn at 45* and the tire catching at the last possible second and popping out of the turn with speed, I must have leaned too far and caught one of the many sharp rocks. Exactly 3.5 laps into a 7 lap race, with the legs coming around, the scent of the rabbit pushing me on, and a decent gap on 3rd my race was over... a 1 cm gash in the sidewall.

I would never have caught Ryan, who was on fire, but was pretty confident that I would have been able to ride it out for a super respectable finish in a stacked field. It sucked. I knew it was going to be a short race and didn't bring a tube because 5 minutes in a tight race means suffering for no $$$ and it's too late in the season for me to suffer. I've suffered enough.

One more race before a pre-CX break, some serious fishing, CX training and my MTB season finale at Land Between the Lakes in the end of October and the fat lady is warming up backstage. I'm already thinking about focusing my efforts on making all the DINO series races instead of doing a couple big long weekend events all over the place.

Thanks to Bob and DRJ for putting on a great race and Jeremie for the rad photos. I love racing my bike. This season has made me really happy and am glad to have shared so many stories about pain trains, that one left hander that you could totally rail and kitties with all of you. Really. I love racing my bike.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

32 today, I love cake!

I told Jen the only thing I wanted was a homemade chocolate cake with white frosting. I woke up with a hangover from a nice night out at Niche and the glare of candles burning in my face... Happy Birthday to me.

Things have been great. I have been building a new surf rod, a new rod rack for my car and getting all my leaders and plugs ready for a trip back to do some Striper fishing during the fall run. That's Buddy who is helping me out.


I also that POS Carbon 29'er that I had... man that thing was slow. I have a 26" Alma Carbon coming today and am hoping to get it built up in time for some serious racing down at Council Bluff this weekend.

The Kentucky Blue Grass that Keeven hooked us up with seems really happy. It has grown 2" in about a week but the ground is still to soft to walk on because Jen loves to water it. The guy is coming to build a fence this weekend and I'm considering building a brick oven to take my pizza to new levels, which would be something like level 12-13 on a scale of 10. I have mastered making pizza and if I had an oven that could throw down to 800 degrees I'd be content. Ralph, if you ever want to open a real deal pizza place (which doesn't exist in St Louis as of now), I'm your man.


Over and out...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Missouri NORBA @ Cape Girardeau- Another First

Where this form is coming from, I don't know. I'm a little afraid that one of these times the bottom is going to drop out, but none of the warning signs of there and I am having more fun than ever racing my bike. I won my first Missouri NORBA series Elite race on Sunday and I am more than pleased to have accomplished another one of my seasons goals.

I was a little apprehensive about the course for the Cyclewerx Crankfest race and in my head envisioned riding around in a field which really didn't sound like that much fun. When Scott, Nate and I headed out for our pre-ride I realized how completely wrong I was; the course was tight, fast, and a 11 on the rad dial.

TK and I talked to Travis a little bit about the course and he told us that he owned it like Donald Trump and held every course record. He's a confident little fella. I got my front row call up and lined up for the uphill start next to TK... There were some comments from the peanut gallery about how sexy I was looking in my skinsuit and Atomic Orange Limited Edition Radars, but I was feeling pro as hell and ready to ascend space monkey mountain. Thanks to Pfood for the proof of my looking good...


Go time... Chris first, TK next and I went around them both on the left and got the hole shot. I was railing the shit out of the dirt track and the three of us broke away with John Rhines and Travis in pursuit who caught up to us pretty quick... Some more railing and then a missed turn on my part and a skip of the needle during the face melting solo shot me back two spots. Travis ended up catching us and then dropping all three of us in the maze section... I was a little worried but it amazes me how my focus and confidence changes between a day with good legs and a day where I am just trying to hold on. Last weekend I wasn't feeling very good and it seemed as though all I could do was focus on the negatives. Sunday the legs were great and I wasn't looking over my shoulder of thinking about losing spots at all... Forward motion.

Travis was gone on lap two and Chris, John and I were riding at the same place. The skip in the record sent me into the dirt twice on the second lap, but I managed to catch up to them both times until Chris got away and John and I started to slowly work on each other taking turns in the lead. I was really feeling good going up the starting climb and was feeling my 7 minute LT intervals at Lost Valley paying off like never before.

Lap 3 was more of the same and I jumped John on the starting climb and held the lead until I went down again in exact same spot as lap 2 and he passed me. Not too long after that he got tangled up in a tree top at the top of the first climb into the MAZE and I think that was the last time he was in the lead? It was time for some Rooster Booster...

I don't remember anything about lap 4 and John was riding strong and nipping at my heels so I maintained my focus and kept going. I was riding really well and was able to recover from the short steep stuff with ease and started to get a handle on the flow of the maze section and what was around the totally blind corners, some of which were 90* and some of which were uphill 180's... Awesome.

Then it happened. I started to see Chris and Travis and Drewby told me I was about 15 seconds behind and Travis had cracked and given Chris the lead. Cracking is something I had never counted on the two of them doing and realized my persistence and consistency was paying off. I was pretty stoked but held my cards close and didn't put down any more heat then I had to.

At the base of the starting climb on lap 5 I saw Travis up ahead and Chris not to far in front of him as I entered the field. I set the gearshift to the high gear of my soul and went to work. Business time bitches! I caught Travis and knew if I could get around Chris before the singletrack I would be looking even sexier. I passed him just at the crest of the climb, shifted to the big ring and was amazed that he didn't respond as I took off into the woods for my second fastest (not a record setting, just a race winning attack of a lap... It was good.

I had some major daylight by the last lap and knew that I just had to play it smart... I was really digging (like the 9 yards of dirt I shoveled in Jens and my new back yard on Friday, but with far fewer blisters) the trail and truly couldn't believe that I was on my was to win my first Missouri NORBA Championship Series Race, with big names in attendance, in a solid fashion. I was stoked. Oddly enough as I stood up on the last little climb I felt the crabs in my legs; the onset of cramps that I haven't felt since the State Road Race in 2005 and realized the last that I have barely been drinking during the last two races... It's not CX racing yet. Focus on that grasshopper. I came across the line and got the hands up. I can't tell you how good it felt. It's good to win at home. I was surprised to see John Rhines come in next and grossed out as he coughed up a bloody lung... Then the reporters swarmed me... 20 minutes of my life wasted on the worst interview ever!

What a sick weekend for the Mesa Off Road Team! Keeven tore up the 6 hour race at the rapture with Zach in tow who took 3rd overall!! Big props to them! I got over the $300 first place prize for the 12 hour solo race there this year when all I got last year was a stinking backpack last year when John Dodd handed me $150 smakerooos... and I only had to race for 1:40 minutes for it!! Ha Haaaa! What a great event, thanks to the Cyclewerx crew!

Nate had the most scrumptious looking old news July Blizzard of the month, while I opted to be more progressive and got the current Blizzard, Oreo Cookie, which was delicious but not minty green freshness. Jen and I took my prize money right to Lemongrass and then I doubled up on the DQ and split her Girl Scout thin mint blizzard and washed it down with a G&T while we admired our dirt... Keevens the grass master is bringing the green tomorrow though!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Kentucky Points Series Race at Waverly

Wow. I don't think I have ever ridden trails as buff as Waverly. This place is 100% dirt singletrack bliss.

MJ and myself drove down after work on Saturday and stayed with my boy Rusty in Louisville. Rusty stayed up for us and had two beds all setup so all we had to do was crash. It was pretty awesome. The next morning he had coffee all ready to go and we hung out and chatted it up with Ben Richardson who is one of Kentuckys fastest riders. Then it was time to get down to business. It was business time.

We got over to the venue and quickly realized that it was some sick trail and damn hilly. I don't really know when I lost track of time but I heard someone say it was 10:30 and the race started at 11. I slithered into my skinny suit and got in a quick warm up. The legs weren't there, they were heavy and not turning over well so I tried to open them up a little bit and rode the first section of the course up until a monster of a climb that I knew was going to hurt.

I headed over to the start finish after a short warm up and stood around for way too long stretching. It wasn't too hot out and I think I cooled down a bit too much but wanted to make sure I got a spot on the front row because it was a crazy start that snaked around and then went over this weird dirt mound with only one line through the middle of it.

I got into the woods in 5th or 6th and quickly moved up to 4th and watched as Ben Richardson and Anthony opened up a gap on us. There wasn't any place for me to get in front of the Barbasol rider in front of me so I remained patient and was having some problems with the dust. When we hit the big climb I got dropped by him and his teammate who was pushing a huge gear on a single speed. My legs were shot and I didn't have any power, too much last week for sure. At the top of the climbing section of the course I had passed one guy and was closing in on the SS rider when I hit a tree pretty hard with my shoulder and a gap opened up and he was out of sight.

My second lap sucked. I was having a really hard time breathing and was choking on dust that I couldn't get out of my throat. I was really bummed since my goal was to have stayed with the front two riders for a couple laps. I didn't have any rabbit to chase and started to worry about the guys from behind me, but started to get some of the lines figured out a little and was riding ok. As I came through at the start of the third lap I caught a glimpse of two guys entering the start finish area as I was leaving it and decided I better pick it up and downed some Rooster Booster.

Halfway through the 3rd lap I caught sight of the singlespeed rider and was able to count him at about 30 seconds in front of me. When we hit the flow section of the course I opened up what I had on the big ring and chased like a mo'fo. I didn't see him as I came through the start finish but when I hit the base of the climbing section I heard the Super Fan screaming up ahead and knew I was getting close. I looked up as I neared the top to see him walking his bike and knew it was over; he had been crushing me on the climbs and I knew I had the course pretty dialed at this point... it was business time for real. I was flossing the trail like Oral B so I worked my way up to him and then attacked him before the fire road descent and opened up a gap that would continue to grow for the rest of the lap.

I put about a minute into him in the last 3 miles to take the expert overall win. It was a really hard day for me and the legs were not quite there so I was pretty happy with the effort but a little disappointed to learn that I was 5 minutes off of Anthony and 4 minutes behind Ben. MJ ended up taking 3rd in the 19-29 age group, CC won the 19-29 sport and the Schwick took 2cd in the same class. Not too bad when 4/4 from the team podium.

I am sitting here tonight with a G&T pretty sore and banged up. I can't thank Rusty enough for taking care of us. Any of you guys want to come race in the Lou just let me know. It was a tough race and I'm feeling it. I have to tell you, with cool courses, a great atmosphere and some good peeps the Kentucky Points Series is going to be on my calendar more next season. I bet this thing grows into a DINO caliber series. Awesome.

+2 points for a super clean Taco Hell on the ride home, +2 points for a DQ that actually flips the Blizzard to show how they are tricky, but -2 points for a lack of minty fresh in the Girl Scout Cookie Blizzard. Since it was the Blizzard of the month in July, it's a little washed up now.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Kentucky Racer Rampage and the Nats form...

I must say that this season has been a blast so far. I've had some serious results, been enjoying the hell out of riding my bike and feel like I'm getting kinda fast. It seems like a distant memory but I remember telling MJ on our Jan 1 ride at Castlewood in 14 degree temps that I was concerned with the transition from 12 hour racing to XC racing. With the exception of having one bad race in WI, which really wasn't that bad but came at a time when I was really hungry for a confidence builder, I have achieved all of my goals up to this point. Right now I'm taking a little break and reading calendars to figure out what I am going to shoot for next and reluctant to pull the plug when I seem to keep getting stronger, but pulling the plug too late would be the end of a good season. A serious national ranking has to make you feel like you are doing something right...

I had some bad luck and got food poisoning the week before Nationals, so I couldn't really tell if I was peaking the way I had planned. After two really big wins for me, Trumans Big Love at Landahl and the DINO AMBC Race at Muscatatuck, I wasn't sure if the legs came around too soon. I stuck to the plan and started to taper two weeks before Nationals and focus on keeping my weight down. Everything was going great until the Monday before the race when I woke up and started to get violently ill. I dropped from 154 to 150 in a two days and had a complete loss of appetite for the rest of the week. By Thursday morning I realized that there was no way I was going to even finish if I couldn't hammer home some calories. Usually I am going deep with the whole carbo load thing going into a big event, as my friend Tosh once told me "carbo loading is like peaking, you can only really do it a couple times a season." In a nutshell, I had a great race in VT but wasn't running at 100%. My master plan was to come back from Nats and still have race form for the Midwest Fat Tire event.

I was really excited to go race at Rock Bridge and was hoping that I could collect some points and feel out the form, but 6" of rain forced me to take drastic measures.
Keeven was the only one I could convince to wake up first thing on Sunday and head down Kentucky with me. I told him to get to my house at 4:30 a.m and saw the lights from the war wagon in the driveway at 4:29. My boy and I are much alike. We were headed down to Lake Barkley Kentucky for the Racer Rampage. Pirtle and MJ told me it was a totally rad, pretty technical course with super duper balls climbing. It was.

We lined up with about 6 other experts which was kinda a bummer. There was another race in Louisville and a DINO race and I chose the one with the best course thinking that people would show up, but they all showed up at the other races. A couple Wood and Wave guys were there, including Steve Wilson who has beat me in the past, so I punched it hard to get the hole shot. I was surprised to see that gap I opened up by the time I hit the trail and even more surprised to see that Keeven (racing 2 laps as a SS but with the experts as his competitors must have heard he was coming and stayed in bed) was making chase with a 36x20!!! I hit the hills and kept thinking that he was going to ride up next to me but was really focused and the pedals were turning themselves over. We had only pre-rode the first hill and I had no idea what the rest of the 8 mile loop was like.

I found myself killing the big ring in the saddle, flying through trail I had never seen and crushing the power climbs out of the saddle shifting down as I crested them. I don't know if I have ever ridden this well before. The occasional glance over my shoulder revealed that I was out of sight. It's one thing to push yourself to new limits with people nipping at your heels or when chasing the white toothed pocket rocket, but I didn't have any motivation like that, just the legs I had been trying to build all season.

The last section of trail before dumping you back out in the starting field was a hard pack dirt downhill with bermed corners and some structure to keep you on your toes. At one point I considered that I had no idea what was around the next turn and what might happen if I made a minor mistake, but the tire pressure was right and I had this stuff on speed dial. "I got her faaahking numbah, how you like them apples!" I came through the field, picked up a bottle, went around it and was back in the single-track with no one in sight. I had a big lead.

The first half of the lap was the challenging part, with some mega hills, but I found myself going up them with ease. I can't say what would have happened on the 3rd lap, but coming from a guy who usually is picking people off at 1:45 in the longer races, I don't think I would have slowed down. I had really good legs, it was coming so freakin' easy and the focus was intense. I wasn't thinking about anything other than pushing my bike to go as fast as I ever have. In retrospect, what I had been planning all season was coming together in such a fashion that I never would have imagined.

I cleared the first half of the course and was pretty stoked and let my mind wander to the sick descent that was to come as I weaved along the top of the ridge. I remember leaning into a turn and kicking the pedals to power out of it when I heard the hiss. I figured the top secret Stan's Race Day Sealant would work it's magic but it wasn't to be, so I stopped. There was a pretty 13 mm slit in the sidewall and the Stans was trying really hard so I gave it some Big Air and turned it on it's side... No luck. I kept expecting someone to come up on me as I changed the tube but they didn't. My luck with tubes remained unchanged as the air rushed out of the cracked rubber where the valve meets the tube. I have carried this tube in my pocket for every training ride and race this season and it was cracked. Game over. Keeven passed next, on his way to dominating the rest of the experts and then a Wood and Wave rider a couple minutes later.

I had a really nice walk down to the car. It was a nice day and the park was really beautiful. Somewhere along the way I realized how awesome this year has been and then it occurred to me that I blew a lead and any chances of paying for the 8 hour drive and wasn't even sweating it. Weird. Having built some confidence, I find that my anxiety is way lower and I am racing better.

The promoter told me I beat Pirtles course record, but he was wrong and I was off by 15 seconds or so, either way, that's a huge confidence builder for me as well. I knew I was feeling good but without some numbers that doesn't mean anything when the field is small. Keeven destroyed the other experts by minutes after his two laps, and I'm sure he could have done another one.

I have to say that my fitness definitely peaked and I am feeling good about things. I am really pleased that I have figured out a little more about myself and am looking at the rest of the season and setting some new goals.

You all have two days to get to DQ to try the most kickass blizzard of the month, The Thin Mint, which totally erased all thoughts of not winning.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

4th Place at Nationals!



Not too shabby. I got a call up for being the 3rd highest National ranked rider in attendance which made me feel super pro.

It was an incredibly hard race. I was in the front 3 for the first lap but my second lap found me back close to 10 spots... I was in a serious funk. I drank TWO Cheerpacks towards the end of the lap and started to focus. I battled back and started to lay down some serious emotion driven heat and pick people off. The 5th place guy and myself were killing each other, passing other riders in the super technical, greasy downhill and I opened up a little gap on the very last section and held him off.

Congrats to Andy Messer from IN on a great 2cd place finish! Also, congrats to Doug Long for bringing a National Champ Jersey back to Missouri!

Full report soon, I'm going to drink some margaritas!

Adam Craig can floss like you have never seen before. You really have no idea how fast that guy goes, it was truly amazing to watch. # 2 for him!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Mt Snow

Feeling better today. Roy Orbison was bringing the heat on the scenic route 2 from Boston to Vermont. I knew I was feeling better when I started to get goosebumps singing along to my boy Roy and wanting to rip peoples legs off. Weird combo. But like ninja kitties kicking me in the teeth it was getting me all fired up.

Tom Albert and I rode a couple laps and I must say this place is a real mountain bike course, not watered down in any way. Up for 1.5 miles and then down some super tech... no rest areas any where, seriously. I'm a little concerned about the climbing which is a little over the top. It's got some serious loose steep ups; picture the climbs up to the picnic table at Chubb but make it 4X's longer and then stack them one after another with just a brief cross section of super technical, rocky singletrack linking them together. By my second lap I felt like I was floating through the technical stuff really well on the OIZ. The legs seemed to be feeling good and today I felt pretty normal and got some calories down without too much effort.

I ran into JHK, Treefarm and the LaLonde brothers and chatted about pro stuff. JHK had a photo shoot going on so he narrowly avoided getting dropped by some of St Louis's finest. Treefarm was asking me what kind of gearing he should be running for CX this year and the LaLonde brothers were telling me they were thinking about getting geared OIZs after reading about how great a bike it is on my blog. On a more serious, note it is going to be awesome to see how they stack up to the big boys here. Should be sick to see and I'm glad I'm here for there first big trip to the pro ranks out of Wisco. JHK seemed to give Tom and I a dirty look as we pre-rode the course in the right direction and interrupted his photo shoot that was going the wrong way. He was pretty tan, hopefully he put as much time in prepping for Nats as getting ready for the photo shoot!

After we rode Tom and I went over to the Luna/Orbea van and I was welcomed with open arms. I guess having multiple $5K Orbeas is a free pass onto the bus? It was really weird but before Chloe went on to win the U23 Jersey her and Georgia Gould offered to rub our legs down on the team van, which was really nice of them to say the least. It was a happy ending to the day.

Jen and I are going to hook up with Tom and Sandy over at Stratton Mountain for some dinner to avoid the crowds and then I'm going to get a couple fast laps in tomorrow a.m before watching my buddy Grahm (a Mesa Junior Expert rider from KC) tear it up!

More tomorrow

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

not awesome

thanks to everyone who has called me to wish me well, i really appreciate it. i am sitting here at my folks house outiside of beantown and feeling about 80%. the big problem is i don't have any appetite whatsoever and i'm struggling to eat, never mind think about carbo loading.

for those of you that don't know, which is most of you, i picked up some kind of food poisoning on sat night at sage. jen, the two folks we went out to eat with and a bunch of other folks called the restaurant to say they had the same thing going on. i woke up monday morning and puked for awhile and then spent the rest of the day with bowel problems. yesterday i was feeling better, but could barely eat, and we're talking mama b's home cooking here. it sucks.

i did a little trail riding yesterday and then again today on the horse trails around my folks house. the trails are a lot shorter than they were when my brother and i were flossing them on bmx bikes back in the day. i found some cool 4 wheeler trails that were pretty rough, but mt snow isn't going to be paved either. i felt ok, but even after trying to do some intensity this morning my heartrate wouldn't go up so i left it in the tank airing on the side being over rested.

i am heading up to Mt Snow with Jen tomorrow and am concentrating on good thoughts and just going on with things as normal. i'm stoked to be able to get some laps in tomorrow and then again of friday and it makes me worry less about not feeling great on the bike today. ironically, this incident is taking my mind of pre-race anxiety, so i've got that going for me.

i've been doing everything i can in preparation for this race since December, and i have to say it sucks to have something like this come up, but like Phil Collins I'm going against all odds. we'll not really related in any way, but it's a kickass song.