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.