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...


Sunday, October 19, 2008


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?