Sunday, October 25, 2009

Whoa, CX is harder than I remembered!

Well first CX race of the season is in the books and I'm pleased with the way I raced. I didn't have a clean race by any means and had to dig deep to generate some power that I clearly don't have after my little base training month of September, followed by a week of very little riding before the burning and then a week of no riding and the flu the week after. Last week I did a couple decent workouts and realized it's going to be a few weeks before any snap comes back, but I can wait.

I had a good jump at the start as I wanted to be in the front three so I could ride the run-up but dropped my chain and dropped 10 spots. My plan was to get out in front through the run up and then drop back and see if I could sit in the front group and it feel apart right quick. From there I started to burn a couple matches to move up and was surprised that I was able to pretty easily until the aforementioned matches started to burn out.

I settled into a the third chase group which ended up being myself, Dan Miller and Jeff Yielding. Surprisingly, the gap to the 2cd group wasn't getting bigger and we started to put some serious time into the group behind us. The climbing was really taking it's toll on me but I was recovering ok and motivated to get a good workout out of the race.

I made some mistakes and ended up getting gaped off those two but was pleased that I was able to jump back on. With two to go I got hung up on the run-ride up and got gaped off by about 10 seconds. I thought I was going to ride it in alone but I pushed myself to catch them and commit ed to attacking before the decent as I was able to ride it pretty well and was going into the barriers with more speed than them and coming out faster. Dan and I gaped Jeff and then I attacked Dan just before the last pitch of the climb as he urged me to go get 5th place.

I came through the barriers and had just about closed the gap on the final money spot when he started to kick a little bit. He surprised me and the gap opened to quick for me to close, so I came across the line seeing spots in 6th.

Unfortunately the reality is that 6th is more like 10th as the heavy hitters are out of town but I think I should be able to bounce back after another couple weeks of hard training followed up by the Asheville MTB stage race (aka the Mesa shop trip). Looks like I might have some fitness for the last 4 races. Not exactly what I had planned but sometimes real life gets in the way of bicycle racing.

I need some race wheels. I sound spoiled but racing CX on clinchers is a joke.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Who pulled the plug?

Well, well, well. Another great Burnin at the Bluff race has come and gone and for the second time I didn't find myself on the top step of the podium. This race has been incredibly good or bad, with no grey area in between.

I started off as the front runner and was in the woods first after RP refused the whole shot I offered and like always, I knew opening up a little lead with the adrenaline running on high and the wolves chasing was a good thing. Soon RP, Gibbs, and Best came around me and later on a Ghisallo rider and Wes. I managed to pick Wes and the Ghisallo rider off at the Enough boat launch and soon caught up with Gibbs. I was keeping my hr in check and only reving it up to well south of my red line on the climbs. Everything was going well and I was coaching myself to push it on the flats and spin up the climbs without every feeling the burn which cumulatively can destroy.

I knew Dr Mark was a solid rider with a lot more road miles in his legs than me and good in the slop. I was pleased when he was out of sight at both the dam and the beach crossing and knew I had a little buffer but still flew through the start finish right on schedule to squeeze out 6 laps. Last year I finished at 6:09 and was focused on trimming that +/- 2 mins a lap over 5 laps by riding more consistently and not coming out of the gates like a rocket. My first lap was 1:10 and right on time. I stopped only to grab the white bottle of drink mix off the top of the cooler, but no need for the black bottle of water as I still had enough left and kicked off down the trail.

Lap 2 was great. My hr dropped into a nice endurance pace and was topping out at 172 on the climbs. My legs were a little bit tight from so much rest and the cold water but slowly they started to open up as I stretched some of the safer sections. I was really focused and even let my mind wander to think about belt buckles and beer which I quickly corrected by reminding myself that I wasn't even half way done. I came through the pits and grabbed the black bottle of water off the top of the cooler and made the mistake of grabbing anoter bottle of water from inside. Really my only mistake of the day turned out to be a big, but I didn't realize it until the first bridge crossing and thought I could get compensate by eating gels. I was wrong.

Sometimes when I get up in the morning and ride on an empty stomach I feel great for awhile and then it starts to gnaw at your gut until you stoke the fire with some coal. Lap 3 was good and I continued to ride the trail without making mistakes and was staying focused. I had the music ready but didn't want to treat myself to it until I really needed it and told myself that lap 4 would be the soonest I could have it. I ate an Accel gel 15 minutes in and had to keep reminding myself to drink the water and wishing I had some tasty mix. Dr. Mark was still nowhere in site and I had reports ranging from "he's way back there" to "2-3 minutes" from passing riders. I really had to pee which was weird for me as I can't remember ever having to in a race of this distance and usually only had to in 12 hr races once or so. After the runnoff i peed and stretched for a minute and came just before I made the right away from the lake on the other side of the beach I spotted Dr Mark coming across the concrete, maybe 2 minutes gap.

The climb to the start finish is a real motivation buster and when I popped out of the woods at 1:14 I was feeling it a little bit, not so much in my legs but more in a whole body type of way. I stopped and grabbed a couple bottles, a couple swigs of Red Bull and Russ and Gohl gave me a 2-3 minute buffer on Dr Mark. I told them I wasn't feeling too hot.

Back on the trail I took a couple big swigs of drink mix and coached myself a little. I was in the lead and on record setting pace. I was really hoping to have some better time splits going into lap 5 so I could tell if I would be chased if I got out for the record setting lap 6 which I was on schedule to do. I was doing fine until I crossed the Ozark Trail foot bridge.

I can't really say what happened. My legs were there but my head wasn't I hit some loose stuff on a corner, lost my front wheel and went down once. In the next mile I found myself richocheting from one side of the trail to the other and my HR went from a steady 165-ish to 120. I got off my bike and started to walk, not sure why, but I did. A couple minutes later Dr Mark passed and I convinced myself to chase. I was ready for some music so I put on the good stuff, saddled off and reminded myself that there was still a lot of racing left. I crested one of the grunters turned right and crashed down towards the lake on both my knees.

I couldn't think straigt and sat there for a little while before I turned off the Garmin and realized that 10 more miles meant potentially hurting myself and the 2.5 miles meant defeat. I headed back the short way. A 12 hr racer stopped and checked in on me and told me he was suffering badly too and I encouraged him telling him he would catch a second wind and to just keep eating and moving. I tried to heed my own advice and saddled up one more time but after another spill I realized I really was having some problems. I started my walk back to the start finish.

Once again the racing was fierce and we have a new 12 hr solo champion, Mitch Johnson, who also has the second fasted time ever recorded at the event. Solid racing Mitch! The DRJ wrecking crew decided to crush dreams on the last lap, for the second year in a row with CP riding as fast in the dark as he does during the day. Devastating to some, incredible to others. The party was a little bigger than normal this year as PBR has made this event into a top notch affair and much thanks goes out to them and Team Segall for sharing there golden unicorn with us. And last but defintely not least, thanks to John Farinella for putting this whole thing together and somehow making it better each year.

Here's for the record setting heat we had at the 2007 Burnin returning in 2010!!!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Record Setter?

There has been a lot of talk about the Burnin this year. I haven't been down there but course reports say it's a little dry and loose and could use some rain to make it really fast. Looks like we're going to get it.

In 2007 my goal of the season was to do 10 laps at the Burnin. While my dreams were crushed by a flurry of problems on the first lap that with me sitting on peak endurance racing form, drinking beer after my 6 mile hike on the first lap.

This year there are some heavy hitters showing up with good form and that 10 lap carrot has to be on all their minds, it's on mine. Zach is ready and has gotten dramatically stronger since last season, Deee-Wayne isn't going to do a 24 hr race the night before and then drive 10 hours straight to get there for the nine o-clock start. How he crams 48 hours into one day you ask? Caffeine. And then there's the talk of Jeff Winkler . I don't know Jeff personally but Fletcher was saying he was an ex roadie pro who has clearly found some sick form allowing him to be super fast on whatever bike he gets on.

So as I compile my 6 hr Phish master mix for my race I'm getting that itch again. All the talk about nutrition, long rides and 10 laps has got me a little excited. I'm going to be riding a S-Works Epic in 2010 which is the perfect machine to attempt to achieve the one cycling related goal that is the thorn in my side and go after the 10 laps, if one of the other three rock stars don't do it this year.

I rode my bike a little more this September than I did last year, even did a couple rides close to 5 hrs on the road and mtb, so I'm hoping to have a little more fun in the 6 hour race and hopefully not suffer in the same way I did last year. We'll see.

Here we go, yo.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

ohh snap...

i realized today that yesterdays post was after a mountain bike ride and that season is pretty much over. might still have a shot at one more win, maybe not, but moving forward i should be thinking about cx.

cx is going to start off real tough for me as i have been working on my base and not a whole lot of skills. someone may have been out training on there cx bike and thinking about putting the hurt on someone today. that someone is defintely going to be me for the first few races. then it's off to do some more off road riding with the crew in asheville. THEN it's time to see if i can race some cx!