Wednesday, December 29, 2021

State CX Championships @ Sylvan Springs- Master 40-49

After the slaughter fest at Spanish Lake and all the running on vacation I knew the only thing left to do before the last race of the season was to recovery and try to stay sharp. I snuck in some short rides with bursts through the week and then went out and rode hard the Saturday before the race to tune up. Given my fitness level, preference for morning workouts and the realization that I'm 45 years old now, I decided to give the masters race a shot. 

The course was hilly again but more punchy then the reverse direction a few weeks prior and the downhill section was like a slalom course, which suited me well. It was grippy but slightly wet but I had pretty good confidence with the pressure I had reduced to. 

I didn't last long in the front group, nor did I try, and settled into mid-pack, which is where I stayed for most of the race. I was passed by the 50+ winner, Mike Morgon,  Quindry and Bobelak. After the first few laps I was putting time on the 40+ field chase group, dangling in the same position with Quindry and trading blows with Bobelak, who had hit the deck hard early on and seemed to be riding conservatively. Bobelak definitely had the power on the paved climb but I found I was able to catch him and ride his wheel back down to the base. In hindsight, I should have gone around him on the descent portion of the last lap but in my old age I must be losing testosterone and was happy just to be racing a race within the race. I never used to think about passing when I had a chance, but for some reason, confidence probably, I found I was doing this a lot since I started back... that's going to change. Anyhow, I rode Bobelaks wheel all the way to the barriers and we went through at about the same speed. He made the turn first, click, click and that was that. Felt good to be racing but where is the asshole I used to be? Need to aquire that fire again.

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Bubba at Spanish Lake

My first cross race ever was at Spanish Lake in 2007. I was coming off an exceptionally strong season of 6-12 hour endurance mountain bike racing with some expert races thrown in. I had won 6 of the 13 races I finished and finished 2cd or 3rd in the rest. I had 5 years of racing and massive training volume in my legs and was training with a purpose. I did my last mountain bike race of the season in Late October, bought a cheap cross bike and lined up with no experience whasover in the A's the next weekend at Spanish Lake. My love of cross began with a 2cd place finish (to Chris Harre) and a sprint finish with my good friend "Rico" aka, John Matthews. 

I only had the chance to ride once the week after Faust and then ran myself into the ground while down in Key West because it felt good and I thought it would keep my fitness rolling. I hadn't ran that kind of volume or intensity in quite some time but I was feeling pretty sharp and the weather was great so I kept pushing. We got back to St Louis at 1 am on Saturday after our last day drinking at the pool and while I knew it was a bad idea, it was only right to move up to the B race.

The track was pretty much the same as I remembered it from 2007- dry, dusty, fieldy, flat with a few "roadie sections." I got in a good long warm and it was clear my legs were torched from all the running. It was reasonably warm and very dry. I started pretty well and was feeling reasonably relaxed for the first lap or two and then place by place I started sliding backwards. My mouth got dry, my legs were twinging and I was suffering. People were going down in nearly everycorner as it was dry and there were acorns all over. I stayed up but waterfalled all the way to the back, 2cd to last I believe. 

I had a white chalky residue all over my mouth and I was happy to be done. 

I rounded out November with 160 miles on the bike, many of which were racing. 

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Bubba @ Faust Park Saturday and Sunday


Off the top of my head I thought I recalled that Faust wasn't one of my favorite tracks and as it turns out I had only raced there once in 2007 and it was miserable. I squezed in two rides after the races at Sylvan and was looking forward to getting after it again. It was chilly and raw but I got a good warmup. The track was mostly grass, which was really dry,  with lots of turning and moderate climbing compared to Sylvan. It was pretty much as I recalled and not really all that exciting. I went out hard and heard Grman telling me to save some for later in the race but it was too late. I started going backwards pretty quickly and any effort felt hard and I was tentative in the corners. My Raynauds became a problem and I had lost most feeling in my outer three fingers on both hands which was more of a distraction than anything. I found a race within the race with Vito and ultimately he poached me and I finished 6th again. I took extra effort to cool down and eat to recoer for Sundays race which paid off.


I woke up to rain on Sunday morning and was pretty fired up. Unfortunately it stopped but it had wet the track well which was soft and tacky. My legs we're super sore but I got a good warm up in and had that good feeling. When I used to be fit the second race was always my best but I had no idea how my body would respond with little to no fitness. I coached myself not to go out too hard and play it smart. 

The race started and I stayed in 2cd for the first half of the race or so but it was coming too easily. The track was perfect and I was able to rail the turns without slowing and the legs never felt fatigued. I found myself in the front and riding away pretty easily and waited for a younger rider to try to coach him to a win. I had sworn to myself that I wouldn't try to win a C race but wanted to push this rider as hard as I could. We stayed together without any real pressure for most of the race but he started to bog down with 2 to go and I started cat and mousing with him to urge him to finish strong. On the last lap he couldn't stay on my wheel and I sat up to wait for him when someone passed, who I thought we had lapped. I was urging the rider I had been with to finish strong and take the win when he told me we had just been passed. I wanted this guy to win and did everything to coach him back up to the lead rider but he said he couldn't and I set out on my own to see if I could close the now large gap. I came within 5 seconds of catching him and was amused at my rookie like mistake but seriously inspired that my legs were coming back so quickly. Sadly, I knew I was going to miss next weekend while we were in Key West and would only be able to run that week but commited to racing the day we got back. 

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Bubba at Sylvan Springs

Apprently blogs aren't a thing anymore and neither is my cycling fitness. I pinned on a number after over 11 years of not owning a bike and riding. My expectations are different and fairly easy to achieve; build fitness, enjoy racing and have fun. My new bike arrived Monday and after a bit of tinkering I got it pretty well setup. I rode for an hour on Thurs and then another 1.5 hrs off road on Sat at Creve Couer with former MESA A TEAM rider, Matt James. 

I had only ever raced "A" CX races and really had no idea what my I was capable of so I singed up for the C and B race, which provoked some raised eyebrows and heckling. As it turned out, it's right where I belong now. I lined up in in the C race and had to do everything I could to reign it in. Fast starts have always been my thing and even though I had little to no fitness the speed of a C race start was far slower than I was used to and I found myself in the front pretty quickly. Soon after, the climbing began and the fun was over. I was able to make up ground anytime there was a flat or corner and through the barriers. I went backwards quite a bit in the middle of the race but somehow found the late race adrenaline surge and moved up about 4 spots on the last lap, which I felt good about, and finished 6th in the C's.

 After a brief cool down I lined up for the B race, because I had paid for it in advance, but had nothing left. I was on the verge of cramping anytime I had to apply any power and my back was pretty well shot. Suprisingly, I was able to coach myself to finish and avoided getting lapped. As I approached the finish the front two riders came up behind me to sprint it out. That close. 

The fire was stoked and it began.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Bumpy Bubba

Maybe the hardest race I have ever done, not so much from a fitness standpoint, but from the brutal course conditions. Not having done any interval training since June or so, the start actually felt fast to me which is rare. I've got a pretty good cruising speed right now, but no snap whatsoever and the hilly course was really hard for me. I was pretty happy with the way I raced, even though I had a very dark period about 4 laps in when I got separated from the front group and found myself very uncomfortable, not able to focus on anything other then my mouth. Basically, I felt as though I had eaten a big fistful of dust (literally) and couldn't focus on much else. Luckily, I was able to snag a bottle from the pits and go back to work.

The remainder of the race I found myself gaining on the 2cd group duo of Jay and Jeff, and then losing it when they saw me coming. I steadily put time into Dr. Mark so I knew I was staying consistent. With about 3 to go Jeff got gaped off of Jay and I thought for sure I was going to be able to catch him, but he saw me coming and made a strong effort to latch back onto Jay and make him work for 3rd.

I would guess they were about 30 seconds back from Josh and Dan, I was about the same behind them and Dr. Mark was a little more than that behind me. Watching Dan beat Josh was pretty awesome as he totally deserves it and the last two punchy climbs has his name written all over them. Congrats.

Double header this weekend then off to Moab to ride mountain bikes for a week! I guess I can consider it my belated CX base training.

Here are some great photos from Kim, Fickinger and Eville Mike- Thanks!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Bubba at Buder #'s 1 & 2

#1- Night

I opted for the SS race because it sounded like fun and I thought I would still be home for my usually 9:30 bedtime. I figured that racing with my teammates would be fun and the SS race would be a slightly lower impact setting for my first go through the barriers of the season. Matt, Christopher and I talked about team tactics which basically involved getting off the front and working together, unfortunately, we didn't discuss what we would need to do if we had to work someone over.

The race started well and Christopher, Matt, Laberta, Dust and I got away. My first trip through the barriers I must have dismounted twenty feet before them and stutter stepped over both of them... time to do some skills practice. Things started happening fast and Dust crashed and Laberta had a mishap and fell off the pace. Matt and I were isolated for a short period of time but Dust showed he had some good legs and caught back up to us. Both Matt and I would put in some digs where we could, but couldn't really shake Dust much.

About halfway through the race I went to the front and told Matt to sit on Dusts wheel as I tried to ride Dust off my wheel where I could and hoped to wear him out a little. I knew that towing Dust to the line was an automatic loss but couldn't seem to figure out a way to let MJ know my intentions. With about 1.5 laps to go Matt rolled his tire and I was left on the front with Dust chilling on my wheel... not as planned. I decided to keep the pace high and attack through the twisty back section as I thought I might be able to gap him enough to make him work for it.

Flying into the home straight we started to hit lapped traffic and things got dicey. I was drilling it down the lat bumpy section of grass before the pavement and didn't think Dust was as close as he was. We hit the pavement, started to kick and ran into a rider crossing the line in the middle lane as we approached in full sprint. I came across the line, bars hooked with Dust, left pedal unclipped and front tire off the ground for the win.

#2- Day

I woke up hungover from watching Shottlers domination of the A race (Martin- I told you so)and enjoying a few to many delicious PBRizzles and Case asked me if I was going to race again. Oddly, I hadn't even thought about it but after we did some work around the house I figured I might as well.

I arrived to find that the track had changed dramatically and there was now a steep as climb... ouch. Warming up I was pretty much convinced I was going to vomit, but luckily didn't.

The race started and after Laberta made a wrong turn, Dust and I quickly found ourselves isolated off the front. It was hot, the hill was hard and I started to question how long I was going to last. I tried playing it smart and riding Dusts wheel, but somehow found myself with a decent gap about 2 laps in. I decided to lay it on the line and make him work for it until I came though the barriers, remounted and had dropped my chain. My twenty second lead turned into a 10 second chase and I tried to remain calm. I caught him pretty fast but it was a good effort and he responded by riding me off his wheel going into the steep hill, crushing the climb and opening up a healthy lead on me.

For the next lap or so I chased and tried to remain smooth which paid off when I caught him and put in a little extra effort on the hill, opening up a slight lead. From there it was a long 4 laps but I was in cruise control and committed to the move. I watched my lead grow considerably and rode a flawless race for SS win # 4 in a row.

I woke up yesterday morning and put gears back on my CX bike and am ready to start training for the 2010 CX season... Once again, my timing is a little off, but it should be fun.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Burnin 2010

Burnin 2010, is there really much to say? Team Ride DMC wasn't wasting time with snappy inferior slogans or breaking extremities that don't pedal bikes. We at Ride DMC were watching Rocky and Apollo , Seabiscuit vs. War Admiral, the Karate kid and Johnny, Adam Vinatieri in winning the Snow Bowl in 2001 and Chariots of fire... you get the idea, we we're fired up. It wasn't until O-Face recommended watching Prefontaine at LA Times mile in 1973 and ironically, Secretariat at the Belmont Stakes in 1973 that I knew what we had to do; go to the front, stay there and rip peoples legs off. It wasn't as easy as our record shattering time looks on paper.

I was worried about getting in front of the traffic so I ran like an antelope and came through the smoke like Kurudas lights during a epic crescendo.

I was spinning furiously when I got swarmed by 5 fast dudes and ended up n the woods 6th. We pacelined it for awhile until the Alpine Shop rider and myself got slightly gapped off the pace and then we passed Dan who had flatted. In cruise control, I passed the AS rider and started to floss.

Things were going really well for a very short period of time. Through one of the rocky sections before the first big climb my chain slapped off and I slipped it back on, but not before the Alpine Shop rider passed me. I leapfrogged him on the first big climb and didn't think much of my chain popping off, as it had not caused me issues before.

For the next 10 miles just about anytime I was going fast (which was all the time) through the bumpy stuff that was too rocky to pedal though for fear of pulling a Schottler, I would drop my chain, slip it back on, remount and resume high speed riding. This happened no less than 10 times on the first lap alone. I came through with the fastest 1x1 class time of 1:03:xx, but wasted my legs sprinting the last 75 yards as my chain fell off on the last little dip at the top of the climb... I really would have like to have seen a clean lap time.

By the end of Matt James blistering lap two I think that we had commanded close to a 15 minute lead. Christopher struggled to acquire the fire on the next lap but kept us within field goal range and I set off on lap 4.

Russ had worked on my steed and claimed that the spring in the singleator had slipped out of place and bent, but he flipped it around and said I should be good to go.

My second lap was brutal. I don't know if it was the lack of cool down after lap 1, the heat or just a bad lap but I just wanted to quit. I was riding as hard as I could and my back was locking up to the point of severe pain. On a positive note, I only dropped my chain once and rolled through at a decent clip of just over 1:06. I told Russ I had heard some sort of "click" before it dropped but he told me there was nothing more he could do. After the lap I told the team I was only good for one more lap as my back was wrecked. It wasn't a nice conversation, not to mention the fact that Jerk from Team Segal rode by and gave me the double salute and told me to fuck off... Game on... Nico is to blame for the destruction I laid on his team after that.

By lap 4 we were maintaining a 15-20 minute lead and it was time to do work. I set off into some nicer temps. The "click" I had heard before the chain came off on lap two was the steel spring tearing through the aluminum on the inside of the singleator which meant I starting dropping my chain again. Conservatively, I would say I dropped my chain once a mile on my third lap but was feeling much better and highly motivated to make the other SS teams wish they hadn't raced.

Back at the campground after a 1:07 lap of so we were sitting pretty with a 22-23 minute lead. Christopher was a little down on himself so I tried to give him the clutch in the 4th quarter strong defense pep talk and a Red Bull Cola. We had our team analysts, Russ and Drew, working on the probability of 11 laps and the the chances our lead could diminish to the point we would have to race it out. Once again that Jenkem huffy jerk Nico rode by and called me names. Like Rocky telling Mick to cut him in the final scene of Rocky II, I asked Russ to do what he needed to do to keep me from stopping on the last lap and he went to work.

MJ had another super consistent blazing lap as the sun set and set Christopher up to be the hero. After a rough day where he battled sickness and never really got his legs under him, Christopher pulled through in the clutch and protected the lead which set his team up for record smashing destruction. My last lap was great as The Muscle had got my bike dialed, visions of belt buckles were dancing through my head and I was feeling light on the bike. I knew my lap time would be somewhere shy of 1:15 but was ready to double up if the team needed me to, after all, when your on a team you do what you have to do to win. I passed some people at the beach who told me it was around 8:30 so I knew it meant possible pain if I didn't hide out in the woods, but record setting is serious business and I'm a serious guy.

I rolled through at 8:45 and was told that we we're so far in the lead I didn't need to go for a parade lap and the celebration began... Man that fires me up!!!

The competition was very strong and pushed us all day long. I can definitely say that I have never been so wrecked from a race before and attribute it to that. It wasn't until I set off on my last lap that I was confident we we're going to win and am really impressed by all the strong racing. Rumor has it that Grotoff was giving the double salute to a baby fawn on the last lap when he crashed and was passed by Summer of 69... serves those jerks right!

Ride DMC had shattered the record by close to 35 minutes, Zach Brace posted the second fastest 12 hour time ever, Jen Goldstein crushed her previous record, Schottler completely shattered course records that weren't supposed to be broken and had INCREDIBLE lap averages and shiny buckles were strapped to belts. It was good and the carnie folks freaked.

Once again, none of this awesomeness would have happened without the clutchiest of the super clutchy clutchion. Thanks to John Farinella and Dave at PBR for really taking this event to epic proportions... Top notch, KID!