Monday, October 15, 2012

Peak to Peak Mud Fest

After a great weekend last week, I was really hoping to oepn it up and give the legs a real test this weekend. The weather however, had other plans. We pulled into the venue Saturday morning just in time for the rain to start coming down. And did it ever! It just never stopped! The legs felt good during the short wet warm-up and I decided to try and go for it at the start. After a short delay over duck tape, the race was underway. I managed to work my way to the front heading into the trail. Not exactly where I wanted to be, but better than being burried in the pack. Shortly after, Cole House and several others flew around me, as I found myself struggling to keep the bike upright through the corners. 

 It wasn't long after where I found myself off the back of the front group. They were just railing the corners way faster than I wanted to. It was hard to see too, and the mud was flinging everywhere. It was like a slip and slide, and I just couldn't seem to stay off the brakes and let the bike roll. Once we got to the more open sections of the course, I felt a lot better and started working way around some people up the ski hill.

The race was completely blown apart. People were dropping out, and I had no idea what place I was in. I kept hammering the best I could, but was still really struggling in the corners. Finally, right near the end of the 2nd lap, I managed to catch Scott Hoffner, and my team mate Ron Catlin going up the ski hill. Just at that time I heard word that they were cutting the race short. It was a little bitter sweet as I was actually looking forward to making more ground on the 3rd lap. Oh well, it was the right call to end the race. The brake pads were almost gone and the course was getting hazardous. 
I put the power down up the ski hill and slipped and slid back down to take 5th just ahead of Scott Hoffner. I was happy that. I did the best I could, given the circumstances. I felt like I couldn't really get a good gage on my fitness because my handling held me back, instead of my legs. To lose 4-5 minutes on the same guys I'll be racing in 3 weeks is a little discouraging, but it is what it is. I just have to hope the Iceman course isn't the same conditions. Congrats to the guys up front. They rocked it out on that mess and deserved the podium. 

I have to give huge props to Dan "superman" O'Dea for driving up our spare set of keys to the minivan. Apparently people like to snatch gloves up that aren't theirs and hopefully they'll realize how much of jerk move that was when they find our car keys in them. But karma has a way of sorting that out, that's all I'm going to say. 

Hope to see all of you next weekend at Mad Anthony... and lets pray the weather is good this time.  

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Miscellaneous Fall Races + Ronde + Grampian Challenge

Sorry for slacking, it’s time I update this thing. I’ve done quite a bit of racing since I last posted, some I’m proud of, some not so much. I managed to finish out the NUE series placing in the top 10 for the points. A lot of fast guys came out of the woodwork and posted their 4th races. The series has really grown and become very competitive. I've done quite a few of these races, all were very difficult, maybe too difficult, and some maybe just down right hazardous... which has me re-thinking my race schedule for next yr and maybe taking on a season that suites my styles a little better. Details to come on that later...

The last race of the year at Fool’s Gold wasn’t really anything to write home about. We drove 12hrs, it rained, I got lost a couple times, we drove 12hrs home. I did like the course however. A little heavy on the climbing, but the singletrack flowed awesome and it was a good mix of dirt rd/trail.

After Fool’s Gold, I got sick. I’m not surprised. Two tough NUE’s along with a couple big road trips less than a week apart is enough to take down even the healthiest individuals. So just coming off the cold, I decided to give the Ronde Von Stony a shot. Despite the rainy cold weather, I had an awesome time racing out near all the roads I train on. I didn’t quite have the punch at the end and finished 4th. My team mate Ronnie was riding super strong on the day and took the win. It was great hanging out with all my riding buddies after a long season away from the scene.

After Ronde, I decided to try my luck at some Cyclocross racing. I was hoping for a top 10 and a good workout, but to my surprise, I rode with the leaders, Adam York and Sven Bauman, all the way to the sprint finish taking 3rd. The course was super choppy which made the mountain bike a good choice.

This set me up well for the past weekend at the Grampian Challenge. I didn’t quite know what to expect, because the CX race the past weekend could have very well been a fluke due to the choppy course. The Grampian Challenge is set on all my favorite local training roads. It starts at Addison Oaks, right where my wife and I got married. It then heads out to Markwood and Drahner Rds. I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve ridden on these roads. Everytime I leave my house on a ride, I don’t feel warmed up till I get to the top of Drahner Rd. It’s where I’ve spent countless hrs in sub freezing temperatures, it’s where I developed myself into a national caliber rider, it's where I go to contemplate on many of my lifes toughest decisions, and most importantly, it’s where I got to know some of my closest friends. I’ve really started to fall in love with these types of races like Grampian and Ronde. If you haven’t had a chance to check them out, be ready to roll next year because I think these races are really going to take off.

The action got started quickly and I could tell the legs were good. We snaked through the Addison Oaks 2 track and head out to Bald Mountain. I decided this was where I wanted to make my first attack. I went hard through the trail section and pulled out my team mate Ronnie, and Mark Parmelee. We were hauling out on the dirt rds as each of us took pulls in the cross winds trying to work each other over. As we made our way into Grampian Mt, I attacked as hard as I could up the hill, and only Ronnie held my wheel. I pulled us all the way to the finish inside Addison Oaks and very narrowly took the win ahead of my team mate Ronnie. It was an RBS 1-2! It meant a lot to me to win this race on my home turf and race on all the roads so near and dear to me. It also proved to me that my fitness has really started to come around. Sometimes all it takes is a little more rest, and some time off from the road trips to bring the fitness right back around. It’s in perfect timing for this weekends Peak to Peak. I’m looking forward to it.

With that being said, I hope to see you out there in the coming weeks as we all prepare for the season finale at Iceman. Thanks for reading.