Sunday, November 28, 2010

BayState Cyclcross Days 1&2 Race Report

Here's how not to do well at a Cross race: Eat and drink lots for three days leading up to the race; do a hard stair and plyo workout on Thrusday; Get 5.5 hours of sleep the night before the race; wake up early and drive 3.5 hours to said race.
I just felt crappy on Saturday. In that "can't chase the pit from my stomache" kind of way.

But I lined up any way, and was sad to see Austin Pferd(Horse) pull up to the line. (Despite having already seen and chatted with him) And of course, once the gun(whistle) went off he was gone as if there was a $100 first lap preem. The sad thing was that there wasn't, but that Austin stayed out front for the rest of the day. I yelled at the juniors to not let him go, and then tried to bridge up to his wheel. Which I did for a half lap until it was clear that I didn't have the legs to crank out the watts to stay with him for five more laps. So I tosseled around aimlessly by myself until the juniors caught back up to me/I felt sorry for myself for starting to hard.

Oh then Donny Green came blasting through us like a bat out of hell. He was putting down some serious power output and took the juniors with him. So I dangled in no man's land keeping an eye over my should and settling into a rhythm(finally). And like Buser says,"Any thing can happen."

Sure enough on the last lap I blasted by Nate Morse who had seen Land Aho! Plus I almost made it up to Synjen, if only there was another lap! Gods you toy with me! Footnote: Don't give Synjen a push to get him back in the race after he falls no mater how ill/gentelmanly you feel.
A surprising fourth for feeling so damn crappy.

Okay Day 2
I was feeling MUCH! better after some sleep and some awesome Nu Thanksgiving that Sarah, Bear and I put together. AKA a roast chicken (who likes Turkey any way) plus all the fixens for less than thirty bucks and 90 minutes of cooking! Boo yah. Oh yeah, we had gravy....and really dry stuffing, but isn't that de rigeuer?

Again, the morning races were not on time which allowed only a lap or two of pre-riding on a very slippery and technical course. Am I the only one who has a hard time on day two figuring out where the course goes/making a mental map of it? Even on the last lap I wasn't completely sure where I was going next.

Oh hey, Ryan White...sweet, oh hey, Matt Mitchell...sweet, oh hey Chandler Delinks...sweet, plus the juniors, and Austin Pferd again. (even though yesterday Austin said he was gonna take it easier after winning and not go crazy at the start) Looks like Day 2 is gonna be a little more stacked.

Burning through the muddy start I worked to the outside to the chagrin of an Embro rider. But hey, rubbing is racing. And as promised Austin didn't play cannonball from the get go. Now with the hairpin/stairs at the end of the track it was crucial to avoid the bottleneck. After that things settled in quickly into a decent train out front. The juniors and a couple of suspects from yesterday were in the mix.

Nate Morse was feeling like a champ again and decided to pull for a while. I tried to get in front and take a turn as I thought the chase group was closing in on us. But he wouldn't let me through.

After that here are the highlights:
I saw Mitchell and Pferd(Horse) standing outside the tape on the hairpin after the slippery tech back section. I guess they crashed out. Giving me a mixed feeling of relief and regret that two good competitors dropped out.

Morse made a bobble/fall and I passed him never to see him again.
Synjen stayed on my butt and I was worried he was going to hang there and then put down major watts on the flats.

A guy in black and red (Glen Gollrad?)seemed to be gaining and made me nervous.

But what happened was that Synjen couldn't hang with my unprecedented show of power out of the corners and Gollrad was flummoxed by my speed.
No...but seriously. I just put my head down and tried to keep it coming and I ended up out front with a comfortable lead.

Thanks go out to Pip, Buser, Baker <--Double time in the corner! Matt, and Nick for cheering me on. Thanks guys!
Cary and Colin you don't get props for the cheer/heckle combo.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Paradise Cross Frenzy Race Report

I did not feel super sharp when I woke up on Saturday. I nearly made the decision to stay home and not risk getting more sick. But then I decided to man up and get my race on.

Absolutely awesome day with sunny skies, no real wind (for a change), and temps warming to the upper 50's. My pops came with me for the short ride up to Windsor from West West.

The field in front of both the Bike Shop and Brewery was jam packed with caution tape. It was hard to figure out where the hell the course went, even while watching riders, even after racing a zillion laps, "Wait, which right hand hair-pin is this!"

As we milled around the start I reintroduced my self to Alec Donahue. I refreshed his memory by saying that we battled at Ice Weasels last year. And he incorrectly responded by saying, "Oh yeah cool. Then it'll be a battle today too!" Yum, yeah for like the first lap.

And lo and behold after hald a lap I ended up behind him after the junior in second place slid out and nearly took me with him. I rode the next lap and a half behind him, but it because apparent pretty quickly that I needed to settle down and race my own race. After racing MMRC and Canton I realized that I can't go anaerobic for 60 min. Perhaps close to 35, maybe 40, but not 60.

So I eased off (or I should say, just rode, and didn't sprint every time the course unkinked) and let a few people pass me. Notably, Shawn Milne was the first to fly. Ahem, pro bike racer, ahem. I guess you do get a Wiki page when you win UCI races and the GC at Fitchburg.

Then two UVM kits and an NCC kit passed me. I noted that Chris Hamlin in the second UVM speedsuit was breathing wicked hard, and I hoped he was diving into his red zone early. "Stick to your plan and you'll catch him Tob."

Right, so I settled down into 7th, and was happy to see I was still in the money. I was running with Sheldon Miller untill he stacked it wicked hard in the upper fast barriers. I thought he would be back up and on the chase quickly, but he lost a chunk of time due to a bent derailleur hanger.

So I was flying solo for a couple of laps until I pulled up to Makunda and Chris. I pulled up so quickly it seemed like these two were dropping anchor. So I cruised through and thought I'd start pulling away. But they didn't seem to be so quickly deterred and after a lap of leading and not going any where I let someone else have a turn. Bah, boring part where we were all together for a bunch of laps. Actually it was pretty fun to be in a good race. I kept riding too close in the tight turns and would hit the wheel in front of me, stopping me and opening a gap which I had to shut back down. But I was noticing that Makunda hadn't been doing any of the pulling, perhaps saving legs for the last lap?;

I tried to pass on the hairpin before the barriers, but Makunda had the same idea, and I stayed in third. But I had good speed through the barriers and managed to move up a spot there. I followed Chris down to the end of the field and around the slow/tight left hand 180 and juiced it as we came into the last good open stretch. From there I tried to sprint everything and not eat it as I was pushing the limits on each curve. I prayed for my chain not to drop again on the barriers (did I mention that happened a couple of laps previous) and held off Chris and Makunda in a good sprint for fourth. We were closing in on 3rd too, only if we had another lap.

Turned out to be a great race. I was happy with my pacing. Happy I didn't fall, and happy to have a solid race for fourth. Race within a race right? Just got to get that front derailleur fixed.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

CSI Northampton, Days 1 and 2

Hey bout time I mentioned these races.

In a nut shell it went down like this:
Day 1: Started on the 5th row (thank you CrossResults points from the last two years) and got to staging just as they called my name... Phew, almost missed it. Some junior next to me on the line, kept babbling on and told me it was a bad time to adjust my tire pressure...dude seriously shut it and take out your notebook.

Because the gun went off and I took my left side line and barely missed a huge pile-up. I broke through the tape and smashed a white pole while avoiding the carnage. I ducked back under the tape and found lots of room before the first chicane again down the left line. And then more room on the left after the chicane on the pavement. Already towards the top 15 through the run-up, and I tried to keep passing through the technical upper-deck. It blows my mind that during the first half lap people won't use the whole course to move up and pass, but just stay in a line through the corners.
As we started making our way around the fast lower deck I somehow managed to make it up to the lead group. I hung at the back there for a while but then managed to move up after a few people, ahem, stacked it in the sand and the group got smaller. Then it got down to four. I found myself at the front, which was were I wanted to be coming in to two more. Then it would be time for someone else to take the lead until I threw down on the last lap.....but sadly that plan went to shit when I dropped my chain right before the ride-up. Could there have been a worse place? This ment I had to stop, put my chain on, run the ride-up and then play chase. I made a solid effort, but couldn't come back from the hole I dug. Fourth was still good, albeit frustrating, and I managed to hold Ryan White at bay.

Sunday was a little more simple.

Third row start, using Saturday's points. Lined up on the left, and moved up to third wheel coming off the pavement past the finish line. Synjen was in front of me and when Austin Pferd/Horse broke away he made no effort to attack, and by the time I tried to cover Austin's move it was too late to catch up. But never the less I spent the next 45 minutes trying. Granted later in the race I was more concerned with Ryan White not catching me again. Pretty much a big TT out there. Yeah, thanks for that Austin. 2nd place: I'll take money!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Canton Cup Race Report aka It's Slower to BunnyHop Barriers

Hey I'm just gonna stretch over here before we get staged. Oh what's that...there is no's classic, "First to the line gets front row."? Awesome... Good news was, there was plenty of pavement so there were only two rows of racers. Bad news was, some fool decided to salmon down to the start with about a minute before the whistle and literally pull in right in front of me. Dude. Seriously? Butttt.....To his credit he did scootch over a bit...a bit.

Any way.

Whistle blows and I try and grab a line on the outside right and move up some places, only to get squeezed in on the second turn.

I quickly settled into a group with some guys I recognized from the MRCC race and felt good about hanging in the middle of this pack.
Now, the saving grace of the Canton course is the three barriers, run-up and bunny-hop log. There's a couple other very short interesting technical sections, but it's mostly an open course. AKA 'Toby's gonna get spanked' course.
So of course I was gonna try and take advantage of the technical sections and do things like bunny-hop the low barriers, and pass people who dismounted to get over the 'log' (branch).
But, the tricky thing about the low barriers was that you could carry plenty of speed into them, but had to make a hard right hand turn directly after them.

Any way. What ever it was, I decided that on the second lap, in the middle of a pack of 10, I would clear the second barrier while landing with my wheel sideways and proceed to eat it into a bush while going ass over teakettle (read endo).

Sooooo that was the end of riding with that group. I kept going...kind of. And it turned out that Matt Mitchell fell on a loose corner and also lost the group. So we rode 'together' for the rest of the race. Him dusting me on the power/open sections, and me feebly regaining ground on the tech stuff...just like last time! And of course the first time I did actually make it up to him, he generously pulled over to let me take a long pull around the running track, only to pass and dust me once we got over the high/fast barriers. Awesome. Glad I agreed to that.

From there I time trialed it in for a 17th/29.

And the morale of the story is that it's only faster to bunnyhop barriers if you don't end up on your ass while doing so. GTK