Thursday, October 25, 2012

Down on the Farm

First, I'd like to give a big thanks to the folks that hosted the Joule's Cyclocross event in Lawrence this past weekend.  Michelle Jensen and her Freestate Women's Racing team seem to have a great relationship with the landowners, and in its third year, they all have developed a great race on a permanent cyclocross venue, just outside of Lawrence, KS.

I made it out the second day of the two day event last Sunday.  The course mainly grass with a few rocks and a lot of dust.  It was fairly long - about 7 minutes - but wide with lots of room to pass, and only one dismount on a steep run-up.

We had a little rain the week before, so I was expecting a soft muddy course, but it was pretty hard and dry, although not as bumpy as it had been in the past.  The SS'ers rolled off early, with the Cat 4's.  I had a good start , sticking with the lead group until the spiral.  I battled in 5th or 6th most of the race, but pulled ahead in to 5th on the third time up the long uphill just before the turn to the start/finish.  I powered when I could and used a some of the Cat 4's to recover and bridge up to the next group. I finished 5th, and even with Britton and Joe in the race, I didn't get lapped.

Back to Riverside this weekend for Boss Cross 3&4.  Thanks again to Roger for the pic.

Monday, October 8, 2012

A crisp fall day in Lawrence, KS

I drove over to Lawrence Sunday to race day #2 of the 360 Cup at Centennial Park.  The 360 Racing guys put together a pretty cool course, with enough variation to appeal to everyone.

The course was pretty well worn in by the time I toed the line for the SS race at 2:00pm - Saturday's race used the same course in reverse.  The dry dusty conditions, and what looked like some fresh sand or top soil made for a few sketchy corners - there was a really sketchy off-camber 180 left hander that was really loose that I had better, and faster, luck running - I could carry a lot more speed into the corner, and my shoes really gripped well in the loose dirt:

There was a set of uphill 1-plank barriers a short way after this, followed by a really tight turny section, then lots of longish power sections with some flowing turns, a sketchy down hill, a set of full barriers and run-up, and a long section of flowing turns thru some small trees before a long run on a bike path back to the finish line.  I felt great, and finished with a top-5.  I still need to work on the back-to-back tight turns, but I did feel a little smoother.

Since it has been really dry here over the past month, I decided to try out my new Clement LAS file tread tires.  I ran them with latex tubes at 32 to 33 psi, and maybe could have run them a pound or two lower pressure.  I was really happy with the cornering - the big side knobs really dug into the harder and grassier corners, and did really well in the loose dirt too.  I think the way the diamonds get a little bigger and taller from the center of the tire to the edge, and puts a big, tall diamond in between the side knobs, really help with the dry cornering.  I think the LAS' are a great dry condition tire, and I'll keep running them if it stays as dry here as it's supposed to.

Thanks again to Roger Harrison for the pictures.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Two weeks in

Well, the beginning of the local K.C. 'cross season is off to a good start - Manion's Cross a couple of weeks ago and Boss Cross 1& 2 this past weekend.

I kicked off my season at Manion's Saturday race.  I'm only racing Single Speed this season, so I toed the line with about 15 others, ready for what was going to be a hard course.  Manion's is on the side of a hill not far from the Kansas River (or Kaw River, if you prefer), and, yes, climbing was on the menu.  There was  some slightly off camber runs across the hill, but the main features were a zig-zag sawtooth run down the hill, and a GRIND back up.  The course was fairly short - about 5:45 to 6:00 laps - and since tight turns and zig-zags aren't my strong suit, I got strung out to the back early, and chased all race, and finished well down.  It was a challenging course with a lot of tight turns, but pretty tough for the first race of the season.

Boss Cross #1 was this past Saturday at E.H. Young Park in Riverside.  Once again, I was with about 15 others in the SS race, which ran with the Women's Open and Men's 3's (where other MWI'ers Ira podiumed in 2nd place, and Dale finished top 20 after placing 3rd in the Masters 50+ race earlier in the day).  I really liked the course - flowing turns, twisty turns, power sections, short hills, rideable short barriers, stairs, two sand pits - a really wide open course.  I had a pretty good day and finished top-10, cheered on by my own private cheering section of my wife, my in-laws, and two dogs.

Boss Cross #2 ran the same course in reverse with a couple of minor changes - dropped the stairs and only one set of standard barriers.  A slightly smaller SS field took to the line, and I got off to a fair start.  The changes seemed to speed up the course, and really had some power sections to create some separation.  I finished with another top-10, and felt good passing a few riders on course.

I have been riding a lot this summer, working the hills for power, but hadn't gotten much race pace changes of intensity.  I could really feel it at Manion's and day 1 at Boss Cross, but by Sunday, I felt a little better powering out of turns and putting in bursts of power.   I know I should have that kind of power coming into the races, but by Boss Cross 3 & 4 at the end of the month, I hope to pass and power away from a few more riders.

Thanks for my sponsor and Roger Harrison for the pictures.