Saturday, June 18, 2011

It's Not Cross, But Still Fun

That felt like my first big time race back from the crash.

I entered the Tour of America’s Dairyland Thiensville race in the masters 35 plus 3/4 race. I had done a boatload of training miles, intensity, and lifting in the weeks prior to the race, so I had no sense of what my legs would do.

Last year, in my “comeback” year, I started in Thiensville in the masters 1, 2, 3 race because that’s what I used to race.

I lasted all of 7 minutes! The next day, I raced the 3s and lasted 15 minutes. I clearly was not ready to race!

Yesterday, I felt surprisingly good. I purposefully stayed at the back, avoiding the riders who don’t know how to corner.

When the announcer yelled there were 10 laps left, most of the remaining field got all wound up and tried to make their way to the front.

I didn’t plan on sprinting so I sat back. But with eight to go, my legs started twitching a little, and I started moving up the field.

My chain, which had snapped in warmup under my incredible power, had been fixed with a master link. But I was having shifting problems. 

And with five to go, though, bad luck struck. The chain fell off to the inside and then wrapped around the rear derailleur.  And there were no more free laps.

Craig, one of the officials, said I had gotten my bad luck out of the way!

But I was thrilled that I had some legs under me. Today is Grafton. If the storms hold off, I’ll race again, and this time I plan to actually race, see what’s in the tank.

Anything that’s there is going to be a welcome surprise, and I’ll be grateful!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Down & Dirty MTB - Racing Scared...

...not because of the competition, but mother nature. Let me explain:

A handful of years ago I got a pretty stiff heat injury during an adventure race in Nebraska, spent the night in a hospital, and have never fully recovered (absolutely no problem with cold temps). That's why I usually move from mtb racing to crits at the end of May for the summer as the stagnant hot air in the woods zaps me much worse than having air moving over me during crits even with temps near the 100's. After years of doing this I know my limits and this year I am pushing them trying to make it the state mtb race next weekend (will probably pay for it).

Yesterday was a hot one in the woods at the Warsaw Down and Dirty race (United Dirt Federation series) and I psyched myself out before the race even started worrying about heat injuries. I was the furthest from aggressive and I hate racing that way.

I raced the SS class and pretty much set in the lead group for the first ½ of the first lap (1 or 2) trying to not overheat. It was all going good until I got stuck behind a wreck (no big deal) and began chasing hard to catch back to the leaders. In my haste, I overcooked trying to pass someone and took a nasty fall on some rocks… leaders ride away while I bled from my leg and arm. Chased for 4 or so miles and at the end of the 1st lap I am in 2nd with the leader just ahead of me. I grab a cold bottle and notice the leader was doing the same and I get out first. Led the whole loop by quite a bit but keeping it under control as I was on the limit of overheating and a couple times I even stopped to cool off a tad dumping water over me. 1 mile to the finish and I miss a turn (unmarked and on the first lap a guy in a vehicle was there telling us where to go, but on this lap he is nowhere to be found and I caught a glimpse of an expert rider up the trail – he missed the turn also). I ride quite a ways before I turn around as it just didn’t look and feel right. I jump back on the course and see off in the distance the guy who was 3rd (now 2nd), I chase and catch him pretty quickly, catch a glimpse of the (now) leader and close in, but ran out of trail and he beats me by 20sec or so. Frustrating, but oh well 2nd was still pretty good. Asked the race director about it and was told the corner marshal left to help an injured rider. Turns out I was one of several who missed the turn. Decent event, but not a huge turnout.

Next weekend is the MO State MTB Championships in KC (Landahl Park) and I am planning to go unless the temps/humidity keep climbing. This is all play in prep for 'cross and don't want to risk re-aggravating my heat injury and missing base work in the coming months.

On a side note my riding partner took this picture of me sprinting a cow (I was simply trying to get around it) on our 83 mile Memorial Day Ride - go ahead and tee off on 'Bodunklivar Living' (I would)...