Monday, October 31, 2011

Doubling Up at Boss Cross #3 (BMX Style)

Boss Cross #3 was yesterday and for the first time this year I doubled up (Masters and Open). Scheduling has been the main reason this hadn't yet happened, but with a single day of racing instead of two this past weekend and a little extra time I jumped in the pain cave...

Sunday I headed to KC for a new venue; Raytown BMX track. The layout was fun with a semi-technical section (pretty short) on an actual BMX track (high bern corner, rhythm section...) then the rest was full on open flat pedaling in some non-technical grass fields. Temps were pretty nice for 'cross, but the wind was a gust'in and that would suck in the open sections.

Got to the site early, got in some good warm up laps, then off to the start line. Gun goes off, David H drifts my way a tad, Jeff Yielding and I almost lock bars, and by first turn I re-gathered myself and set on David through the BMX part, then BOOM! Once we got to the open area he flat took off. Shea Bergman and myself kept it steady with Jeff on our tail and we were not closing anything on David. Jeff jumped around and I went with him (with Shea on my wheel) until I fell off Jeff's pace. From there Shea and I worked some together until he dropped me. I worked for a good 1/2 lap to trying to close it to him, but it wasn't happening. 5th place was wayyyy behind us and knowing I was riding the Open in a couple hours I backed off the pace to save what was left the legs. Ended up 4th (DH won, JY 2nd, Shea 3rd).
Here I am chasing David thru the rhythm sections
The learning curve for riding the BMX track was steep!!

Had two hours to recover and prep again...

Regular fast kids lined up in the Open and short into the first lap settled in 8th-15th (pretty good group just stuck together) and stayed their for the first handful of laps. I pushed the effort a couple times trying to break it up, but felt the efforts of the Masters race and decided to 'hide out' for a couple to see if I could make it to the end. During this time Micheal Gaherty, my MWI teammate, started mixing it up and so for the first time in forever we actually raced as a team and took turns firing attacks while the other covered all the moves behind. Mike made a strong move with about four to go that shattered the group while I sat on a Dogfish rider who was trying to run him down. A Colovita guy jumped the group next and I quickly moved to his wheel as he was moving pretty good and with three to go he had caught Mike with only I on his wheel. This guy tried to attack us in a gravel section and went down (hard!) so Mike and I quickly buried ourselves swapping pulls and opened a big gap. I grabbed a second wind just about the time Mike started to cramp. He moved backwards to the chasing Dogfish rider while I held on for a couple laps to get 10th and Mike 12th. Some of the funnest racing I've done in a while and big thanks to Mike for such great teamwork.
As we loaded up my body was completely drained, but in a good way. Don't know how many more 'double ups' I have, but it was definitely what I needed for this one day event. Solid day of racing!

Up next is 360 Cup on Saturday and Blvd Cup on Sunday; cash payout for Masters which is a rarity these days so it should be loaded as ever with some fast folks.
** Above photos from Roger Harrison and Mark Breeding - sweet pics, guys **

Monday, October 24, 2011

Yesterday in K.C., the Epic Cycling Team pitched in and filled an open spot with a new race at the Pflumm / Bichelmeyer Park in Shawnee.

The course was fairly short - 5 to 5 1/2 minute laps - and was full of tight hairpin and off-camber turns, one set of barriers, one curb drop-off, and two of my least favorite features - sand runs. You entered both sand runs on a right hander turns, both runs included a 90 degree turn in the middle of the pit, and they were pretty much back to back with about 10 to 15 yards of grass between the first and second sand pit.

I did the Masters 40+ race which wound up being 9 laps, but I got lapped with 3 to go, and only did 8 laps. I felt good to only get lapped once - I just didn't have anything in the tank or in the legs for the race. A combination of a course that didn't suit me, plus a long rough week sealed my fate - I finished 17th out of 20 starters.

Next week, I'll be out on the SS bike at Boss Cross #3 at the Raytown BMX facility. After that I'm going to take a weekend off - I don't know if I deserve it, but I sure feel like I need it.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Joules Cross in Lawrence, KS

Busy week at home leading up to the weekend and I debated and debated between heading to STL for a Bubba weekend (Sat night and Sunday late afternoon race) or head to Lawrence KS for Joules Cross (Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning races). Made a Friday night decision to keep it closer to home and headed off to Joules Saturday for the Open race. I raced one day at Joules last year (mechanical took me out 15 minutes in) and while it was not high on my list of favorites, it would be two days of solid racing with quality competition.

Got to the course and the pre-ride found it much like last year which meant moderate up and downs, little bumpy & rough, and wide open power pedaling with 0.0% technical aspect (not my strong suit). Chatted up some friends, warmed up, and at 3:15 it was go time.

A smallish quality field of 14 lined up and after an hour of suffrage I was 9th after a frustrating day of felling 'off' and never could mentally or physically get it going. I will openly admit it's hard to get mentally fired up for a race you know your going to get drilled; in other words I could have my best race of my life and be absolutely lucky to get a top 6, oh well, enough pity...

*photos from Keith Walberg and Roger Harrison*

Sunday morning got in a solid warm up and pre-ride (much different course with less elevation change still a power course, but a little longer) and lined up in the Masters 40+. Good group of guys and solid racers. David H. jumped away and George Robinson (Slimen) dangled the entire race around 10-15 seconds ahead (simply couldn't close the gap) and finished 3rd. I raced much better as being near the front will do that to a person (unlike the Open for me).

Next weekend is race-free and I am looking forward to being home with the family. I now have 8 races done and achieved my main goal of the early season with winning the overall Cat 3 at Hermann and racing solid at both Boss Cross 1 & 2 events. I feel like I am racing better, smarter, and faster than last year, but that might just me my imagination.

My next month 'run' includes Boss Cross 3 (masters and Open), 360 Cup & Blvd weekend, and then L'ville USGP.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Oakley Night Cap Cross

Saturday, Mike Gaherty and I took a ride up to Des Moines (that's in Iowa) for the Oakley Night Cap Cross race.

The race was held at Mullets Bar and Restaurant, which is across from the Principal Park, where the Iowa Cubs play, and right at the point where the Raccoon River meets the Des Moines River. (It's amazing what you can learn from Google Maps)

The course was set-up along the levee and grassy area near the Raccoon River, and in a small field outside of Mullets. The course was fairly short - only about 3 1/2 to 4 minutes per lap - but it was a wide layout with lots of room to ride and pass. There were three obstacles, two full barriers, one on the river levee, and one on a sharp uphill back to the Mullets field, and one railroad tie, which, depending on the race, about 50% to 80% of the racers hopped (I don't have to tell you I was one of the 20% to 50% who ran it, but in the end, hopping it or running it was about the same time wise)

Mike and I lined up in the Masters 35+, starting at 5:00pm and went for 40 minutes, which turned out to be 11 laps for the leaders, and 10 for me. On such a short course, I felt good about only getting lapped once. I had a good start by my standards, coming down the levee about 11th. I passed one guy at the first barrier/run-up, then spent the next two laps chasing a couple of guys, and I had caught and passed them by about the third of fourth lap. I raced back and forth with a couple of the 45+ guys for the rest of the race, and finished 8th out of 14, +1 lap. Mike finished 2nd, and scored a bunch of Miller Lite and Oakley swag, and a gift certificate to Mullets, which we took advantage of before we left.

The guys at Bike Iowa put on an awesome race at a great, spectator friendly venue, with a live band, a bunch of light plants to light up the whole course since the last race didn't start until 10:00pm, food and drink specials at the restaurant, and tons of spectators who got more rowdy as the night went on - a perfect urban cyclocross race. Mike and I both said we'll be back again.

Next week I'm staying local for the Epic Bike and Sport "Shawnee Rescue Radcross" in Shawnee (obviously.)

Friday, October 14, 2011

'Cross out Cancer - from a few places back

First of all, thanks to Roger Harrison for the picture. He's a great suporter of Kansas City area cycling.

As you can tell from the title, I raced with JJ last weekend, but finished a couple dozen places behind. It was a beautiful day on a course that was full of technical twists and turns and fast power sections, and as you can see from the picture above, a need for me to work on my bunny hops. I was happy to finish without getting lapped - always important when your wife and in-laws are watching.

This weekend, Crusty, Mike G. and I are heading up to Des Moines for Rob's Oakley Night Cap Cross at Mullet's on the river.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Cross'ing Out Cancer on a Recovery Week

This past week worked out way better than I ever imagined...

I try to stick with a training routine of 3 weeks on the gas and 1 recovery/rest and this past weekend it came at a really good time. I was starting to feel the five races over the past three weeks and after Boss Cross 1 & 2 I turned the training volume and intensity way down. Got in some cruising miles on the road, the Frisco, and some good ol' Polk County backroads and restarted my two-a-week run/stadium step workouts.

On Sunday I needed to get back to Bolivar early for an event so I opted to race the Cross Out Cancer event in KC for the early Masters 35+ race instead of the Open three hours later. It's been since early last year that I last toed the line with the masters and was surprised to find 28 guys in my race alone (and not really sure how many of the other categories were on course at the same time, but it was a ton).

Course was pretty similar to last year, some open pedaling stuff, lots-o-turns, regular set of barriers, and a low set (which was easily 'hoppable' every lap). Temps were a tad warmish for Oct cross and with a lack of rain the ground was hard and bumpy (easy fix with tubulars). Not a favorite, but it was fine.

Gun goes off and Brendon Jenks (360 guy) jumps out and solo's for most of the first lap with myself and a Slimen guy close behind. The Slimen guy joins Jenks and I get pretty close to contact before they open up a gap and that was it. Slimen guy rides off solo for the win while I chase Jenks at a 20 second distance for the rest of the race. We finish that way while 4th (a Cow Town guy) finished not too far down on me.

Solid effort and the 45 minute event was just what the 'recovery' doctor ordered for the last day before hitting full gas again. That extra 15 minutes in the Open really tax me and it was nice not to dig deep this week. Feeling physically and mentally recharged and refreshed is a good spot to be in after six races in three weeks (at least for me).

Up next is a couple Bubba (I know, the name if fitting for Missouri) races in STL next weekend; a Saturday night event (starts at 10pm!!!) and then a Sunday day race.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Boss Cross 1 & 2 (KC at it's Best)

Been looking forward to Jeremy and Joe's events since pulling off of the State course in December (they are just that good at setting up courses and running them off smoothly) and this weekend I partook in the goodness that is Boss Cross 1 (Saturday) and 2 (Sunday) in KC.

The week leading up had some quality workouts and bike driving, but Wednesday's intervals with Ira had me cooked and hoping I would recover before the weekend; which I did, but I was sweating it.

A quick walk thru and a couple laps ridden found it had a mix of a little bit of everything and was typical of a KC course (need to be able to drive a bike and have fitness). Bit bumpy in places, but with the dryness of late it was expected and a challenging double sand section every lap was going to be the demise of anyone not quick on their feet.

Ira (my main training partner) and I lined up in the Cat 3 field and before you know it I was off the front with Kyle Skinner (Bicycle Shack, or something like that). I led the first lap and then he took over for a couple. I put in a couple of attacks, he did they same,nd the result was neither could drop the other so 1/2 way thru we briefly chatted and took turns riding laps. On the last lap Kyle put in a well timed dig as we were passing a lapped rider (who apparently wanted

to race us - sigh) and the lapped guy dove in front of my on a tight corner and blew me off of Kyle's wheel with two turns to go and I never could reach him and finished 2nd. Oh well, it was a solid effort by both of us and he deserved the win. BC races the Cat 3 field with the Open so we race and hour like the big boys, but when after 3 laps they flashed 8 to go I knew it was going to be a long day and it turns out we raced for 1:13 minutes.

Picking up the awards (a little cash) Joe and Jeremy gave us some humorous crap about racing up as apparently we finished minutes ahead of 3rd place. Speaking of cash payouts: I'm of the opinion that two classes should get paid cash for placing: Men's Open and Women's Open, the rest should get some swag or a little something, but cash in the lower categories only entices guys to stick around and collect (absolutely temping, I must say). Example (and I told Joe this): Skinner got $60 for the win in Cat 3 and that's the same amount 2nd in the Open gets; I got $50 for 2nd and I believe that's the same as 3rd in Open... keep the cash for the Open guys and don't bait baggers (not saying that Kyle or I was, but the enticement is there).

Sunday Ira and my son Jake jumped in for the drive to KC for BC #2. I debated what to open and after a quick chat with Jeremy and Joe I moved up to the Open race. Smaller field than the day before, but still quality guys. The course was ran backwards and one technical section was removed which made for a much faster race. I felt good and at the end of the hour finished 8th (of 17 starters). I think this shows I need to race Open (and throw in some Masters) from here on out. I'll never see the front of these races, but don't imagine I'll see the tail end of them too often either...

Two great days of racing in somewhat warm temps, but nothing too bad. Looking forward to some events in the near future in the 50's for sure. My fitness appears pretty good and my 'punch' and 'snap' is still coming along nicely. Bike driving is at an all time high as the mtb'ing all spring and early summer along with our routine driving sessions during the week have me confident on most anything a course can throw at me, but I will admit the sand started feeling really long the last part of day 2...

Picked up my new MWI custom Giro Aeon helmet and that is the lightest lid I've ever seen. The MWI graphics are spot on sweetness; Mike H knocked it out again. *Picture is a little jacked as I was still cross-eyed on the drive home, but you get the gist*

Fun seeing the 'southern' MWI guys in full force and cheering them on as the fly the Jacka
lope banner proudly! I feel like the University of Oregon football team (multiple uniform combinations) as you never know who's going to wear what; I saw four different MWI kits in action the past two days.

Next week is racing in KC on Sunday at Cross Out Cancer.

Boss Cross #'s 1 & 2

I kicked of my '11-'12 cyclocross season this past weekend with a short drive up to Kansas City North to Barry-Platte Park for Boss Cross #'s 1 & 2.

With a few exceptions, the course was pretty much the same as last year's race. A very dry summer here in KC left the park bone dry, and some construction in the park - asphalt walking paths being replaced - left lots of gravel. The dirt and the gravel made for some sketchy corners, but for fast racing.

On Saturday there were 3 or 4 dismounts, depending on your speed and skill - two long sand pits, one set of barriers on a hill, and a short, sharp uphill that some ran and some rode. Sunday was the pretty much reverse of Saturday's course with the two runs thru the sand, but the sharp uphill was removed, and the barriers were moved to a long straight stretch which made them super fast, and I think really fun.

I would up with mixed results. On Saturday, I finished 11th out of 16 in the single speed race, but I didn't get lapped! Sunday, I DNF'ed with a broken pedal that happened right after the start. I was really disappointed - the course was really fast and I was really looking forward to the race.

Despite my poor showing, I did get to try out some of the new MWI goodies

  • I love the new Pactimo kit. The Ascent Pro Bib shorts are really comfortable and I really like the lycra compression leg gripper - hands down better than elastic grippers. The Ascent Jersey is very nice too, with nice comfortable arm openings and a rubberized gripper on the bottom to keep it in place.

  • My new Corsa Concepts 1.2ACR's were awesome. Greg built the rear up with a White Industries Eccentric ENO hub and a 19t White Industries Freewheel. I finished them off with Challenge Fango 32's and ran them at 30 to 32 psi, and they felt great in the dust, gravel and sketchy corners. My combination of 38t Chainring and 19t Freewheel was just about perfect for the up and down course.

  • The new MWI Oakley Jawbones were perfect for the hard bumpy course. The rubber nose pads held them in place great (my Minute 2.0's, which have been discontinued, are great, but have hard plastic nose pads.) Thanks to Rob for the super color selections, and thanks to my eye doctor for getting the prescription lenses.

So, that about wraps week 1. Next week I'll make the short drive to Shawnee Mission Park for Cross out Caner.