Monday, November 7, 2011

KC - 360 Cup and Blvd Cup

This past week I did some smart things after doubling up in the Masters/Open at BC #3; I made sure I got plenty of rest (Monday & Tuesday), got in a great 'big gear' interval session on the Frisco finished up with 4 start simulations which included a long dismounted run for each (felt totally recovered), another rest day (Thursday) and then a little bike driving on Friday (included routine openers). Recovery & rest had me feeling ready to go for the 360 series races kickoff weekend.

Headed of to KC's west side Stump Park... pulled up and immediately realized elevation was in play. After talking with some masters guys who raced earlier and taking a quick pre-ride it was clear there were places to make solid efforts and plenty of places to recover. No dismounts required as the barriers were short (easy to clear) and the potential for a run up was rideable every lap (even in the opening traffic). Fun course with a lot of off-camber stuff and just a great layout.

Got there too late to watch Karl racing the Masters, but I imagine he did the MWI kit proud.

Good pre-rides and warmup had me toeing the Open line with 23 others (most notable was the front line of who's who of the fast kids minus only the Tradewind folks). Got off to an OK start and things went better as the race progressed. Ended up riding most of the race with Troy Krause (NE masters guru) until I simply couldn't hold his pace up the climb with 4 to go. From then on it was chase and fend off those coming behind. I caught a decent second wind with 2 to go and made a run at TK only to come up short by about 5 seconds to finish 12th (of 24). I am not a climbing type of guy so I was pleased with my result and especially my handling as it was a clean race hitting good lines pretty much all race.
***Great photos from Roger Harrison, Keith Walberg, and Jon Peck***
Early in the race chasing GLove

Pulled up to Stump Park on Sunday, pre-rode the fast power course which was totally different from the day before. Flat open start into a couple switchbacks, more flat pedaling into tall barriers, to a fun technical section (that kept you on your toes) of up and downs and off camber turning (with a short steep dismount bump), then more power pedaling, thru a deep sand pit (totally rideable even though I dumped it once - can you say Her-Crustules ala 2010 Herman?) back to open pedaling... and do it for an hour with no recovery to speak of.
Got to catch Karl drilling it in the SS events; great job, my man.

Lined up with another good sized field of fast kids (27) and off we go for the BLVD Cup Open. Got a decent start (for me) and tried to keep the gas going from there on. For most of the race I swapped spots with a guy from NE (Noah something) in the lower teens in placings; I would put in a dig and open a gap, he would then counter... it made for a non-stop on the gas FUN race. At the end Noah bobbled in the technical section, I punched it, and was able to hold on for 11th. Once again I was satisfied with the way I raced mentally and physically and came away with a little confidence boost going into the rest of the season. Oh, on a side note, I dumped it three times during the race (once in the sand - embarrassing and twice simply pushing the technical sections a little too fast when smoothness and reserved was needed. Fun layout and great racing!
Short, but steep little 'bump' zapped the legs
Another great course layout! The last three races/venues have been super and the FUN FACTOR 'cross racing on these courses is off the chart!

Still tentative to really open up fully on the first lap as in the back of my head I continually think "it's an hour, conserve for later...". I need to get past this as I am losing too many places early and spend the rest of the race chasing those I should be near early on. Now, that being said, it's interesting racing with the same guys several times as I can pretty much tell you who will go out hard and fade in the last 20 minutes of racing while I feel I am hitting close to negative splits (runners term). Gotta figure out how to fix this mentally...

Next weekend I'm heading to L'ville for my first USGP. I registered pretty early and might have a 1st or 2nd row start for the 2/3 race. With it only being 40 minutes I am going to have to kill it early to hope to get in the top 20 (wishful thinking and actually have no expectations). Should be fun.

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