Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A Weekend of Racing!!

Tree Farm Relay – 1st Place Advanced Co-Ed

The Tree Farmers put on a relay race every year at Lakeshore Park in Novi. It is a fun race with a Le Mans start, leis, costumes and drinking. I’ve missed it the past 2 years due to other commitments and Laurie had a team together, so I talked to my buddy Jeremy and we started to pull something together. I recruited my friends Chuck Nicholson and Marne Smiley to complete our 4-person Co-Ed relay. There were 2 classes, sport (1 lap) and advanced (2 Laps), I would have been happy only doing sport, but Marne made the call to do advanced as she is a studette. As the race date closed in, Jeremy found out that he was going to be moving NYC in short order, so he had to back out of the race. I made some calls and twisted my friend Erik Koehler’s arm to come and join the fun. Chuck and I rode the trail a few weeks before and felt pretty confident that we could produce a fast time. The week before the race, it rained for multiple days but looked like it was going to be clear for the race. The morning of was overcast, but I was confident that it would clear up. Nathan and I jumped in the car, stopped at Starbucks for our pre-race Mocha (Me) and marble loaf (Nathan), and were off to the race. As we got closer, the rain came down… and didn’t let up until after the race had started. Marne called and said she would be late, but should make her start time. We decided to do the 2 laps back to back as we felt that it would be more efficient. The race was delayed a half hour hoping the rain would stop. Erik went out first and was the first advance rider to finish the first lap as well as the second. Everyone looked very dirty as they came around and after riding the first couple of miles during my warm-up, I found it to be very slick. Prior to Erik coming in, I listened to the promoters talk about delaying the Sport race start till after the advanced riders made it through… but they changed there minds and started the Sport race on time which happened to be right as Erik finished his second lap. I was a little discouraged as I now had to work my way around a lot of slower riders. Once I made it around I tried to get into a rhythm, but was having a hard time navigating the slick corners with my Stan’s Raven on the rear. A couple advanced guys went around me on the first lap and as I started my second lap I again had to get around slower riders that went out in the second wave of sports racers. The course was starting to dry out and I was able to drop over a min off of my first lap. As I finished I saw Marne in the ride exchange area ready to go. Marne put in a solid couple of laps, but we figured out we were about 16min behind the leading team with one rider to go. Their female rider was the last to go and Chuck was set to run her down. He made up a lot of time on the first lap and I updated him with the split as he came through for the second. In the end, we came up with the win as Chuck came in minutes ahead. The coolest part of the race was being able to race with your friends in a fun atmosphere, although I could have done without the rain!! Cleaning the bike was not what I was looking forward to when I got home…

Props to my wife Laurie!! It was a slick and technical course and she hammered out an awesome lap!!

Stony TT – 2nd Place

I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel after racing the day before, but the legs seemed to feel good. Nathan and I once again jumped in the car, stopped at Starbucks to get our usual and drove to the race. One of these days I will talk Nathan into actually doing a race as Nolan Osgood has been competing on the “Big Boy course” for a couple of races and having fun!! I knew that I was going to have a good race as my legs felt really well during warm up. I usually don’t do as well during TT, as I need the motivation of other racers. As we lined up I noticed Shawn Schaffert in line a couple of rows up… I knew if I could catch him, that I would do well as Shawn has been fast all year. Once lined up, I narrowed my focus and was off. I knew from past races that the 2-track at Stony was a very important part of the race. I pushed hard on the 2 track trying to keep as low as possible as there was a strong headwind on the way out. I passed a couple of guys and tried to maintain as much speed as possible on the climbs. As I closed in on the entrance to the pines, I could see Shawn’s red Cannondale jersey. I knew I wasn’t going to catch him in the single track as he is as fast as or faster than I am in the single track, it also didn’t help that I was held up a little by a couple of riders. Once on the climbs before the snake, I could seem him and closed the gap a little yelling at him that he had better pick it up!! We rode together in the Roller Coaster and I would gain a little on every climb and as we hit that last 2 track climb, I finally caught and passed him. We rode to the second creek crossing together and then Shawn dropped his chain. I hammered the final flats and came in with a time of 54.37. At the end of the day I ended up 2nd by less than 2 sec!! I gave my all and was happy with my finish. Props to Shawn for his 3rd place finish… I am sure that I helped to motivate him as much as he motivated me!!

I want to also recognize my friend Chuck Nicholson for his win at the TT!! He had a great weekend with a win on Sat and Sun!!

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